(June 7, 2011 – Rankin Inlet, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. President Cathy Towtongie commented on the release of yesterday’s federal budget. Towtongie was disappointed by the absence of any new major investments to Nunavut, and in particular, addresses to social and housing crisis faced by Inuit, that require immediate attention.Towtongie said that it was disheartening that no new funds were identified in support of Inuit language programs, along with further assistance to the overall health and early childhood education of Inuit. “In order for Inuit to have equal quality of life as those to southern Canadians, investments in housing, education and social programs must be provided.”
Towtongie further explained that NTI would have welcomed resources to that would have replaced the former Aboriginal Healing Foundation programming. The AHF, amongst many programs, assisted Inuit with the legacy of the residential school systems that has many generational negative consequences.
The budget presented by Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty remained relatively the same.
NTI recognized and welcomed the nine million dollars over two years, invested into basic adult education. “This investment is appreciated. However, more resources must be given,” said Towtongie.
The budget also included eight million dollars between the territories, invested to clean energy. An additional four million dollars over two years is also mentioned to strengthen the justice system in Nunavut, Which may or may not help Nunavut. Further discussion is expected on this important matter.
Although disappointed, Towtongie said NTI is committed to ensuring Inuit are provided an opportunity to participate to the full extent, and look forward to working with the conservative majority government on initiatives that are important to Inuit.