(March 9, 2010 – Cambridge Bay, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. 1st Vice-President James Eetoolook said the Government of Nunavut’s 2010/11 budget addressed social and cultural areas of importance, and NTI looked forward to working with the government on shared priorities, including education, language, culture, housing, homelessness and poverty reduction. Finance Minister Keith Peterson tabled the budget yesterday in the Nunavut Legislative Assembly.
Eetoolook said the GN needed to clarify what it meant by developing a long-term comprehensive housing strategy. He pointed out that NTI and the GN developed the Nunavut Ten-Year Inuit Housing Action Plan in 2004, but following the announcement of federal funding in 2006, many of the principles in the action plan were abandoned. Eetoolook said NTI looked forward to working with the GN again on housing, but he said it must be a true partnership.
Similarly, with the $1.5 million to be provided over two years for a comprehensive review of child protection programs, services and legislation, Eetoolook said NTI must be involved in this process, consistent with Article 32 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. He added that NTI planned to lobby the GN to open the office of the Child and Youth Representative as soon as possible.
Eetoolook said the budget held no real surprises, and NTI hoped the GN would be able to deliver concrete results from the $1.3 billion budget.
“NTI is pleased to see increased funds committed to Piqqusilirivvik, the Nunavut Trade School, adult education and the Inuit Uqausinginnik Taiguusiliuqtiit. NTI looks forward to the actual completion and operation of this trade school, which we have been seeking for so long,” said Eetoolook.
He also said NTI was pleased to see additional funds earmarked for the development of a homelessness secretariat and an anti-poverty strategy. “Poverty is a serious problem for Nunavut, and NTI agrees there is a need to tackle it head on. NTI welcomes Minister Peterson’s recognition of the problem. NTI will work closely with the GN and the other members of the Nunavut Economic Forum to develop the poverty reduction strategy,” he said. The poverty reduction strategy must be closely related to the Nunavut Economic Development Strategy, which NTI has supported since 2003.