Transitional housing program launches
The Uquutaq Transitional Housing project, the first non-profit affordable housing project and transitional housing program in Nunavut, officially opened its doors in Iqaluit on Oct. 22.
“Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. It is with great pleasure that our government, through the National Housing Strategy, is supporting initiatives like Uquutaq Transitional Housing, so that collectively, we are better able to assist vulnerable populations of all races, age, gender and community, in finding the support they need,” said federal minister Ahmed Hussen.
The transitional housing programming will be operated by the Uquutaq Society, a non-profit organization with a mandate to help shelter men who are experiencing homelessness.
Progress made on port and road project
A trade and transportation corridor stretching from the Arctic coast to Yellowknife is closer to reality, according to Stanley Anablak, president of the Kitikmeot Inuit Association (KIA).
Recent federal funding announcements – $21.6 million to get the Kitikmeot Grays Bay road and port project shovel-ready and $30 million for the Government of the Northwest Territories’ proposed connecting Slave Geological Province Access Road project – have given new pertinence to the projects, Anablak wrote in a report tabled during Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated’s annual general meeting in October.
“These two funding announcements significantly advance the long-term vision that (KIA) shares with the (GNWT),” Anablak stated. “Given that over two days in August, the federal government made a combined investment of over $50 million in this corridor, I believe that they are taking this vision seriously.”
Tributes pour in for the late David Aglukark Sr.
Arviat’s David Aglukark Sr., a 2012 recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and an assistant chief negotiator of the Nunavut Agreement, was mourned.
Land claims organization Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated said Aglukark Sr. “championed Inuit rights since the 1970s.” He’s credited with being particularly instrumental in drafting the wildlife section of the Nunavut Agreement – Article 5.
“David was one of the strong negotiators for the Nunavut Agreement. His knowledge of the land and wildlife was a huge asset to negotiations and his working career,” stated James Eetoolook, NTI’s vice-president. “His priorities were based on working relationships and making sure that everybody was treated fairly and equally, and we really appreciated that.”
Taloyoak mayor makes plea for more housing
Taloyoak has high demand for housing and can see no way to meet demand from either the private or public sectors, Mayor Chuck Pizzo-Lyall stated in a letter that was tabled in the legislative assembly on Oct. 22.
There were 107 people on a waiting list for housing out of a total population of 1,100 in Taloyoak, according to the mayor.
“The chronic unemployment, depressed wages and meagre social assistance that our people cope with on a daily basis guarantee that there is not enough rental revenue available to interest the private sector in building housing units locally,” Pizzo-Lyall wrote. “And it is apparent that (Nunavut Housing Corporation) is incapable of meeting our needs through public housing.
Netser removed from cabinet
A controversial social media post cost Aivilik MLA Patterk Netser his cabinet portfolios.
A majority of MLAs voted to oust Netser from cabinet after he wrote on his Facebook page – and later apologized for – his thoughts on the high rate of abortions within the Black community.
“I was not trying to disparage any person as we are to represent those without voices, Mr. Speaker, and these voiceless fetuses have a right to life as soon as they are born,” Netser said in the legislative assembly. “My intention was just to bring to light the many thousands of babies aborted throughout the world.”
Pangnirtung MLA Margaret Nakashuk was later chosen to replace Netser in cabinet.
NTI documents ‘deplorable’ infrastructure gap
The “deplorable” state of Nunavut’s infrastructure was documented in a new 205-page report by Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI), and that research will be used to make advances in negotiations with the federal and territorial governments, says NTI’s president.
“Significant and quantifiable” disparities exist between Nunavut and the rest of Canada in all 18 of the priority areas measured, according to the report’s findings.
The document states that “attention, investment and action” are needed to close the gap in areas such as housing, broadband internet, health care, power, drinking water, roads, and ports and harbours. The purpose of NTI’s analysis is to measure the size of the infrastructure gaps to help define the level of investment required.
Actor and Canada Goose aid Arctic Bay
Students at Inuujaq School in Arctic Bay will be bundled up and warm this winter thanks to a donation of winter gear from Canada Goose and actor Ryan Reynolds.
The company teamed up with the Vancouver-born star to send more than 300 jackets and other clothing items to all the students at the community’s school after he reached out to them.
“It came to my attention students at Inuujaq School in Arctic Bay were going without adequate winter clothing,” Reynolds stated in an Oct. 6 Canada Goose press release. “Of course, it highlights a larger issue of basic needs going unmet in Canada’s Northern communities. I reached out to Canada Goose to match me in providing these students with essential winter gear. They not only said yes in under 30 seconds but went so far above and beyond matching me. I’m deeply inspired and grateful.”