Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut March 14, 2018 - 1:15 pm

Nunavut fuel rebate scheme a failure, MLA says

“I’ll try not to laugh about this”

BETH BROWN
Arviat North-Whale Cove MLA John Main quoted Government of Nunavut reports showing that since 2006, harvesters from Arviat and Whale Cove have received a total of only $53 in rebate dollars from a territorial fuel tax rebate program. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)
Arviat North-Whale Cove MLA John Main quoted Government of Nunavut reports showing that since 2006, harvesters from Arviat and Whale Cove have received a total of only $53 in rebate dollars from a territorial fuel tax rebate program. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)

Arviat North-Whale Cove MLA John Main wants to know why the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Finance is promoting a fuel rebate program that has already been flagged as broken.

In questions asked on Tuesday, March 13, Main referred to a Feb. 27 public service announcement for the GN’s Fuel Tax Rebate Program, which allows harvesters, outfitters and tourism operators to get a rebate on the cost of gasoline or diesel used in vehicles like snowmobiles, ATVs and boat motors.

“These tax rebates are available to the harvesters and it can give a lot of support if accessed,” said Finance Minister David Akeeagok.

But Main said the program is already documented as being ineffective.
Last year, a summary report of the fuel tax rebate program for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 fiscal years was tabled in the legislature.

That report shows that the rebate amounts to less than 0.2 per cent of what Nunavut harvesters spend on fuel.

The report also shows that Nunavummiut aren’t applying for the rebate. 

“I’ll try not to laugh about this,” Main said, quoting the report.

“For my communities, Arviat and Whale Cove, since 2006, since the program was started, in Arviat there was one application that was processed for $21.

“Whale Cove did slightly better, there was one application for $32,” he said.

In Resolute Bay, three applications filed for a fuel tax rebate in the community since 2006 total only $35. 

Main also quoted the report as saying that the cost of delivering the program—processing applications, issuing cheques, recording transactions, marketing the program—likely outweighs the value the program has for Nunavummiut.

“It appears that the conclusion has already been drawn by the Department of Finance… Based on this document it doesn’t appear that this program is particularly effective for the harvesters in Nunavut,” Main said.

He also asked Akeeagok for a commitment to either overhaul the program or scrap it and create something that harvesters would benefit from. 

“We have to support our hunters as a government because they feed the community as a whole,” he said. 

Akeeagok noted that the volume of fuel used by harvesters can be quite low, and that might explain the low rebate figures stated in the report.

He said he is “definitely” committed to reviewing the program and to finding ways to collaborate with harvesters.

“I will look into this, whether it is effective and whether we can communicate more. This is one small component that our government provides to harvesters,” he said.

“It’s timely in this new government that we look at this and I applaud your question.”

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(17) Comments:

#1. Posted by Gobble Gobble on March 14, 2018

Excellent work by MLA Main.  It is not uncommon for a government to create a program with good intentions, only to find later that it is ineffective.  However, governments are very hesitant to scrap programs, preferring to let them fly under the radar for fear of backlash.

However, it is in the best interest of the public to reallocate funding that is being used ineffectively towards better uses.

#2. Posted by Over his head on March 14, 2018

I saw Akeeagok being interviewed on Igalaaq last week and he was totally unprepared and winged it.  I was not impressed.  He represents Nunavut people and should act accordingly.  I think he is way over his head!

#3. Posted by iRoll on March 14, 2018

“Akeeagok noted that the volume of fuel used by harvesters can be quite low, and that might explain the low rebate figures stated in the report”

So since 2006 Arviat hunters have only used $21 in fuel? Whale Cove hunters have only used $35?

Folks, please think before you speak. It really can save you from looking quite foolish.

#4. Posted by Jeff on March 14, 2018

I agree with #3. For DA to suggest that NU harvesters don’t use much fuel is pretty dumb. Think before you speak man!

#5. Posted by Elders fuel subsidy on March 14, 2018

For a few years now, the Elders with their own homes have received
a grant of fuel in Nunavut.
Thank you Government of Nunavut!

#6. Posted by Arctic Circle on March 14, 2018

Way to go Main, you did an awesome job and we are all sure Mr Akeeagok had hard time to swallow.

Keep it up, you made a huge impact in one first sessions, can’t wait what will you bring the next 4 years….

#7. Posted by working together on March 14, 2018

The last government was more about alcohol stores and many Inuit concerns were put on the shelf or sent south.

Finance Minister David Akeeagok said, “It’s timely in this new government that we look at this and I applaud your question.”  Good Inuit leadership.

#8. Posted by Frangelico on March 14, 2018

#1 I agree, governments are very much prone to inertia. Others might call it the ‘path of least resistance.’

Good work John Main in bringing this into the light.

#9. Posted by Northern Guy on March 15, 2018

“Akeeagok noted that the volume of fuel used by harvesters can be quite low, and that might explain the low rebate figures stated in the report.” Huh?!? My recreational machine costs $40-$50 to fill from almost empty, and I have to fill it at least four or five times over a season. I can’t imagine a harvester using less than fuel than me when out on the land! Doesn’t the Minister have anyone preparing his responses for him?

#10. Posted by Ringo Starr on March 15, 2018

#7 Is that you, Paul? David?

#11. Posted by Northern Exposure Man on March 15, 2018

Now this is an example of what we want our elected officials to do. Identify areas where our government policies can and should be changed for the better.

This is also what we want our non-ministerial MLA’s to do. Keep the ministers and their departments accountable by using “real” facts and figures.

#12. Posted by Supporter on March 15, 2018

David needs to take his big GN hat off and work as a minister. He does not need to work in Pauls back pocket either.  he is not working as a team but rather as a DM did. David, change your hat!  Or put on some glasses to see how other ministers work to get an idea.

#13. Posted by sled dog on March 15, 2018

never one to suppport the GN, but dear Mr. Main, you are asking the GN to focus on a program that likely has a tiny budget. to throw resources at it to fix would take away from other more important, high dollar programs that need fixing.

Before you step up in the house and ask a series of questions, ask yourself first if this is really a priority or just a way to grandstand.

#14. Posted by Smart on March 15, 2018

Thank you Main.  the recent news from NWT on an MLA missing meetings or sittings also made me think of being on the open and forefront on these things.  It is all to be transparent and should be listed or noted who missed too many meetings including leaving early constantly to just be noted they are there. Do you want to know how your MLA is doing representing you and not just the 5 min on TV to make you think he/she is there?

#15. Posted by Same Old Same Old on March 15, 2018

I am happy, Mr. Akeeagok have become vision of being MLA, Same Old Same Old. Need for change has been long over due, lack of interest of implementing effective, positive programs to assist Inuit in Nunavut. Same Old, Same Old.

#16. Posted by iWonder on March 15, 2018

#13 Your logic looks something like this to me:

“This is a small problem, therefore not worth looking at. in fact, revising it will surely be a waste of resources.”

Am I wrong?

Mr. Main pointed out that the program likely uses more resources than it returns. I would think you would applaud this observation, as it mirrors your own concern.

Odd that one would criticize a call for a more effective program. Which is really to say, one that benefits the people it was intended to help.

What would motivate such a facile, perfunctory critique on your part I wonder?

Please let us know.

#17. Posted by rittle for you on March 16, 2018

we want more chocolate like on election day

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