Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut March 21, 2018 - 10:30 am

Nunavut mandate lists many “priorities,” few commitments

“The fifth assembly is bold and positive in our vision”

JIM BELL
The Government of Nunavut yesterday released the mandate document that MLAs worked on during a behind-closed-doors retreat in Pond Inlet last February. It lists the same priorities they released in a statement in February, but contains few commitments or specific policy proposals. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)
The Government of Nunavut yesterday released the mandate document that MLAs worked on during a behind-closed-doors retreat in Pond Inlet last February. It lists the same priorities they released in a statement in February, but contains few commitments or specific policy proposals. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)

The Government of Nunavut’s long-awaited mandate document, Turaaqtavut, made public yesterday by Nunavut Premier Paul Quassa, lists many broad priorities but contains few measurable goals or political commitments for the period between now and the next territorial election in 2021.

However, that didn’t stop Quassa from describing the document in his introduction as “a real turning point in our development.”

“The fifth assembly is bold and positive in our vision for Nunavut, practical in the priorities that we have chosen for the next four years, and oriented to action,” Quassa said.

MLAs have already announced those priorities, in a statement they released this past Feb. 26, following a private, behind-closed-doors retreat in Pond Inlet.

In his introduction, Quassa did refer to the disillusionment that followed the creation of Nunavut nearly 20 years ago, in 1999.

“Some improvements are being made, but much too slowly,” Quassa said.

And he said many in Nunavut have “lost the sense of opportunity that drove the creation of Nunavut.”

Fixing the territory’s social problems, he said, means an emphasis on Inuit language and culture.

“For the majority of the population in the territory, reclaiming our Inuit language, culture, and voice is necessary to right historical wrongs and address our social issues,” Quassa said.

As for what the GN will do within its five thematic priorities, the document repeats many oft-used talking points, but offers few specific ideas on policies or programs.

Under “Inuusviut,” the document says the GN will improve well-being by “valuing elders,” “enhancing health care,” “improving outcomes of mental health, addictions, and family counselling,” and doing things to meet the need for “safe and affordable housing and food security.”

Under “Pivaallirutivut,” which covers economic development, the GN implies they will team up with the federal government, private business and Inuit organizations by “investing with partners.”

That includes facilities for elder care and addictions treatment, but they don’t say where or how they will build them.

On job creation, that section suggests they’ll emphasize “local employment through traditional industries, arts and culture, small businesses, mining, fisheries, and other sectors.”

Under “Sivummuaqpalliajjutivut,” which deals with education and training, the GN said they’ll have another go at amending the Education Act and the Inuit Language Protection Act to ensure “quality schooling and improve student outcomes.”

Existing laws already requires that the government conduct a review of the Official Languages Act, the Inuit Language Protection Act and Representative for Children and Youth Act, but the mandate doesn’t say how that will be done.

The “Inuunivut” section repeats familiar rhetoric about language, Inuit societal values and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit found in numerous past statements from the GN and others.

The “Katujjiqatigiinnivut” priority is expressed in a single vague statement: “We will work in partnership to advance the goals and aspirations of Nunavummiut.”

In that section, the current government takes an implied swipe at the previous government led by ex-premier Peter Taptuna.

One of its sub-priorities states that Quassa’s government will refocus “our human resources policies and programs on Inuit employment at all levels of the public service.”

That’s a suggestion that the previous government was not enthusiastic enough about Inuit employment.

The rest of that section repeats rhetoric contained in the “Pivaallirutivut” economic development section on partnerships with Inuit organizations, private business and the federal government.

But the mandate document says nothing about staff morale, widespread complaints about bullying and harassment, or how they plan to fill the 1,327 vacant positions listed in the GN’s December 2017 employment report.

The GN does say they will do a government-wide implementation plan to carry out the mandate and make progress reports, but they don’t say when that work is supposed to be done.

Existing laws already requires that the government conduct a review of the Official Languages Act, the Inuit Language Protection Act and Representative for Children and Youth Act, but the mandate doesn’t say how that will be done.

And the mandate says nothing about creating an ombudsperson for the territory, an idea MLAs announced on Feb. 26. An ombudsperson, or ombudsman, is an independent official who handles complaints about maladministration or rights violations within government.

  Turaaqtavut Final Version by NunatsiaqNews on Scribd

 

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