Nunatsiaq News
LETTERS: Nunavut January 03, 2014 - 8:28 am

Are the people of Nunavut too reliant on government?

“We should rely less upon the government to do everything for us”


Now that the elections are over and the dust has settled, I believe we have a strong group of veteran and novice politicians who, in turn, have selected a good leader in the person of Peter Taptuna.

Expectations will be high and we will want the government to solve all our problems.

But as a very famous character called Pogo once said: “I have seen the enemy and the enemy is us.”

I think if Pogo were around today he might apply this quote to us in Nunavut on our expectations of what we think the government should do for us.

Perhaps it is time to expect less from the government and more from our own resources.

As John Kennedy brilliantly stated: “It is not what the country can do for you but what you can do for your country.”

One of the four basic tenets (policy directives) of the Bathurst Accord (created during the birth of Nunavut) is “Self Reliance.”

This means that we should rely less upon the government to do everything for us but that we, as a group, learn to live more on our own without being dependent upon government handouts.

It is common that everyday people should tackle the issues of culture and language. We can help create wise legislation, but to expect the government to do what we must do for ourselves sucks the very life, sucks our self-motivation, determination and innovation, from us.

We should rely upon the government is to provide us with the tools, the infrastructure, the policies, plus the rules and regulations with which we can earn our own money, provide food on the table, provide warm shelter and create the means to a healthy lifestyle. We must use these “tools” wisely.

It is time to reaffirm the importance for us as parents, grandparents and guardians, for us as talented and concerned citizens, to accept the many responsibilities for our own survival and to improve our own lot in life.

In order to achieve goals of this nature depends on our individual and collective attitudes. It is all a matter of attitude, attitude, attitude.

For example: In matters of physical and mental health I suggest that we learn how to decrease our burden upon the already over taxed health care system by taking better care of ourselves. Proper nutrition and exercise spring immediately to mind amongst many other realistic suggestions. 

Education is another area that requires an attitudinal shift. The government alone cannot improve the quality of education. Very simply, it is impossible for the government to create a more positive attitude towards our children’s learning without the support of parents and guardians.

We parents and guardians can help many more intelligent Grade 12 students to graduate with higher than Grade 8 or Grade 9 level linguistic and numeric skills, as is quite common these days. Education begins right from birth.

These are just a few observations. But I trust the message is clear.

Frank Pearce

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