Nunavut MLAs flesh out the GN’s to-do list

“It’s never been done like this before”


Nunavut MLAs emerged Oct. 26 from a week’s worth of full caucus meetings to announce the priorities that will soon form the basis of a detailed action plan for the Government of Nunavut.

“It’s never been done like this before — we could have done it with cabinet only but it was critical to get input from all our members, ” Premier Eva Aariak said.

Between Oct. 20 and Oct. 23, regular MLAs and cabinet ministers sat down to study the recently-released Qanukkanniq Report Card to help them figure out how to carry out the Tamapta mandate statement they issued this past April 1.

Aariak said the exercise was a “historical” process that now allows her government to move forward with a program that comes directly from the people of Nunavut.

In a statement released Oct. 26, MLAs say they agreed to be guided by three core principles: self-reliance, open communication, and service to the public.

Then they set out a list of tasks to be done over the three-year period between now and the next election:

• ensure the government fully implements the new Education Act, Official Languages Act and Inuit Language Protection Act;

• develop strategies to combat poverty and increase the supply of housing;

• review the public housing rent scale and the income support program to remove disincentives to entering the workforce and help income support recipients gain skills;

• do a “functional review” of decentralization;

• introduce a new Child and Family Services Act within the life of the current legislative assembly;

• create “an independent position to represent and articulate the needs of children and youth;”

• introduce a new Liquor Act;

• strengthen the performance of the education system and create more daycare options for parents;

• improve the basic tools available to government employees to improve service to the public, including the GN’s financial, human resources, business planning and communications services;

• improve business climate by fostering better alternative energy, transportation and telecommunications;

• continued support for meeting the objectives of Article 23, while fixing capacity and performance gaps in the civil service and remaining committed to “a training culture that seeks to build a service-oriented, professional and culturally respectful service.”

Aariak said MLAs reached “full consensus” on most of the issues they discussed, and that no members were surprised by the findings of the Qanukkanniq team.

“One of the arguments I heard was ‘why are doing this, we know this already,” Aariak said.

She said the next step will be the production of a detailed action plan based on the consensus that MLAs reached last week.

To that end, Nunavut deputy ministers began meeting on the morning of Oct. 26 to create the action plan and to co-ordinate that work with planning related to the GN’s budget and departmental business plans.

“They now have clear direction from the government,” Aariak said.

In social policy, MLAs appear to agree there are limits to what government can do.

“Government programs and services play an important role in the life of our territory. However, members of the Legislative Assembly recognized that is ultimately healthy families and communities that provide a truly sustainable foundation for building our children’s future,” Akulliq MLA John Ningark, the chair of the full caucus, said in the Oct. 26 assembly release.

MLAs also reaffirmed their belief in the future of Nunavut by reiterating the “declaration of confidence” contained in the Tamapta mandate document: “We believe in Nunavut. We have hope for its vibrant future, built by our people pursuing their dreams.”

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