QC president corrects the record

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

I would like to respond to Annette Bourgeois’ headline (“Baffin leaders talked… and passed a motion saying they’re opposed to a GNWT-backed plan to build a new Baffin hospital with private money”) on the front page of your July 18 issue of Nunatsiaq News.

For the record, the motion that she was referring to was motion number one, and I quote, “Now Therefore Be It Resolved that the Baffin Leaders’ Summit declare its strong commitment to the construction of new hospital facilities for the Baffin Region on an urgent basis…” I will not quote the whole resolution as Annette I assume, has a copy of the aforementioned motion, but by the above quote you can decipher the intentions and wishes of the Baffin leaders and it states explicitly the opposite of her headline.

I should know as I seconded the motion.

I would also like to bring a light to you, your readers and to the Inuit of Baffin especially, what the issue is regarding the construction of a new Baffin hospital and what Qikiqtaaluk Corporation’s intentions and role has been regarding this issue.

Qikiqtaaluk Corporation is the economic development arm of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association which represents the interests and concerns of the Baffin Inuit shareholders from the Nunavut land claims agreement. Our mandate is to provide training and employment opportunities to Baffin Inuit shareholders.

Several months ago, we found out that Med-Emerg, through their health care study, identified the need for a new Baffin hospital and also identified that the GNWT did not have adequate funds available. As such, they were recommending the need for an innovative process for financing the much needed hospital.

Having understood that the problem of financing could block the construction for the new Baffin hospital and two Nunavut facilities, Qikiqtaaluk Corporation, through its commitment to Inuit, took a proactive approach by facilitating a discussion with all of the Nunavut regional health boards and regional birthright development corporations in Yellowknife in June on ways to overcome the financing problem.

Out of a meeting, came a possible strategy for financing the construction for new hospital facilities in Rankin Inlet, Cambridge Bay and Iqaluit allowing work to begin in 1998.

The approach was based on a partnership between the individual health boards and respective birthright development corporations. Under the strategy the health boards would of course have full responsibility for all aspects of the planning and operation of the new facilities. Further, there was a commitment to public tendering of all construction work.

The GNWT appears to be very receptive to the suggested strategy and are willing to work with the development corporations and regional health boards in further considering the concept.

Qikiqtaaluk Corporation continues to wish to help the Baffin Hospital Board construct a new hospital in 1998.

Jerry Ell
President
Qikiqtaaluk Corporation

Editor’s note: Jerry Ell is correct. Our headline describing the motion refered to in his letter was innacurate. However, the mistake was not made by Annette Bourgeois ­ it was made by editor Jim Bell, who misunderstood the content of the motion. Nunatsiaq News apologizes for the error.

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