Williams demands answers on 'political favouritism'

Iqaluit miffed over Pang's promised 'deep-sea port'


Iqaluit city council wants to know why the recent federal budget allocated $17 million to the Pangnirtung small-craft harbour project, while Iqaluit's oft-stated need for a port goes unaddressed.

Council instructed Mayor Elisapee Sheutiapik to write both Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq and Eva Aariak, the premier, to ask why the federal government gave Pangnirtung $17 million for what councillors called a deep-sea port, when the community had already been allocated $8 million for a small-craft harbour in last year's budget.

The federal budget actually states that the $17 million is meant to speed up construction of the small-craft harbour in Pang.

Councillor Glenn Williams pointed out that Iqaluit:

  • receives about 20 sealift ships a year delivering cargo;
  • receives and uses about a quarter of all the diesel fuel and jet fuel used in the territory;
  • had 10 to 12 cruise ships visit last year, more than any other community; and
  • is the port of resupply and crew changes for the three coast-guard vessels that operate up here.

Nunavut's need for a deep-water port is well known, he said, and both Aglukkaq and Eva Ariaak supported it when they ran for office last fall.

As health minister, Aglukkaq is also a member of the federal cabinet, and as territorial premier, Ariaak would have been consulted during budget preparations, Williams noted.

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Pangnirtung, he said, only receives one or two shiploads of frozen fish a year at its fish plant, plus one sea lift ship each for government and retail purposes, and one fuel tanker.

Even their small vessel requirements for hunting and fishing would be less than those of Iqaluit.

If the decision was "political favouritism, then tell us, and if not, then show us," Williams said, adding that he does not expect a real answer.

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