Environment department gets a haircut

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

Nunavut’s regular MLAs defeated a second budget item this week, trimming $150,000 from the department of environment.

Tagak Curley, MLA for Rankin Inlet North, pushed for the cut to the department’s travel budget. He suggested the money would be better spent on the disaster compensation fund for hunters.

Olayuk Akesuk, Nunavut’s minister of environment, was unhappy with the change.

He said the loss of $150,000 puts a strain on his ability to ensure Nunavut has well-trained wildlife officers. He argued that a strong training program requires more money to pay for the trainers’ travel expenses.

“I think it’ll affect our whole territory,” Akesuk said. “We get new wildlife officers every year, and we have to train them every year.

“It’s going to be little bit harder for us to make sure that they get the proper training that we wanted.”

The government weathered its first budget defeat when regular MLAs cut $500,000 from the Community Government and Services budget. That money was intended to pay for work related to the environmental clean-up of old tank farms run by the Petroleum Products Division.

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