GN, Inuit organizations welcome federal budget’s housing, mental health investments

Plan unveiled this week addresses infrastructure shortfalls, says Nunavut Finance Minister Lorne Kusugak

From left, Nunavut Finance Minister Lorne Kusugak, ITK president Natan Obed and Pauktuutit president Gerri Sharpe welcomed the budget for its promises on housing and mental health. (File photos)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Investments in housing and mental health contained in this week’s federal budget are being welcomed by the Government of Nunavut and two national Inuit organizations.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled the proposed spending in the House of Commons Thursday.

In a news release the next morning, Nunavut Premier P.J. Akeeagok said he is optimistic about what’s been set aside for the territory.

The release highlights $60 million Nunavut would receive over two years for affordable housing and related infrastructure, as well as tax credits for first-time home buyers.

It also notes the budget’s proposed $227.6-million investment to maintain Indigenous-led mental health services, as well as $15 million over five years to support Indigenous economic development in the North.

Nunavut Finance Minister Lorne Kusugak echoed Akeeagok’s sentiments in the release.

“We appreciate the Government of Canada’s continued investments to address the critical infrastructure needs of Nunavummiut,” Kusugak said.

“Canada’s budget provides money to the Government of Nunavut and to Inuit Organizations to tackle this shortfall.”

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, a non-profit group representing 65,000 Inuit people, issued a news release as well, welcoming similar investments. Specifically, the organization praised the budget for promising $845 million over seven years toward Inuit housing.

“This investment is a significant step in the right direction toward improving deteriorating housing stock and relieving widespread overcrowding across Inuit Nunangat which has contributed to devastating physical, social and mental health challenges,” ITK president Natan Obed said in the release.

ITK also called on Ottawa to continue working with Inuit organizations to address food security, especially in schools.

Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada praised the budget’s investments in mental health, midwifery and gender-based violence services, but said those promises must be met with “timely action to improve the safety and well-being of Inuit women.”

In a release Friday, Pauktuutit’s president Gerri Sharpe stated the budget left out any mention of the ongoing crisis of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls.

“Pauktuutit is focused on working with Inuit partners to implement the Inuit Action Plan, based on the federal government commitment of $2.2 billion over five years in last year’s budget, to end this tragedy, including for Inuit,” she said.

“However, there needs to be more concrete action to achieve progress on the goal shared by the federal government and Pauktuutit to address the 46 Inuit-specific calls for justice in the national inquiry’s final report.”

Parliament was to begin debating the budget Friday.

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(6) Comments:

  1. Posted by Alianait on

    I hope ITK allots half of the 845 million to Nunavut as we have the most Inuit in Canada and we compared to other Inuit regions are the least accessible and most isolated. Canada might as well have given NTI the 60 million as they don’t have to follow GN procurement policies. Give it to NCC therefore they can build more for our people without too much profit. Wishful thinking.

  2. Posted by On mental health… on

    On another pressing mental health that of leaders and war mongers. Missiles that elude defence systems. The high speed and maneuverability of those. Something that we are not being told in all of the propaganda being flushed at us… there is nothing and nothing I mean that can intercept those.

  3. Posted by S on

    “budget [promises] $845 million over seven years toward Inuit housing.”
    Any very well-run private organization could spend that money with 90% effectiveness; those same funds administered by various levels of government and their bureaucracies will get, at best, … at best, 20% effectiveness for the average citizen. As cash, the rest might as well be dumped on the tundra where it will compost eventually and serve some rudimentary purpose.
    So it goes. Innovation, capitalism, and entrepreneurism are blamed, then maimed; the oligarchy gets off with an even bigger packet and sphere of influence; and complacent democracy continues to erode into its oligarchy-contrived brand of socialism-theocracy.

  4. Posted by Business as usual I see on

    Leave it to Pauktuutit to find something to complain about in a budget like this, it’s almost as if they can’t help themselves… “hurry up, run that tape!”


  5. Posted by NNI critic on

    If GN is serious about dealing with the housing crisis they should remove NNI from Housing construction contracts. Multi-million dollar companies dont need this type of help anyways. It just adds fat to the contracts.

  6. Posted by Frankly on

    Dream on people , the money won’t help any of their isn’t “any” inuit counselling the recipients, inuit are too proud and resilient to seek any help of this kind of nature
    And up here in the northern towns and hamlets our grade 12 graduates are walking around and making the miles in their communities looking for a labouring job . These graduates are supposed to be our “future”. Yet our administrations have nothing for them to put their skills to the test. Nunavut territory is in limbo in our education system and failing our graduates. The very people that should be administering these programs.

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