Idlout calls for improved health care, housing for Inuit elders

Nunavut MP, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh pressure federal Liberals following visit to Ottawa’s Larga Baffin facility

Nuanvut MP Lori Idlout calls for better access to health care for Nunavummiut in the House of Commons Thursday. (Screenshot courtesy of ParlVU)

By Meral Jamal

Nunavut MP Lori Idlout and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh called on the federal government to improve health care services and housing for elders and other seniors in the territory, as well as for those who travel to Ottawa for care. 

Following a visit Thursday to Larga Baffin, a full-service boarding home for Inuit who travel to Ottawa for care, Idlout and Singh urged the federal government to work toward three solutions: giving seniors the opportunity to receive care in their own communities, better housing and infrastructure within the territory, and culturally relevant support for seniors who travel to Ottawa for care. 

“We know that there’s so much that we can do and the stories that we heard [at Larga Baffin] compel us to use our platform to say the people of Nunavut — particularly elders — deserve better care,” Singh said at an event in Ottawa. “We are calling on the federal government to step up and provide more help, for care for seniors, for housing for seniors, and better conditions here in Ottawa …”

According to Idlout, the Liberal government has committed funding for senior care and housing in its budget, but needs to follow up with significant action. 

“What we’re trying to find out is, how can we make sure there is action that will improve services for Nunavummiut?” she said in an interview.

“They only talk about past investments, past millions of dollars that have been sent, but they don’t talk about how these investments are effective, and how they ensure there’s accountability,” Idlout added. “We need to make sure that there are actual improvements with these investments that keep being promised.”

Later in the day, Idlout raised the issue in the House of Commons during question period. Nunavummiut must spend “thousands of dollars and travel great distances” to access basic health care.

“Families are forced to send their loved ones across the country afraid that they will never see them again,” Idlout said.

Liberal Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal pointed to the government’s Arctic and Northern Policy Framework and its recently announced Inuit Nunagat Policy as examples of its commitment to providing better services to people who live in Nunavut and Inuit Nunangat.

“Health care is one of the priorities that’s first on our schedule. We are investing millions in health care in the North and a better partnership with Nunavummiut,” Vandal said.

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(22) Comments:

  1. Posted by AnonYmouse on

    The NDP doing the only thing it truly knows how, being predictable and tiresome.

    • Posted by Valentin Teresch on

      Yes, the NDP has been pretty consistent in calling for improved health care and housing for elders. It’s a pity you find that “predictable and tiresome”: I hope they come up with some future policy positions to astonish and entertain you.

      • Posted by AnonYmouse on

        Consistent and predictable are not too far removed from one another. Either way, the dance routine is simple enough to learn; scream injustice, yell at someone else to fix the problem, more money is always the fairy dust.

        Is there something else to see here?

  2. Posted by Elder in need of Care on

    Speaking as an elder in Nunavut, I am not getting the health care I need. But it’s not a federal responsibility, it is a territorial responsibility.
    How about you and your federal party focus on what is arguablya federal responsibility. I’m referring to medical research. As long as medical research is left to the pharmaceutical industry we will continue to get treatments and tests, rather than cures and preventive measures. Research is a federal responsibility. Focus there, so everyone will benefit.

    • Posted by Constitutional on

      The Territory is delegated healthcare by the Federal Government under the Nunavut Act. The Federal Government has jurisdiction over aboriginal peoples including Inuit.

      • Posted by no on

        nunavut is not a reserve. most inuit do not live on reserves.

      • Posted by Dave on

        The Nunavut Act was an agreement of self government. The GN has complete control over this issue. The Feds have no say nor would the GN allow them any say.

        • Posted by Valentin Teresch on

          Just for clarity, the Nunavut Act was NOT an agreement for self government. It established a PUBLIC government.

        • Posted by DONE DEAL on

          It is a done deal and happening now. Look around in the village, homes are already being demolished to ready for this building. These are just announcements ahead of time and then more look good announcements to come. It will be good for Iqaluit with the need for homes.

  3. Posted by Elder voice on

    Federal Ministers and Trudeau need to understand that Natan is not the premier of Nunavut. They need to start dealing with the Nunavut Government directly. Consultations with ITK for Inuit issues stop there at the ITK Ottawa office. Most Elders don’t have a clue who Natan is.

  4. Posted by Mum’s the Word on

    Isn’t this how the formers burnout begun… the shocking (but reported on and identified) housing issue in NU. If she asks for anyone to prove who their parents are… yikes

  5. Posted by Mass Formation on

    If Nunavut’s Liberal/NDP MP wanted to talk about health, why didn’t the MP bring up Nunavut Gov. closing 11 Health Centre’s for few weeks over the summer? Asking, is the Arctic nurse shortage the results of Canada provinces firing a massive amount of highly qualified nurses? Why didn’t the MP question what is happening now, the rapid rise in air tickets and freight because of skyrocketing fuel prices? Medical travel will now chew up a whopper of Nunavut Gov budget, so forget building houses or anything for elders. Food prices will go through the roof. Then ask why isn’t Canada moving forward and investing heavily in its abundant oil and gas, then suppressing development and buying oil and gas from foreign countries?

    • Posted by Scrubs on

      “Asking, is the Arctic nurse shortage the results of Canada provinces firing a massive amount of highly qualified nurses?”

      Yes. Also, the treatment on contract nurses by the GN, and GN employees, is pretty awful. There are a very limited number of nurses willing to come to the territory in the first place, and considerably fewer yet willing to return after dealing with being overworked, bullied, and crammed cheek to jowl in GN housing. This isn’t helped by having a single contractor providing all of the nurses.

      “Medical travel will now chew up a whopper of Nunavut Gov budget, so forget building houses or anything for elders.”

      Even if you could wave a wand and have housing for elders sprout from the ground, they still require considerably more than that. They need medical care, and that housing needs to be staffed. In many of the LTC’s across the territory, facilities are ‘overstaffed’ on paper, but with employees simply not showing up for work it’s kind of a moot point.

  6. Posted by Purpose on

    What’s the Purpose?
    I wonder if Jagmeet and Lori what the benefits are for the NDP party and constituents for partnering with the Liberal government? Was it just to shut down the Conservatives when it comes to voting on bills?
    Certainly one must think that there is some kind of gratitude exchanged for this support.
    Jagmeet needs to pull up his sock and start negotiate more than just his pension from Justin and the Liberals.
    So please tell me what is the purpose of the coalition? Come on NDP start giving back to your constituents..

    • Posted by Mass Formation on

      Could this be all about passing Bill C-11 and using misdirection not to look at Bill C-11? Will Nunavut MP listen to its citizens or not, and instead vote with the Liberals voting yes on Bill C-11 to take away your online freedom of expression? For the Federal government to regulate online streaming services. Controlled and thought policed what you can produce, post, share and see on YouTube, Facebook, and other online platforms. Bill C-11 is worrisome for the future of creativity and expression in Nunavut, in Canada if passed.

      • Posted by Twisted Rubber Arm on

        Interesting point, though it is hard to imagine anything but a salivating NDP in the face of so much social engineering potential.

      • Posted by Tag all the content you make with Canada on

        Bill c-11 is just to guarantee that 30% of online content showed to Canadians is Canadian made/owned/written/produced.

        I do think there is room for major overstepping, as is government tradition, and it

        I think that it is a completely unnecessary thing in this modern world wide society. But at its core it’s just to make Spotify show us more Tragically Hip and Nickelback instead of American bands, and for YouTube to show us more Canadian content creators.

  7. Posted by Sad Reality on

    This is Jagmeet’s second term as leader of the NDP and this is the 2nd Inuk MP and now they decide to visit Larga?
    Can one say All talk and No action..

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