Iqaluit HTO tells feds it needs more funding

‘We have been left behind,’ group spokesperson says at Nunavut Planning Commission’s land-use hearing

The federal government recommended the consultation deadline with hunters and trappers organizations be pushed back from Jan. 10. The federal government was also questioned by Amaruq HTO member Ben Kovic about HTOs being underfunded. (Photo by David Lochead)

By David Lochead

A Government of Canada representative spoke at the Nunavut Planning Commission’s land use plan hearing Friday, but it was Ben Kovic of the Amaruq Hunters and Trappers Association asking for better funding from the federal government that got the crowd’s applause.

“We can barely put proposals together,” Kovic said.

His comments and questions came during the fifth day of hearings on the Nunavut Land Use Plan, held this week in Iqaluit.

The Nunavut Planning Commission is in charge of developing a land-use plan for the territory. It proposes where resource extraction and development can occur and which areas will be protected.

The commission has been touring around Nunavut to hold hearings on the proposed plan. It hosted hearings this fall in Cambridge Bay, Rankin Inlet and Pond Inlet. A hearing was also held in Thompson, Man.

The Government of Canada’s report and concerns for the current state of the land use plan were presented Friday.

Kovic, representing the hunters and trappers organization based in Iqaluit, spoke of the challenges brought about by the federal government giving each HTO the same amount of funding regardless of its size.

In Iqaluit, he said, Amaruq has more than 4,000 members yet it receives the same funding as the smallest communities in the territory.

That means Amaruq has fewer resources to perform important tasks, such as not having a technical writer to prepare reports and better engage in consultations for this land use plan hearing, Kovic said.

“We have been left behind,” he said.

During the morning session, HTO members and elders were reminded by the chairperson of the hearings and planning commission, Andrew Nakashuk, that questions were to be focused on the land use plan.

Kovic said the reason members and elders speak on other topics is because they do not get enough opportunities to have interaction with groups such as the federal government.

In response, Nakashuk said while he didn’t want to limit discussions, he has to ensure conversations are focused on the land plan so that all the organizations have time to present and receive questions.

He said that includes Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the Government of Nunavut and Inuit associations.

“We too don’t see them all the time and need answers,” Nakashuk said on behalf of the planning commission.

Federal government representative Terry Audla responded to Kovic’s comment on the need for more funding from the federal government.

“We see you, we hear you,” Audla said.

“I am aware of the historical underfunding of the HTOs.”

He said he’s aware of the challenges HTOs have in giving groups like the federal government the information it needs, as well as the crucial role HTOs play in managing Nunavut’s wildlife.

Audla said that during negotiations for renewal of the Nunavut Agreement, better funding for HTOs can have more emphasis.

He added the federal government has committed $46 million since 2015 to the Nunavut Planning Commission with the intention that HTOs would access some of that funding.

Other concerns HTO members and elders brought up to the federal government Friday included better protection of marine animals, cleanup of the distant early warning line, and climate change adaptation.

The federal government’s presentation included a recommendation that the deadline for consultation with HTOs be pushed back from Jan. 10.

The deadline should be pushed back “weeks, not months,” Audla said.

Other concerns mentioned by the federal government included the need for more clarity for overlapping land designations in the land use plan, and better protection of sea ice.


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(31) Comments:

  1. Posted by Oh? on

    They should ask Baffinland.

    • Posted by They Broke on

      Apparently, Baffinland is going belly up. No use asking them for anything.

  2. Posted by This is not related to the Land Use Plan on

    Does the HTO expect NPC to care about their funding? Kovics comments have absolutely nothing to do with the purpose of that meeting.

    No wonder this Land Use Plan with be a draft Land Use plan for eternity. Either Ben doesn’t care about the Land use Plan or he just doesn’t understand it. NPC has nothing to do with the Federal Govt, and the Federal Govt has no reason to be funding HTO’s.

    • Posted by Roots of the problems on

      Most of these people can barely read, let that sink in. More money is always the answer for them, it’s such a predictable and sad little charade.

      • Posted by 🤮 on

        That’s some racist #%*$ right there.

        • Posted by Ummm, no. Nice Try Though on

          Except it’s not….If he said that they couldn’t read because of their race or ethnicity you would be correct.

          The most that could be said is that it is overly generalizing, maybe even stereotyping, based on perceptions from their occupation and age.

          Good try at stoking issues where none exist though.

    • Posted by But they do on

      Might wanna fact check yourself there. The federal government does fund the hto’s.

      I agree on the rest with the rest your statement tho. These old guys that try to sound “wise” set us back ages and people cheer them on.

      • Posted by Fact check on

        Yes indeed they do, but they shouldn’t be. Sad that taxpayer dollars are funding these money pits. Most of these HTO’s don’t even have bookkeepers so who knows where this money goes. But hey, at least it’ll keep them happy if they’re fed with dollars.

        These NPC consultations are a joke and a waste of time. Just approve the land use plan or cancel it. Really, who cares.

        • Posted by Northerner on

          Operational funding to HTO’s is through NIWS

    • Posted by Bob on

      Sadly, this is very often the case during many meetings in Nunavut. You have an established leader, always most often an older male, who is troubled with various issues, speaks passionately about them but since they cannot properly navigate the system, cannot differentiate the political layers, and do know the limitations of organizations, will speak about things that just don’t relate, connect or matter to the current task at hand. It’s usually a waste of time and everyone zones off. We have MLAS that consistently complain about daily operations of GN workers. That’s the directors job. You are a a legislator. Too many ppl not knowing their roles or how to work within the system.

  3. Posted by Hmm on

    Hunting is the proper way to stay healthy. The expensive heath center is not.

    • Posted by Reporter on

      False dichotomy.

      It isn’t fund one or the other. Logically we can support hunters and health care. Neither replaces the other.

  4. Posted by Amaruq HTO on

    Amaruq HTO has more than 4,000 members.
    That’s more than 4,000 people who can all lend a hand to do the work that needs to be done.
    Amaruq HTO should be first to have their submission ready. It should be a better submission than any prepared by an outside consultant for an HTO that does not have such a strong and competent membership.

    • Posted by Basic math on

      Imagine if they charged a nominal membership fee of… oh… idk… $250/year… that would be $1,000,000 from those 4000 members… and imagine if those members helped out and… oh… did some sort of fundraising… like offer to fix peoples snowmobiles for donations etc… but it’s easier to just ask for money… beggers can’t be chosers… or can they??

      • Posted by Imagine on

        Imagine if they contributed knowledge based upon observation of the land, the sea and the animals.
        Imagine if they conducted field research (collectively they spend more time on the land than all the scientists, combined).
        Imagine if they wrote their own position papers (some of them have day jobs as directors, or assistant deputy ministers with the GN, others have day jobs in management of Inuit Orgs)

        • Posted by Northerner on

          I appreciate your comment on the hto’s. I don’t think a lot of people understand the amount of work they are expected to do.

          • Posted by Key words on

            Key word here is “expected”. Expectations vs. reality.

            The reality is that they just allow for people to on hunting trips with their buddies using fancy machines, all for free. Sure, they’ll share some of the catch, but at what cost?

            • Posted by Northerner on

              I’m not sure of your experience with HTO’s, but the majority of mine has not been that. Not saying it couldn’t/doesn’t happen, but I haven’t seen it and I have a lot of experience. Thanks

  5. Posted by Free Tickets to the Clown Show on

    Hands out always begging for more from the federal government, then ten minutes later crying about colonialism…. what a clown show

    • Posted by A-Hat on

      You must be a happy transient, ignorance is bliss.

      • Posted by Transient and Proud on

        Transient isn’t a slur, former nomad.

        My ancestors smile upon me. Can you say the same for yours?

      • Posted by An Observation on

        Ah, the T-word. You know, as soon as one starts tossing around ad hominem slurs credibility plummets. I trust that you are okay with folks referring to ‘the locals’.

        • Posted by Northerner on

          Clearly we have some butt hurt transient workers in the peanut gallery. Keep typin.

  6. Posted by Wisersautonomy on

    The conception of HTO’s being an organization is all wrong. They are money pits without bookkeepers and financial audits , they received tens of thousands of dollars which only about ten percent of it goes to all programs to get country food on people’s tables and the rest is …..history .

    • Posted by History on

      History includes new snowmobiles, trucks, atvs, boats, em that just end up neglected after a season and tossed away because hell… they can just get new ones with next year’s “funding”.

  7. Posted by Seriously? on

    According to Kovic, in Iqaluit, the Amaruq HTO has over 4000 members. Really? According to the GN website the population of Iqaluit in 2020 was about 8300, so let’s say 8500 now. Inuit proportion of Iqaluit population in 2016 was 55% (only beneficiaries can belong to HTOs). So virtually all Inuit in Iqaluit belong, including one-year olds?

    • Posted by Duh on

      I’m guessing numbers aren’t is ‘forte’. By the sounds of it, same goes for his understanding of the purpose of the land use plan meeting…

  8. Posted by Delbert on

    The federal government. Is trying to get oversight and accountablity with in the HTO’ s. But has not been very successful. From the audits of HTO’s I have seen. There is a lot of nepotism and corruption.
    Thus another organization and its directors. helping themselves and family memebers. To HTO funds. While neglecting their own people.

  9. Posted by 1901 on

    A thought, Too many chiefs and Not enough Indians?

  10. Posted by qikiqtaalumiu on

    this was going to happen when the mine was fast track before it even reached the environment stage and planning for future generation.HTO have all the right to ask for some funds in any meeting as it or production happens in nunavut.Nunavut land claims agreement needs ot be looked properly.\Sounth baffin has been hit hard with weathr paterns from hte mine each year our ice build up been longr and the vast has been less to travel by sea.Yes we need equality servies as the world is watching of our environment and in front stage how we will cope with it all.We can build an envirovmentally friendly working system if we choose to do the right thing, HTo also needs a Good Team of Advocators and in services in hand for safety and environment reasons.

  11. Posted by Think About It on

    Maybe the HTO could ask the Nuluujaat Land Guardians for assistance. You remember them the people that opposed the company who has brought approx 1.6 billion dollars in wages and benefits to Inuit and Inuit companies.
    The Guardians’ concern was that more boats and trucks would drive away narwhal and caribou; the HTO should take the money set aside for boats atvs and trucks to hire a writer.

    Problem solved.

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