ITK pushes for more Inuit-focused federal spending

‘Sometimes real progress is more than just a one-time allocation to an Inuit priority,’ Natan Obed says

ITK president Natan Obed says he’ll work with any federal party that can continue to support Inuit-focused investment. (File photo)

By Sarah Rogers

The leader of Canada’s national Inuit organization says he’s ready to collaborate with any federal party that can continue to support Inuit-focused investment.

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami released its own wish list last week ahead of the Sept. 20 election, calling on party leaders to make the needs of Inuit Nunangat central to their platforms.

Earlier this week, RoseAnn Archibald, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, also released a similar priority list. The AFN included reconciliation, climate change and economic growth as its priorities.

ITK president Natan Obed said his organization hopes to maintain the dialogue, investment and focused legislation it’s achieved with its existing Inuit-Crown partnership.

“We will do whatever we can to work with whatever government is formed to achieve that,” Obed said.

“We want to champion any party that will continue the transformative work that’s been started over the last few years.”

Obed was referring largely to the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee, a joint political body formed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2017.

Since its creation, Obed said the committee has made important headway on a handful of files, including an Arctic and Northern Policy Framework, the implementation of a new Indigenous Languages Act and efforts to eliminate tuberculosis from the North by 2030.

The committee has also started work on an Inuit Nunangat policy, which would standardize the way federal departments operate when considering any legislation or agreements involving Inuit regions.

“It would allow for the federal government to work in a much more strategic or concerted effort,” Obed said.

“We’re hoping that within the first few months of the new government that this Inuit Nunangat policy can be finalized … and could be implemented immediately.”

ITK has called on the next federal government to take action on other initiatives, including:

  • Distinctions-based health legislation, which would recognize Inuit patients’ rights to receive care in Inuktut or receive care close to home. ITK wants the next government to commit to tabling legislation by spring 2022.
  • Major new investments in Inuit-led suicide prevention measures, such as housing, shelters and addiction treatment facilities.
  • Investments towards food security among Inuit, as identified in the newly released Inuit Nunangat Food Security Strategy
  • Major and sustained investments in infrastructure and housing across the North.

“Sometimes real progress is more than just a one-time allocation to an Inuit priority,” Obed said.

So far, Obed has had the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau while Trudeau visited Iqaluit earlier this week. He hopes to meet with other party leaders to discuss ITK’s priorities before Sept. 20.

Obed called election cycles “nerve-wracking” for organizations like ITK that rely so heavily on political will.

“Every time there’s a federal election, even if the ruling party wins the election, there are significant changes in the way that a government creates its priorities,” he said.

Obed said he’s hopeful that the success of the Inuit-Crown partnership in recent years bodes well for its work going forward.

“It’s so important for members of Parliament who represent Inuit in their ridings to be in solidarity with Inuit and those communities’ needs,” he added.

“I hope Canada as a whole can continue to prioritize reconciliation and building equity amongst all Canadians.”

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(11) Comments:

  1. Posted by monty sling on

    Inuit focus spending? this really turn off mainstream Canadians, Inuit specific…what? What should happens is Canada to start focusing on Indigenous population, let first nations, inuit and metis join together to get the natives as joined formattable political entity, “Inuit specific” is not like a spearheading a fight like “Edmonton Eskimos”; this is a lot bigger. Get a voice together on Canadian Natives because with millions of new Canadians, we will not be abale to get our heads above the water in the near future.

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  2. Posted by What is ‘progress’? on

    “Sometimes real progress is more than just a one-time allocation to an Inuit priority”

    Another way to understand progress would be through economic development and local capacity building. Wouldn’t real progress would involve moving beyond the stage of always asking for handouts for every imaginable issue? The idea that we could or should build toward self sufficiency never seems to cross the horizon of our leadership.

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  3. Posted by A Hard Sell on

    Ethnicity-specific funding is hard-sell. Smacks of racial special treatment. No one, rightly, would want to touch it.

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  4. Posted by Inuktituusuu on

    We need to implement some kind of work and travel visas for all colonists. If they cannot pass basic cultural, language or literary proficiency tests, they get their visas suspended or revoked. Look at the model system used in South Korea and Japan. We could have a strong connection to our language and culture. If we can’t have exclusivity then we should be inclusive on our own terms.

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    • Posted by Fever Dreams on

      Ummm, comparing countries to a territory, seriously?

      Visas for Canadians to travel in their own country? Seriously? Good luck with that.

      This is a completely fantastical idea of course, but the retaliatory ‘visas’ placed on Nunavut after such a move would be devastating.

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      • Posted by Pish Pish on

        Pretty sure the original poster is doing what the Brits call ‘taking the piss’

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        • Posted by Makes sense on

          Yeah, that makes sense, no one could be that lost in real life.

  5. Posted by wow, a reaction on

    Isn’t that what NTI and their natural-resource development revenue is ear-marked for? -Specific to beneficiaries;
    should the Feds be intersecting that role, or furthering contributions before some of those NTI trust-fund dollars that sit {waiting} be invested in Inuit?

    Inuit Orgs investing in Inuit where Inuit see most-fit {housing, food-costs} … it’s radical, but hey, it just might work

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  6. Posted by Content deactivated on

    We each draw our line on what stances exceed support in a party. A singular inability to say that Palestine and Palestinians is and are unjustly treated as some leaders and parties do show a rot at the core. That if they can be bought and coersed and willfully blind to this fact, then it does not end there – that they can be pressed into the immoral and unethical elsewhere and thus are not worthy of support no matter how promising the rest of a campaign and stated policies appear. CBC DISAPPROVES!

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  7. Posted by Arturo Schneider on

    The key word is more spending. This place has no economic feasibility and never will have. There is only one pot of money and thats the FED.

  8. Posted by Western consumer on

    ….meanwhile, the northwest company is making a huge profit off of the northern people’s backs and not only them reaping the profits , compare this Obed. Why on earth does it cost $32.00 a gallon of camping gas at the Northmart compared to the 4 gallons of camping gas that cost less than a gallon of gas at the community Co-op store ? You should complain about consumer products instead of complaining about names that don’t make a difference in the whole wide world of sports ? You figure it out .

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