Lori Idlout plans to speak in Inuktitut in the House of Commons

To do so, Nunavut MP needs to co-ordinate with Inuktitut-speaking translators

Nunavut MP Lori Idlout spoke for the first time in the House of Commons on Nov. 23 following the speech from the throne. (Screenshot from ParlVU)

By Jeff Pelletier

Nunavut MP Lori Idlout says she wants to speak in the House of Commons in Inuktitut when she gets the chance.

Idlout spoke on the House floor in English following Tuesday’s throne speech. To speak in Inuktitut, Idlout said she’ll have to make arrangements with the House’s Inuktitut-speaking translators.

“I’ll just be eager to have my next chance, and hopefully have enough advance [notice] so that I could inform parliamentary staff that I’d like to be able to do it in Inuktitut,” she said. “There are interpreters available, we just need to make sure we give them advance notice so that the interpreters can be available.”

Idlout said she was honoured to be present during the throne speech, when Gov. Gen. Mary Simon spoke in Inuktitut, and she described being able to smell the qulliq that was burning in the senate foyer.

The content of the speech was less impressive, Idlout said. She echoed a statement by NDP leader Jagmeet Singh from earlier this week, who said that the speech was “empty.”

“The Liberals are making the same promises, and it’s unfortunate that there weren’t stronger commitments for First Nations, Métis and Inuit,” she said.

Idlout is the NDP’s Indigenous and northern affairs critic. In this role, she’s calling for more robust housing funding and for the federal government to stop taking Indigenous groups to court.

“More needs to be done in the way of recovering our economy and the way of ensuring that reconciliation is genuinely between both the governments and the First Nations, Métis and Inuit, and we’re willing to fight with those as we sit with this parliament,” she said.

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(31) Comments:

    • Posted by Uyagaachiaq on

      I just sent both the Greenlandic Parliament and the NTI (to follow are to the new High North Premier P.J. Akeeagok and MP Lori Idlout) for the immediate gathering together of ALL INUIT OF THE GLOBAL NORTH in coming together and the laying of the groundwork for the establishment of FULL INUIT CONTROL & SOVEREIGNTY of the entire Global Arctic Tier of the Inuit Peoples of the North. A full congregate coalition (through initial consultations arriving at COLLECTIVE Inuit Sovereignty of the Global Arctic Inuit Peoples) to be formed, so as to achieve FULL INUIT RULE and SOVEREIGNTY & not CANADIAN RULE, nor DANISH RULE. Total disengagement from these 2 countries must be FULLY ACHIEVED !!

      This initiative is long overdue and must be addressed by the FULL ARCTIC TIER OF THE INUIT PEOPLES, from the upper reaches of the Greenlandic peoples to the western edges of the Canadian Inuit peoples. TOTAL Inuit Sovereignty must be collectively achieved and implemented so as for ALL INUITS OF THE NORTH to become a SOVEREIGN & INDEPENDENT INUIT NATION on the global stage. We are citizens of the world and cannot tolerate being less than. We know too well the true and real Family Way of Being and Living, for we are Inuit.



  1. Posted by Cold island bear on

    Good on her. Now just get that inuktitut language first started in Iqaluit and get rid of that French school.

    • Posted by Loi 101 pour l’inuktitut on

      One day, guys like you are going to understand that francophones are your allies… Talk to them!

    • Posted by Iqaluit Resident on

      The French school is not having an impact on Inuktitut. What is having an impact on Inuktitut is Inuit children going to English school. A majority of the schools in Iqaluit should have Inuktitut education, and one school in English, one in French for kids from these backgrounds to preserve their language.

      Use the tools developed in Quebec surrounding language and apply them in Nunavut for Inuktitut.

    • Posted by Self defeating on

      The anti french sentiment in this territory is baffling. Francophones know what it feels like to lose their language to the always attractive English language. They mobilized and they built a system to protect their language. It’s far from perfect but it works.

      Nunavut has to wake up if it wants to fight for its rights. Stop putting down other Inuit, stop putting down people of colour, stop saying the French school is the reason why Inuktitut is dying. People need to start recognizing who their allies are and stop making ridiculous assumptions.

  2. Posted by Why tho? on

    Whats the point? She speaks English just fine and got a law degree in English. Inuktitut is not an official language in Canada; so hopefully this wont be permitted; and hopefully she’s required to pay for the translator. It’s bad enough that they let French be used in the HOC.

    How is this any different than an Indian MP wanting to speak Urdu or Hindi in the HOC? Sounds like she’s just trying to ruffle some Liberal feathers.

    • Posted by iWonder on

      Show us where on the doll the idea of Lori Idlout speaking Inuktitut in the HoC hurts you?

    • Posted by Northerner on

      Yep , you want to put on a show , pay for translation.

    • Posted by Itibli on

      Inuktitut is the 3rd official language in Canada

      Please keep yourself up to date, this was done decades ago

      And why should she not do this?

      • Posted by Wrong on

        Canada has two official languages. English and French.

        Nunavut has 3.

      • Posted by Northern Guy on

        INCORRECT. Inuktut is an official language in Nunavut and the NWT ONLY. It is NOT an official language of Canada. Canada has only two official languages. English and French.

  3. Posted by Persuasion on

    Who will you persuade? They will hear a monotone translation and the passion and persuasion of what you say will be much less powerful. You went to law school and should know that strategically you should deal in whatever language accomplishes the most for Nunavut, not that which serves your ego.

    • Posted by Dave on

      While I agree it’s a poor choice, it’s not ego.

      She is pandering to the constituents that elected her and will likely receive many pats on the back for it. However, preaching to the choir does not create change! I agree with you, this will do nothing to persuade Canadians or her fellow MP’s. But it will guarantee her re election and the guaranteed pension that will come with re election.

  4. Posted by Official on

    English and French are the official languages in Canada, let’s stick with them on the political level. If a Province or Territory have a different language act, this need to remain within.
    Until Inuktut will become an accepted official Canadian language, it should not be used by Politicians in any Federal gathering.

    I understand that you are proud of your culture and so you should.

    Just be careful how fast you spin the wheel. If you copy Jagmeet too often, or make supporting statements to “stupid” ideas NTI is pursuing, the wheel could run faster than you’d ike

  5. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    Ms. Idlout is obviously making a point, and I don’t have any issue with her doing so.
    As for how this is different than a MP of Indian ethnicity wanting to speak Hindi, or Urdu in the House of Commons it’s not too difficult to understand.
    First, while Inuktitut is not one of Canada’s two official languages it is one of the four official languages of the territory that Ms. Idlout was just elected to represent.
    Second, the vast majority of the people in the territory (85%) speak either Inuktitut or Inuinnaqtun.
    Third, Inuktitut translators are available it just needs to be scheduled.
    Four, allowing any of our elected First Nations MPs to speak in their own language to address the House of Commons is just the right thing to do.

    • Posted by Squiggly Line on

      I agree with you for the most part Old Trapper, but surely you’ve been around here long enough to know better than to call an Inuk ‘first nations’ …

    • Posted by S on

      TOT: Once again your alternate facts are showing;

      – Idlout was not elected to represent the Territory of Nunavut; she was elected in tge federal riding of Nunavut. (Nunavut just happens to have only one riding)
      – In the HOC, it doesnt matter that Inuktitut is an official language of Nunavut, or that many speak the language in this riding. That’s the same in any other riding where there might a majority of voters who aren’t anglophone
      – Also, the majority of people in the Nunavut riding speak English
      – There are numerous indigenous languages and dialects in Nunavut and the rest of Canada. You can accommodate as many as you like with your disposable income; I’ll decide about my mine
      – Quite possibly, Idlout was elected with the combination votes of woke-non-Inuks and elite Inuks. That’s who she will pander to. Which one are you?

  6. Posted by Aputi on

    No one ever get rid or our LANGUAGE, if your hurt about it, plz fill out a hurt feelings report and send it to the house of common

  7. Posted by No Moniker on

    I’m surprised at all the push back on this. My impression is she wants to do this once, not every time she speaks. If that is the case, can’t some of you ease off and let it be? What are you so afraid of? What do you think you are going to lose? If people want to and are able to speak the languages they spoke for centuries before either English of French were heard on this side of the Atlantic, why ignore the obvious merit in it? And it is obvious…

    • Posted by Language on

      Why should she speak in a non-official Canadian language. She is the MP for Nunavut and even though Old Trapper assumed 85% of Nunavummiut speak Inuktut (which is not correct to start with), Lori has to represent Nunavut as a whole. It is known that the past MP’s for Nunavut were a complete failures and mostly this is based on their behavior in the HoC and other personal attacks. Just because the Gov. Gen. has done it (I did not agree with this neither), Lori doesn’t have to copy it to gain more support in Nunavut. Lori needs the support from the Liberals if she wants to actually change anything in her 4 years of fame

      • Posted by No Moniker on

        I feel sorry for people who are unable to think or see the world beyond the parameters of “officialdom.” It is not as if all or any of the rules you refer to represent an objective rendering of how the universe must be. Don’t forget that whatever rules have been created are consequences positionality and power.

        In our day and age, we have begun to understand the need to show mutual respect to all groups within this country, and that is especially true for those who inhabited these lands before we arrived. Let’s be glad we have an opportunity to show a little respect and celebrate the use of Inuktitut in the House of Commons along with Lori.

  8. Posted by Crystal Clarity on

    It would be a very interesting discussion if the MP happened to be a unilingual Inuktitut speaker.

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      If a unilingual Inuk were ever to be elected to the HoC. He or she would have to learn English or French very quickly. The working languages of the House are Canada’s national languages and there would be little to no appetite to accommodate a unilingual speaker of any language.

  9. Posted by The Old Mapper on

    Ms. Idlout’s job is to fight for Nunavut. We’re hurtling badly, housing, treatment programs, infrastructure, etc.

    You don’t need to prove you can speak Inuktitut. Speak English and get down to business for your People. Your predecessor did absolutely nothing. Don’t waste valuable time.

  10. Posted by Aputi on

    What if we start telling southerners to speak our language when they go up north, make it mandatory

    • Posted by Sure on

      Sure I’m down for that. All you gotta do is standardize Inuktitut to make it easier for people to learn.

      Oh right, that’s not happening because IUT has no idea what they’re doing and the language gatekeepers are arguing over every single word in the dictionary.

      Create a standardized languages for southerners who want to learn it (a good part of them do) and for Inuit who’ve lost their language. If you don’t it’ll slowly die. Your choice.

    • Posted by West Nunavut ( Cambridge Bay ) on

      A lot of southerners do try to learn Inuktitut when they come to the Kitikmeot but they
      end up getting ripped off.
      Inuktitut was supposed to be taught in schools by Inuit teachers, who were paid by the
      G.N, the Inuit children learned very little over the last 30 years.
      It is not the fault of southerners that some Inuktitut teachers are useless.
      That is all from this Inuk– the truth.

      • Posted by Very True on

        This is the first time I have heard about southerners being ripped off about Inuktitut, but
        it happens a lot. So why bother ?

  11. Posted by So long on

    Speak whatever the hell you want, the House of Commons is a joke anyways.


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