Make NTI a “full partner” in territorial government: candidate
One candidate campaigning to become the next president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. pledges to make the organization a “full partner” in the Government of Nunavut to deliver promises he says both have failed to keep since the territory was created.
Archie Angnakak, a vice-president of marketing for Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping Inc., said the territorial government has violated the Nunavut land claims agreement by excluding NTI from its policy-making process. He said the government’s failure to reach 85 per cent Inuit hiring levels also breaks with the land claims.
Government officials estimate Inuit employment is hovering around 42 per cent.
On the other hand, Angnakak said the previous NTI administration has failed by not fulfilling its role as an enforcer of the land claims.
“It’s like policing in a way,” the 44-year-old said of NTI’s relationship with the territorial and federal governments. “And to me, policing is demanding responsibilities [of people].”
In order to add muscle to NTI’s policing role, Angnakak said the organization needs a leader with a management background who “knows the issues at hand, and can deliver.”
Angnakak said his varied career as a marketing agent, a manager, a journalist, and a government bureaucrat has primed him for NTI’s top elected position. As executive director of the Inuit Heritage Trust, he said he saw first-hand how NTI could improve its enforcement of the land claim, mainly by improving its relationship with the territorial government.
Angnakak said NTI can better influence government decisions by starting an annual review to measure how well both sides are doing in making the land claim promises into reality. In her recently released audit, the federal auditor-general, Sheila Fraser, criticized Ottawa for not monitoring whether land claims promises were being delivered.
“As president of NTI, I will ensure this annual review will happen,” Angnakak said. “It’s important to me to make sure the land claim is making a difference in [beneficiaries’] lives.”
If elected, Angnakak expects to also clean up NTI’s financial affairs, and plans to force the organization to re-pay debts worth $75 million, which he says are owed to the Inuit of Nunavut.
He says the land claims organization has no excuse for stalling on 10 years of loan payments to the Inuit Trust, which manages the $1.1 billion promised by the federal government under the land claims.
Angnakak says NTI loans defaults have cost beneficiaries $62 million in lost revenues, which he suggests would have been made by investing NTI’s loan money instead of letting it slip away in missed payments.
“That’s not NTI money, it’s beneficiary money,” Angnakak said of the multi-million-dollar debt. “There’s no effort in paying it back. I, as president of NTI, will put effort into at least starting to pay back that loan.
“Every Canadian knows if it’s not your money, you pay it back.”