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MLAs should cut their silly whining


The hired flunkie who wrote the letter to Premier Paul Okalik that Tunnuniq MLA Jobie Nutarak signed his name to on Jan. 14 should have made sure that his brain was turned on before he booted up his word processor last week.

For that matter, Nutarak should have thought more carefully about the letter too.

Had they done that, they would have saved the regular members’ caucus a lot of embarrassment.

The letter is a prolonged whine-fest that complains about Education Minister James Arvaluk’s recent announcements concerning the move of regional Department of Education jobs from Iqaluit to Pond Inlet. These jobs are now located within the offices of the Baffin District Education Council in Iqaluit, but will become regional Department of Education jobs after the regional board is dissolved on July1 this year. These jobs are to be moved to Pond Inlet.

Arvaluk says, however, that his department needs more time and that the move will not happen for another year.

This is neither unusual, nor unexpected. It’s easy to move numbers from one cell to another on computer spreadsheets, as Nunavut’s planners have been doing for years. But it’s far more difficult to persuade living human beings to uproot themselves and move from one community to another. Not surprisingly, many territorial government employees are reluctant to move from Iqaluit to smaller communities. Because of this, the Nunavut government is discovering that it will need more time to hire new people to fill decentralized positions.

This may not be convenient for those who believe that decentralization can be accomplished with the wave of a magic wand, but it’s reality, a reality that no one, not even the Nunavut government, has the power to alter.

Another reality is that decentralization will cost a lot of money — to pay for relocation costs, severances and numerous other administrative expenses. James Arvaluk said this week that he will not ask for a budget allocation this year to pay for the relocation of regional education jobs from Iqaluit to Pond Inlet. Given all the unresolved issues surrounding that move, to do so would be fiscally irresponsible.

But that hasn’t stopped Nutarak, on behalf of the regular members’ caucus, from expressing their “profound outrage.” No, we didn’t make that up. They really said it. It makes you wonder about hwo they’ll react when they have to deal with a real problem.

The letter also makes use of the standard complaint used by skilled whiners everywhere: lack of consultation. “[T]he fact that the Minister of Education did not have the courtesy to advise me as the MLA for Pond Inlet that this announcement was impending is offensive in the extreme.”

We now know that this assertion is not true. We now know that Arvaluk wrote a letter to Nutarak last December 9 to inform him of the decision in question.

But hey, why should anyone let the truth get in the way of a good snivel? JB

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