Nunavut cabinet opts for mine training centre, reduced casuals

“We are a united executive council, with clear goals and strong ideas”

A view of the mill and storage area at the Meadowbank mine near Baker Lake. The Nunavut cabinet decided last week to establish a mine training centre in Rankin Inlet. (File photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

Following their mid-term retreat in Arviat last week, Nunavut’s cabinet has decided to set up a Nunavut mine training centre in Rankin Inlet, the Government of Nunavut announced Sept. 9.

In doing so, Premier Joe Savikataaq said cabinet is now united around a renewed vision.

“We are a united executive council, with clear goals and strong ideas for Nunavut,” Savikataaq said in a news release.

Rankin Inlet has hosted a trades training centre, called Sanatuliqsarvik, since 2010, offering instruction in areas like oil burner maintenance, plumbing, electrical work, carpentry and underground mining.

But a dedicated mine training centre is new. To establish this facility, the GN says it will engage with “industry partners,” a likely reference to Nunavut-based mining companies.

The GN offered few other details on the mine training centre, but at last week’s cabinet retreat, they also made the following decisions:

• Foster Inuit employment across the public service by substantially increasing the number of direct appointments of long-term casuals. This appears to meet longstanding complaints that the GN hires and re-hires far too many Inuit employees as casuals without offering them permanent work.

• Move the Financial Assistance for Nunavut Students program from the Department of Family Services back to the Department of Education.

• Renew partnerships with regional, territorial and national Inuit organizations to strengthen planning and amplify our voices. This may be in response to confusion over how federal funding moves through the Inuit-Crown partnership committee into territorial government departments.

• Move the fisheries and sealing division from the Department of Environment into the Department of Economic Development and Transportation.

• Engage “more proactively and frequently” with the federal government.

“On behalf of cabinet, I want to assure Nunavummiut that we are on track and dedicated to the growth and development of our territory. Our main priority has always been the success and well-being of our people,” Savikataaq said in the release.

The Nunavut legislative assembly will start its fall sitting on Oct. 17.

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(10) Comments:

  1. Posted by Northern Guy on

    Moving Fisheries and Sealing from DoE to ED&T clearly signals the intent of the GN to focus far less on the conservation and management of commercially harvested species to outright economic exploitation of those species. In the long run this decision will be detrimental to the long term sustainability of these species.

    • Posted by Concerned Inuk on

      Seal hunting is an economic issue, not a conservative issue. It is about opening up markets so seal skins and other seal products can be sold, so hunters and their families can practice their traditional way of life, including eating nutritious, healthy food.

      Seal populations are very healthy, so there is no need to deal with this as an environmental issue.

  2. Posted by Putuguk on

    As the Premier is a former long serving wildlife officer, I think he has a pretty good idea of why it is necessary to move fishing and sealing over to ED&T. Unfortunately over the years, the Environment folks have largely stopped seeing themselves as service providers to hunters, when this is actually their main purpose.

    Instead the Department has opted to focus on being the police for hunters, or the champions of southern style environmentalism – rolling back the clock to the bad old days of the 60’s and 70’s. Be it search and rescue or firearms training, the Department has continuously demurred to others on delivery of important services to hunters.

    Given how much lip service is given to the importance of living off the land, it is abysmal to see that our own government still has no comprehensive harvester support system. Especially when people started hurting over the initial sun-setting of the NHSP. A Department that has accomplished so little should not be in the driver seat for fishing and sealing.

    Fishing quotas are not set by the GN, and we harvest seals at a very low rate compared to the height of the fur trade. So I severely doubt this move will affect sustainability. Opinions like this follow from the foreign concept that hunting is a problem that has to be managed. Instead, it is something that needs to be categorically supported to give our youth viable options to the civil service or industry.

    If it is a more commercial approach that helps Inuit make a living from the land, so be it.

    • Posted by Israel MacArthur on

      Large scale living from the land is not a realistic option for the overwhelming majority of Nunavut’s youth. The population is growing far too quickly and the infrastructure is too under-developed to rely on hunting and fishing to sustain into the future. It was a nice dream 30 years ago, but it is not viable. The only people who buy country food in any amount are other Nunavummiut and those who have gone south, this is not a large enough market by any means.

      We need to move beyond a subsistence mind-set and understand that hunting and fishing can supplement a wage economy, but that we need to be part of the larger wage economy. The importance of living off of the land is misplaced, it is not a solid base on which to grow the territory. Skills to be maintained, nurtured, developed, and passed on to the young, with the understanding that it can’t be the main source of income for most.

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      One need not look further than the disastrous decisions made around the salmon and cod fisheries to know that prioritizing commercial exploitation over conservation and management can only lead to depletion and eventual collapse. This isn’t environmentalism it is sound science. But if you think that short-term monetary gain is worth more than the long-term protection of the species I guess you got your wish so go ahead and fill your boots but don’t say that you weren’t warned.

  3. Posted by Eski Moses on

    Interesting though, at the CBC Igalaaq broadcast tonight (in Inuktitut) Premier spoke that Fisheries and Sealing will be split, Fisheries going to Economic Development while Sealing will remain under Environment ,

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      Should likely be the other way around

    • Posted by Uvanga on

      Correction, igalaaq said furs as in land animals will stay with environment but fish and seal skins will move to EDT. That’s what the premier said in inuktut

  4. Posted by Over a barrel on

    What about the GN’s dirty little secret – relief workers. Don’t want to deal with the trouble of doing up a casual staffing action? Just hire them as a relief worker! Sure, there’s nothing “relief” about it! Keep them on a regular schedule, but unlike casual employees, they have no security whatsoever, they don’t get paid anything on a stat, no time and a half when they actually work on a stat, no sick leave, and they can be dismissed without even a moment’s notice. Because you don’t have to get those pesky CSAs approved by the higher ups, there are no questions asked about why employees work five days a week for years without being hired on permanently. And if the pesky employee asks about at least getting a CSA, or asks the union about it, well, just tell the employee there is no more schedule, and tell them they will be called in each day. That’ll shut them up.

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