Nunavut housing crisis an example of systemic racism, MP says

“The whole system keeps Inuit oppressed”

A damaged window frame inside a social housing unit in Kugaaruk. Nunavut’s member of parliament, Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, will wrap up a tour of Kitikmeot and Kivalliq communities this week that’s aimed at drawing national attention to Nunavut’s staggering housing problems. (Photo courtesy of Mumilaaq Qaqqaq)

By Jim Bell

Nunavut’s housing crisis is a glaring example of systemic racism, but the Liberal government does next to nothing to fix it, says the territory’s New Democratic Party MP.

“The whole entirety of systems within the territory do not work for Inuit. Clearly, we have some of the highest rates of violence, abuse, deaths. It’s heartbreaking,” Mumilaaq Qaqqaq said last Friday in an interview with Nunatsiaq News.

She made that remark near the end of a two-week trip to Kitikmeot and Kivalliq communities that, combined with a petition she launched on July 22, is part of a crusade aimed at drawing national attention to Nunavut’s staggering housing problems.

Nunatsiaq News asked Qaqqaq if the inadequate supply and distribution of housing among Inuit in Nunavut fits the strictest possible definition of systemic racism: structures, policies or practices that produce unequal outcomes.

“Absolutely,” she said. “The relationship between the federal government and Inuit has never been good. We have never, ever in the history of that relationship seen adequate housing, ever.”

“Some people are living in mould boxes”

In each community, she’s had time to visit people living in about 15 housing units, taking photos and recording what she sees and hears.

In the eastern Kitikmeot communities of Gjoa Haven, Kugaaruk and Taloyoak, where she started her tour, she says housing conditions are “horrible,” the worst she’s seen so far.

“I don’t know how else to explain it, but basically some people are living in mould boxes. You can smell it as you enter the home. There are some places where I’m constantly sneezing, and imagine it for people who are living there the whole time, mould in bathrooms and bedrooms,” she said.

She started with the Kitikmeot region, she said, because it’s “already left out of a lot of conversations.”

After the Kitikmeot, she visited Salliq (Coral Harbour) and Naujaat, where on Saturday she found time to express her outrage on the CTV News Channel, in an interview segment that’s part of the network’s “Realities of Racism” series.

The numbers from the Nunavut Housing Corp. support what Qaqqaq observed. For example, a housing needs survey from 2011 done in Gjoa Haven shows that, even then, 57 per cent of occupied dwellings were classified as “crowded.”

And 69 per cent—seven in 10—of all occupied dwellings were deemed “below housing standards” in 2011, meaning they were either crowded, in need of major repairs, or both.

In 2016, 52 per cent of Nunavut’s population lived in social housing. Of those, 38 per cent—and up to 72 per cent in some communities—lived in overcrowded conditions, a housing corporation report said.

The vast majority of social housing tenants in Nunavut are poor. About 80 per cent make less than $23,000 a year, which means most pay a minimum rent of only $60 a month, the 2016 housing corporation report said.

Qaqqaq said mould isn’t the only problem that afflicts social housing tenants: many units are badly deteriorated and in dire need of repair.

“I met a lady whose draft in her bedroom is so severe, her bed gets frozen to her wall. There are people living in very severe conditions. It’s really heartbreaking,” she said.

And then there are all the other problems that inadequate housing makes worse: respiratory diseases like tuberculosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, various forms of mental distress, family violence and sexual abuse of children.

“The whole system keeps Inuit oppressed,”she said.

Liberal government “doing nothing”

The annual cost of operating and maintaining a single housing unit is staggering: about $26,000 a year, the housing corporation said in 2016.

This photo shows severe damage to a social housing unit in Gjoa Haven. (Photo courtesy of Mumilaaq Qaqqaq)

At the same time, local housing organizations struggle in their efforts to hire trained staff to maintain the houses and pay for the high costs of repairing housing units.

“They do their absolute best, but they are really faced with a huge financial burden.”

The current Liberal government’s last budget contained less money for Nunavut housing than the previous year’s budget did.

The federal government’s last major financial contributions were in 2016—$76.7 million—and in 2017—$240 million.

For the 2018-19 fiscal year, the GN was able to pay for 91 new units, but in 2019-20, only 83 units.

That comes nowhere near to meeting Nunavut’s estimated need for 3,100 new units, representing about 5,000 people, or 2,500 families, who are in need of adequate housing.

“It’s been made very clear that the federal government has been able to get by with doing nothing, and it is absolutely astonishing to me, because we are the first people of this country,” Qaqqaq said.

By Friday, Qaqqaq will have toured Rankin Inlet and Arviat, and will have headed back to Ottawa.

After that, she’ll use the material she’s gathered to press for more federal support for housing in the territory, and will meet with other members of the NDP caucus in the House of Commons “to bring something forward.”

In about a month she wants to tour the Qikiqtani region, but she said air travel to and within Nunavut is now much more difficult because of the scheduling reductions that airlines have made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nunavut’s member of parliament, Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, says that although she’s exempt from having to observe Nunavut’s 14-day quarantine requirement prior to entry into the territory, she’s observing it anyway. She has already done two stints in isolation, once in Winnipeg and once in Ottawa. (File photo)

“There are 25 communities and it can take up to two to three days to get to a community sometimes.”

Although as an elected MP, she’s exempt from Nunavut’s 14-day quarantine requirement, she respects that requirement and has done two 14-day isolation stints prior to entering Nunavut: once in Winnipeg and once in Ottawa.

She also wants to tour Sanikiluaq and is well aware that, like the Kitikmeot region, the Belcher Islands community is often forgotten.

And there’s one another thing. She wants people to understand that as a federal MP, her power is limited.

“People have this notion that I can somehow walk into their home and get them a new unit.

“But ultimately what my job boils down to is to advocate for the territory and to try and get money from the federal government into the territory. When decisions are made, that’s up to the Government of Nunavut.”

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(57) Comments:

  1. Posted by Truth debunker on

    It really boils down to local housing boards and management.Hold them accountable, job board with time frame, fuel tank and sewer tank change shouldn’t be two week jobs, I’ve been in houses after they reno them and joke different colour tiles glue all over, paint one wall not the other, no pride in there work. Defund housing should be the new slogan, then tender all the fixes.

    • Posted by Wow, a reaction on

      Many interesting perspectives here; I wonder, how many are actually Inuit’s?
      Have you ever lived in a home with uncontrollable heat, a thermostat that doesn’t register anything other than “20 degrees C” and ventilation equipment, for a multitude of reasons, that continually cycle stale, hot-air? Then, consider the windows; in units that don’t even have cranks so they can open. …further from September on, with doors that ice-up so bad that you have to call housing just to be “freed” and get fresh-air

      I wonder if it’s really that bad then, if you’re one of them, fortunate enough, to live in one of the units, that lets you open a window or a prop a door… because, the alternative–a unit full of tenants suffocating (and further, in and around mold, and exposed-electrical), seems, at least from my perspective, a little more dire.

      But, don’t take what’s written here though, as fact; there’s more proof that backs Mumilaaq Qaqqaq’s efforts and accounts … from 2018 in that very community, so eloquently mentioned– Cambridge Bay; and it’s available for everyone to read and view at http://www.tonotgivea.care –a real website of community member accounts. photos, letters and interview content.

      Because, if we parallel how ghettos in the USA were created, it’s worth realizing–as Mumilaaq notes, from the start, federal, territorial governments have created this segregation with discriminatory policy and non-remedies; The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America, by Richard Rothstein recounts the policies in the US that led to their ghettos… and I wonder if you’ll then see any similarities to present-day Nunavut; in {at least} communities, like Cambridge

    • Posted by S. Clark on

      No it does not boil down to the local board and managers. We/they only receive so much money to repair units. We have to work with what what we have. The MP is correct in what she’s saying, it’s not locals that have caused this. The Feds have got to step up. It’s owed to the Inuit people. Just my opinion.

      • Posted by Nothing Owed on

        Nothing is ‘owed’ to Inuit in the field of housing by the Feds. Housing is a territorial issue, get on to our territorial reps to fix it.

      • Posted by Just Saying on

        The Inuit have to step up and pay their rent. Over $30 million in rent areas and the MLAs never discuss this and no action is taken.

  2. Posted by Clarity on

    There’s two sides to every coin here. The issue is the historically injection of money into housing into communities that have significant other socio-economic problems has not historically worked. Just look at the ghettos created in the USA. These are all products of injecting money into low income housing.

    Low income tenants esepcially have a poor track record with maintaining their living space. Alchole, poor family dynamics / relations, drugs, and lack of ownership result in significant damages. Just take a walk through Cambridge Bay, doors and windows left open resulting in significant water damage and eventual mold, windows smashed from fighting and drinking, holes in walls everywhere in these units, total destruction.

    The above does not mean the issue does not exist and do not interpreter this as me playing off the issue. Its a major one. Everyone can accept there’s an issue. So how do we fix it.

    If you look at other low income communities throughout the Americas several plans have prospered. Those that have are when ownership is introduced. This has been introduced in other areas via a rent to own model. Ownership typically results in better care for units as an owner can take pride in it.

    The GN should investigate if something like this is feasible, build new modern units and use a rent to own model, your rent is no longer wasted as you’re building equity so people wont feel like when they make more income they’re getting no where because it just means they will have to pay more rent, they would just be building more equity until eventually they fully own the unit and the title is handed over.

    Someone need to start thinking outside the box. Injecting money into housing units to only have them destroyed again is not a solution that appears to be working.

    • Posted by David on

      I read your reply and I agree with almost everything you say.
      The big problem that I see is that the money doesn’t add up. A $500 000 house isn’t much in Nunavut, but to pay that house off over 25 years (after being gifted the down payment and the annual maintenance costs which isn’t possible) at a low rate of 2% interest is……………. $2400/month. Add to that electricity and heat, plus insurance and your monthly bill for the house is between $3000-3500.
      Meanwhile, the maximum rent paid in Nunavut for a 5 bedroom house (and $500 000 isn’t near enough to build a 5 bedroom house) is $2443. From the article :”About 80 per cent make less than $23,000 a year, which means most pay a minimum rent of only $60 a month”.
      You can’t have a rent to own system where the owner only pays 10% or less of the real cost. That’s not ownership and will never develop what you’re hoping for.
      Which begs the question: how much money that “should” be spent building new homes, is spent instead on existing homes. This is just too strange a system.

      • Posted by Polly styrene on

        Rent to own needn’t be linked to real market prices, like other places, can be linked to income/ability to pay.

        • Posted by David on

          Perhaps, but still the gap is far too large for this to be real.

          You could give these homes completely free and never require property tax to be paid. Still the owners can’t pay heat, electricity or insurance…. let alone maintenance. Even if ownership reduced the maintenance costs by 200%, it’s still not doable.

          As long as government is paying over 90% of the cost, you’ll never see the benefits of this system. Really…….. what’s the difference then?

      • Posted by TundraTom on

        You missed the other part of the mathematics challenge is the $26k per annum to maintain a housing unit (it far less for GN Staff housing but I don’t want to get into that topic). Forget about someone trying to rent to own. It costs $400k to build a housing unit on average in the north. Let’s assume Fed say sure we will pay 100% of the 3,000 housing units that are needed to solve the problems (that would be $1.2B). How is the GN or local housing association going to afford to maintain all those extra units when they are only receiving $60/m in rent from most but spending $26k to maintain. That bill alone would be $78M per annum. Let’s not forget the scary part that most of the receivables from rental arrears will never be collected but the local housing associations and NHC do not want to admit this. Rental arrears for periods greater than 6 months are likely not to be collected because of a recent judicial decision in the GN regarding back rent owed on a housing unit in Gjoa Haven.

        • Posted by David on

          You’re 100% right.
          But I didn’t miss it, I did say I was “gifting” that amount and even then the finances are impossible to work.

    • Posted by Polly Styrene on

      Rent to own is definitely a good idea to create a sense of responsibility and good stewardship which is missing. Accountability is not a bad idea either, all around. Negligent authorities and contractors should be held to account and fiscal responsibility For all.

  3. Posted by Consistency on

    I will be honest I was concerned about how young Qaqqaq was when she ran and it impacted my vote (as well as being for the NDP). but I am so impressed with her so far. She is not an embarrassment to us and she is communicating what she is doing, but also not in a ‘look at how good i am’ kinda way. Perhaps the previous MPs did stuff that were good but we would rarely hear about it, and i felt they didnt care. Qaqqaq shows she cares.
    Housing is such an important issue that i feel is at the base of so many current problems. With good housing options perhaps we will be able to get help for more people from past issues (that word does not feel adequate to generalize past pains that have been caused).

    • Posted by Thin coat of paint on

      The first few comments on this article tell me more about the housing crisis than Qaqqaq calling it “systemic racism”. Of course this is a pleasing heuristic that avoids the complexity the issue deserves in order to be understood, and that plays well to the kind of quick and palatable explanations the majority of people tend to gravitate toward. Unfortunately, it will do as little to solve the issue as it will do to explain it.

    • Posted by R. Sharpe on

      I think her age, passion and energy is her weapon. Voted Liberal my whole life but if she runs in the next election I will be voting NDP for the first time ever. The older Nunavut MPs had scandals like the newspaper incident and doubling down on it and the whole office thrashing on the Hill. She might be younger but she’s our chance for the change we needed for decades.

      • Posted by Thin coat of paint on

        I voted for Mumilaaq this election, mostly to give her a chance to grow into her roll. And certainly, a young age, passion and energy are all good things to have, but they are not nearly enough. They are probably not even the most important tools she will need; like analytical skills, an ability to untangle complexities, depth of knowledge. To me, her comments on this issue don’t reflect those things. But I agree, they are passionate.

      • Posted by Pork Pie on

        Youthfulness and energy can be assets, but without a sharp mind they can be also be a liability.

  4. Posted by uvanga on

    wait till you see Arviat

  5. Posted by Easy with the labels on

    To call everything racist is a disservice to the plight and those dealing with housing issues in Nunavut. It is a complex problem without easy solutions. Inuit need to look inward as well at the problem, has the culture perpetuated a sense of entitlement to free housing and lack of work ethic? Why is NTI not building 20 apartment builds with its annual interest on a billion dollars? If Inuit are 85% of the population, the government is essential and indigenous government, so is this inuit government perpetuating racism? Is this class of wealthy inuit benefiting at the expense of the many? Ask hard questions rather than label everything you don’t like as racism.

    • Posted by Polly styrene on

      Agree – There’s more of poor governance by the local authority with a large dose of negligence when there is such a large fund available for housing. A multi unit place is cheaper to build and can house people faster under modern standards and communal areas for such things as storage and work areas for hunting and whatever activities not appropriate inside units. That does not address residents being responsible and maintaining their residence in good order (ie how do you deal with someone punchIng a hole in wall?). I think the answer is good incentives. Cmhc has a program that could be evolved for this: Subsidized rent to own, when sold they get their investment back, resident gets market price – incentive would be to maintain property to the point it grows in value. Surely someone smart could evolve that idea into something workable.

  6. Posted by That Old Saw on

    Ummm, by design Inuit are highly privileged within Nunavut, and other residents are, by design, second class. That is the way it is, and the way that the territory was created.

    These are Inuit issues, being perpetuated by an Inuit government upon the Inuit people for a generation now.

    Our MP would do much better to look within Inuit society and find out what the issues are rather than trotting out the old red herring of systemic racism.

    • Posted by Blippi on

      “Systemic racism” is the great catchall of our age, the cause of every ill today has been reduced to this nebulous force, mostly by people who are intellectually lazy. In reality we could build the nicest housing in the country and it would be run down and dilapidated in little time, as with most social housing anywhere in the world. We need a new model that encourages personal ownership, enhancing self-esteem and greater responsibility. We need better education that produces better outcomes in life. These are where I think the solutions will be found. There’s something suspect in crying ‘racism’ while federal government pours billions into the territory. I can’t believe people are satisfied with this old trope.

    • Posted by Polly Styrene on

      Systemic racism is not the issue if poor governance and fiscal negligence by the Inuit community itself means people are not getting housed/ repairs not done.

      Obviously proper incentives are not in place to move this in a good direction at every intersection – fed$ to Inuit, dispersal of funds to build/repair, residents being responsible for not destroying their premises and waiting on others to fix it…needs a good plan overall. Feds are giving more than sufficient money, but with no plan expect more of the same negligence and poor governance.

      Then more fundamentally – does this community have any economic product or are they entirely reliant on gov funding? What’s to stop kids dropping out of school? What are people getting out of staying there? Does it even make sense to live there? The prevailing attitudes do not suggest a fit down south as no manner of opportunity can overcome problems relating to work style/ethic, lack of education, substance dependency esp without a family network to be a safety net.

      Sometimes I feel like I don’t want to work anymore – it’s not natural but people keep doing it to pay bills and save for retirement so I don’t end up being neglected in a COVID LTC home. Sometimes a subsistence existence living on welfare sounds good.

  7. Posted by The hunter on

    The housing crises in Nunavut is difficult to ignore; always in the back of the mind….getting Local Housing servicemen to work responsibly would be a good start….here, they go riding around a lot, ride around first thing in the a.m. for @ least a 1/2 hr….the repair requests pile up for months….& they (servicemen) pick the ones that require the least amount of work…hope someone higher up sees this….

  8. Posted by Looks Pretty Typical on

    Look likes welfare housing just about anywhere in the country. Not saying that that it is right, but nothing seems to be that different from the same type of client in other areas. Complaints are certainly the same.

    After doing some reading, it seems the only real difference is the very large proportion of Nunavut people who live in welfare housing. That seems to be the real problem.

  9. Posted by Inuk Person on

    Housing issue would not have been so severe if the Canadian government had acted as soon as Rupert’s Land became NWT in 1871. Instead, the government left Canada’s Arctic alone for 80 years (1871 to 1940’s) and did nothing for/with her oblivious Canadian citizens for those decades (the Inuit were nomadic people until the 1940’s). Also, the Inuit were promised free or cheap housing rent when they were being moved to settlements.
    .
    Whatever happened to our BC senator’s housing tour last year? Was that information not sufficient enough? Officials keep coming to our territory to assess the housing issue, and nothing ever gets done after that.
    .
    Inuit/Nunavut are at a disadvantage in many ways because of the geography; there’s Canada, and then there’s Canada’s Far North. We keep talking about what’s wrong, and when we do find out what’s wrong, it’s just left alone for someone else to come and study it.
    .
    We need to invest in our children now. These children are being trapped in a vicious cycle of addition, social ill, low education, high suicide rate, etc… we need to get them out of it and create a better future for them, so that we can have a better territory. Perhaps we can start the investment with proper/adequate housing? Keep pushing for better life for Nunavummiut Mumilaaq and hopefully someday it’ll be a better place! Good luck!

    • Posted by Smell the Coffee on

      Yes, Canada promised Inuit free or low cost houses.
      .
      Guess what, they lied.
      .
      Governments always make promises, but they seldom keep those promises. Not just the Canadian government. All governments. Everyone wants and there is never enough.
      .
      Even when the person making the promise intends to keep it, things get in the way. They do a little bit and hope things will be better later.
      .
      Time for us to recognize that Ottawa will never give enough money to build all the houses Inuit need.
      .
      We have to get over it. It’s kind of like Treatment. We have to let go of the past in order to move forward.
      .
      Inuit control 20% of Canada. Some is owned by the hamlets, which are controled by Inuit. The rest is either land owned by the regional Inuit Orgs or land to which they have surface rights.

      Yet Inuit cannot get a piece of land to build a house on unless they pay thousands and thousands of dollars – for land that is theirs.
      .
      Step one, Inuit must have land to build their own house on. Everyone agrees that its Inuit land. You don’t have to pay for what is yours. Government, get out of the way.
      .
      Step two, Inuit must be free to build the house they can afford to build. Later they can make it better or build a better new one.
      .
      Inuit must not be forced to build houses like Housing pays $500,000 each.
      .
      Taima

      • Posted by The Myth of the Promise on

        There is a myth in Nunavut that Inuit were promised free housing 70+ years ago. Yet, no one has ever been able to supply evidence or a piece of paper to prove this. Was the promise perpetual? Meaning Canada promised to provide every Inuit past and future with housing? The Inuit population has more than doubled in recent decades. If there was a true promise, NTI would have sued everyone about it by now. There was no promise.

      • Posted by Why u dum on

        You are low on the cost. Perhaps it is up to 750,000 now for a house. How can anyone afford that. Add to the the high cost of labour and you are now a broke homeower. No money for repairs or heat, maybe even food if you are not a good hunter. Fix the supply chain.

      • Posted by Coffee is great on

        Of course they all tell lies, Inuit and their organizations as much as anyone else in this world.
        A lot of people in Nunavut ( all types and professions) have
        benefitted from telling lies. We are all the same !

  10. Posted by Root causes on

    Inuit provided their own housing for thousands of years. Inuit claim to hate colonialism. It’s time to go back to the old ways, since everyone agrees it worked better back then. Outsiders will never be able to provide enough housing for a population that does not economically provide for itself.

  11. Posted by Kevin on

    Mumilaaq Qaqqaq thank you for standing up for Inuit, we like what you do for all of us no one ever did this before. Hope to see more light end of this dark ages we all experience all are life’s.

  12. Posted by Apparently Racist on

    The Inuit run the housing boards that don’t fix things. So how is this racism?

    I’m qalluna and my house is just as moldy and in disrepair as the “inuit houses” all the houses are in disrepair. It’s almost like these harsh of conditions require constant maintenance which is not done on any houses.

    If something breaks I have to fix it myself because to rely on the Housing Committee means nothing will get done.

  13. Posted by Artie Shaw on

    Quite a sense of self entitlement. Canada owes us this and that. No economy for ownership of real property. Fed taxpayer dollars to support some cultural cause, Organization after organization to again to protect everyone right to not take responsibility for themselves. Get a grip.

  14. Posted by Wrong on

    Not every problem in the world is caused systematic racism.
    Keep dropping the new buzz words.
    Housing crisis is caused by lack of leadership, lack of personal responsibility, an excessive amount of entitlement, along with a politics getting in the way of real solutions.

    • Posted by TundraTom on

      You are not WRONG…you are RIGHT!

  15. Posted by Disgruntled on

    Anyone who actually looks at many of the photos she’s posted can clearly tell that much of the damage in these units is tenant damage, not a result of poor practices by local housing. No, your countertop isn’t broken in two because of local housing. Your countertop is broken in two because you broke it. Local housing didn’t punch holes in your wall either – you did. Nor did local housing unplug your bathroom fan, HRV and oven fan – you turned those off yourself, causing mould issues. Yes, there are some issues with poor design and construction, but the majority of issues are caused by the tenants themselves.

    • Posted by Even more disgruntled on

      I’ve been in some of those units just after construction and they’re nice, basic, well-built homes. A year later they’re disaster areas. Doors that are broken from being kicked in. Holes in the drywall all over the place. Fixtures ripped off the walls. Broken windows, and don’t get me started on the filth in the bathrooms. YOu feel like you need a tetanus shot after walking in. I’ve been in other units built at the same time and basically identical that are nice and pleasant, well maintained, and places I’d have no trouble staying in.
      .
      Almost identical houses, all owned by Housing, all maintained by the same workers. So you can’t blame Housing. And you can’t blame the ethnicity of the people living in them for someone getting better treatment and other not, as I’ve seen both Inuit and non-Inuit in the nice places and in the wrecks. The difference is the way the tenants treat the places they’re staying in.

      • Posted by Absolutely Agree. on

        Our M.P. is still young, we can’t expect her to solve things
        right away, but she is trying
        I blame a lot of the overpaid housing advisors, of all races,
        who completely ignored people’s problems over the years.
        I also would say some people should seriously consider
        birth control and learn how to take care of their homes.

        • Posted by River Rat on

          Would you lay off the ageist claptrap for a bit?

          She’s been doing the best job of any MP in recent memory. After two scandalous MPs we finally get someone who is active on committees and visits constituents in their homes and will report back to the House of Commons with tangible evidence of what is happening here. A young age (is 27 that young?) does not mean lack of experience or skill. Andrew Scheer was younger than her when he took his seat as an MP. Time to lay off the ageism and casual sexism and give praise where it is due.

          • Posted by Observation Post on

            Casual sexism? Did that sound like a good addition or…?

  16. Posted by Name withheld on

    I would personally like to see the Minister of Housing Corporation, the President of NHC, the Directors and Property Managers live a week in these units with Mold issues, inadequate ventilations, heating, sewage issues. They wouldn’t last a week at all even if they were paid what they get now!!!

    The annual preventative maintenance are done, it is up to the Foreman to check the work, but most times the maintenance are either driving around or acting as a chauffeur for their family and avoid the work they get paid to do. This is sad but it is true where I live

  17. Posted by I live in the Arctic on

    nepotism, sadly, is a real problem in the territory, if more people attended meetings said what they have to say it could change, but nobody wants to go to them.

    • Posted by Very true on

      I do not know why the M.P. called it Systematic Racism, when it
      should have been called Inuit Nepotism and she knows I am
      right.
      She should be talking with people who let their kids wreck
      a good house and don’t pay damages or rent.
      Of course she won’t do that, she would never get elected
      again.

      • Posted by No Moniker on

        I would suggest she called it systemic racism for several reasons. One, because the topic of racism has come to permeate every area of public discussion today, inserting itself into arguments over who gets to sell burritos, to who gets to perform which kind of music, who gets to use what name in their tea shop, and on it goes. The anti-racist movement aspires to offer the central framework through which we see all interactions in our world. While racism clearly exists, I would caution that this position is ultimately dangerous. If you think I am exaggerating, which I expect, take some time to listen to this debate between John McWhorter of Columbia University and Nikhil Singh of NYU: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzPKk19t3Kw&list=LLM2mlmkguFluK09ddVyyHTA&index=2074

        Second reason (not unrelated to the first); calling a thing racist invokes shame, or is meant to. So, calling the housing issue a systemic racism problem is a way to invoke pangs of guilt which the federal government might respond to by pouring money into housing. Here’s the problem; It’s intellectually lazy and arguably dishonest (granting it is an interpretation) and is unlikely to work, and even worse, it prevents the more serious discussion of the issue that is needed to come up with solutions.

  18. Posted by Observer on

    Ms Qaqqaq’s trip was an expensive waste of money. The Senate of Canada issued a report last year that dealt with housing needs in all Inuit jurisdictions in Canada. That report was detailed, written after an extensive tour of communities. No hysterics. Just a solid report. Use it.

  19. Posted by My igloo gone on

    Go north young man, but can you build a house from the material? Three little pigs tried. Straw house, blown down, old bad wolf. Stick house blown down too. Brick house stands firm. Snow house? Where have you gone? If you live in a land where you are at the mercy of another land, it going to be tough to live. Opportunity knocks but few listen, or too busy bothering other people and getting shot by the police. Wake up people and do your part. Thanks to the southern tax payers, that northern tax payers have a job to pay taxes. My igloo has melted and I can’t live anymore, help.

    • Posted by Brick house on

      The brick house, wood too belongs to the southern tax payer, hard working folks. But on the end of the day , lots of rock up on the tundra too, takes creativity moved away in advance of a carving to do it thou. Those than depend too much on others will not do well.

  20. Posted by Elephant in the Room on

    Local construction companies and CGS are negligent in maintaining buildings. Weather stripping, replacing appliances, roofing, painting. They take money for contracts but often do not fulfill them. Whose fault is this? MLAs who always turn a blind eye to negligence. MLAs who do not 100% inspect their communities (GN building and public housing) are the problem because they have the power to enforce government maintenance regulations.

  21. Posted by Higher Graduation Rates and Lower Birth Rates on

    Here are two factors that are seldom mentioned, but would go a long way to lessening the housing shortages in Nunavut:

    1. Slow down the birth rate (which is very high) — for obvious reasons, I.e. so that existing housing units won’t be so crowded and so that construction of new units will have a better chance of catching up on the waiting lists.

    2. Increase graduation rates, especially for post-secondary training — these graduates will be qualified to fill good-paying jobs; this income will enable them to become home-owners and move out of public housing, thereby reducing strain on the public housing. Or, their jobs may provide staff housing that they can live in — again, enabling them to move out of public housing.

    It would be so helpful if those in leadership positions, at every level, and at every opportunity, would promote this! Also parents!

    • Posted by The big picture on

      I agree with you, kids are born to too many uneducated people, just produced from sexual activity only, no planning, in this day and age, unacceptable, and they grow up to continue the cycle. Leadership must intervene in that cycle to empower and motivate people to take charge of their life. Get the community to get up for work and school in the morning, not sleep in from all night partying. Get people to see their kids as a motivation to do well in life. Otherwise this whole housing crisis and many other social crisis will continue and get worse.

    • Posted by Don’t drink on

      You should also add don’t drink while pregnant. The Department of health doesn’t even keep stats for fetal alcholol syndrome in Nunavut but it is estimated to be well over 20% of the Inuit population suffers from it. There will be no education and no prosperity if the ignorant continue to harm the next generation before they even are born. This place is so politically correct with Inuit that it is avoiding hard truthd and is sweeping the real endemic of FASD under the rug, which necessarily makes all hopes of change and development lost. Nunatsiaq should do an article on how pervasive it is and how little anyone, be it government or inuit org, wants to discuss. It’s so pervasive here it is just plain sad. It is the root of poverty and despair.

      • Posted by Denial on

        GN and the Inuit orgs don’t want to discuss the issue for two reasons, one understandable and the other political.
        .
        On the one hand, widespread FASD isn’t the fault of the people who have it, and you don’t want to create a situation which it makes it seem like they’re the ones responsible for so many problems. There’s a long list of reasons why alcoholism is so prevalent, yes, including historic social traumas, and its not something easily solved.
        .
        The second problem is political; the government and the Inuit orgs don’t want to admit that the problem is that large because that throws a huge rock into the gears of the “representative workforce” demands and goals that keep getting made. If a large percentage of the population have issues, personal or otherwise, that make it difficult for them to do the jobs, the jobs can’t be filled by them.
        .
        What really needs to happen is that all parties need to sit down and have an honest discussion about what to do about it. Assigning blame doesn’t magically solve the problem, nor will simply throwing money at it, or demanding someone throw money at it.

  22. Posted by Anonymous on

    What’s next she’ll discover there’s food insecurity or domestic violence in NU? The big matters like football team names have been addressed…

  23. Posted by Why u dum on

    I wonder, maybe some of the blame belongs to those people in housing. How many peeps do you know that fudged their paperwork to get into a unit. I see teachers in housing units, who could move to government housing. I see telephone repair men living in housing that was meant for low income.

    Maybe someone at the association should double check who they already have in housing, that can afford to go somewhere else.

  24. Posted by Soothsayer on

    Blame, blame, blame, is the name of the game. Who can make the blame stick, and stick to what? To whom?
    .
    The issue as I see it begins with imposition of a modern economy over economic and social environments not adapted to them. How many of Nunavut’s communities are economically viable and sustainable without huge injections of cash from the federal government? Not many, if any… yet these cash injections create an artificial and false reality, accompanied by unrealistic expectations about how economic prosperity and independence are built. How often do we hear people in the north railing against lifestyle and economic disparities between themselves and the south? Almost constantly, yet those cities and communities in the south grew up organically around various industries that became integrated into larger economic systems. If the industries or economies in any given place failed to keep pace with the changes and demands of the global system, they simply withered off and died. Ghost towns are strewn all over my home province and are remnants of a lost age where mining for certain minerals was viable, but no more.
    .
    Such processes are not only unthinkable in Nunavut, the vast majority are unaware of or even understanding them. Here we believe that all solutions begin and end with the will and competence of a government to impose prosperity on us. Disparities are obviously about racism or some other lack of will on the part of the government which actively chooses to oppress us.

  25. Posted by Traveling OBM on

    After 12 years of working in Nunavut and talking with housing managers. I’ve asked many times why its so hard to get anything done in Nunavut. What I was told told by a manager is that you need permission from the GN to do any work whatsoever and if you so much as paint a door without permission in Nunavut you’ll get fired. I guess bureaucrats have put so much red tape in the way that nothing is getting done which is a real shame. No work order no work period.

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