Nunavut, Nunavik MPs share hopes for federal budget
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to table budget Tuesday in House of Commons
Nunavut MP Lori Idlout hopes the federal government is ready to spend on transportation improvements in the territory when it delivers its 2023 budget on Tuesday.
In an interview, Idlout highlighted several specific areas to which she wants Ottawa to commit funding, but did not say how much she’s hoping for.
Federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is scheduled to table the budget in the House of Commons late Tuesday afternoon.
Idlout said several airports and small craft harbours in Nunavut are in need of major improvements.
“Cambridge Bay is at risk of losing its jet service because its airport is not paved,” Idlout said.
Both Cambridge Bay and Kugluktuk are set to lose jet service as of April 1, when Canadian North retires the last of its Boeing 737-200 planes. After that date, these communities will be served by ATR 42-500 propeller planes, which are smaller and slower but can land on gravel runways.
Idlout also said the airport in Whale Cove needs a “complete overhaul.”
“There are a lot of specific needs that I’m hoping will be covered for,” she said.
“If they’re not named specifically, at least directions that they’ll be able to access funds in the next fiscal year to make those projects go ahead.”
Similar to last year’s federal budget, Idlout hopes Ottawa allocates money to housing and other infrastructure projects such as clean water delivery systems and hydro-fibre links for electrical service.
Last year’s budget allocated millions toward housing across Inuit Nunangat.
At the time, Idlout said she was “decently satisfied” with the 2022 budget’s promises.
This time, she wants to see more.
“I have been told by the Nunavut Housing Corporation that they had asked for specific funds to continue to make improvements to the housing situation, be it new housing or to help with maintenance,” she said.
“There’s a lot of aging houses, so hopefully they get what they requested.”
Sylvie Bérubé, the Bloc Quebecois MP for Abitibi–Baie-James–Nunavik–Eeyou, also shared her budget priorities, which are in line with her party leadership’s messaging.
The Bloc released its list of 80 budget expectations, including increased health-care transfers to Quebec, funding for French-language education and employment insurance reform.
Housing support in Indigenous communities is the final bullet in the Bloc’s 20-page budget expectations document, but other than that it does not list anything specifically for Nunavik.
Bérubé, in a French interview, said she’s in good communication with Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller, and she can make moves on federal support for Nunavik if constituents contact her.
“I’m in touch with minister Marc Miller if there ever are any needs on that level,” she said.
“I would prefer if [people from Nunavik] inform me of their needs, and from there I’ll defend their needs.”
Idlout said her budget priorities are not limited to Nunavut.
As the NDP’s critic for Indigenous and Northern Affairs, she said she wants to see substantial investments for First Nations and Métis communities and not just Inuit regions.
Idlout said she wants funding to address the high number of boil-water advisories issued, as well as missing and murdered Indigenous women.
“There are so many needs that we’ve asked for, that we know [have] been asked for, and I’ll definitely be watching for all of those,” Idlout said.
Quebec and Nunavut should join forces and continue doing what they do best: getting handouts from the federal gov
Along with the rest of the country. 🤣 if you actually believe it’s only Nunavik and Nunavut, and not the entire country that uses their own tax dollars and royalties, you’re in for an awakening.
The lack of infrastructure in Nunavik is outrageous. Resources are very limited and even less than what I see in Nunavut. We also don’t touch up with the feds much. We are in a province.. so 2+2, buddy.
little touchy this morning are’ t we. Ee we have seen your kind time and time again. no big deal, we can deal with your kind any day of the week.
It is always the same old boring tune with Lori, over and over, more money for this, more money for that, more money.
Agreed. There is money in Nunavut – you just need to get out and work for it.
Everybody wants a job until they get called in for a shift
You’re doing great!, Lori. Keep up the good work.
She plays the part of a spineless tool for the liberals. Always has,