Regrets voting for Paul Okalik


I recently came across an article in your newspaper regarding Premier Paul Okalik and his support for Inuit-first education and employment policies.

This article made me question my vote in this past winter’s MLA election. If I could, I would withdraw my vote for Mr. Okalik to represent me and the rest of Iqaluit West, thus withdrawing all support I once had for him.

Okalik claims he feels no guilt for the fact that non-Inuit students are receiving so much less than Inuit students in terms of assistance. He claims the Inuit-first policies aren’t discriminatory.

Well Mr. Okalik, I see you don’t like the word discrimination. How about the word ethnocentrism? Racism perhaps? These programs are choosing a race of people and showing that they think they are better by giving them more money, more jobs, and more opportunity in this territory.

Why do we have to be separated into two categories like that? Inuit and non-Inuit? Aren’t we all people?

Non-Inuit students in desperate need of jobs and assistance are discouraged. I should know, I am one. Many of us will ultimately choose not to return to Nunavut in our future endeavors.

Why would we want to live somewhere where we are seen as second class citizens? Why would we ever want to live under a government that doesn’t recognize us as equals? I think it’s plain to see that we will never be seen as equals in the eyes of the Nunavut government.

I just want to be acknowledged. I see so many non-Inuit students who have spent most, if not all, of their lives here and still they are seen as a second priority. I just don’t understand why so many jobs have to go unfilled when there are so many people willing to fill them.

I’m appreciative to FANS for the money I do receive and up until this year I thought the summer student program was good. All of a sudden, I am working at a job that pays half of what I made last summer and to even think about getting government work is out of the question.

I look at my circle of my friends, and so many of them are in the same boat. At least Hunter Tootoo stated the summer job crisis was “simply unfair.” Perhaps I’ll move to Iqaluit Centre!

We just want to be treated equally. This whole mess is an infringement on our human right not to be discriminated against based on race, Section 15 (2) in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

You may not feel guilty, Mr. Okalik, but I beg you to reconsider. Think about how you are making us non-Inuit feel, as if we don’t belong. We’re residents of Nunavut too. Please don’t ignore us.

(Name withheld by request)

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