Throne speech, mandate letter emphasize unity for new government

Issues such as housing, health, elder care, local economies and education will be prioritized

Nunavut MLAs, pictured here during their swearing-in ceremony last November, will return to the legislative assembly’s chamber Wednesday for the start of what’s scheduled to be the longest sitting of the year. (File photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By David Lochead

Working together and inclusivity were two of the main themes when both the throne speech was delivered and in the Government of Nunavut mandate for the Sixth Legislative Assembly of Nunavut that was released on Tuesday.

In delivering the throne speech, Commissioner Eva Aariak said this will be the Katujjiluta mandate, with Katujjiluta meaning “a commitment to work in unity to manifest the courageous dream.”

In his statement in the mandate letter, Premier P.J. Akeeagok said this mandate will be unique because it was planned with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., and the territory’s three regional Inuit organizations: Qikiqtani Inuit Association, Kivalliq Inuit Association and the Kitikmeot Inuit Association.

A throne speech and mandate letter are formal statements at the beginning of a legislative session that spell out the government’s agenda and the priorities MLAs want to work on during the coming session. The legislative assembly’s winter sitting, which began two weeks ago, is the first real opportunity Nunavut legislators have had to get down to business since last October’s election.

Through that consensus, the government outlined in both the mandate and the throne speech five priorities: expanding housing, aging with dignity, health and healing, reinvesting in education and diversifying Nunavut’s local economies.

One of the largest commitments made in the government’s priorities is toward housing, where its goal is to build at least 1,000 units. Currently, Nunavut is in need of more than 3,000 units according to a GN report. The Nunavut Housing Corporation has published that more than half of Nunavummiut live in social housing.

Elder care is a challenge the government will need to continue addressing in its priority, aging with dignity. The government is providing commitments such as hastening the speed of construction of long-term care facilities in Nunavut, community-based programs for elder care and giving elders better access to country food.

These commitments come as a petition to bring elders home who are receiving down South was acknowledged by the GN. Recently, elder advocacy group Pairijiit Tigummiaqtikkut forwarded a letter of complaint to the Minister of Health about the level of care being received by Inuit elders in Ottawa.

For its health and healing priority, the government stated commitments such as expanding programming for mental health, creating trauma informed practices in healthcare and education, as well as including elders in community health programming. Shortly after the new legislature was elected last fall, over 100 youths and their supporters marched and blocked Iqaluit’s busiest intersection to demand more government action to address youth suicide in Nunavut.

Among the government’s commitments to reinvest in education are accelerating an Inuit language curriculum for kindergarten to grade 12 schooling. Last fall, NTI filed a lawsuit against the GN, claiming the territorial government had failed in its legal obligation to ensure Inuktitut language education throughout public school. NTI also demanded a five-year plan to instate Inuktitut language education.

For diversifying local economies, the government committed to measures such as increasing training for sectors such as mining, arts and crafts, tourism and small business.

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(19) Comments:

  1. Posted by Hello….Nunatsiaq News? on

    Not a Mandate Letter.

    A Mandate Statement.

    Ask around to understand the difference

    It is fundamental to a consensus system of government.

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  2. Posted by Interesting Times on

    Another mandate, petty much the same as the previous 5 mandates. Aspirational. No indication how the government will achieve anything.
    .
    “He jumped on his horse and gallopped off in all directions.”
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    1000 new houses every year for the duration of this sixth government would be a good step in the right direction. But the mandate does not say when Nunavut is to get the 1000 houses.
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    This sixth government is already 10% of the way through its 4 year term!
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    If the promise is to build 1000 houses during its term, there should be 100 new houses built in Nunavut since this government was elected last October. How many can the Minister of Housing point to?
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    As for unity, the regular members showed just how much they support the government yesterday when they defeated the Government’s Bill 4.
    .
    We live in interesting times.

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    • Posted by 1000 houses on

      You want 1000 houses each year for the next 4 years, so do I. I doubt we’ll see 1000 houses between now and the end of the decade.

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    • Posted by 10,000 houses on

      The problem with public housing is that everybody wants a house, but nobody wants the responsibility of home ownership.

      Nunavut needs to look at things maturely and figure this out: instead of building more social housing, how can we build more houses to be owned. Instead of buying that fancy new snowmachine (liability), why not invest in the responsibility and pride associated with owning a home (asset).

      Minus a few exceptions, there is absolutely no reason someone working full time should be living in social housing or staff housing. The cost of living in Vancouver or Toronto is much higher than anywhere in nunavut, but there is only a tiny fraction of people who depend on public housing.

      Figure this out and growth will follow. This is how you invest in the local economy. This is how we will see growth.

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      • Posted by Brambleberry on

        “The cost of living in Vancouver or Toronto is much higher than anywhere in nunavut”.

        I am interested in where you are getting this information from. It is my understanding that the cost of living in Nunavut is the highest in Canada. Bear in mind that most cost of living comparison charts/articles do not include Nunavut. When you get down to brass tacks, Nunavut cost of living is astronomical compared to most of Canada. Between rent of $2400 for a one bedroom, groceries that cost 30% more, and household goods that often cost twice as much as in southern hubs, I bet Nunavut has most cities in Canada bet for cost.

  3. Posted by A Thousand Houses on

    A thousand houses by the end of this year is not going to happen, though I agree they are needed. A thousand houses between now and the end of this government’s mandate is just barely possible, but not without a major change to everything connected to housing. A thousand houses by 2030 would be a serious stretch if the federal and territorial governments continue with business as usual.

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  4. Posted by Manapik on

    I don’t know ex premier became commissioner, why?

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    • Posted by One role that fit her perfectly on

      All she ever did was read from prepared statements and be a figurehead during her time in government, so this is the perfect role for her.

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  5. Posted by still here on

    $600,000 per home x 1000, equals 600 million, and than what about all the peripheral costs such as administration, and development of lots for bldg, unrealistic but always good to hope!

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    • Posted by Zoom Out on

      Sadly, in the long run people will remember being let down, even “lied to” (though at this stage no one believes they are lying) more than they will remember the optimism and sense of hope.

      It is a hard business building up high, even unrealistic expectations in politics. Short term gain for longer term pain.

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      • Posted by Karboneater on

        HUH?? No bee-keeping opportunities for the unemployed.?

    • Posted by Million $ Homes on

      The latest round of housing has public housing above $1,000,000 per unit for typical government fiveplexes so its more like a billion dollars.

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    • Posted by Dave on

      Let’s see how long the price tag stays at $600k.

      I predict we see a brand new post COVID price tag this year, that never goes back down.

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  6. Posted by Putting this out there on

    I thought Throne Speeches were at the beginning of Leg… not the Last day. wouldn’t asking questions about how the 1,000 units would be built and what time frame have been important questions to ask during this sitting?… so maybe to help get started on this very large (and needed) project?

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  7. Posted by Find a Better Way on

    NHC should auction off every single house it builds, rather than keep it for public housing.
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    Financially, the GN/NHC would be better off giving away houses that it builds for free, and even providing the person they gave it to with a $1,000/month allowance for bills and upkeep. So, instead of giving them away, auction them off to the highest bidder in every community.
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    In Iqaluit, you might get $600,000. In Taloyoak, you might get $40,000. Who cares? Take that money and reinvest it into more housing. You’ll build more, spend less, and develop a market.

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    • Posted by 867 on

      Innovative, forward-thinking ideas like this don’t fare well in consensus governments, especially when the majority of the voter base lives off hand-outs. Advocate for free stuff and get votes; advocate for honest, hard work and success and lose your seat. Our MLA’s know this far too well. This is the wicked cycle we live in and it is what will prevent Nunavut from becoming independent.

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  8. Posted by Classic Positioning on

    Check the illustrations on this Mandate.

    The Inuit in this mandate do not have a mouth (literally)
    The elbows only bend at one angle.
    They all look down, passively.

    These are truly depressing illustrations.

    Of course the text is also pretty lame. But a picture says a 1000 words.

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    • Posted by arnaq on

      And they are mostly drawings of men and boys. Where are the ladies and girls?

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      • Posted by Violence on

        Perhaps it’s like Ukraine, they’ve fled to avoid the violence.

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