Throne speech offered ‘nothing more than last year,’ says Nunavik MP Sylvie Bérubé

Bloc Québécois MP also praised Mary Simon for delivering speech in three languages

Sylvie Bérubé, the Bloc Québécois MP for Abitibi–Baie-James–Nunavik–Eeyou, told Nunatsiaq News in a French interview that this year’s throne speech offered “nothing more than last year.” (File photo)

By Jeff Pelletier

Sylvie Bérubé, the MP for Abitibi–Baie-James–Nunavik–Eeyou, says Tuesday’s throne speech offered very little that’s new compared to the previous session in Parliament.

The Bloc Québécois member who was re-elected to a second term in September, told Nunatsiaq News the Liberal government’s speech lacked new policy ideas to tackle climate change, the northern housing crisis, mental health and gun violence.

“There was nothing more than last year when we were working before the election campaign,” she said in a French interview. “We were continuing on important files and important bills that needed to get passed, and all of that was stopped.”

In this session of Parliament, Bérubé is entering a new role as the Bloc Québécois critic for families, children and social development. Before the election, she had been vice-chairperson of the Indigenous and northern affairs committee.

Bérubé says she’s still committed to all the Indigenous communities in her riding, which is the largest in Quebec and third largest in Canada.

“It’s our job as parliamentarians to assure that our people and our ridings are doing well,” she said. “Despite the inaccessibility, it’s very important that people in Northern Quebec and Nunavik know that I’m here for them and that they should not hesitate to get in touch with my office in Val-d’Or.”

Despite the criticism of the content of the throne speech, which spells out the government’s agenda for the upcoming session, Bérubé had some praise for Gov. Gen. Mary Simon, for speaking in French, as well as Inuktitut and English. Simon’s initial appointment was met with frustration by many in Quebec because she admitted to having not learned French, one Canada’s two official languages, as a child.

In recent public appearances, Simon delivered remarks in three languages, which have included more French over the months, a sign she is living up to a promise she made to learn the language.

“Mrs. Simon was courageous with regards to speaking French because she never learned it,” Bérubé said. “It’s a beautiful language, but it’s hard, so I can understand giving her time to get used to it.”

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(16) Comments:

  1. Posted by Nunavik on

    Why so much criticism from someone that is not able to book an hotel room and then calls Nunavik unaccessible?

    Please stay down there in French, you got elected by them, stay with them.

    And the day that you are finally able to book an hotel room in Nunavik, I hope that you will have the decency to speak in English, so your criticism could be understood by the local population.

    • Posted by Tulugak on

      Funny so read such comments praising one colonial language over another! Divide and conquer was the strategy of European colonizers and it’s well and alive in the XXIst century! Inuktitut should be the language of the land in Nunavik as much as Nunavut.

  2. Posted by Northern Inuit on

    Isn’t that what the Inuit in your own riding said about your last term? Entire term with not a single visit to Inuit People

  3. Posted by Hmm.. on

    Forceful and pure racist to ask an INUK to speak the ALL MIGHTY French language after all that these French bills have done to our people. You don’t see Jewish people hailing hitler.. why should an Inuk be even pushed to speak French after the Quebec govt wanted nothing to do with us, and said the duties are for the Canadian Govt as we “fall under the Indian act” in 1953? All they wanted was our lands all to themselves. Then they come in riot gear to force their language down our throats in 74’? Now they’re threatening our occupations if we don’t speak French in 2021? How much abuse are we going to take from these racist bigots? Where are our leaders to speak up against this injustice? They’re on our land.

    Does berube speak inuktitut? Could we force her to resign if she doesn’t? Does she speak cree, at least?

    • Posted by uvanga on

      Let’s take note of this Nunavut Government. People that are in direct contact with Inuit need to learn Inuktitut (Health Centres, Social Services, Travel Agents, Dentist receptionists, hotel receptionists, etc). so that they can understand what our locals in the smaller communities needs are. The better communication, the healthier the communities.

      • Posted by Hmm.. on

        Yes! Plz take note.

        I know of a few old nurses and teachers that really put in the effort to learn Inuktitut and are now speaking it. Some are even married to Inuit and speak it fluently. They’re the ones that truly care for our people. I love my white friends who speak inuktitut even more because, they’re not bigoted enough to let language laws get in the way. Especially when they’re French, that puts the cherry on top.

    • Posted by Speak Write Sally Dick and Jane on

      I wonder if the English language is any less ALL MIGHTY than the French language? Criticizing it while speaking and writing in the even more ALL MIGHTY English language! English is the reason so many Inuit have lost their language. Those nurses and teachers who learn Inuktitut are French speakers, they learn Inuktitut more easily than do English speakers. The importance of Inuktitut should be highlighted without negatively criticizing one “official” language and forgetting about the fact we are completely dominated by the other.

      • Posted by Hmm.. on

        Did the English come in riot gear to force English down our throats? Does it have bills to enforce that we do speak English? English is also the language of business and French isn’t, so acting like French is a necessity and that they have rights to abuse a people is just not only oppressive but down right racist. 99.8% of Inuit in nunavik speak inuktitut.

        FRENCH QUEBEC govt also have have restrictions for us to prevent the parents taught in English to allow our kids to be educated in French. Look up “eligibility certificates”. It’s one thing to enforce but then to further not give equal opportunity and to oust native quebecers.. wow, that’s disgusting.

        As for English people speaking Inuktitut, I find that a lot more English do, in fact, speak inuktitut. I’m friends with a ton of my former teachers that learned inuktitut. Even their children speak inuktitut and they’re not even married to an Inuk. But oh, well.. YOU can only feed propaganda to people who don’t know the actual truth.

      • Posted by Hmm.. on

        FRENCH QUEBEC govt also have had restrictions for us(Inuit), to prevent the Inuit parents taught in English to sign up their kids to be educated in French. Look up “eligibility certificates”. It’s one thing to enforce but then to further not give equal opportunity and to oust native quebecers.. wow, that’s disgusting.**
        Clearing up typos.

    • Posted by Tulugak on

      “French Bills” try to protect a language that is disappearing in North America and language laws in Nunavut that aim at protecting the Inuit language are inspired by Quebec’s Charter of French language. As far as I’m concerned I praise Nunavut for wanting to protect Inuktut as it has been the victim of one of the most important colonial language on the planet.

      The real threat to most Indigenous languages in Canada and the US is English, not French, and reading comments despising the French language in English is enlightening as to how colonial this society is and how much rampant is systemic racism even between colonial societies.

      • Posted by Hmm.. on

        A quick fact check would prove you wrong. Just like the guy who said inuktitut is threatened. It isn’t threatened. Stat Canada offers answers for things like this. You should really try looking it up before going around and calling people racist for factual claims of how one language actually threatens us more.

        Our people are threatened. Our occupations, our health in 74, and our provincial citizenship in 53. Mary Simon, the Governor General of all people, was told to learn French or quit. They fear a successful native. They know what they’ve done to us and what propaganda they feed others might come out. The truth might come out. They are getting away with it to this day! The English have their time and are prosecuted to this day.. why isn’t it happening to the French? Or are your people less important than how you view the French? And you want to talk about systemic racism? Ok, pal.. have at it

      • Posted by Jessie on

        It doesn’t mean we should fall in their race war as collateral damage. Our people matter, too.

        • Posted by Hmm.. on


          If I were to get hit, I wouldn’t blame someone watching from the sidelines. I’d hit the aggressor. Plain and simple. The one watching from the sidelines has nothing to do with it.

          Same for these attacks the French have done over and over again and even have laws to back it. As long as they’re throwing shots at us, I’m willing to fight back. Nvm the spectators.

  4. Posted by Speak to me in my language on

    La francaise’s ego must be puffed up due to being in the largest riding. Empty, vast, full of forest and wildlife region.

    She should be speaking Inuttitut by now and speak more english. And be aware that Nunavik is the most accessible with daily flights and each town having hotels now, except for few blizzards. Excuses, excuses. I forgot of her existence until now.

  5. Posted by Mosessi on

    Welcome to The Club. Now she knows how it feels. Hey Northern Quebec Brothers and Sisters, did she visit any communities? From some comments seems she didn’t. If she hasn’t then she has nothing to yap about.

    • Posted by Hmm.. on

      I don’t even think she knows what the 14 communities covered by the NQI are. If someone could ask her and have it recorded, that would be great. I believe she is very unqualified for the position she is in. She can’t even make visits in her riding.

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