When will the GN speak Inuktitut?
Amittuq MLA Enoki Irqittuq, who is more comfortable speaking Inuktitut than English, grilled Premier Paul Okalik on when Inuktitut will be the working language of the Government of Nunavut. The Bathurst Mandate promised that would happen by 2020.
“This year is 2003 and the years are passing us by. There are only so many years left,” Irqittuq said.
The goal is still to have Inuktitut the language of government by 2020, Okalik responded.
“What we’re trying to do is to train our unilingual employees how to speak Inuktitut within the workplace and we have been encouraging training of our staff within the departments,” Okalik said.
But Irqittuq still questioned when Nunavut would achieve the same level of Inuktitut use as Greenland.
“The Greenland people got their government in the 1970s and we just got our government in 1999. We would like to be able to function like the Greenlandic government, all Inuktitut speaking and we would like to achieve that,” Okalik said.
“It’s very hard for some people to learn a different language, just like the members. Their speaking language is Inuktitut and they can’t learn English right away so it’s the same way with our public servants.”