Why Iqaluit should consult with NTI
Thank you for your coverage, in the Jan. 16 edition of Nunatsiaq News, of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.’s letter to the Iqaluit city council concerning the charging of an excessive rate of interest on property tax arrears by the City of Iqaluit.
However, I would like to point out that NTI did not allege that the city is violating the Nunavut land claims agreement. Rather, we indicated that under Article 32 of the NLCA, the city has an obligation to include NTI in the development of social and cultural policies, and in the design of social and cultural programs and services, including their method of delivery, in Nunavut.
The setting of interest rates on property tax arrears, which affect Inuit property owners, is an activity that falls under Article 32. Accordingly, the city should consult with NTI in a review of the current interest rate.
I would add that Councillor Glenn Williams should know that the presence of Inuit members on council is insufficient to meet the city’s obligation under Article 32. After his extensive involvement in Nunavut’s development, including working for NTI, he is surely aware that the Clyde River Protocol signed by the Government of Nunavut with respect to their rights and benefits and to protect and promote the interests of the Inuit of Nunavut.
NTI has been actively lobbying the federal government to increase the housing stock in Nunavut, including Iqaluit, to reduce the high level of overcrowding. The excessively high interest rate charged by the city does nothing to relieve the overcrowding, but instead, by forcing tax sales, contributes to the problem.
I am pleased that Councillor Williams is not opposed to reducing the interest rate and he can rest assured that NTI will continue to work with the city to bring the rate into line with other municipalities in Canada.
Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.