Nunavut premier frustrated over lack of consultation: ‘That’s a battle we face every day’

Kent Driscoll
APTN National News
Nunavut’s premier Peter Taptuna remembers the days when Ottawa would consult with his territory under the previous conservative government.

Because recently, the Liberals have been moving ahead on projects without consulting Taptuna.

He argues that Nunavut is unique, and Nunavummiut know best how to use the limited resources.

Taptuna said he’s getting frustrated.

“There’s been some decisions made that were unilateral, and all we ask for is through our land claim negotiations through NTI (Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated) our partners in devolution-we do ask the federal government to consult us before they make decisions that affect Nunavut,” he said.

Last Christmas the federal government announced a ban on oil drilling in the Arctic. Premier Taptuna was informed just 20 minutes before the announcement.

This week the feds announced $1.2 million a year for mental health and home care.

But Nunavut spends more than $340 million a year on health care. Per capita funding is to blame for the difference.

Nunavut has a small population, being Canada’s smallest territorial population while covering one fifth of the country’s entire landmass. Because need is measured solely on population, Nunavut suffers.

Relaying this to the feds is one of Nunavut’s ongoing struggles.

“That’s a battle we face every day. When we’re meeting with our counterparts down in Ottawa.

It’s something that they’ve got to understand, for all three territories. That’s why I work with our sister territories- the Yukon and the Northwest territories to have more impact when we’re trying to push our
issues,” said Taptuna.

In the upcoming federal budget, Taptuna is hoping for more infrastructure funds. Specifically infrastructure that supports job creation-so far the feds haven’t been talking with Nunavut.

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Video Journalist / Iqaluit

Kent has been APTN’s Nunavut correspondent since 2007. In that time he has closely covered Inuit issues, including devolution and the controversial Nutrition North food subsidy. He has also worked for CKIQ-FM in Iqaluit and as a reporter for Nunavut News North.