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A common theme

Both soccer coach Geraldo Ferrari Jr. and Whale Cove Race Committee member Noel Kaludjak had very similar comments on why recreation initiatives are important.
Stewart Burnett is editor of Kivalliq News. Photo courtesy of Stewart Burnett

Both soccer coach Geraldo Ferrari Jr. and Whale Cove Race Committee member Noel Kaludjak had very similar comments on why recreation initiatives are important.

In Kaludjak’s words, racing is “something for them to do besides other stuff,” and as Ferrari Jr. said, “if the kids kick the ball, that means they don’t do anything wrong on the streets.”

I’m not much of a racer myself, but I could see and feel the excitement, fist-pumping and wide eyes of the race committee and fans after competitors took off to Whale Cove Thursday. It meant something to them, and it was clearly fun.

Rankin Inlet, the Kivalliq and Nunavut as a whole suffer from few outlets and places for people to put their energy and passion into. A lot of volunteers work very hard to fill that gap with events like the Whale Cove race, soccer clinics and youth programs like the Outside Looking In dancing in Baker Lake.

Nunavut is desperate for that, and we need even more of it. There are more opportunities in Rankin Inlet than many communities, but even here, other than local sports, there is just about nothing to do after work hours in town. There’s not even a restaurant open until normal restaurant hours. For many, that unfortunately leads to filling the time with partying or similar pursuits.

The people who provide these opportunities – at no financial benefit to themselves, but purely with an eye to a healthy community – deserve commendation.

If you’ve got a big race tomorrow, or a soccer game, or similar – you want to get to sleep on time the night before. You want to maintain healthy habits so you’re mentally and physically ready. And you want to hone your craft in the days and weeks leading up to the event.

Having something to look forward to is core to thriving. It’s when we have nothing to look forward to that we begin to crumble.

The Whale Cove race looked like a success to me, so let’s hope that tradition continues, and hats off to the people who provide opportunities and things to look forward to here in Nunavut.

Likely a successful gambit

A lot of eyes probably went to Ilitaqsiniq’s job ads after the organization announced its four-day workweek pilot project.

The move was not one of those deals where staff work 10 hours on their four days, but a true four-day week where employees are paid their full salary while getting every Friday off.

A big part of the inspiration for that policy, said executive director Adriana Kusugak, was to help her organization compete for and retain staff.

These are the moves that organizations in Nunavut and Canada as a whole have to make to keep up with the rapidly changing economy.

These days, no one wants to work, and for good reason. Salaries have not kept up with inflation, and there’s a general sense that money hardly matters anymore after the reckless federal spending during the pandemic.

It’s never been easier to be a bad employee. Employers can’t hire people, let alone worry about disciplining underperforming staff. Who could they be replaced with anyway? Just about every organization is short staffed due to this employment crisis and work is suffering across the board, including in the Government of Nunavut.

So, Ilitaqsiniq is properly adapting. Salaries have to go up, benefits have to go up and employers actually have to attract employees again. There’s no getting around it for employers, especially in Nunavut, and those who fail to keep up with the changing times will continue to operate skeleton crews and slowly peter away.

Ilitaqsiniq deserves props for recognizing the state of the labour market and innovating to address it.