Report reprimands Transport Canada
Transport Canada failed to show leadership in addressing infrastructure needs at Canada’s Northern airports, a report by the Auditor General of Canada found.
Runway conditions, lighting, navigational aids and information pertaining to weather and runway conditions were among the areas neglected, as Transport Canada provided only $140 million to remote Northern airports out of $737 million in total program funding since 1995, according to the report.
“We found that while Transport Canada knew about the infrastructure needs of remote Northern airports, it did not lead co-ordinated efforts to address the unique challenges these airports faced,” the report stated.
One challenge will be making up for the resulting deficit in funding, the report acknowledged. An estimated $792 million in safety-related projects were awaiting funding as of 2016, but the federal Airports Capital Assistance Program is worth only $38 million annually, an amount that hadn’t changed in 17 years.
In Nunavut alone, $463 million worth of airport capital projects were identified in 2014 covering the next 20 years, and that figure did not include the new Iqaluit airport.
Arctic Bay photographer’s work featured on Canada 150 stamp
Dignitaries, including Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna, Commissioner of Nunavut Nellie Kusugak, and George Qulaut, speaker of the legislative assembly, unveiled the seventh stamp of the 10-stamp Canada 150 series at the Legislative Assembly.
The stamp, intended to commemorate Nunavut entering Confederation in 1999, features a photograph of Leah Ejangiaq Kines taken by Arctic Bay photographer Clare Kines.
Kusugak recalled the first stamp featuring an Inuk by way of famed Cape Dorset artist Kenojuak Ashevak’s art in 1970. She said she was just as proud and excited with this stamp as she was when she was a child seeing Ashevak’s art on a stamp.
The 10 Canada 150 stamps marked unforgettable moments in Canada since the centennial of 1967.
Law school accepts 25
The next four years would be grueling for 25 students who will embark on a path that will take them, beginning Sept. 11, to a degree in law from Nunavut Arctic College’s partner university, the University of Saskatchewan.
That Juris Doctor (JD) would be as rigorous as any in Canada, said Saskatchewan College of Law dean Martin Phillipson.
“We are the third oldest law school in Canada. We’ve been going for 105 years. We have a great reputation,” Phillipson said. “We will only give a degree to people who’ve earned it. This is not going to be a cakewalk by any stretch of the imagination.”
Phillipson said the admissions process was very competitive.
There were 86 applicants. The $3,442,513 contract between the law school and the Government of Nunavut (GN) is for 25 students.
Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu MLA Pat Angnakak probed Education Minister Paul Quassa on the make-up of successful applicants in the Legislative Assembly June 5.
“I imagine that I am not the only person who is wondering why almost a third of the entering class is non-Inuit. Can the minister clarify why this is so,” she asked.
Quassa replied that there were 18 successful Inuit applicants and 10 GN employees, nine of whom were approved for paid education leave. He stressed others were long-time Northerners.
Police make $12,000 pot seizure
RCMP seized 514 grams of marijuana in the capital.
“Iqaluit Detachment RCMP stopped a motor vehicle as they suspected one of the occupants was selling drugs in the community,” according to the news release.
Officers then seized the marijuana from an occupant of the vehicle.
“Cannabis marijuana typically sells for $25 per gram on the street in Iqaluit; $50 to 60 dollars in the communities,” Staff Sgt. Mark Crowther told Nunavut News.
“In this case, in Iqaluit, we’re looking at approximately $12,000 in street value.”
Agnico, KIA pen third deal
The Kivalliq Inuit Association (KIA) signed yet another Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement (IIBA) with Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd., this one for the Whale Tail Project.
“KIA has strived to balance the need to protect the environment with the promotion of economic development,” stated KIA president David Ningeongan.
“KIA has worked hard to ensure that the IIBA works for the benefit of Inuit in the Kivalliq region and is another step towards a better future for Inuit of Nunavut.”
The proposed Whale Tail pit is located at Amaruq, 50 km from Agnico’s Meadowbank mine north of Baker Lake.
Previous agreements were signed for Meadowbank and Meliadine.
KIA received a $6.5 million payment upon signing, with $3 million going towards a community initiative fund. Agnico Eagle will pay resource royalties and fees to KIA and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. from the Whale Tail, Meadowbank, and Meliadine projects. The Whale Tail project will provide KIA with a 1.4 per cent net smelter return on production.
Girls’ group home gets fresh start
The Ilagiittugut Centre for Youth, which closed nine months ago when the contract with its provider ended, was renovated at a cost of $350,000 and a new provider will run the eight-bed therapeutic facility beginning this month.
“As you can see, the recent renovations completed on June 1 have created a warm, welcoming, and safe home environment for the youth while they receive the necessary programs and services,” said Family Services Minister Johnny Mike at a small event at the centre for community members and the media.
The newly renovated home will mean more clients can be repatriated to Nunavut. As of May 10, 2017, there were 57 children or youth receiving residential care out of territory. Thirty-six of those are in group homes.
Atlantic Youth Inc., which has operated a six-bed therapeutic centre for boys in Cambridge Bay since 2014, would provide 24-hour care for female youth between the ages of 12 and 19.
New languages commissioner named
Helen Klengenberg was announced as the territory’s new languages commissioner.
The five-year-term position had been vacant since Sandra Inutiq resigned in May 2016 with a year remaining on her term.
“Helen Klengenberg has extensive senior management experience in both the public and private sectors,” said Speaker of the Legislative Assembly George Qulaut.
“A proven advocate for language rights, she was a member of the Task Force on Aboriginal Languages and Cultures that presented a landmark report on Indigenous language revitalization to the Government of Canada. I am proud that she is our territory’s first languages commissioner from an Inuinnaqtun-speaking community.”
Vet clinic goes to dogs
Close to 100 Iglulik pets received free treatment from a traveling veterinary team from the University of Prince Edward Island.
Vaccinations were administered, including for rabies. The veterinarians’ visit coincided with a few cases of rabies having recently been diagnosed in Iglulik dogs. There were also numerous check-ups and spaying and neutering surgeries performed to help curb unplanned litters of pups in the future.
“It’s a good start,” said Greg Morash, the hamlet’s senior administrative officer.
The number of animals brought in for treatment was expected to be even higher but a significant number of Iglulik residents were out sealing or gathering eggs, Morash noted.
“If we ever plan something like this again, we’ll plan it for a different time of the year to see if we can get a little more (interest),” he said.
Aquatic centre loses 12 volunteers
The Iqaluit Aquatic Centre lost 12 volunteer fitness instructors after an apparent communication breakdown.
Svetlana Tumilty, who spoke for the group, said the volunteer instructors did not resign, while the City of Iqaluit, which operates the facility, said they did.
Tumilty cited concerns volunteers wanted to discuss with the recreation director or another appropriate representative from the city, including equipment and participant safety, scheduling issues, possible insurance issues and matters involving paid and included programs.
Tumilty explained that according to the city, 40 per cent of programs must be paid programs over and above the facility pass fees, while 60 per cent are included in the pass fee.
“We wanted a revised volunteer arrangement,” said Tumilty, who had been a volunteer instructor for years and made the shift from the volunteer-run Atii Fitness Society to the city facility.
The volunteer instructors sent a letter to the city, asking for a response within two weeks.
The city interpreted the letter as a mass resignation.