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Legislative briefs: Housing wait lists were ‘just a mess,’ minister admits


Hudson Bay MLA Allan Rumbolt asked housing minister Lorne Kusugak to explain why the Nunavut Housing Corporation's wait lists for public housing units were altered significantly between March 31, 2016 and March 31, 2017.

Nunavut Housing Minister Lorne Kusugak

Rumbolt pointed out that Rankin Inlet's wait list increased by 103.1 per cent to 128 units while Chesterfield Inlet's wait list dropped by 58.6 per cent to 12 units.

Kusugak replied on March 12 that the way housing needs are assessed in each community was made consistent, which led to a drastic difference.

"In some communities, such as Rankin Inlet, they were not reporting those people who were looking to get on the housing list, (it) was not being recorded properly. People were not on the housing list that should have been," Kusugak explained. "It was just a mess and every community had their own way of collecting who is on a housing list and who is not. It's now been streamlined. Consideration of who goes on the housing list and how they get on has been cleaned up and that’s why you see some communities had drastic increases and some of them may have dropped down."

Kusugak added the following day that 220 public housing units are being constructed across Nunavut with 2017-18 and 2018-19 funding.


Strike back at Europe through mining restrictions, MLA urges

Adam Arreak Lightstone

A European sealskin ban continues to have impacts on Nunavut harvesters and the GN's retaliation of boycotting European liquor products has been an "ineffective response," Iqaluit-Manirajak MLA Adam Arreak Lightstone asserted.

Instead, he proposed on March 14 that Nunavut should prevent European companies from mineral exploration and extraction in the territory.

David Akeeagok, minister responsible for the Nunavut Liquor Commission, said the European liquor ban is still in place and it would be up to the legislative assembly to decide whether it wants to proceed with any other trade-related penalties.

Elders versus artifacts

Aivilik MLA Patterk Netser asked Health Minister Pat Angnakak whether Inuit land claims organization Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) has ever offered $5 million toward building a territorial long-term care facility for elders. Angnakak said she was not aware of any such overture.

Netser said he'd prefer to see his birthright corporation invest in such a facility than a Nunavut heritage centre, for which NTI has allocated $5 million.

"Maybe artifacts are more important than elders," Netser quipped on March 13.

Bank services on the way

The Royal Bank will open an "agency outlet" in Arviat in late May, Arviat South MLA and Family Services Minister Joe Savikataaq announced on March 13.

Bank services will be made available through Eskimo Point Lumber Supply and Airport Services, Savikataaq said, adding that discussions continue about opportunities in other hamlets.

Boarding home security concerns

There's a need for improved security at the Tammaativvik Boarding Home in Iqaluit, according to Uqqummiut MLA Pauloosie Keyootak, who said he saw firsthand some troubling behaviour while recently staying at the home with his wife.

"It became evident that something unpleasant was occurring. Especially the disabled people and the elders tend to get scared. There are people who were coming in and out intoxicated and were bothering the patients who are ill," Keyootak said on March 12.

Health Minister Pat Angnakak conceded that such accounts give her "grave concern." She added that her staff have informed her that the contractor responsible for the boarding home has committed to hiring my security guards in the near future.

Tribute to former QEC chair Elijah Evaluarjuk

Jeannie Ehaloak, minister responsible for Qulliq Energy Corporation (QEC), stood in the house on March 12 to pay homage to Elijah Evaluarjuk.

Evaluarjuk, who served as QEC chair, vice-chair and as a board director at various points between 2014-2017, died while surrounded by his family in Iglulik on Feb. 10.

He brought a "quiet leadership style which encouraged a collaborative environment," Ehaloak said.