Arctic Children and Youth Foundation slams Nunavut MLAs’ delay of child advocate law
"I don’t think it was necessary or in the best interest of the children and youth of Nunavut"
“Disappointment and bewilderment” is how Whit Fraser, the chairperson of the Arctic Children and Youth Foundation, describes his reaction to a decision taken by Nunavut Legislative Assembly March 4.
That’s when MLAs voted 9-8 to delay legislation that will establish an independent child and youth advocate in Nunavut.
Most regular MLAs voted in favour of a motion that asks for an additional 120 days of consultation on Bill 40, the Representative for Children and Youth Act Act, which would create an independent child and youth advocate office in Nunavut.
Iqaluit Centre MLA Hunter Tootoo, the speaker, cast the tie-breaking vote that allowed the motion to pass.
Fraser said he shares the frustration voiced by Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak.
“Nobody saw this coming and certainly I don’t think it was necessary or in the best interest of the children and youth of Nunavut,” he said in a statement posted on the foundation’s website.
“There are so many crises facing the youth of the Arctic. The more hands, hearts and voices to bring about change the better. Being against this legislation is simply like being against Motherhood.”
Fraser said Aariak can count on support from the foundation to participate in any future public consultation process “with the hope of getting this important initiative back on track and a much needed office in operation.”