Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavik April 09, 2014 - 11:21 am

Newly elected MNA Boucher promises to open doors for Nunavik

Ungava's new Liberal MNA to open main constituency office in Kuujjuaq

SARAH ROGERS
Ungava’s newly-elected MNA Jean Boucher, at right, met with Liberal leader and now Quebec premier-elect Philippe Couillard on the campaign trail last month in Chibougamau. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Ungava’s newly-elected MNA Jean Boucher, at right, met with Liberal leader and now Quebec premier-elect Philippe Couillard on the campaign trail last month in Chibougamau. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)

Voters in Ungava were “ready for change,” says the riding’s new Liberal MNA, Jean Boucher, who on April 7 ousted Ungava’s long-time Parti Québécois MNA, Luc Ferland.

Boucher garnered 42 per cent of votes cast. Ferland took only 33 per cent.

Poll-by-poll results have yet to be released, although Boucher said he believes much of his support came from Nunavik and the Eeyou Itschee (Cree territory.)

“I think I understand the issues affecting these communities,” he said April 8. “And I’ll be able to explain those issues to caucus. I can be a facilitator, a collaborator and a door-opener, to help Nunavimmiut reach their target.”

A lawyer by profession, Boucher came to Nunavik in 2007 to work for the Kativik Regional Government’s legal department.

Soon after, Boucher moved to a position as director of client services with the Kativik Municipal Housing Bureau, where he stayed until his decision to run for the Liberals earlier this year.

One of Quebec’s new Liberal government’s major projects will be the re-launch of its Plan Nord, to oversee development above the 49th parallel.

The goal this time around, Boucher said, is to ensure it’s socially accepted in the regions that are affected by that development.

“Everyone will know the good side and the bad side [of projects] ,” he said. “I won’t want to leave anyone behind.”

In the more immediate future, Boucher said he is working to address the social housing rent scale in Nunavik.

Regional organizations have asked the Quebec government to freeze rents — which have been increased annually by eight per cent for the last four years — until a review of the region’s rent scale can be carried out.

It’s too late to freeze hikes for this year, but Boucher hopes to negotiate something with the government’s new municipal affairs minister before the end of 2014.

And for the first time ever, the constituency office for Quebec’s Ungava riding will be located in Nunavik.

A resident of Kuujjuaq since 2007, Boucher will open his main constituency office in Nunavik’s largest community.

Boucher says he hopes to hire an Inuk employee to staff the office.

Boucher will also open a secondary office in Chibougamau, the riding’s administrative hub, as well as an office at the National Assembly in Quebec City.

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