Nunatsiaq Online
LETTERS: Around the Arctic August 25, 2014 - 12:33 pm

ITK president responds to Aug. 20 editorial

"Inuit organizations are now more directly eligible to access public-private investments"

NUNATSIAQ NEWS

In the same way that public governments are accountable to voters and constituents, Inuit organizations across Inuit Nunangat are responsible and accountable to Inuit beneficiaries.

With elected leadership responding to the interests of people, Inuit organizations such as Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, the Kivalliq Inuit Association, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, Makivik Corp., the Nunatsiavut Government, and the Inuvialuit Regional Corp. do tremendous work on behalf of Inuit.

In this capacity, Inuit leadership across the Arctic advocated for regional Inuit organizations to be treated in the same way as our First Nations counterparts when it came to the federal government handling of the New Building Canada Fund and the P3 Canada Fund.

As a result, the discrepancy has been addressed in the new federal plan.

Inuit organizations are now more directly eligible to access public-private investments into much-needed infrastructure projects. Inuit organizations have the capacity and accountability to do this work and, in addition, these regional organizations are sometimes best placed to make overtures for investment in local infrastructure.

While you may perceive this change in eligibility criteria as disharmony and dissonance, our leadership understands how it benefits our region as a whole.

As our regions develop economically and structurally, all levels of governments and governance bodies, the private sector and the not-for-profit community will need to rally and work together to sustain the responsible growth that will serve northerners.

The more of us identifying areas that need investment that will benefit our communities as well as actively seeking to secure funds, the better.

P3s are not easy undertakings, but we feel they can be well worth the effort and Inuit organizations are now able to assume this responsibility for the betterment of our region.

The acute need for increased infrastructure investments in transportation, water, energy, security, culture, connectivity and broadband, shipping and tourism were all items on the agenda of the first Arctic leaders working meeting held last summer in Rankin Inlet on Aug. 22, 2013 with the prime minister and ministers Aglukkaq, Valcourt, and Oliver during the 2013 Prime Ministerial Arctic Tour.

These are all eligible projects under the federal government plans.

Tackling our infrastructure shortage addresses our jobs shortage which, in turn, helps to wrestle some of the social challenges in our region as well. 

Broadening the eligibility to Inuit organization doesn’t weaken the potential for infrastructure investments in our region — it strengthens our overall position and turns the volume up on our collective chorus that our infrastructure needs are crucial for the overall social and economic development of our northern homeland.

All that said, if the thrust of your editorial was that there is not enough funding earmarked for infrastructure in the Arctic, we wholeheartedly agree with you on that point!

Terry Audla
President
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami



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