Nunavik’s Makivik Corp. denounces Conservative throne speech
“We ask ourselves what will it take for the government to live up to its word”
Nunavik’s Makivik Corp. says the Conservative government’s Oct. 16 throne speech ignores the region’s housing crisis and demonstrates that Ottawa is failing to live up to its obligations under the James Bay and Northern Quebec land claims agreement.
“We ask ourselves what will it take for the government to live up to its word and respect its treaty obligations under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement,” Makivik president Jobie Tukkiapik said in a news release.
Makivik said that even before the signing of the James Bay agreement in 1975, Canada failed to meet its constitutional responsibility to provide “safe and sufficient housing” for Inuit in Nunavik.
“Notwithstanding some government investment in housing, the housing deficit has continued to grow,” Makivik said.
And Makivik said 899 units are now needed in Nunavik to meet the region’s current needs and that 68 per cent of the Inuit population live in overcrowded housing.
“How can Inuit children possibly grow and thrive in such an unhealthy home environment?” Makivik said.
Makivik also said that according to Statistics Canada, Nunavik suffers the highest overcrowding rate in Canada.
“It is not uncommon to have more than ten people living in a two bedroom house. Moreover, Nunavik has witnessed a staggering increase in the rate of active tuberculosis, a disease which had practically been eradicated,” Makivik said.
Tukkiapik also referred to the recent report by James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, which found that Canada’s funding for Aboriginal social housing is inadequate.
“Canada’s continued refusal to address the housing crisis can only be described as bad faith,” Tukkiapik said.
Tukkiapik said Makivik has sought meetings with AAND minister Bernard Valcourt “but to date he has failed to meet with us.”
In its recent throne speech, the Conservative government bragged about its contributions to “health care, education and affordable housing for northerners.”
But Inuit living in Quebec and Labrador have in the past complained that the Conservatives’ Arctic policies ignore Inuit who live within provincial jurisdictions.
In an Oct. 17 release, the Quebec government also called on the federal government to meet its housing obligations so northern communities can “receive their fair share.”