Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut January 16, 2014 - 1:07 pm

Nunavut leaders give Aglukkaq their wish-lists for upcoming federal budget

NTI, QIA, Iqaluit leaders attend pre-budget meetings with Nunavut MP

DAVID MURPHY
Qikiqtani Inuit Association president Okalik Eegeesiak, left and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. president Cathy Towtongie, meet with Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq, right, in a ritual meeting between MPs and constituent leaders prior to the release of the federal budget. (PHOTO BY DAVID MURPHY)
Qikiqtani Inuit Association president Okalik Eegeesiak, left and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. president Cathy Towtongie, meet with Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq, right, in a ritual meeting between MPs and constituent leaders prior to the release of the federal budget. (PHOTO BY DAVID MURPHY)

Nunavut leaders had an opportunity to give their two cents to Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq in Iqaluit recently, hoping that she’ll throw a few dollars back when her government tables its 2014-15 budget this February or March.

Called a “pre-budget consultation,” the boardroom at the minister’s regional office in the Qamutiq building was packed Jan. 16 with various local and territorial office-holders.

They included Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. president Cathy Towtongie, Qikiqtani Inuit Association president Okalik Eegeesiak, Iqaluit mayor John Graham and Wendy Ireland of the Nunavummi Disabilities Makinnasuaqtit Society.

“The views that Nunavummiut have shared will help us build Economic Action Plan 2014, which will seek to foster opportunities that will lead to growth, prosperity and sustainable development for Northerners,” Leona Aglukkaq said in a Jan. 16 press release.

The term “economic action plan” is the brand name that the Conservative government has used since around 2009 to market its financial and economic policies.

Reporters were not allowed to attend the pre-budget meeting, which is expected to end early in the afternoon of Jan. 16.

“The minister asked participants to provide their input on concrete actions the Government of Canada could take to ensure the nation’s economy continues to produce jobs, growth and long-term prosperity,” a press release said.

Aglukkaq posted on her Facebook page that “all Nunavummiut are welcome to submit suggestions that matter to you.”

People can do that by following the link located here.

The press release did not reveal what priorities, if any, the federal government has for Nunavut.

Last year the federal budget saw Nunavut receive more money in transfers than ever before — a total of $1.4 billion.

That included $100-million for social housing construction throughout the territory.

In 2012, the federal government handed Nunavut $1.27 billion.

In the press release, the federal government boasted about Nunavut’s “tremendous economic growth potential” in resource development.

“Mining exploration in Nunavut reached $395.5 million last year — the most for any territory and, relative to GDP, the highest in Canada.”

The federal finance minister, Jim Flaherty, usually tables the federal budget sometime in mid-to late-March, but this year there is speculation that he may deliver his budget speech as early as mid-February. 

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