Nunavut MLA says cabinet ministers must visit hamlets
Steve Mapsalak seeks assurances from premier
People notice when a cabinet minister visits a small community.
And one Nunavut MLA is urging Premier Peter Taptuna to make sure ministers make the effort and visit the small communities more often.
“In smaller communities, our constituents are always excited and happy to see a minister visit their community,” the MLA for Aivilik Steve Mapsalak said at the legislative assembly May 30.
Mapsalak represents Repulse Bay and Coral Harbour — two Kivalliq communities with populations hovering around 1,000 each.
Mapsalak asked the premier if more ministers can make trips to smaller communities once the spring session wraps up.
“I have always tried to encourage my colleagues to visit some of the smaller communities other than the regional centres, such as Rankin Inlet,” Taptuna responded.
But it’s not always easy to do that, the premier added, for a number of reasons.
“Having spent the last six years here, it’s very difficult, even as a minister, to visit some of the smaller communities,” Taptuna said.
Some ministers are arranging regional tours, he said, and he encourages ministers not to forget the smaller centres.
That answer didn’t fully satisfy Mapsalak, however. He wanted to know exactly when some of the ministers will start visiting the communities.
Taptuna said one minister is currently collecting names for a Kivalliq tour right after the spring session.
“Our calendars fill up very quickly as ministers, but we do try and take the time to visit each community throughout our term,” Taptuna said.
“They do deal with their colleagues from other jurisdictions and, of course, Ottawa.
“When invitations are delivered to my colleagues, including myself, we will do our best to make arrangements and try and schedule in visits to the smaller communities,” he said.