One year after Plan Nord’s launch, Nunavik calls for action on Plan Nunavik
"It is a response to Plan Nord"
Quebec premier Jean Charest launched his Plan Nord near Quebec City one year ago.
And now, when the lengthy document detailing Plan Nunavik — Nunavik’s answer to Plan Nord — circulates around Nunavik in Inuttitut, Maggie Emudluk, the chairperson of the Kativik Regional Government, hopes more Nunavimmiut will start to see what Quebec’s 25-year development scheme can offer the region.
“The more information out there, the less misunderstanding there will be,” said Emudluk, reached at her home in Kangiqsualujjuaq. “Regionally, we want to provide this plan because it is a response to Plan Nord,” and people have told her “Plan Nord is a website, but when they read Plan Nunavik, [they see] it’s a vision.”
Plan Nunavik shows Plan Nord can bring more than mining to Nunavik, she said, adding that it’s time to see more action from Quebec City on Plan Nunavik.
“Whether we say yes or no, it’s going on, but our voices have to be heard — they just can’t bulldoze our land like that,” and Quebec must respect its land claims and agreements, Emudluk said.
Plan Nunavik, which lays out the region’s own needs and priorities in 12 recommendations for development, touching on tourism, mining and education, was submitted to the Quebec government at the end of September 2010.
The top priority: measures to reduce the shortage of housing and the high cost of living.
Nunavik’s Plan Nunavik agenda also includes a call for millions of dollars for new roads and paving, and a link to the province’s electrical grid.
Edmuluk was in Quebec City last week where she promoted what Plan Nunavik wants to see at a forum on Plan Nord, and then, on May 4, with Jobie Tukkiapik, president of Makivik Corp., and Andy Moorhouse, Makivik’s corporate secretary, at the “partnership table” that Quebec set up for all those regions and peoples affected by Plan Nord.
Emudluk said she left Quebec City encouraged that Quebec plans to act on some of the outstanding issues that the KRG has lobbied for, such an improved, multi-year renewal of the $4.6 million cost-of-living subsidy for Nunavik.
Since 2010, that subsidy has just been renewed for one year at a time — and recommendations for improvements haven’t been acted on, Emudluk said.
That cost-of-living reduction subsidy pays for a 20 per cent discount on some food items as well as a transportation subsidy for vehicles and equipment intended for hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering activities and for home appliances.
It also provides support to hunters and offsets the cost of buying gas from $1.82 per litre to $1.55.
And the subsidy pays 50 per cent of the cost of personal airline tickets up to a maximum amount of $1,500 per year and gives a yearly $500 cheque to each Nunavik resident aged 60 or older.
Emudluk said she’s also hoping Quebec will announce more money for municipal infrastructure in Nunavik communities.
At last May’s launch of Plan Nord, Charest said Plan Nord would build 300 new public housing units to Nunavik, along with 200 housing units under a new home-ownership program by 2016.
But there there was no money attached to that housing commitment for communities to supply these new units with municipal services, such as trucked water delivery.