Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Around the Arctic June 07, 2012 - 7:40 am

Simon wraps up ITK tenure with advice to board

Continue operations on an “informed, candid, rational and non-partisan basis”

JANE GEORGE
On June 6, her final day as president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Mary Simon speaks to delegates at the annual general meeting in Kuujjuaq. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)
On June 6, her final day as president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Mary Simon speaks to delegates at the annual general meeting in Kuujjuaq. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)

KUUJJUAQ — While Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami wants to change the Inuit regions in Canada “for the better,” ITK has also experienced “some changes” and challenges over the past year, outgoing president Mary Simon said in her June 6 report to the national Inuit organization’s annual general meeting in Kuujjuaq.

Those changes included laying off nine employees due to funding cuts by Health Canada, the result of a public policy environment that Simon described as “challenging.”

“We are all aware of the cutbacks in federal expenditures that are working themselves through a whole set of policies and programs and activities that are relevant to Inuit,” Simon said in her president’s report.

The “current round of federal belt-tightening will likely continue,” she said. “It is not hard to think that Canadian culture risks entering a harsher less community-minded period.”

But Simon urged ITK to continue operations on an “informed, candid, rational and non-partisan basis.”

In April the federal health department slashed 40 per cent from ITK’s health budget.

Health Canada said that it would cut $74.2 million from its department budget; that included $1.5 million from ITK’s own health budget over the next two years.

At the time, Simon said “these cutbacks to ITK’s health capacity will severely reduce the ability of Inuit to participate, even in a modest way, in the development of policies and programs aimed at combatting enormous health challenges experienced so graphically in Inuit regions, communities and families.”

ITK’s finances remain “realistic,” Simon said June 6.

In 2011-12 ITK’s revenues stood at $7,587,472. ITK spent $7,539,597, leaving an adjusted surplus of $9,881, show financial statements tabled at the AGM.

Most of ITK’s money comes from the federal government from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Canadian Heritage, Health Canada and Environment Canada and most of its money is spent of salaries for its former workforce of 49 employees, printing, and travel.

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