- In the Turaaqtavut mandate of the fifth Nunavut legislative assembly in 2018, then-premier Joe Savikataaq stated that Nunavut was “on the verge of great progress.”
The last assembly’s goals included:
- Working toward community and people self-sufficiency.
- Developing infrastructure and an economy that supports a positive future.
- Providing education and training that prepares Nunavummiut of all ages to make positive contributions to society.
Eldercare was heavily featured in Turaaqtavut and remained a top priority for many MLAs heading into this sitting. Bringing Elders home to the territory and, more importantly, ensuring the opportunity to age safely in their home communities surrounded by loved ones will remain critical work until it is completed.
Former cabinet minister Manitok Thompson was among those who signed a petition calling for the establishment of elder care homes in each community and the renovation of existing ones.
Thompson hopes that the new MLAs will address the issue “outside the box of the usual big government bureaucracy” because “if they go through the regular government process, we won’t see Elder homes for the next ten years.”
Much of the work that could have been done in the last year and a half has been slowed significantly by the need to shift focus in response to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. While there will likely be disruptions to our daily lives for some time, Nunavummiut has proven that it is just another thing that we can deal with and overcome.
The virus also displayed how quickly governments can collaborate when necessary, giving us some hope for continued collaboration between government and departments. However, it will be required to advance the difficult portfolios that have seen slight improvement in the everyday lives of citizens.
During his introductory speech, Premier P.J. Akeeagok acknowledged that much had been accomplished in the last two decades, such as the establishment of Nunavut Arctic College, which produces professional Nunavummiut. Nonetheless, he stated that many systemic challenges remain, such as a lack of housing and overcrowding. He said that tangible solutions are required for addictions, trauma, and mental health, providing Eldercare at home, and accessible and affordable childcare.
While this premier may have less government experience than some of his colleagues, he has a wealth of governance knowledge from his time with the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.
Perhaps, as the pandemic becomes more of a part of everyday life and less of a full-fledged emergency, we will be able to move beyond the precipice of progress.
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