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Amittuq MLA Joelie Kaernerk vented his frustrations over the difficulty small communities have in getting a share of Nunavut’s infrastructure funding while he addressed the minister of Economic Development and Transportation in the legislative assembly on Wednesday.

“I imagine residents from smaller community are in awe when they visit Iqaluit and see the unending infrastructure and buildings all over the city,” says Amittuq MLA Joelie Kaernerk.
photo courtesy of the legislative assembly

Kaernerk said the government is inflexible when regular MLAs ask about moving pots of money from one fund to another to assist them in achieving projects for their communities.

“It is indeed possible to move funds around with enough political will,” Kaernerk said. “I tried to provide ideas on how we can improve things, but then nobody seems to ever hear me. However, it seems they just turn their back on the needs in our constituencies. When incorporating Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, this government attempts to implement equality amongst all, but we just keep seeing favouritism.

“There are also certain infrastructures that we have never seen in any of our communities,
but which are built upon approval by the members, and this is what the government is
capable of achieving if they looked to provide more development opportunities for the
smaller communities, yet there is no funding available.

“I imagine residents from smaller community are in awe when they visit Iqaluit and see the unending infrastructure and buildings all over the city.”

He said Sanirajak, which he represents, has been asking for a small craft harbour, or breakwater, for many years, but to no avail. Yet the government will deny funding assistance to hunters if they damage their outboard motors due to shallow water, he argued.

“After every sitting (of the legislative assembly), I report back to my constituents to say I am sorry that the government again closed its ears, as they didn’t even acknowledge my ideas,” said Kaernerk. “I want to publicly apologize to my constituents as what I wanted to push for in terms of infrastructure will still be priorities, but not to expect anything now.”

 

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Derek Neary

Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...

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