Nunavut ‘on the right path’ but language and workplace issues lag, says Paul Kaludjak

Former Kivalliq Inuit Association and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated president Paul Kaludjak sees the overall cost of living and the cost of transportation as still being two negatives for Nunavut. Kaludjak began with NTI as its vice-president of finance from 2000 until 2004, before becoming president from 2004 until 2010.

Now residing in Iqaluit, Kaludjak said the past 25 years of Nunavut have been a great journey for Inuit.

He said there’s still a lot of issues to be taken care of, but the territory is proceeding in the right direction.

“We have to engage the mining industry full scale, address the housing issues in Nunavut and play catch-up on transportation still,” he said. “As well, the overall cost of living has to be tackled big time.

“I was with the KIA when Nunavut became a territory in 1999 and seeing the process was quite gratifying. It hasn’t all been the success that we expected. Targets such as Inuit employment have never met the levels we wanted to see.

“Our Inuit organizations mandated for there to be 85 per cent Inuit employment within the Government of Nunavut (GN) and that has yet to be reached.”

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From the article:

“It is good to see devolution finally coming. It is already quite late in happening and it’s more than time for it to finally kick-in.” Inuit have worked hard for Nunavut and to bring their vision to the world, according to Kaludjak....

“The Nunavut Act states that the working language will be Inuktitut for our territory, but, unfortunately, that’s not really happening in the workplaces.

“Just about everywhere seems to be lagging behind in that regard, including the federal government and not just ours. The regional organizations and NTI need to become stronger on that issue.”

Kaludjak said if he could write the script moving forward from here, there would be a strong focus on improving communication and co-operation among all levels of government.

He said the housing crisis in Nunavut has been going on for the past 30 years and absolutely has to be addressed.

“Inuit need to be better engaged with both the territorial and federal governments to solve that issue.

“I have been encouraged with the number of Inuit youth going on for post-secondary education during the past decade or so. It’s still an area that has to be maximized, but we are seeing improvement,” he said.

“There are so many opportunities in education right now and that has to be taken advantage of by the Inuit youth of today. We need to have more thrust behind our education programs, pushing the opportunities even more to our youth.

“Our trade centre in Rankin Inlet has definitely helped and it runs excellent programs from what I’ve been told. I’ve seen nothing but positives with the programs that have been run by Nunavut Arctic College’s training centres. We are on the right path.”

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