September 20, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami is calling on the next federal government to take action on Inuit priorities and bring Inuit Nunangat – the Inuit homeland – into the rest of Canada as a nation building exercise comparable in scale to the development of the trans-Canadian highway or the trans-national railway connected Western and Eastern Canada.
Inuit Nunangat encompasses nearly one third of Canada’s landmass, its entire Arctic coastline, and significant offshore areas. Inuit Nunangat is synonymous with the term “Arctic”, and its future should be central to the platform of every national party in this election at a time of surging international interest and activity in our homeland.
Long-standing challenges such as the infrastructure gap between Inuit Nunangat and the rest of Canada are impediments to the prosperity of Inuit and the sustainability of the region.
Inuit experience extreme inequity compared to other Canadians, and to other Canadians within Inuit Nunangat. Addressing social and economic inequity, both between Inuit Nunangat and within Inuit Nunangat itself, is a necessary pre-condition to the development of a healthy, resilient and secure Inuit Nunangat.
One-third of Inuit are under the age of 14, meaning policy interventions that target health, education and social development will have a disproportionately beneficial impact in Inuit Nunangat compared to other regions within Canada. As a result, Canadian policy should commit to ambitious investments throughout Inuit Nunangat, with the goal of eliminating infrastructure gaps and social and economic inequities throughout the region.
In ITK Priorities for Election 2019, ITK calls on the next federal government to take action in the following areas:
- Social infrastructure and suicide prevention (including Inuit mental health, family violence shelters and transitional housing, and addictions treatment centres)
- Renewable energy and climate action
- Inuit-Crown partnership
- Infrastructure and economic self-reliance (including marine and air infrastructure, and telecommunications infrastructure)
- National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Calls to Action
- Poverty reduction and food security
- Advancing Inuit self-determination in research
ITK’s 2020 Pre-Budget Submission similarly suggests that the only way to bring Inuit Nunangat into Canada is through major federal investments in climate action and renewable energy, infrastructure, Inuit-led research, and Inuit primary education. It calls for Budget 2020 to be built on progress made in the past four federal budgets by continuing to implement an Inuit Nunangat fiscal policy in the allocation of Inuit-specific funding.
“ITK calls on all parties to commit to implementing an Inuit Nunangat policy throughout government, to ensure that Inuit are able to access and benefit from policies, programs and initiatives that are intended to benefit our people. Relationship-building and bringing about systemic change within the machinery of government are key to creating social and economic equity for Inuit, as well as for ensuring that federal investments in Inuit Nunangat are efficient and impactful in advancing nation building,” said Natan Obed, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.
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