Did you see this release. More politicians in Nunavut should outline their plans like this. Tagak's proposal for a breakfast program for kids in school is a good idea. What do you think?
First off, let me say how HONOURED I am to have been selected to air my thoughts on this issue. For you, anonymous, to have chosen this lowly blogger to analyze a Nunavut politician's 10-point plan is... well... clearly demonstrative of how far I've gone in the blogging world.
Ok. It's probably not so much as all that.
But to answer your question.
I have it on pretty good authority (aka, fellow CBC journalist who interviewed Tagak) that the REASON he put out that 10-point plan, is because he's eyeing the premier's chair. It's not an everyday run-of-the-mill platform. However, I do agree that it would be nice if Nunavut politicians vying for a seat in the legislature would do something like this. It's the one major disadvantages of non-party politics: you are less likely to know SPECIFICALLY what a candidate's priorities are.
Over the past couple weeks I've done my share of interviews with politicians. And while generally I'd abhor the whole idea of MEDIA TRAINING (nothing worse than scripted answers) there's something to be said for focused speaking points.
So I'm going to respond to each of the points in turn. I'm going to do my best to NOT do additional research into them... so the opinions I present (because that's what you asked for, after all) are my own - and may very well be misinformed. But so be it.
**please note, I am not providing the following perspective on behalf, or in association with the CBC. I am also not providing the following analysis as a reflection of Tagak Curley as a person, nor a politician. I am examining a list of priorities, nothing else.**
1. Breakfast program: Sure, why not. Breakfast is good. There's a breakfast program (maybe at the youth center) that operates out of Rankin. People generally say that kids having breakfast is key to their learning ability etc. I don't know if there's any truth to that, but I do have to wonder why Mr. Curley found this SO important so that it might be number one on his list of priorities.
2. Medical services and travel: Agreed. This has been an issue for many MLA-hopefuls. The recent rejig of the airline services in the north is largely due (according to the airlines) to the way the medical travel contract was awarded. I've also heard horror stories about the recovery centre in Winnipeg.
3. Housing: I often hear of the housing crisis in Iqaluit. And I've seen it first-hand: friends having to leave town because they've ended a relationship and have no where to live, or can't afford to live by themselves. What I do find curious is Curley says "housing units" but doesn't specify if they should be "affordable" or not.
4. Inuit training/employment: This is going to be necessary if they plan on making the GN's primary language of work Inuktitut in less than 3 years.
5. Government contracts use local resources: If the GN's purpose is to promote a self-sustainable territory... this is a must. But a lot of "local" companies have non-local partnerships - either as a financial base, or because they need equipment/monetary support to bid on the projects.
6. More roads/harbours - Curley doesn't say if he means more roads WITHIN or BETWEEN communities. It would be nice to be connected to "civilization" but that Manitoba Road seems awful far off ... and the harbour bit rings a bit of Harper's pledge. Maybe he sees a closer partnership between the GN and the feds?
7. Cargo/food mail - the food mail program works. But it doesn't reach who it needs to. This has been one of the major glitches of the program. How do you help unilingual people make food mail orders? And many Inuit don't have credit cards... so how do they pay? So a proactive approach to solve those problems is a positive thing, in my opinion... because
8. Local courts - YES. I've sat through weeks of the Nunavut Court of Justice sessions here in Rankin and thought to myself "there's got to be a better way." I know of one person in particular who has been waiting 14 months for a trial date... and still has no idea when it's going to be. In my opinion, it would be useful to have a mini-Nunavut Court of Justice in each of the regional 'capitals.' These satellite offices could alleviate some of the pressure on the court system, and could deal with Justice of the Peace court ... and still have the judges travel around every couple months to deal with the more serious issues.
9. More police - Does anyone remember the "more police, more crime" bit from Freakonomics? I know that's not Curley's point. And I personally think that all communities should have enough officers in all communities so that NO ONE is in the situation where they would have to answer a call alone. We've seen enough tragedy in the north. Also, especially in the case of Rankin Inlet, what about local recruitment and retention? We used to have two bilingual officers here in Rankin. Now we have none.
10. Rely more on IQ for hunting regulations - This one harkens of the Kivalliq Wildlife Board/ Nunavut Wildlife Management Board/ Government of Nunavut / polar bear quota issue. Traditional knowledge and scientific knowledge are typically at odds. This is yet another instance where if the territory's goal is to become a segregated, isolated part of Canada, then it can go ahead and dismiss "conventional" science. I'm not saying traditional knowledge should be ignored, but the two sides have to come to some sort of understanding... and that's not something we see in the territory right now.
Pheuf! Okay, well that was tiring. Making thoughtful responses to a politician's platform is exhausting. Here's hoping it won't catch on...
Thanks for your question, Anonymous.