Monday, April 21, 1997
Get on with it
If nothing else, you have to admire Finance Minister John Todd's energy. He seems determined to get Nunavut off the ground, single-handedly if he has to.
Behaving at times like a muskox in a carvings shop, Todd recently announced a strategy to move jobs from Yellowknife to Rankin Inlet, Cambridge Bay and Iqaluit.
He is eager to start moving government offices and agencies to Nunavut with the idea that come April 1999 there will an infrastructure in place to start the administration of the new territory.
Predictably, Todd's critics are worried that the jobs will stay in those three centres and will not be spread out through Nunavut.
Footprints 2 calls for a decentralization of government services and administration so that the communities benefit from government spending.
However, this equitable notion runs into the fact that most communities aren't yet able to support an influx of administrative offices. Construction on local infrastructure is scheduled to begin this summer. However, Todd is eager to get going.
Without doubt, implementation of a brand new infrastructure in Nunavut is destined to differ from the theory. Pragmatists like John Todd are bound to draw criticism for leaping into the future with both feet. And questions remain about where the government jobs will end up, how many times government employees will be shuffled from one place to another and, of course, where the money is coming from.
Todd's response? Why, this is just an idea he had. No specifics have been hammered out.
Todd's plan is a long way from being realized. There is room for discussion. But at least it is a practical start to getting the governance of Nunavut under way. As the clock ticks down, the time to talk is drawing to a close. It's time to start getting things done.
In a country where commercial fishing on two of our three coasts is imperilled by stock shortages, it is hard to believe that Broughton Island fishers have no place to sell their catch.
Just as carvings and prints have been heavily promoted in the South to create a market, the arctic char industry is going to have to spend some money and bring some expertise to selling their product.
One look at the number of indigestible things for sale in any grocery store - in the North or South - and the potential market for char starts to look pretty big.
It's not easy for Northern Athletes to compete on the national scene. NWT teams in particular are handicapped by the extraordinary travel costs involved in just getting some decent practice.
But how does one explain a group of boys indoor soccer players from Rae-Edzo beating two of Germany's top three outdoor teams at a recent tournament?
Some might be tempted to say there must be something in the water in Rae. We prefer to believe that the Rae-Edzo Warriors have proved once again the irrepressible and indomitable Northern spirit goes a long way toward making up for our geographical handicap.