Tuesday, 22 May 2007

NUNAVUT: Random Facts

Random things I picked up from a Town Hall with MP Nancy Karetak-Lindell …


- The Federal jurisdiction of Nunavut covers 1/5th of Canada’s landmass (about the size of Western Europe)

- Just over 31,000 people live in 25-30 communities which are not connected by roads; one must fly to travel between them

- Capital city: Iqaluit, on Baffin Island

- Official Languages: Inukitut, Inuinnaqtun, English and French

- Natural resource (Inc energy) wealth, global warming and the gradual opening up of the North West Passage have spawned enormous pressures for traditional communities to “develop” in the past 30 years

- There is no tax base; communities rely heavily on Federal government support. I do not know the extent to which royalties are provided from companies engaged in mining, research, fishing, eco-tourism, etc

- As Canada plays host to the 2007 International Polar Year research events, thousands of scientists are/will descend in the Territory to study its geography, ecology and cultures

- People have traditionally been non confrontational and accepting by nature, but are increasingly learning to debate & criticize decisions, especially those made by the Federal Government and foreign entities which affect them

- Most communities live near shorelines, which will have to consistently adapt as long as water levels continue to rise

- All buildings in communities are built on the ground without basements; as the Permafrost is thawing out, the foundation for these buildings are constantly shifting

- High population growth, especially among youth as 50% of the population is under the age of 25

– elevating pressures on education, housing and employment, and helping some look to the Southern Provinces to study and work

- Local cultures and customs are extremely intertwined with the seasons- Emergency Health Services are largely non existent; people with serious health conditions must be air lifted to *nearby* health centers out of the Territory such as Manitoba, if possible

- Mobile Dr’s exist who travel throughout the region, but they are short visits in each stop which are often consumed by urgent requests. As a result, normal family medicine practices and surveilling/monitoring for chronic disease signs are not common

- Food costs are exceptionally high: $12 for 2L of Milk; $10 for a bag of potatoes; $7 for a bag of carrots. Imagine what your monthly grocery tally would be if you were footing the bill at those prices!
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