The election for President of Nunatsiavut is only 13 days away. Two of the candidates have Facebook pages with their platforms and questions and answers to most. There is also some discussion on personal Facebook pages.
One of the topics is language, specifically Inuttut and the fluency required by the president.
I think I mentioned this before, the requirements are ambiguous and open to interpretation, to wit: “The president must be able to understand and speak Inuttut. The president must also be 25 years of age or older”.
The biggest misconception held by a lot of people is that there is an on going debate about language and this is to the detriment to the efficient working of the Nunatsiavut government [NG].
What a load of codswallop that is.
There has never been a public debate about language, or any other topic for that matter.
The only time language and other issues are raised to any level like a public debate is every 4 years. That just coincides with the elections.
Many people feel that the president should be fluent in Inuttut and English. Many other people disagree with that premise.
When you consider the fact that the Labrador Inuit Association, the precursor to NG, was formed on the basis of Inuit language, culture and values, and that all the years of negotiations for land claims and then the negotiations for the formation of Nunatsiavut territory was based foremost on Inuit language, culture and values then it is easy to see why many people feel so strongly about having a fluent speaker as the head of NG.
I would suggest that without the Inuit language and culture argument used, and accepted by the two levels of government, there would be no land claims and there for no Nunatsiavut Government.
Words like distinct and unique pertaining to Inuit language and culture are used through out documents on all processes of negations over the years.
Another worrying premise put forward is that; by having a fluent Inuttut speaker as leader this has contributed to a very disorganized bordering on dysfunctional Government [not my words, words of others].
Well I agree with the disorganized bordering on dysfunctional Government part, but I have no truck with the first part.
First off it is only the president that had to be fluent under the old LIA constitution. Then with the formation of NG it was watered down to what is in there now [see above].
Over the years most of the bi lingual speakers with an independent bent have been shooed off, ignored and marginalized by an increasing uni-lingual English speaking government and bureaucracy.
So to say one person in one position has led to all the woes that beset NG is stretching reality.
The reality is that English is the working language of NG. The president is just one vote in the assembly. So if there is any blame and finger pointing to be done let’s point fingers and lay the blame in the right direction.