Saturday, March 25, 2017

Canada's northernmost community seeks PM's help to weather climate change

Nunavut has a population of about 33,000 people, spread out over 25 communities. The biggest is the capital with about 6,800 people; the smallest is tiny Grise Fiord on Ellesmere Island with 148 people. (Government of Nunavut)
By Sara Frizzell, CBC News Posted: Mar 25, 2017 12:10 PM CT
The mayor of Canada's northernmost community is looking to top officials for help adapting the hamlet to climate change. After high tides last summer crashed over snowmobiles and carried fuel tanks out to sea, Meeka Kiguktak wants Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to visit Grise Fiord, Nunavut to see for himself their infrastructure needs. She approached MP Hunter Tootoo's office in Nunavut with this request at a meeting of Baffin mayors last week in Iqaluit. Tootoo's parliamentary assistant Henry Wright, said the MP is planning on visiting every community in his constituency over the next year, and would like to bring the prime minister, but nothing has been scheduled for Grise Fiord at this point.
The federal budget tabled on Wednesday, includes $83.8 million over five years beginning in 2018 to integrate traditional knowledge into understanding climate change.The budget proposal commits to improving Indigenous communities' resilience to climate change with northern infrastructure investment, especially in communities at risk of flooding. Kiguktak says she's seen "rapid change" with tides rising every year. For the first time, the hamlet's water supply — which runs off from a glacier — was brown. "Aujuittuq, that's the name of our community, meaning the glacier or the ice cap never thaws, but it's thawed," she said, noting that the glacier is no longer visible from town, where she used to be able to see it on top of the mountain. Kiguktak has been a resident of Grise Fiord since her family moved from Pangnirtung in 1966 when she was two years old. he community was founded in the 1950s when the Government of Canada relocated Inuit from Northern Quebec and Pond Inlet to the high Arctic.

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