AngryFakeLeaks presents: The Senate’s Standing Commitee on Official Language’s lost report on Nunavut’s Anglos
The myths of the white man of Canada’s North as a wealthy adventurer backed by wealthy European powers and natural resources companies still plague the English-speaking minority of the Canadian territory of Nunavut, according to a report by the Senate’s Standing Commitee on Official Languages.
Research for the report titled “From Baffin to the 21st Century: The endangered vitality of the English-speaking minority of Nunavut”, was conducted by the same senators that published another stereotype-shattering study tittled “The vitality of Québec’s English-speaking communities: from myth to reality.” In both reports the senators describe an official-language community that often lacks access to many federal services most Canadian take for granted.
« People assume that because the white Anglos who come to Nunavut are all under government contract or working for mining companies that they are a privileged minority », explained committee chairwoman Andrée Dawson-Duplessis. « The reality is that sometimes in Nunavut you come in contact with people who don’t speak English. That can be very disorienting for some people. Especially the elderly. »
The Senate committee’s report recognizes that the situation of Nunavut’s English-speaking community is unique. All of Nunavut children go to English schools, English is the working language of federal government institutions and of the rapidly growing natural resources industry. 100% of immigrants and 36% of natives of the territory adopt English as their home language.
Yet the senate committee has found that these statistics hide the reality of a community whose vitality is in jeopardy. For example, it has found that in numerous small communities stretching from James Bay to the arctic circle, English-speaking Canadians have little to no access to health care, schools or vocational training in English. « If you take an airplane from Iqualuit to Igloolik, and then you take a snowmobile and head north for 3 hours, you will find small communities where there is no English-language vocational training», explained Dawson-Duplessis, adding that the Official Languages Act requires the Federal government to actively promote the development of minority Official-language communities everywhere in Canada.
« That situation make it very difficult for some people », she added. « Especially the elderly. »
In all the committee tabled 27 recommendations for the federal government, including the creation of programs to promote English-language literature, movies and television and introduce Inuktitut-speaking inhabitants of Nunavut to the richness of Anglo culture. It also recommend’s the direct financing of Anglo institutions. “It can be very confusing for some people to deal with a territorial government run by non-English speaking people”, said Dawson-Duplessis. “Especially for the elderly.”
“Canada’s image is a diverse and multicultural country”, said the committee chairwoman, “and the high birth rate of Nunavut’s natives, the highest in Canada, challenges that diversity.” For that reason the Senate recommended that the federal government encourage and facilitate English-speaking immigration to help the Anglo community maintain it’s demographic weight.
Nunavut’s English-speakers repeatedly told the senators they were very supportive of Inuits culture and that they wished that the English-speaking culture could be seen as an integral part of Northern life. In the word of Bernard Ross, chairman of the Nunavut Community Network: « To survive and thrive Nunavut’s English-speaking community must grow. That doesn’t have to happen at the expense of other communities. They can join us and grow with us. It’s win-win. »