Statement made on 16 June 2009 by Senator Charlie Watt
Hon. Charlie Watt:
Honourable senators, today I am exercising my right of final reply in order to have this very important Bill S-227 sent to committee.
The precursor to this bill was Bill S-229 introduced in June, 2007. I have worked on this for the benefit of Nunavik residents who are geographically isolated from the rest of Quebec and who are suffering financial hardship because of the high cost of living in their northern communities.
This bill is extremely important to the region and it is important to the people I serve. I would like this bill to make it to committee in order for senators to have an opportunity to learn more about the economic hardship that is facing my people and the hopelessness that is smothering our youth.
Inuit are team players. We come from a background of cooperation. We have a culture of working together. Our survival in the Arctic depended on our ability to trust our neighbours and to care for each other.
I have brought this bill to you, honourable senators, so that our peers who serve on the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance will be able to review the data and interview witnesses who are expert in this field.
Honourable senators, the relationship between Inuit and the Crown is relatively new. We have a different history than that of the First Nations. This bill is an opportunity for the Senate to examine the high cost of living and the low purchasing power of the Inuit and northern residents.
I am asking for this bill to be examined by the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance because it is critical that the Inuit voice be heard.
Honourable senators, I am the only Inuk in this chamber. I ask you, in the spirit of cooperation, to let this bill be examined by the committee and let the concerns of tax-paying Inuit be heard.