Another jail opened in Nunavut last week. It is long overdue -- the existing facility in Iqaluit, Baffin Correctional Centre is, as Justice Mahar of the Nunavut Court of Justice recently said, "notoriously over crowded and under resourced." And yet a rather bland factual news story about the opening of the new prison in Rankin was met with a flood of angry comments about over pampered prisoners, club fed hotels and similar complaints.
Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat did not launch a hunger strike over a single piece of legislation. In short, this is what we have always been talking about. Whether the particular focus has been on housing, or education or the environment, or whatever else. What lies at the heart of all these issues is our relationship with Canada. And Canada? This relationship is abusive. We have been backed into a corner and we are literally fighting for our lives. We are literally dying, in so many preventable and unacceptable ways. I'm not being poetic or hyperbolic here and I don't just mean culturally. We are dying. I need you -- WE need you, to see the forest and not just the trees.
It was an urban restlessness that first drove graphic artist and Toronto native Jonathan Cruz to explore the far reaches of Canada's North. It was the simple pleasure of eating a hardboiled egg that compelled him to stay. But we'll get to that. The 30-year-old founder of Iqaluit-based Nuschool Design Agency, a multidisciplinary graphic design studio, has literally made his mark all over Canada.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food recently toured Canada and reported, "very desperate conditions, and people who are in extremely dire straits" in terms of hunger. The Conservative response was to deny the problem and to attack the credibility of the Rapporteur. The government is turning its back on almost three million Canadians who are struggling to meet their nutrition needs.
Stephen Harper talks of Northern sovereignty but demonstrates a purely militaristic approach, with the recent addition of a little nod to resource extraction. At no time has the prime minister acknowledged that an essential ingredient to our sovereignty is sustainable and liveable communities in the North.