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Nunavut francophones decry lack of services

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  • George Lessard
    Nunavut francophones decry lack of services Last updated May 1 2006 09:12 AM CDT CBC News http://www.cbc.ca/north/story/nor-francophone-nunavut.html
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2006
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      Nunavut francophones decry lack of services
      Last updated May 1 2006 09:12 AM CDT
      CBC News

      http://www.cbc.ca/north/story/nor-francophone-nunavut.html

      Francophones in Nunavut say they hope a ruling last week in the Northwest
      Territories will result in some improvements in services there.

      But French speaking residents of Canada's newest territory say while the
      situation that prompted the lawsuit is bad in the N.W.T., it's worse in
      Nunavut.

      "Seven years after the creation of Nunavut, we can almost say that there
      are no services in French provided by the territorial government," said
      Daniel Cuerrier, the director general of the Association des francophones
      du Nunavut.

      An N.W.T. Supreme Court justice ruled last week that services offered in
      French by the N.W.T. government are inadequate, and ordered the government
      to comply with the federal Official Languages Act.

      FROM APRIL 25, 2006: ; N.W.T. francophones win language ruling
      http://www.cbc.ca/north/story/nor-nwt-french-ruling.html

      Cuerrier says Nunavut gets more than $1.4 million from the federal
      government to provide services in French, but he doesn't know where the
      money is being spent.

      "The fact of the matter is the government of Nunavut gets paid to provide
      the services in French and it doesn't do it, so there's something very
      wrong there," he said.

      He says the situation in Nunavut is terrible and the general public has
      basically no access to services in French, especially in places like the
      hospital, where they need them most.

      Cuerrier says his group did not take part in the lawsuit launched by
      francophones in the N.W.T., saying French-speaking Nunavummiut want to
      work out a solution with the territorial government.

      Still, he says a lawsuit will be a last alternative if services don't
      improve.

      Inuit want official language status

      Nunavut's commissioner of languages, Johnny Kusugak, says he understands
      francophones want better services in their own language … but so do Inuit.

      He says Nunavut is the only territory or province in the country where
      most people speak a language other than French or English. He says it's
      about time Ottawa recognized that fact.

      "In Nunavut, Inuktitut has to be recognized as one of the three official
      languages, Inuktitut meaning that's also Inuinnaqtun," he said.
      Inuinnaqtun is a language spoken by Inuit in the western part of the
      territory.

      Kusugak said his office hasn't received any official complaints about a
      lack of service, but he wants to meet with the territory's francophone
      association to discuss the issue.

      In the meantime, Kusugak says Inuit can learn from efforts by francophones
      to protect their language, and use their example to protect Inuktitut and
      Inuinnaqtun.
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