As MLA for Iqaluit-Manirajak, Adam Lightstone repeatedly criticized the Government of Nunavut’s staff housing policy.

On Friday, he had his own words used against him now that he is the minister responsible for staff housing.

Arviat South MLA Joe Savikataaq quoted some of Lightstone’s past comments in the Legislative Assembly, including Lightstone’s observation that the “staff housing subsidy is highly concentrated among the professional, middle management, all the way up to executive-level positions. In fact two-thirds of the highest paid positions are in staff housing, and not to mention the fact that only 25 per cent of staff housing is allocated to Inuit employees.”

Savikataaq asked Lightstone a couple of times for assurances that those policies will change, suggesting possibilities such as not allowing executive-level employees to occupy staff housing and gearing staff housing toward Inuit employees, with time limits imposed for a transition.

Lightstone, minister of Human Resources since Nov. 19, acknowledged that the statistical data that Savikataaq referred to “cannot be refuted.” Yet he kept replying that he could not provide an answer to Savikataaq’s questions because he doesn’t have an answer.

“If the minister cannot give me an answer, who can? Who is running human resources?” Savikataaq asked.

Lightstone said he still has the same concerns about the GN’s staff housing policies but even though he’s now responsible for that area, he won’t make arbitrary decisions. Instead, he will allow a review to be completed, which is still in the preliminary stages.

“We need to take some time to look at the matter carefully and put together objectives and scope before we can provide any such timelines or determinations,” the minister said.

Savikataaq also asked whether Lightstone will create incentives for those in staff housing to transition into homeownership.

Lightstone said he would like to do that.

Derek Neary

Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...

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