Inuvik set to lose jail, government jobs with proposed cuts: mayor
Even the hometown of Northwest Territories Premier Floyd Roland is not immune to sweeping territorial job cuts, Inuvik Mayor Derek Lindsay said.
Lindsay said Inuvik is set to lose 31 government workers as part of 135 proposed job cuts, which are part of Roland's plan to slash $135 million from the territorial budget over the next two years.
Most of the job losses would come from the Arctic Tern Young Offender Facility, which the government wants to close down. Such cuts could cost Inuvik up to $3 million a year, Lindsay said.
"That's a horrendous economic impact on the town of Inuvik," he said Monday. "Inuvik's economy is very soft right now, and this was really a bad time to get hit with something like this."
MLAs will get to debate the proposed budget cuts and job losses, as well as the closure of the Arctic Tern facility, when they debate the draft budget in June.
But before that, Lindsay said, he wants to see the territorial government consult with the town on the closure of the correctional centre.
One Inuvik-based government employee, who did not want to be named, said Roland — who was acclaimed to his fourth term as MLA for Inuvik Boot Lake in last year's territorial election — has "sold us down the river" with his proposed cuts.
Closing Arctic Tern, which houses female young offenders, would save the government about $2.5 million a year.
"You know, I'm just shaking my head when I hear [Justice] Minister Jackson Lafferty talking about getting much tougher on youth crime, and then the government talks about closing down a facility," said Lydia Bardak, executive director of the John Howard Society based in Yellowknife.
"They're proposing increasing the number of youth in the system, while decreasing the supports available to them in that system."
Other territorial government jobs slated for termination include court workers in four communities. Bardak said court workers save the justice system time, as they help people who cannot afford a lawyer to work through the complicated legal process.