A screenshot from www.makiliqta.ca. This once was a legitimate Government of Nunavut website. Now, it has been taken over and uses the language of the Nunavut Roundtable for Poverty Reduction to redirect visitors to gambling sites. Stewart Burnett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Searching the Nunavut Roundtable for Poverty Reduction on the internet will quickly lead one to www.makiliqta.ca.

The first headline on the site reads, “Nunavut Roundtable on Poverty Reduction Through Online Gambling.”

It goes on to explain that one of the biggest challenges in Nunavut is poverty and that the territory is coping with high unemployment rates.

The solution?

“When people live in extreme poverty, finding the way out of it can be a challenge,” reads the text on the front page of the website. “One of the options that can solve the problem of poverty is online gambling. If they gamble responsibly, individuals can change their financial situation for the better. Hitting the jackpot and winning the sum so big it can transform many lives is always possible.”

Readers are forgiven for racking their brains, wondering if this is some sort of progressive 21st century approach to poverty or if the whole thing is a hoax.

The next line writes, “It is very important to have a positive approach towards gambling,” and it goes on to explain how people should start with small bets and try different games. Later on the page, the website lists suggestions for online casinos where people can win money.

“Our organization is committed to reducing the level of poverty in Nunavut Provine (sic) through responsible online gambling,” states a line near the end.

The site bears the logos of the Nunavut Roundtable for Poverty Reduction and Government of Nunavut (GN). Makiliqta is also a real name used on now-abandoned social media profiles by the GN, and www.makiliqta.ca is listed as the contact page in the 2017-2022 Makimaniq Plan 2.

“It’s a long and complicated story,” said Lindsay Turner, director of the poverty reduction division at the GN, about what happened to the website.

She said it had essentially been hacked, or something along those lines. She was not eager to discuss it for long, lowering her head in shame that the subject was raised.

“We’re working on it,” she said when asked if the GN was trying to regain ownership of the site.

Mads Sandbakken, director of policy and planning with the Department of Family Services, stated in an email to Kivalliq News that the department is aware of the hijacking and working to get it removed and replaced with another website.

“We have been in contact with a contractor that will assist in removing and replacing this,” stated Sandbakken.

“Thanks for flagging and, of course, the information on the website is inaccurate and does in no way reflect the views of Family Services or the Poverty Reduction Division.”

By Stewart Burnett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 14, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Kivalliq News   Rankin Inlet, Nunavut
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