President's Report to the Board of Directors October 2012|
I have been privileged to provide several keynote addresses and presentations to promote QIA’s mandate, our rights, values, including our extensive work since my last Board report. Our key message remains consistent - development, whether it be renewable or non-renewable resource development must ensure community consultations, Inuit participation and must contribute actively and significantly to improving Inuit living standards and social conditions with economic benefits.
Firstly, congratulations to the Inuit of Arctic Bay on their successful bowhead hunt in early August. It reminded me of the pride I still feel when I remember that I was able to go down and watch Iqalungmiut butcher a bowhead last year. We enjoyed some of the Arctic Bay mattaq during the Pangnirtung community feast hosted by NTI the end of August.
September 25-27 – Nunavut Trade Show.
September 21-22 – IBC Fund Raising Committee. www.sanavallianiq.ca or www.building4dreams.ca;
September 20 – Prince Albert of Monaco.
The Prince is interested in environmental issues with a focus on the North. His foundation funds the PEW Foundation from the United States which in turn works with Oceans North. Bernie MacIsaac, Director of Lands, and Navarana are discussing how best to work with these groups to build capacity focusing on the proposed Lancaster Marine Conservation Area.
September 20 – Executive Committee
After a quiet summer, the Executive Committee held a teleconference on September 20. The main agenda item was the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s report on the Mary River Project. We will be getting an update on this from Navarana Beveridge and Stephen Bathory.
September 17-19 – Nunavut Planning Commission, Rankin Inlet. The NPC met to review the draft land use plan and how and when their community tours will happen. Their tour will start in our region the beginning of November.
September 06 - Nunavut Leaders Forum
Recently, Minister Aglukkaq and I, with our staff, met by teleconference to discuss how the Government of Canada, QIA and other partners could work towards addressing gaps in available trained/skilled labour and infrastructure needed to meet the demands of our growing economy.
There are very high expectations for the mining industry to contribute to Nunavut’s growth and to provide benefits to Nunavummiut. Following the Nunavut Mining Symposium, the Leadership Investment Forum was created to discuss Nunavut’s minerals industry to discuss concerns, inputs and advice on how mining developments are progressing in Nunavut.
August 28-30 - Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated The NTI Executive and Board met in Pangnirtung. One of the outcomes was the announcement of James Arreak as the Chief Executive Officer. He will start with NTI on October 01. The Board finalized the Terms of References for the Executive Committee, President and the Vice Presidents; the Inuit Wildlife and Environment Advisory; and the Inuit Social and Cultural Advisory Committee as part of the Closer to Inuit implementation. The Board will be recommending the Resource Revenue Trust Deed to the AGM. Nunasi Corporation gave a short update on their plans to better meet the concerns of the Regional Inuit Associations.
August 06-09 – AcelorMittal
At the invitation of AcelorMittal, myself, Harry Flaherty and Levi as representatives of QC, and Debbie Brisebois of IBC, traveled to London, England to meet with AcelorMittal Board members, senior advisors, and senior representatives of businesses who partner with AcelorMittal. This trip was the initial phase of developing the long-term respectful partnership between AcelorMittal, QIA, QC and the other international businesses QIA, QC, and Inuit may be working with should the mine proceed. I reiterated to AcelorMittal representatives QIA’s support for the mine pending the outcome of the negotiations of the Inuit Impact Benefit Agreement and the commercial land lease. A copy of my report has been distributed and is available.
July 16-20 – Iqaluit
July 23-25 - Igloolik
July 26-28 – Pond Inlet - Final Hearings – Proposed Mary River
I congratulate our staff, Board, Executive, and the Mary River Project Committees for all your concerted efforts. QIA’s statements throughout the final hearings in Iqaluit, Igloolik and Pond Inlet are made publically available on our website including transcripts from the Hearings within Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) website.
The environmental/socio-economic assessment of the proposed project initiated in 2008 has resulted in a recommendation to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) for the project to proceed subject to stringent controls on every aspect of its operations, on land, sea, animals, birds and the air. QIA is generally pleased with the proposed terms and conditions and although there are some which may require additional review and discussion, it is clear that NIRB placed great value and emphasis on what they heard from QIA and the communities. We look forward to working with Baffinland and all other parties, through direct working relationships and working groups should the project go ahead. QIA commits to discussions with the communities on what the report means as well as project next steps if the Minister of AANDC approves the project.
I also had an opportunity to call into Isuma’s Nipivut Nunattini radio show to provide information on the roles and responsibilities of QIA in relation to the Environmental Assessment of the Mary River project as well as to provide information on the status of the IIBA. I look forward to providing further updates and soliciting feedback, not only through Isuma but through as many media outlets as possible.
July 21 - Canada-Nunavut Geoscience Office (CNGO) – Tour of Chidliak
The CNGO invited QIA to do a site tour to learn about their research project near Inuit Owned Lands and discuss how CNGO and QIA could work together in collecting and disseminating baseline geoscience data . I had the privilege of going on this tour with Hannah Uniuqsaraq and Bernie MacIsaac and Megan Pizzo-Lyall from our Lands Department. The flight was about 45 minutes long by twin otter to the site. QIA was greeted by David Mate, the field supervisor of South Camp where he gave us a quick rundown of the camp and then took them to a carving stone site. QIA and CNGO representatives talked about how carvers might be able to one day utilize this carving stone site. This carving stone find is a good example of how geoscience information could benefit Inuit. QIA and CNGO will continue to work together in the future on possible opportunities for the Inuit of the region
Although the CNGO camp is small, they made it a goal to hire and train as many Inuit as possible and utilize local Inuit-owned businesses. For the 2012 field season CNGO hired Qikiqtaaluk Logistics as well as six other individual Inuit from Arviat, Repulse Bay, Clyde River, Iqaluit and Pangnirtung.
July 04-05 - Fenbrook Penitentiary
At the invitation of Mary Alainga-Fraser, Acting in place of Peter Irniq, I visited the Fenbrook Medium Institution for the July 09 celebrations hosted by the Inuit inmates. As a follow-up, I wrote to Warden Scott Tempest to discuss possible multi-party collaboration (cc’d Inuit organizations and governments) to advocate for Inuit-specific services and programs in Inuktitut and by Inuit in the justice system. QIA is supportive of Nunavut’s desire to incorporate Inuit societal values into its justice system and use community-based justice to develop support and healing programs for Inuit inmates with integrated programs for them, their families, and victims. As well, I would like to thank NTI for their contribution of $1,000 to the institute on behalf of all 4 Inuit organizations. These funds will be used towards providing country food, carving tools, and arts and crafts supplies. A copy of my letter is made available for your reference.
June 27 - The Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation – Jane Glassco Arctic Fellows
The Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation held its final gathering of the first cohort of Jane Glassco Arctic Fellows in Iqaluit. The Jane Glassco program is a visionary one of a kind capacity building program that selected northerners, mainly First Nations and Inuit between the ages of 25-35 who want to build a stronger north guided by northerners. They hosted an evening public event for a conversation on the future of education and policy in the north and the participants of the program presented the results of their individual research projects ranging from environmental issues, global warming, meaningful consultation, early childhood education and language issues. I am very proud to state that our Executive Director, Navarana, is a graduate of the first cohort and that I was able to welcome and congratulate the Arctic Fellows here in Iqaluit.
June 12 – Nunavut CEDO Teleconference Received an update on the federal funding cuts for 2013/14. Still discussing on how best to ensure a smooth transition on how best to address the cuts with minimal community impact.
June 09 and June 30 - Feed My Family Campaign I would like to offer my gratitude to Leesee Papatsie who initiated the ‘Feed My Family’ Campaign bringing attention to the high cost of nutritious food in the North. I participated in two demonstrations (one in Iqaluit and one in Ottawa). I briefly spoke to QIA’s participation with respect to the Makimaniq Anti-Poverty Strategy at the Iqaluit event and discussed food prices with several Members of Parliament at the Ottawa one. It is crucially important to recognize that chronic poverty remains the biggest obstacle to promoting the well-being of Nunavummiut. The goals and strategies agreed upon in the Makimaniq Plan requires every resident to be a part of the solution where we eradicate poverty. Leesee is a great example of how we individually and collectively can take action to make it a better place for our children to grow up in, a place where their basic needs will be met, where their rights will be respected and promoted.
May 30 - Conference Board of Canada - the Centre for the North
This organization is a research and dialogue initiative with more than 50 members from across Canada’s North. They have published a number of reports on education, labour force capacity and economic forecasts for the territories. I took an opportunity to provide an overview of QIA’s roles/responsibilities as well as our goals and objectives. Our key message was to emphasize that we must develop direct strategies to improve health and educational outcomes of Inuit in order to fully take advantage of renewable and non-renewable resource development. The audience included the Government of Nunavut, Arctic Cooperatives Limited, CanNor, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Health Canada, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, NorthwesTel, RBC Foundation, Government of Yukon, North West Company, Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation.
May 29 - Municipality of Igloolik
The Municipality of Igloolik extended an invitation to Tom Paddon, President of Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation (BIMC), to discuss the benefits should the Mary River Project go ahead. Tom asked me to join the meeting to provide a summary of the IIBA negotiations and we provided an overview of the draft IIBA as presented at our Spring Board meeting. Regardless of whether the project proceeds or not, I encouraged and encourage the Municipality to initiate a proposal for a feasibility study of a fishing boat or fish plant and consider possible partnerships with our subsidiary Qikiqtaaluk Corporation (QC) and perhaps the Baffin Fisheries Coalition to support their goals and objectives. I reiterated that we, as QIA, can support a lobby campaign for such proposals, as well as the need for basic infrastructure in all our communities, to the federal government.
Looking forward, we are still negotiating the IIBA and the land lease and will be getting an update from Stephen and Navarana; the Nunavut Leaders Forum will be meeting with Minister Aglukkaq next week to continue discussions on how exploration and development could be supported; the NTI AGM is here in Iqaluit the end of October; and the NTI President’s Office is up for another election in December.
In closing, I wish to give thanks to each and every member of our Board and staff for their continued efforts and look forward to working with you as we continue to protect and promote our rights and values.
J. Okalik Eegeesiak
Click here to download the president's report.