Qikiqtani Inuit Association is saddened to learn of the passing of Justice Thomas Berger
Iqaluit, Nunavut – April 29, 2021 – QIA has learned of the passing of lawyer and advocate Thomas Berger. Berger was a former NDP member of Parliament, Leader of the British Columbia NDP, member of the Supreme Court of B.C. and lawyer for many indigenous groups in the north, paving the way for landmark rulings and ushering in a new era of indigenous consultation. He was 88.
“I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Justice Berger,” says P.J. Akeeagok, QIA President “It was an honour to have him as our appointee to an arbitration panel in 2017. He was a friend and ally to all Inuit. His paramount work has shaped our future for the better.”
Justice Berger may be best remembered as the original lawyer for the Nisga’a Nation during the Calder Case in the 1960’s and 70’s. This case establishes Aboriginal title in Canadian Law. As a lawyer, judge, and commissioner he helped countless Indigenous peoples in this country including through the Berger Inquiry.
In 2006, Justice Berger released his Final Report on the Implementation of the Nunavut Agreement focusing upon Inuit Employment within Government. This report presented clear recommendations for the establishment of a bilingual education system from K-12 as the most direct means of addressing inequities in Inuit employment.
For more information, please contact:
Will Hopkins, Acting Director of Communications,
Qikiqtani Inuit Association