Aboriginal Affairs minister John Duncan has decided to reject the re-appointment of the NIRB’s chairman Lucassie Arragutainaq. Arragutainaq was considered by many to be an excellent chairman. As chairman, Arragutainaq made the final decision when the eight-person board was split 50/50. He was a strong believer in Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ), and promoted an increased use of IQ in regulatory decision-making. He also pushed for mining companies to take more serious consideration of IQ in terms of environmental issues and local Inuit consultation. He was quite knowledgeable in this subject, and co-authored two books on Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit. He had also received the Nunavut Mining Symposium government award in 2010 on behalf of the Nunavut Impact Review Board.
Both the Government of Nunavut and Nunavut Tunngavik recommended that he be re-appointed to the position. Premier Aariak said that despite their recommendation, the decision was not in their hands and “outside of [their] control as the government of Nunavut.” Even mining companies like Areva were surprised by the Federal government’s decision.
Many believe this decision is a move by the Conservatives to get rid of an individual that might have had a different point of view regarding mining and resource exploitation in Nunavut, and perhaps questioned some of the Federal government’s intentions. As Ramsey Hart, Canadian coordinator for the organization Mining Watch has stated in an article for Nunatsiaq News, “The Conservative government, I’m sure, would want someone who toes the party line, and perhaps the existing candidate was too much of an independent thinker.”
For a Nunatsiaq Article article on this topic click here:
Or download the PDF (look to your left under ‘attached files’)