AANDC Minister Vetoes the Re-appointment of NIRB Chairperson

Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit has frequently been critical of the manner in which the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) is conducting its review of AREVA Resources Canada Inc.’s proposed Kiggavik uranium mine.

Makita’s criticisms of NIRB were not a statement of Lucassie Arragutainaq’s inability to perform his duties. On the contrary. He has undoubtedly done his best to keep the seriously under-resourced organization reasonably on track.

So it came as a surprise and a disappointment to learn that federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan has vetoed Arragutainaq’s reappointment as Chairperson of NIRB.

Duncan’s vetoing of Arragutainaq’s reappointment as Chairperson of NIRB is purely political. The Conservative Party clearly wants someone who will tow their party line.

A process required by the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement (NLCA) was followed whereby NIRB put a name forward, and this was supported by Government of Nunavut (GN). Not only did Arragutainaq have the support of the rest of the NIRB Board, he also had the support of the GN and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.

NIRB responded by writing the Minister that it is “extremely disappointed”, and that it refusing to “provide additional nominations to the Minister for consideration … until such time as the NIRB’s two (2) outstanding Designated Inuit Organization vacancies are filled and the NIRB has a full complement of eight (8) Board members in place”.

Minister Duncan simply overruled them all — choosing to ignore and dismiss what he is required to do in the NLCA.

Makita’s concern is that Minister’s Duncan’s veto-ing of the re-appointment of Lucassie Arragutainaq as NIRB Chairperson is part and parcel of their Canada-wide policy of controlling and limiting environmental review processes (see http://www.envirolawsmatter.ca/).

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About makitanunavut

Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit (Makita) is a Nunavut-based non-governmental organization. Made up of members from Baker Lake and Iqaluit, Makita is dedicated to fostering a critical public discussion about uranium mining in Nunavut.
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