MLA Moses Aupaluktuq asks questions about the Government of Nunavut’s uranium policy and stance towards AREVA’s proposed Kiggavik uranium mine

From the Nunavut Hansard, November 2, 2012

Item 6: Oral Questions

Question 466 – 3(3): Status of Kiggavik Project (Aupaluktuq)

Mr. Aupaluktuq: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to direct my questions to the
Minister of Executive and Intergovernmental Affairs, Madam Premier Eva Aariak.

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I tabled correspondence concerning the information response
timeline and the next steps for the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s review of the
proposed Kiggavik project near my community of Baker Lake.

During the spring sitting, I posed questions to the minister concerning her department’s
coordination of the Government of Nunavut’s submissions to the Nunavut Impact
Review Board in relation to its review of the proposed Kiggavik uranium project and
what the GN’s main concerns were in relation to the project. Can the minister update the
House on what the GN’s main concerns are in relation to the proposed Kiggavik uranium
mine project? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: Thank you, Mr. Aupaluktuq. Minister responsible for Executive and
Intergovernmental Affairs, Madam Premier.

Hon. Eva Aariak (interpretation): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I believe that Economic
Development and Transportation can respond to that question better because I don’t have
that information in front of me. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: Thank you, Madam Premier. Redirecting that question to the Minister
responsible for Economic Development and Transportation, Minister Taptuna.

Hon. Peter Taptuna: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The GN department, there are a various
number of departments that participate in the hearings. At this point there are technical
hearings and GN submitted approximately 86 issues to the proponent for their review and
mitigation of the issues that the departments of GN have. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Speaker: Thank you, Minister Taptuna. Your first supplementary, Mr. Aupaluktuq.

Mr. Aupaluktuq: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the government’s response on
this. The Government of Nunavut’s Uranium Policy Statement was tabled on June 6 of
this year. One of the five principles is that “Uranium exploration and mining must have
the support of Nunavummiut with particular emphasis on communities close to uranium
development.” How will the government make a final determination as to whether or not
the community of Baker Lake supports this project? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: Thank you, Mr. Aupaluktuq. Minister responsible for Economic Development
and Transportation, Minister Taptuna.

Hon. Peter Taptuna: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the member for that excellent
question. Mr. Speaker, we do have a process that’s outlined in the Nunavut Land Claims
Agreement. The Nunavut Impact Review Board reviews all the information that comes in
and makes that determination based on facts. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: Thank you, Minister Taptuna. Your second supplementary, Mr. Aupaluktuq.

Mr. Aupaluktuq: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It’s my understanding that the Department of
Executive and Intergovernmental Affairs was to submit its responses to information
requests made by Makita, the Beverly Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board, the
Canadian Arctic Resources Committee, and the Kivalliq Inuit Association by September
7, 2012. Can the minister indicate if the government has provided its responses? Thank
you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: Thank you, Mr. Aupaluktuq. Minister of Economic Development and
Transportation, Minister Taptuna.

Hon. Peter Taptuna: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Throughout the process, the regulatory
process was conducted by the Nunavut Impact Review Board. The information requests
flow through them and the information requests from Makita is not necessarily within the
scope for the Nunavut Impact Review Board to determine. We welcome the
organizations to come to the Government of Nunavut with their issues or questions.
That’s where the information requests can be handled from. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: Thank you, Minister Taptuna. Your final supplementary, Mr. Aupaluktuq.

Mr. Aupaluktuq: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the response. To quote my
colleague here based on facts with respect to language rights and the spirit of the Nunavut
Land Claims Agreement, the intent of Nunavut, as well as fundamental rights, such as
democracy, the general public view and their concern for the environment, the very
nature and core of uranium mining and its concerns for Nunavummiut is a concern in
various thought perspectives, whether it be pro or con.

For example, the minister indicated that there are 86 issues, but as well, in the process,
for example, terminology and thousands of pages are to be reviewed. The future of our
youth has expressed opposition and concern for the environment and well-being. On the
other spectrum, the present businesses have expressed to those who raise awareness as
possibly being opposed to creating employment and economic benefits to businesses.

My question is: will this government review, revisit, or reconsider a public call for an
open forum on the Kiggavik project? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: Thank you, Mr. Aupaluktuq. Minister responsible for Economic Development and Transportation, Minister Taptuna.

Hon. Peter Taptuna: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. No. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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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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