Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Around the Arctic April 05, 2018 - 11:30 am

Ex-Nunavut premier joins World Wildlife Fund-Canada

Paul Okalik to serve as “senior advisor”

Paul Okalik, the former Nunavut premier and MLA, will now work as a senior advisor to the World Wildlife Fund-Canada. (FILE PHOTO)
Paul Okalik, the former Nunavut premier and MLA, will now work as a senior advisor to the World Wildlife Fund-Canada. (FILE PHOTO)

Paul Okalik, Nunavut’s first premier and a defeated candidate in the Oct. 30, 2017 Nunavut general election, has joined the World Wildlife Fund-Canada as a senior advisor.

“Paul Okalik’s long history as a representative for his community and territory make him an ideal advisor as we bring northern perspectives and experiences more deeply into our conservation work,” Megan Leslie, the president and CEO of WWF-Canada, said in a news release.

The WWF says Okalik will work with communities “to protect Arctic ecosystems and wildlife while building a sustainable northern economy.”

Okalik, the first Inuk lawyer to be called to the Nunavut bar, served two terms as premier from 1999 to 2008, when Eva Aariak defeated him in his third attempt to win the premier’s post.

He served as a Nunavut MLA from 1999 to 2011, when he stepped down to run unsuccessfully in the electoral district of Nunavut as a Liberal candidate in the May 2, 2011 federal election, finishing in second place behind the Conservative incumbent, Leona Aglukkaq.

He returned to the Nunavut legislature in 2013 and served as an MLA until 2017, when he was defeated by Elisapee Sheutiapik in his second attempt to win the Iqaluit-Sinaa seat.

“The North is a place where we can still get it right so that communities can continue to thrive and survive with wildlife here in our territory,” Okalik said in the news release. “WWF stands out as an organization that finds a way to collaborate with communities to find sound conservation solutions.”

Okalik, with former Nunavut resident Louis McComber, is publishing a memoir titled “Let’s Move On: Paul Okalik Speaks Out,” to be available from Baraka Books after May 1.

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(21) Comments:

#1. Posted by Northern Inuit on April 05, 2018

Oooooooooooooh yeah!  The Macho Man, Paul…

oh wait, that’s the wrong WWF isn’t it.

I don’t have anything to say to that.

#2. Posted by Fascinating on April 05, 2018

Oh yea

#3. Posted by northern Jack on April 05, 2018

What a sad move by Paul. WWF is just another southern org here telling us what to do with our land. Go away WWF

#4. Posted by INUK HUNTER on April 05, 2018

Don t jump on the PETA train, Paul

#5. Posted by Fake Plastic Tree on April 05, 2018

#3 I’m sure I was not the only one expecting some rather shallow and unsophisticated analysis to accompany this story.

Surprise us sometime and say something more interesting and insightful that these rote gripes about “southern org[s] telling us what to do”.

What’s the real issue?

Would love to know more.

#6. Posted by EnviroInuk on April 05, 2018

Talk about desperation on both sides.

#7. Posted by monty sling on April 05, 2018

looks like you’re gonna have to cancel your mainland annual caribou fall hunt paul. i just can’t see the angle why you accepted this offer. wwf has yet to gain creditability through-out the indigenous world in western hemisphere.  aannnd, looks like you have lost all hopes of being a (civil servant)/elected official in nunavut.  how do you say washed-up in inuktitut?

#8. Posted by Knockout Ned on April 05, 2018

Good news.

Inuit talk a big game about being stewards of the environment. Here is one Inuk who actually puts his money where his mouth is.

If your concern is that southern organizations come up and “tell us what to do”, maybe you can speak to why Kivalliq Hunters & Trappers have been working with the WWF? Or speak to why having more Inuit voices in these organizations would be a bad thing?

I applaud this appointment.

#9. Posted by Abraham Tagalik on April 05, 2018

#8 why can’t more people think like you? The USA president is an extreme example of one of these folks that don’t get it. They have taken over the world.

#10. Posted by Former Insider on April 05, 2018

I know that WWF is a respected organization and I know about the work they have done in the Kivalliq region with hunters and trappers. No problem there.

However, bringing in Paul Okalik and having his name associated with their organization probably drags down their reputation and credibility.

There are good reasons why Mr. Okalik lost the last election and there are good reasons why the MLAs did not want him as premier of Nunavut any more.

Anyway, I know he worked for Nunavut Planning Commission for a short time but in all the years he was a politician in Nunavut he was never interested in wildlife or environmental issues.

This is a case of tired old politician that needs a job, so he is renting his name out to the WWF. My guess is he will use the WWF to keep himself in the public eye while he waits to run for the Liberals in the next federal election.

#11. Posted by Number 10 you have never been an insider so quit m on April 05, 2018

Just bash a man because you have a long standing gripe is the same old shit you present, is way past it’s due date.  I look forward to his work as he stood up to the last government when other MLAs weren’t standing up for our caribou.  Quit the bullshit as you will never accomplish anything worthy in your little hole.

#12. Posted by Former Insider on April 05, 2018

LOL at #10

If I was a woman working for the WWF I would sure hope the organization gives Mr. Okalik some training on how not to refer to an outspoken woman as a “fucking bitch.”

As I said, there are good reasons why he can’t get elected anymore.

#13. Posted by Keep up the great work Paul on April 05, 2018

We know you work hard in whatever field you choose and always have to put up with crap for breathing..  We know you will make us think of new ideas that we would not have thought of.

#14. Posted by Good on wwf on April 05, 2018

Good on the wwf crew. Paul was the only one really outspoken against the former gov’t on its non consultative position on caribou calving grounds.

#15. Posted by Knockout Ned on April 06, 2018

#10 This is one of the problems in Nunavut. We’re too quick to rundown people we don’t like. We’re too quick to hold vendettas.

Try to consider this in the broader context. An educated, accomplished, experienced Inuk is appointed to a position where he can do some real good for the environment, and advocate for Inuit while doing so. This is cause for celebration, no?

Former Insider - sometimes you aren’t my favourite person, but I would celebrate your successes nontheless if I felt it would benefit our people or our land.

Whether he is your cup of tea or not is less important than how this will benefit Nunavummiut and Nunavut.

Again, this is good news. Let’s keep some perspective.

#16. Posted by Keyboard warrior on April 06, 2018

I wouldn’t mind getting his connections. Rich stay rich while average junk heads keep on barely surviving.

- another keyboard warrior

#17. Posted by before internet on April 06, 2018

#16 Decide to take a step away from the keyboard.  Before internet, communicating was talking face-to-face, using words, eyes, hands movement, Inukshuit, or looking to the land, sky and animals to know the weather changes ahead.

Paul Okalik is one of many who stand for the vision of Nunavut.  Learn from his life experiences.  Find a mentor who you will listen to and begin to learn.

#18. Posted by Pauline Conversion Therapy on April 06, 2018

He was fairly pro-mining as Premier, even took campaign $ from mining companies in 2008.

And then at some point while wandering in the political wilderness he had a conversion on the road to development, a little like his Apostolic namesake.

Most recently he blasted the Taptuna gov’t on caribou issues while he was an opposition MLA.

He’s a political opportunist, but he’s staked out a position on the development-conservation debate and will more or less stick to it. As one poster above said, he’s just biding his time before running as a Liberal in the next federal election.

If he wanted to do something useful in his new role he could help bring the WWF around to a more balanced position that reflected the reality that a certain amount of mining development is needed in Nunavut and that the WWF’s zealotry is not helpful. There is no model of development for Nunavut right now that doesn’t include a few thousand Inuit in mining jobs.

#19. Posted by Putuguk on April 06, 2018

So our former Premier wants to work with communities on sound conservation solutions so we can survive and thrive.

That is honestly some very good news.

We have lost so many capable Inuit leaders on the wildlife file to other issues for so long.

What is the scoop then, did he lose another election this time for Amarok HTO or QWB?

Did he go for these legit organizations in the first place?

#20. Posted by Former Insider on April 06, 2018

That is a very astute analysis #18. Mr. Okalik is a cunning, self-absorbed opportunist who has seized an opportunity to keep his career going, a career that has been headed downhill for ten years.

Those who have worked with him know that he has held no consistent values or beliefs. His record as a politician shows his primary goal, always, is power and control, with no empathy or concern for others. He showed that when he resigned from cabinet when he could not get his way and picked up his marbles and left.

When he was premier and a cabinet minister he showed he could snap his fingers and fire people with no hesitation. However, he was never capable of reaching out and building consensus and creating alliances, which is the mark of real leaders. In my opinion, he is a poor choice for the community outreach that WWF says he will do for them.

#21. Posted by My 2 Cents on April 06, 2018

Some good analysis here, going to have to agree with #20.

Though I appreciate comments by Knockout Ned and Putuguk (as per usual).

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