Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Around the Arctic August 05, 2016 - 1:05 pm

Ottawa names respected Inuit leader as high-level advisor on the Arctic

INAC appoints Mary Simon as minister's special representative

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Mary Simon signs copies of John English's book Ice and Water  — a book on Arctic governance in which she is a central character — at a 2013 event in Toronto. The federal government has now named Simon as
Mary Simon signs copies of John English's book Ice and Water — a book on Arctic governance in which she is a central character — at a 2013 event in Toronto. The federal government has now named Simon as "Minister’s Special Representative” to the development of new policy that will focus on conservation and the growth of the Arctic economy. (FILE PHOTO)

(Updated 4:50 p.m., Aug. 5)

Ottawa has named accomplished Inuit leader Mary Simon as its new high-level advisor on Arctic issues.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs minister Carolyn Bennett announced Simon’s appointment Aug. 5 as the Minister’s Special Representative on the development of new policies that will focus on conservation and the sustainable growth of the Arctic economy.

The appointment flows from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s March visit to the White House, where he and United States president Barack Obama announced the Shared Arctic Leadership Model — a strategy to reduce climate change-causing methane emissions, build a sustainable northern economy and incorporate more traditional knowledge in policy-making.

“The Shared Arctic Leadership Model is a very important aspect of the future of the Arctic and its people,” Simon said in an Aug. 5 release.

“I see it as an opportunity to give clear focus on the needs, realities and deep opportunities within northern communities when planning the future of the Arctic region.”

Simon, who hails from Kuujjuaq, has a hefty resume: she has served as president of Makivik Corp., Inuit Circumpolar Council and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, as Canadian ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs and to the Kingdom of Denmark, and most recently, as chair of the National Committee on Inuit Education.

The Inuit Circumpolar Council’s Canadian wing responded to Simon’s appointment with words with of approval.

“She is an accomplished Inuit leader with significant experience at the regional, national and international levels. As a fellow Inuk woman, I am proud to see her appointed to such an important role,” ICC-Canada’s president, Nancy Karetak-Lindell, said Aug. 5 in a statement.

“This announcement is a concrete step in realizing a meaningful shared Arctic Leadership model, inclusive of Inuit.”

And Karetak-Lindell said she looks forward to working with Simon on Arctic and Inuit issues.

The federal government said Simon’s expertise will help inform Canada’s commitments to the model, as well as the review of current policy.

“For more than four decades, Ms. Simon has been a leader in advancing Indigenous rights not only here in Canada but around the world,” Bennett said in the same release.

“This open and collaborative engagement is an important first step in working with our partners to strengthening the biodiversity of the Arctic while planning for the sustainable economic and social development of the region for generations to come.”

Read the full U.S.-Canada Joint Statement on Climate, Energy and Arctic Leadership here.

 

 

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