2019 was the year of the apology in Nunavut
A fresh face in Ottawa, an airline merger, language rights, and wins and losses in the mining sector
2019 was the year of the apology in Nunavut, with three long-overdue expressions of regret and sorrow to Inuit by the federal government. In January, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett flew to Arviat to apologize to the Ahiarmiut, a group of inland Inuit who had been forcibly relocated from their homelands and hunting grounds around Ennadai Lake in the 1940s and 50s.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau flew to Iqaluit in March to apologize for the federal government’s mismanagement of the tuberculosis epidemic during the 1940s to 1960s, which saw Inuit being shipped to southern TB sanatoriums, from which many never returned.
In August, in Iqaluit, Carolyn Bennett apologized to the Qikiqtani Inuit on behalf of the federal government for colonial practices imposed on Inuit from 1950 to 1975, including sled dog killings, forced relocations and family separation.
In each case, there was a recognition of the colonial mindset that meant “you were not treated with the kindness, respect, and humanity that you deserved,” as Bennett said in March.
The federal Liberals also made frequent trips to the territory to make funding and policy announcements, but it was the New Democratic Party’s Mumilaaq Qaqqaq who was chosen by Nunavummiut to be their representative in Ottawa. She will serve as the NDP’s critic for northern affairs and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and as deputy critic for natural resources.
Canadian North and First Air merged their operations, promising passengers more seat sales, better scheduling and improved onboard reading materials, according to the new CEO and president, Chris Avery.
2019 was named the International Year of Indigenous Languages by the United Nations, and the issue of Inuktut-language rights remained a prominent one in the territory, where there continues to be an insufficient number of Inuktut-speaking teachers and a lack of public services available in Inuktut.
In the resource sector, Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. opened its new Amaruq Whale Tail satellite gold mine near Baker Lake. TMAC Resources Inc. saw some ups and downs: the company reported a small profit about two years after pouring its first gold bar, but later announced that it wouldn’t meet its production target for 2019.
And what was intended to be the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s final hearing on Baffinland Iron Mines’ expansion plans came to an abrupt adjournment in November, due to concerns raised by Inuit organizations. In response, Baffinland has laid off nearly 600 contracted employees working to prepare for the expansion of its Mary River mine.
Here is the Nunatsiaq News list of our most memorable Nunavut stories from 2019:
- The United Nations named 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages, in order to highlight the need to preserve, revitalize and promote the use of the world’s estimated 7,000 Indigenous languages—2,680 of which are considered to be in danger.
- TMAC Resources received two new water licences, allowing the company to start developing three new gold mines and related infrastructure the south of TMAC’s existing Doris North mine, at locations called Madrid North, Madrid South and Boston.
- Quttinirpaaq National Park, which is located on Ellesmere Island, was one of nine locations chosen to appear on new stamps celebrating Canada’s “coast-to-coast-to-coast splendor.”
- Chief Superintendent Amanda Jones became Nunavut’s first female RCMP commanding officer on Jan. 21. Jones is now the eighth commanding officer for Nunavut’s RCMP, also known as “V” Division.
- On Jan. 22, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett travelled to Arviat to make the official apology to 21 surviving Ahiarmiut relocatees, their families and community members. “We are sorry. Mamiapugut,” Bennett said. The group reached a $5 million settlement with Ottawa in 2018.
- The Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced that turbot quotas in the northern fishing zone known as subarea 0, off the east coast of Baffin Island, were increased by 2,035 tonnes for the next two seasons. Nunavut’s turbot fishery could see $12 million in additional annual revenue.
- Residents of Baker Lake were urged to conserve water following a fire during the early hours of Tuesday, Jan. 29, that destroyed a number of the community’s municipal vehicles, including its sewage trucks.
- Baker Lake mayor Shawn Attungala was sentenced to 12 months’ probation for an assault charge he pleaded guilty to in December. Attungala refused to step down as mayor but was voted out of office in the Oct. 28 municipal election.
- A report from the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability said that women and girls continue to be far more likely to be killed in Nunavut than in any other jurisdiction in Canada. While Nunavut is composed of less than one per cent of the female population of Canada, the territory saw four cases of femicide in 2018. That makes for a rate much higher than in the rest of the country, of 21.85 per 100,000 women and girls.
- Nunavut’s third tuberculosis screening clinic began in Cape Dorset on Feb. 12, with the goal of testing all the community’s 1,500 residents for the respiratory infection. Rates of TB remain 50 times higher in Nunavut than in the rest of Canada. The Health Department did not specify how many cases of tuberculosis were detected in Cape Dorset. But the clinic screened 80 per cent of the community, the release said.
- A Nunavut-based early childhood education program was named the winner of the top Arctic Inspiration Prize, worth $1 million. Pirurvik: A Place to Grow is a preschool program first developed in Pond Inlet that combines the principles of both Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and Montessori.
- Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. brought a long list of political leaders and other guests to a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new 800-person work camp at the Mary River mine site near Pond Inlet. The camp is called “Sailiivik” because the company wants it to be seen as a comfortable place to rest and relax.
- The Government of Nunavut expanded its medical travel benefits so that parents who are escorting their children on medical travel may now bring their infants with them. The upgraded policy also now provides an escort to all pregnant women who leave their home community to give birth.
- Elizabeth Copland of Arviat was appointed to serve as Nunavut’s chief coroner, a role she held once before. Copland served as Arviat’s first woman mayor; she has since worked as a justice of the peace, community coroner and chair of the Nutrition North Canada advisory board.
- The federal government made a $1.6-million investment to help pay for a study to look at the feasibility of connecting Nunavut’s Kivalliq region to Manitoba’s hydroelectric and fibre optic networks.
- The Kitikmeot Chamber of Commerce hired Edmonton-based lawyer Steven Cooper to evaluate the legal options for Marine Transportation Services clients who never received their cargo after the cancellation of the MTS barge that was to bring the sealift to western Nunavut in October 2018.
- Country and folk singer-songwriter Charlie Panigoniak, 72, died on March 6, after a long illness. His twangy Inuktitut songs celebrated Arctic life, love and his family, and he left Nunavummiut with a lifetime of music and memories.
- “Today I am here to say sorry,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on March 8 before an audience of about 100 Inuit gathered at Iqaluit’s Frobisher Inn, in relation to the federal government’s mismanagement of the tuberculosis epidemic during the 1940s to 1960s.
- The Nanilavut project to find the graves of those who left for TB treatment and never returned officially began after the federal government’s apology. Any Inuit seeking help to locate the burial sites of their lost loved ones can contact Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. or the regional centre where they are a beneficiary. Once a gravesite has been found, NTI will arrange travel for two family members and provide a grave marker for the site.
- A Nunavut judge stayed proceedings against an Igloolik man who illegally shot a caribou. In a March 14 judgment, Justice Neil Sharkey found that Michael Irngaut had reasonable grounds to believe a moratorium had been lifted at the time he harvested the animal in 2015.
- On a sunny, blustery Tuesday, with a wind chill of -38 C, about 50 Iqaluit residents came to the city’s mosque to commit to fostering warmth and tolerance. Their gathering came after 50 worshippers were killed in the New Zealand mosque shootings, which left at least that many injured.
- In Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s March 19 budget, the federal government stated exactly how much money it would set aside to reimburse Indigenous peoples who signed modern comprehensive land claim agreements and treaties with Canada. It was $1.4 billion spread over seven years, starting in 2018—19.
- Nunavut RCMP called off the search for missing Iqaluit teenager Ambar Roy, saying “given the time frame since Ambar has been last seen, it is believed Ambar has succumbed to the elements.” This decision followed a city-wide search of Iqaluit by police and volunteers, as well as additional searches out on the land past the Road to Nowhere, where Roy was dropped off by a taxi driver two weeks earlier.
- Flags flew at half-mast in front of the Nunavut legislative building in Iqaluit to honour the late Joe Enook, MLA for Tununiq and speaker of the Nunavut legislative assembly. After a short illness, Enook, 61, died on March 29 at an Ottawa hospital.
- Premier Joe Savikataaq marked Nunavut’s twentieth anniversary, saying, “We have seen success, growth and tenacity, and have learned so much since 1999. We have come so far from where we started. We are growing—in our capacities, from lessons learned, in our partnerships and from each other.”
- Nunavut residents were now able to legally buy cannabis from a second supplier. AgMedica Bioscience Inc. of Chatham, Ontario, began shipping its products to the territory, through its recreational cannabis brand, Vertical, following a supplier agreement struck with the Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission.
- Nunavut gained a new women’s organization, the Nunavut Inuit Women’s Association, or NIWA, headed by Madeleine Redfern, now Iqaluit’s former mayor. The association’s goals are to promote Inuit women in leadership roles, address challenges such as equity, facilitate economic empowerment, and create programs to address the intergenerational impacts of colonization.
- More than 800 heavy equipment operators, haul truck drivers, skilled tradespeople and other workers at Nunavut’s Mary River iron mine ratified their first collective agreement with Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. as members of Local 793 of the International Union of Operating Engineers.
- Parks Canada and the Inuit Heritage Trust signed an agreement on how to care for the Franklin expedition’s new and yet-to-be-discovered artifacts. The agreement will help to ensure that the items, which are currently stored in an Ottawa-area facility, will be managed by Inuit and eventually will make it home to Nunavut.
- The Government of Nunavut approved a request from the territory’s power utility to build a new head office in Baker Lake. Earlier in the year, the Qulliq Energy Corp. applied for a permit to build a new office building in the Kivalliq community of 2,000, where the corporation’s business activities are based.
- The taping of an episode of CBC radio’s q with Tom Power in front of an excited audience at Inuksuk High School kicked off Nunavut Music Week, which brought together Nunavut musicians, including newcomers and more experienced performers, and music industry professionals from the south.
- A new online book describing the trail-breaking art and life of Cape Dorset artist Oviloo Tunnillie was published by Art Institute Canada, a non-profit based out of the University of Toronto’s Massey College. The book highlights how Tunnillie defied gender stereotypes by taking up carving at a time when Inuit culture viewed it as a man’s job.
- One of Canada’s top stars in this year’s Venice Biennale was nowhere to be found near the famed international arts exhibition. Instead, Nunavut filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk was at home in Igloolik, with a film crew and equipment that allowed him to webcast footage directly to the exhibition’s Canadian pavilion. Isuma, the artists’ collective and video production company Kunuk runs with his filmmaking partner Norman Cohn, was selected to represent Canada at La Biennale di Venezia 2019, the 58th edition of the Italian exhibition. It’s the first time an Inuit artist or group has been chosen to do so.
- Statistics Canada announced that in 2018 Nunavut’s rate of economic growth was the most robust in Canada. The gross domestic product—the total value of goods produced and services provided during one year—increased in Canada’s 10 provinces and in all territories, but in Nunavut the growth was more than three times higher than Yukon’s, at 10 per cent.
- Despite a drop in national incarceration rates over the past five years, the proportion of Nunavut residents jailed or imprisoned in 2017-18 rose by seven per cent over the previous year, Statistics Canada announced. The per capita rate of incarcerated adults in Nunavut—621 per 100,000—was higher than for all other provinces and territories.
- Arctic Fresh Inc., an Igloolik-based online food retailer that launched less than two years ago and now serves 12 Baffin communities, as well as Kuujjuaq in Nunavik, won Startup Canada’s north region Social Enterprise Award at a ceremony in Whitehorse. The web-based business, which Arctic Fresh CEO Rhoda Angutimarik and her partner Merlyn Recinos started in September 2017, uses the Nutrition North Canada food subsidy system to supply its customers with lower-priced store-bought food.
- Chesterfield Inlet-born actor and Inuit games athlete Johnny Issaluk was named explorer-in-residence with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. The self-described “man of the outdoors” is the first Indigenous person to serve in the role.
- Former students of Kivalliq Hall in Rankin Inlet became eligible to apply for residential school settlements. Following a July 2018 decision from the Nunavut Court of Appeal, which upheld a lower court decision, the court issued an order to implement the application process as of April 25, 2019. Former students of Kivalliq Hall who plan to file claims have until Jan. 25, 2020, to do so.
- Baker Lake MLA and deputy speaker Simeon Mikkungwak was elected as the new Speaker of Nunavut’s legislative assembly in a secret ballot. The election was triggered after former speaker Joe Enook passed away in March.
- Following a campaign that the Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women Council had begun more than a year before, the office of the Governor General of Canada revoked Ike Haulli’s Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. Haulli, a prominent business owner in Igloolik, was exposed as a sexual predator in a civil judgment that Justice Earl Johnson of the Nunavut court released on April 18, 2018.
- The staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada amount to a form of race-based genocide, a national commission has concluded, following a two-year inquiry. In its final report, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls said that deliberate, ongoing human and Indigenous rights violations are the root cause behind that violence.
- Nunavut Education Minister David Joanasie introduced Bill 25 in the legislature, which calls for a phased implementation of Inuit-language instruction over a 20-year period. This means that it will take until July 1, 2039, for Grade 12 students to have Inuit Language Arts taught as a first language.
- Igloolik filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk was invested into the Order of Nunavut, the territory’s highest honour. During the ceremony, Kunuk spoke of the need for Nunavut residents to have better access to high-speed internet. “Websites and the internet are the future,” Kunuk said.
- Award-winning Inuk author Aviaq Johnston released Those Who Dwell Below, the sequel to her young adult novel, Those Who Run in the Sky. Both novels are published by the Inuit-owned company, Inhabit Media.
- The Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples adopted an amended version of Bill C-91, the Indigenous Languages Act, with changes largely prompted by Inuit groups. The legislation would see the government establish an Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages, with a mandate to support and promote language revitalization efforts. The bill received royal assent before the end of the month.
- Transport Canada announced on June 19 that it had approved a merger between Canadian North and First Air. On Nov. 1, the two airlines, now merged under the name Canadian North, launched their new schedule, featuring twice-daily flights on weekdays between Ottawa and Iqaluit.
- Five Inuit from Igloolik sued the federal government for medical experiments, including painful skin grafts, conducted on them in the 1960s and 1970s. The claimants, who include Aggu MLA Paul Quassa and filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk, are suing for general and punitive damages of more than $1 million each and an apology. The claimants say the experiments, conducted on about 30 Inuit between 1967 and 1973, included seeing whether Inuit could better accept skin grafts because they were less “outbred” than other Canadians.
- Edna Agnes Ekhivalak Elias, a lifelong social activist, educator and Inuit-language advocate who served as Nunavut commissioner from 2010 until 2015, will become a member of the Order of Canada, the Governor General’s office announced on June 27.
- One of Nunavut’s longest-serving elected leaders, Ludy Pudluk, died on July 1 at the age of 76, following a long illness. He served for 20 years as an MLA in the Northwest Territories, representing the High Arctic constituency, and then in Nunavut, representing the same district, now known as Quttiktuq.
- The Iqaluit RCMP announced that it had solved three of four Canada Day weekend fire cases in the city. One was deliberately set, another deemed accidental and the third had been caused by a child. The fourth case was still under investigation.
- Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. marked Nunavut Day with a pledge to become an Inuktut-language workplace. NTI officials announced those plans at an event held in Kugluktuk on July 9.
- The Government of Nunavut and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. signed a long-debated Inuit impact and benefits agreement with the federal government over the management of four Nunavut rivers: the Kazan River (Sarvaqtuuq), the Soper River (Kuujuaq), the Thelon River (Akillinik) and the Coppermine River (Qurluktuk). The Coppermine has been nominated and awaits official designation.
- The 21 C temperature registered on July 14 at the tiny community of Alert on Ellesmere Island marked the region’s new all-time high, and that heat continued through the week, with a high of 20 C on July 15 and 18 C on July 16. It was a hot summer throughout much of the eastern Arctic.
- Wildlife boards in Nunavut approved four of the five bowhead whale hunt tags to be distributed throughout the territory in 2019. The Kivalliq Wildlife Board okayed plans for hunts in Coral Harbour and Naujaat. The Qikiqtaaluk Wildlife Board approved bowhead harvest plans from both Pond Inlet and Igloolik. The Kitikmeot region had yet to choose which community would host its 2019 hunt.
- Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. sent letters to 14 municipalities in the territory that still use their English names to consider a switch to their original Inuktut names. “I thought this would also signal to Canada and even beyond that Inuit were reclaiming and asserting their language rights,” said NTI president Aluki Kotierk.
- Anglican bishops representing the Arctic and other Indigenous and northern regions played a crucial role in blocking a resolution that would have amended the Anglican Church of Canada’s canon law to permit the solemnization of same-sex marriage.
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the creation of the Tuvaijuittuq Marine Protected Area. Tuvaijuittuq, which in English means “the place where the ice never melts,” and is also known the “last-ice area,” as it’s expected to retain year-round sea ice until 2050.
- Carolyn Bennett, Canada’s minister of Crown-Indigenous relations and northern affairs, apologized to the Qikiqtani Inuit on behalf of the federal government for colonial practices imposed on Inuit from 1950 to 1975, including sled dog killings, forced relocations and family separation.
- In a significant step toward Nunavut assuming control over its Crown lands and natural resources, representatives from the federal government, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and the territory signed an agreement in principle for a devolution agreement.
- The Canadian government committed to spending $151 million to bring cheaper, faster high-speed internet to Nunavut’s capital. The project will involve laying 1,700 kilometres of fibre optic cable from Nuuk, Greenland, across the Davis Strait to Iqaluit. From there, a branch will extend to Kimmirut. The cable will run off from an existing fibre optic link between Greenland and Newfoundland.
- Inuit who in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s attended any of a list of more than 40 federal government day schools became eligible for cash compensation under a $1.3-billion settlement agreement that the Federal Court of Canada approved.
- The Canadian High Arctic Research Station in Cambridge Bay finally opened its doors before a crowd of locals and some visiting politicians and officials. “Today’s celebration represents a significant milestone for our community,” said Cambridge Bay mayor Pamela Gross.
- Two airlines were awarded the Government of Nunavut’s lucrative new agreement for medical and duty travel, as well as air freight: Calm Air International LP and Canadian North Inc., which was in the process of merging with First Air. The GN announced the contract awards, worth at least $100 million in total, a week before the existing contracts were set to expire.
- Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. celebrated the official opening of its new Amaruq Whale Tail satellite mine in Baker Lake by announcing $1 million in donations to four projects in the community of about 2,000 people.
- The RCMP announced that a fire that caused about $100,000 worth of damage to the Kugluktuk High School on Sept. 3 appeared to have been deliberately set by young children.
- A new bus service was launched in Rankin Inlet by local business Rankin Auto Value. So far, there is only one bus on the road, but Kayleigh Burrows, the company’s manager, said if demand increases, then Rankin Auto Value would consider adding another.
- The legislative assembly unanimously passed Bill 28, an amendment to the Nunavut Elections Act, in a one-day sitting. The assembly was recalled due to a “technical issue” that required an amendment to put clear rules in place for employees of the territorial public service wanting to run for office in a municipal election.
- Speaker Simeon Mikkungwak announced that Nunavut MLAs would soon launch a search for a new languages commissioner, following Helen Klengenberg’s resignation due to health reasons. The languages commissioner acts as a language rights watchdog in Nunavut.
- Marine biologists with the Arctic salmon program now estimated that so far in 2019 roughly 2,000 Pacific salmon samples had been provided to their research program. This almost tripled the number of salmon from any other year on record during the 19 years of monitoring salmon with the help of local harvesters.
- The Government of Nunavut approved the one-to-one male-female harvesting ratio for all Nunavut polar bear subpopulations, the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board chair, Dan Shewchuk, told members of the Kitikmeot Regional Wildlife Board at its annual general meeting in Cambridge Bay.
- The Nunavut legislature’s standing committee on legislation extended its deadline for submissions from the public on Bill 25, An Act to Amend the Education Act and Inuit Language Protection Act, until Oct. 11. The public was invited to make submissions to the committee after Bill 25 was introduced during the legislative assembly’s spring sitting in June.
- The board of directors that oversees Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami agreed to move ahead on a long-awaited unified Inuktut writing system. The system, called Inuktut Qaliujaaqpait, uses Roman orthography—the same alphabet used to write in English—rather than syllabics. ITK said that Inuktut Qaliujaaqpait is designed to write the Inuit language, in all its dialects, across all regions of Inuit Nunangat.
- A Cambridge Bay man was out hunting when he came across something you don’t expect to see on Victoria Island, far above the tree line. Naikak Hakongak saw a piece of wood that looked like a broken tree trunk—a first for him in many years of being out on the land.
- Commercial tourism operators now have to pay fees to access Inuit-owned land in the Qikiqtani region, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association announced during its annual general meeting in Iqaluit on Wednesday, Oct. 9. The Qikiqtani region receives the most cruise ship visits of any region in Nunavut.
- Karliin Aariak of Iqaluit was appointed as Nunavut’s acting languages commissioner. The appointment was effective as of Oct. 21.
- David Qamaniq, the new MLA for Tununiq, was sworn in by Nunavut Commissioner Nellie Kusugak at a ceremony in the Nunavut legislative assembly on Thursday, Oct. 17. Qamaniq won a byelection in September for the seat, which represents Pond Inlet, following the death of veteran MLA Joe Enook.
- The New Democratic Party’s Mumilaaq Qaqqaq became Nunavut’s new member of Parliament. Qaqqaq, a 25-year-old political newcomer, ended up winning the territory’s riding with 3,717 votes, or 41.2 per cent of the vote.
- Nunavut’s education minister, David Joanasie, celebrated in the legislature the opening of the territory’s newest school in Kugaaruk. The school, which officially opened on Oct. 8, was built at a cost of $40 million to replace the Kitikmeot community’s only school, which had been destroyed in 2017 in a deliberately set fire.
- Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. announced that it had produced a record amount of gold over the preceding three months, thanks to its Meliadine mine in Nunavut hitting its stride. The company’s third-quarter earnings showed a net income of $76.7 million. That’s up from $17.1 million over the same period in 2018.
- For the first time all the territory’s communities were scheduled to go to the polls on the same day to elect their municipal leaders. Inclement weather led to the postponement until Tuesday, Oct. 29, of voting in Rankin Inlet, Chesterfield Inlet, Baker Lake and Whale Cove.
- A ransomware cyberattack took down essential electronic communications within the Government of Nunavut, leaving public services affected throughout the territory. The GN opted not to pay the ransom and, instead, rebuilt the computer network using backed-up data.
- The Nunavut Impact Review Board hearing on Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s proposed expansion of its Mary River mine was abruptly adjourned, with two days of meetings in Pond Inlet being cancelled. Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. president Aluki Kotierk had brought forward a motion to immediately suspend the final public hearing and defer its continuation for eight months to one year.
- Two of Kitnuna Corp.’s subsidiaries in Cambridge Bay declared bankruptcy: Kitnuna Petroleum Ltd. and Kitnuna Projects Inc. Kitnuna Corp. is wholly owned by the Kitikmeot Inuit Association’s business arm, Kitikmeot Corp.
- Nunavut Day, July 9, officially became a statutory holiday across the territory. Members of Nunavut’s legislative assembly voted to pass Bill 29, An act to Amend the Labour Standards Act and the Interpretation Act in Respect to Nunavut Day, through third reading in the legislature. Up until then, Nunavut Day was a holiday under the Public Service Act, which means the holiday only applied to Government of Nunavut employees.
- Some Kivalliq beneficiaries, including Premier Joe Savikataaq, found to their surprise that they were not eligible to vote in the Kivalliq Inuit Association elections, as eligibility was restricted to those who had been “physically and actually resident in the Kivalliq region for at least 12 consecutive months immediately preceding Election Day.”
- TMAC Resources Inc. announced that it wouldn’t meet its production target for 2019, following disappointing third-quarter results from its Doris gold mine in the Kitikmeot region.
- CBC North reversed its plans to cut Iqaluit-based English-language morning newscasts in January and replace them with pan-northern newscasts assembled in Yellowknife. Instead, Nunavut radio listeners will still be able to hear Nunavut-specific English newscasts assembled by Nunavut-based news readers.
- NDP leader Jagmeet Singh announced that Mumilaaq Qaqqaq will serve as the NDP’s critic for northern affairs, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and as deputy critic for natural resources. Singh made the announcement shortly before embarking on a three-day visit to Iqaluit with Qaqqaq.
- While Inuit representatives attended the United Nations climate talks in Madrid to draw attention to Arctic climate change, they had plenty of recent examples of unusually warm weather in the Canadian Arctic to draw upon. In November, average temperatures from the Northwest Territories to Nunatsiavut were well above normal: in Clyde River, on the northern coast of Baffin Island, the temperature averaged 6.7 degrees Celsius above the norm.
- Within the first year of its mandate, Justin Trudeau’s minority Liberal government will introduce a law to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the government said in its throne speech. That proposed new law—promised in a section of the speech that claims the government will continue work on reconciliation—would be co-developed with Indigenous peoples, the government said.
- Baffinland Iron Mines Inc. faces 16 charges under Nunavut’s Mine Health and Safety Act, stemming from a rock truck crash at the Mary River mine that killed one worker in December 2018. The Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission filed the charges in the Nunavut Court of Justice on Dec. 5.
- The number of Inuit contract workers laid off from the Mary River iron mine was reduced, as of Dec. 2, from 96 to 48, Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. told the Nunavut Impact Review Board. The company included this information in a Dec. 6 letter that asks the review board to recommend a one-year extension to Baffinland’s current six-million-tonne-per-year production limit, which expires this Dec. 31. The company promised not to lay off any more Inuit, if it got that permission.
- The promising pop singer from Sanikiluaq, Kelly Amaujaq Fraser, died suddenly in Winnipeg on Christmas Eve.