Ottawa conference to evaluate Nunavut’s first 15 years
Speakers free to speak, but reporters not allowed to quote them
Fifteen years in, can we call the Nunavut project a success?
That’s what an upcoming conference hopes to explore as the territory celebrates its 15th anniversary.
The Northern Institute for policy and law, a private Iqaluit-based entity, is hosting the conference, called “Nunavut at 15 — Taking Stock of Nunavut’s Political, Social, Economic and Policy Developments since 1999.”
The conference will run over two days — Feb. 4 and Feb. 5 in Ottawa.
And it’s attracted what they describe as a “stellar cast” of speakers with a wide range of experience in the territory’s development, said Ottawa-based consultant Terry Fenge, a former negotiator with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.
Fenge is co-chairing the conference with World Wildlife Fund Canada’s director of Arctic progams, Paul Crowley.
“The Nunavut project is still of real interest, and I think that’s reflected in the cast of speakers we have,” Fenge said.
Those include Nunavut’s current premier, Peter Taptuna, and former premier Eva Aariak, along with education minister Paul Quassa and Nunavut’s languages commissioner Sandra Inutiq.
The conference will also hear from Tom Malloy and Barry Dewar, federal negotiators of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, as well as Tom Siddon, who served as minister of Indian and Northern Affairs when the agreement was signed and proclaimed in 1993.
Siddon, the conference’s keynote speaker, will talk about Canada’s Aboriginal issues in the 1990s, Fenge said, to provide context around the creation of the Nunavut.
But the cost of travelling south and paying the conference’s $1,399 registration fee may pose a challenge for Nunavummiut hoping to take part.
And while the event is open to media, its organizers have decided that the conference’s speakers will not go on record — in other words, journalists may not quote from conference presentations.
“I think the primary objective of the conference is to maximize the quality of the presentations… and to provide non-attribution environment where people are able to talk without being misquoted or misrepresented, to say what they want to say,” Fenge said.
Fenge said the decision was not made to limit the press from doing their job — journalists can approach speakers after their presentations to do interviews, he said.
A spokesperson for the Northern Institute would not comment on the conference’s no-quote policy, telling Nunatsiaq News that to find out what kind of access is available, reporters should first register for the conference.
You can read more or register to attend Nunavut at 15 here.