Ex-commissioner not treated well by ex-premier?


During the planning meeting for Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Iqaluit on Sept. 5, 2002, the one and only meeting I had with officials of Premier Paul Okalik, we were to provide some ideas about activities for the Queen’s visit. I was invited as Commissioner of Nunavut, by Annette Bourgeois, who was press secretary to the premier of Nunavut, Paul Okalik.

As someone who is a seal hunter and someone who has traveled throughout Canada, Europe and Africa, I wanted to promote Inuit culture and language when the Queen came to Iqaluit for Oct. 4, 2002.

During this meeting, I recommended that we give the Queen a beautiful sealskin hat from Nunavut. My recommendation was immediately defeated, by the premier’s staff, saying that it would have created a political uproar for the Queen.

This decision had a major impact on Inuit culture. We Inuit have been hunting seals for livelihood for thousands of years and the fact that Premier’s staff decided not to support such a good idea, was not a good idea.

I think the Queen would have been thrilled to receive such a gift from Inuit. That was the whole idea, to see Inuit culture when she came to Iqaluit. I also believe that the sealskin market would have gone up big-time, all over the world. That was an opportunity missed!

It’s too bad that I was not contacted by the consultants who were doing the Government of Nunavut’s report card.

As former Commissioner I had lots of things to say about the very negative way, the Office of the Commissioner of Nunavut was treated by the premier and his office.

Peter Irniq

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