NTI is in the early stages of planning a possible delegation of Inuit to France to demand the extradition of Father Johannes Rivoire, a priest accused of historical sexual abuses in Nunavut. Pictured is Rivoire in an early, undated photo taken in Chesterfield Inlet. (Photo courtesy of Lieve Halsberghe)

NTI planning trip to France with goal of getting Rivoire on plane to Canada

Inuit delegation to demand extradition of disgraced priest accused of historical sexual abuses

By Madalyn Howitt

A delegation of Inuit might soon be headed to France to seek the extradition of a priest accused of historical sexual abuse in Nunavut, an NTI spokesperson confirmed Tuesday.

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. is in the preliminary stages of planning the trip, said Hannah Uniuqsaraq, director of self determination at NTI, in an email to Nunatsiaq News.

Johannes Rivoire, 91, spent more than 30 years in Nunavut between 1960 and 1992 as a parish priest, mostly in Arviat and Naujaat.

He was accused of sexually assaulting boys and girls during that time, some as young as six years old.

Rivoire left Canada for France in 1993, and has remained there since.

In February, RCMP charged Rivoire with indecent assault, stemming from incidents involving a young girl in Arviat and Whale Cove, alleged to have occurred between 1974 and 1979. While France has an extradition treaty with Canada, French law protects its citizens from extradition.

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Previous historical sexual assault charges against the priest were stayed in 2017, after the Public Prosecution Service of Canada concluded there was no reasonable chance of conviction.

Lieve Halsberghe, a longtime advocate for addressing abuse by clergy, has been fighting for years to get Rivoire back on Canadian soil to face his accusers.

She was in Iqaluit on July 29 to witness Pope Francis’s speech outside Nakasuk Elementary School, where he apologized for the role members of the Catholic Church played in helping run the residential school system in Canada where abuses against Indigenous children occurred.

Halsberghe, who lives in Belgium, said she plans to meet with the delegation when it eventually gets to France, which could happen as early as September.

She said the best-case scenario for the outcome of the trip is “Rivoire gets on a plane to Canada. That is the actual goal.”

“The second goal is to inform the French public about harbouring these criminals,” she said.

In July, federal Justice Minister David Lametti confirmed an extradition request has been made by Canada to the government of France for the return of the priest to face justice in Canada.

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(51) Comments:

  1. Posted by Aqpik on

    Geez! Wait it out! A paid vacation for the NTI staff, how many are planning to go? Why do you need to send more then 1 person? Waste of money!

  2. Posted by Caribou hunter on

    NTI is our justice system now?
    If our federal justice system cant extradite him how does NTI expect to do so?

    • Posted by Foreveramazed on

      Kidnap him?

      • Posted by JOHNNY on

        I am willing to come along and supervise the kidnapping, i m a experinced superviser.

    • Posted by No extradition on

      Have you seen batman dark knight? Aluki will swoop in as she has no jurisdiction!

      • Posted by Tommy on

        Like Ewan McGregor in Angels and Demons.

  3. Posted by North bloke on

    Nti get your priorities straight,this is past,many pressing issues at present time

    • Posted by oh ima on

      typical ignorant comment, if your non-Inuk you’re racist and have little understanding of the issues we face! If you’re Inuk shame on you!

      • Posted by Try Again Ima on

        How can this comment in any way be considered racist? Insensitive perhaps, but it is in no way racist.

      • Posted by How it looks from here on

        It’s understandable that a person might not like this comment, oh ima, but there’s nothing racist about it. Throwing that accusation around like a little grenade only works if it maps onto reality. If it doesn’t, you diminish yourself instead.

      • Posted by Mirriam-Webster on

        Oh ima, classic hate-filled response, from let’s assume the desk of your work computer. Let’s revisit the definition of racist, because it has become the rebuttal of choice for those who would rather just throw a quick sucker-punch in return rather than make an informed response:

        “prejudiced against or antagonistic toward a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.”

        please, go ahead and expand on how the OP’s inconsiderate comment is “racist”, or, do we just go ahead and ignore the meaning of the phrases we are spewing?

  4. Posted by I live in the Arctic on

    Put that money towards healing programs for those harmed by sexual abuse.

  5. Posted by Observer on

    Seriously? NTI must be rolling in the cash if they can afford to send someone on this publicity stunt. Because that is all it is.

  6. Posted by Think About It on

    Great, send a group of highly placed management to France for a couple of weeks in the late summer early fall see the sights, drink some wine and on the last night smack this guy with a “forget me stick”, stuff him in a bag, throw him on a plane and try to sneak him through customs. Sounds like a true well thought out plan. Man to be a fly on the wall during that management meeting. You can’t make this stuff up.

  7. Posted by Dave on

    I took a Graduate level course in Negotiations this past July. International negotiations was part of the course.

    “If” this happens, and it is a big if. I think they will find a very large cultural rift between the two teams, as the two cultures have very different styles. From the text:

    French negotiators, who value precision and clarity, conduct business principled by Napoleonic Law. Their style is often described as autocratic. Graham (1996) states that “the style of the French negotiator is perhaps the most aggressive of all the groups. In particular, they used the highest percent of threats and warnings . . . used interruptions, facial gazing, ‘no’ and ‘you’ more frequently compared to other groups”

    • Posted by negotiations on

      President Aluki has a hard enough time speaking to her own staff. Hopefully she’s not the lead on this, but she most likely will because this will score her points with her fans.

    • Posted by there’s nothing to negotiate on

      There is nothing to negotiate. France does not extradite its citizens and the crimes would be prescribed there. This is just a politico-leisure trip.

  8. Posted by The Script in My Mind on

    French: Greetings foreigners.

    You are obviously extremely ingnorant of our waysif you think that we respond well to ‘demands’, particularly from special interest groups. The most cursory study of our culture and history would have highlighted this.

    We deal with peers – which is not you. Send a representative from the government of Canada and we will discuss delegating prosecution, but we don’t extradite our own.

    Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  9. Posted by Old timer on

    On who’s expense?

  10. Posted by Land claim 101 on

    Under what article of the land claim that NTI is charged to ensure is implemented will they be operating under?

    • Posted by oh ima on

      NTI represent Inuit, they are forced to represent Inuit as the Government of Nunavut isn’t doing that. If GN bureaucrats represented Inuit they would fight for Inuit, unfortunately, they don’t represent Inuit. GN takes care of 15% of the population

      • Posted by Uma oga on

        The GN is composed of virtually all Inuit mlas lol. NTI is elected by less than 7% of Inuit eligible to vote who do they represent? NTI is not a government it is a lobbying corporation for federal funding.

        • Posted by GN lol on

          GN directors and managers who are the ones really controlling the government and driving the government are majority non-Inuit, the MLAs do the politics and try to direct the government but it comes down to the administrators and managers.
          How has that worked for the GN so far?

          • Posted by Uma oga on

            I belive the top DM is Inuit and a number of others. Your ideas that the Ministers and Cabinet are powerless at the hands of Southern bureaucrats is naive and an example of the flawed ideology that NTI prays on. Did you know Aluki was a high ranking official with Department of Health? Rather than be judged by poor performance and no results she decided to change jobs and becoming the chief finger pointer (rather than actually do anything).

  11. Posted by eskimo joe on

    NTI is now doing the work of External Affairs? Territorial Organization have no jurisdiction on international affairs. otherwise it just a huge holidays trip for those on this trip. Get this, Canadian Government reps wouldn’t eve be at airport to meet you guys, but you can meet the press and rant and Johannes will be smiling.

    • Posted by Not Even on

      a territorial organization….

  12. Posted by Just another junket on

    Greenland, Iceland, New York…The NTI charge card has no geographic limits when it comes to pointless trips overloaded with NTI’s overpaid staff that don’t benefit Inuit. But somehow NTI isn’t willing to build a single house or shelter in the territory. Have a fun vacation NTI elites.

    • Posted by oh ima on

      If they had the Government of Canada, would spend on housing, they have been pressing the GN and GOC to build more houses.
      As an organization, they lobby and fight for Inuit not just what is under the land claims agreement. YOu wouldn’t have a job with GN if it were not for NTI. I am pretty sure you have a grade 10 education at the most or have NS Certificate which is not worth a lot.

      • Posted by Thomas Shelby on

        By the looks of the grammar in your post ima, it looks like you have a grade 4 education, you may want to proof read your posts before hitting “Submit Comment” LOL

        • Posted by Tommy boy on

          Will Thomas, with English being his second language it’s not too bad, what’s your second language and how is your grammar with that language?

      • Posted by We Are In Agreement for Once on

        Well, the most accurate part of your statement was that an NS certificate isn’t worth much. That is something that we can agree on.

  13. Posted by Paid Vacation on

    I’m sorry but NTI delegates has no more power than any of us beneficiaries. Free paid holiday is all it is.

  14. Posted by Useless on

    France does not extradite its citizens. Period. End of story.

    However for those who have a vivid imagination, there is a second road block which would apply even if he was a Canadian citizen:
    According to French law, the offenses are prescribed. While Canada does not have prescription for criminal offenses, France does. This means that even if the crimes would have occurred in France, they would no longer be prosecutable.

    The only way he can get on a plane is if it is voluntary and why would he do that? No one can force him.

    I suppose that early September is a good time to go to France for a vacation. It’s not too hot, the long queues are gone.

    • Posted by Amazing on

      Talk about useless European laws, still amazes me how a country that thinks it’s so civilized and advanced can protect criminals and not corporate and work with other countries.

      Gives us some perspective to why things are the way they are.

      • Posted by Try Again on

        Useless ‘European’? Get out of your bubble – many countries are like that – Japan, China, nearly all of the 22 Arab countries, Vietnam, Brazil, Taiwan, etc, etc. Not a one of them is European or ‘Western’.

        • Posted by Sure on

          Don’t need to try, we see it, also don’t get so easily offended, Europeans consider themselves most civilized and gods gift to everyone. It’s why they have done cultural genocide around the world, tried to here in Canada. Birth place of apartheid where South Africa came to Canada to learn about it and use in South Africa.
          So no, useless European laws to protect themselves from the uncivilized savage things they commit.

          • Posted by Observer on

            Apartheid in South Africa grew from the efforts of white South Africans to regulate relations between white and other residents after the British Empire abolished slavery in 1833, over the next few decades the government there kept passing legislation to try and keep the black population “in its place”. This all began before Canada existed as a separate country, and they needed no lessons from Canada to keep making it worse until Apartheid was formerly introduced in 1948.

            So that claim, that they learned it from Canada, is an outright lie.

          • Posted by Sure sure on

            We need only look to the history of the Dorset and Thule people for a prime example of tolerance and civility to be modeled.

            • Posted by Oh really on

              Do you really know what happened to the Dorset? Can we take a peek at your glass ball and see?
              It’s about the same time the Europeans started arriving to Canada and the north, bringing all their diseases and infecting the Dorset and Thule people, there are very few evidence of what really happened, but for a large scale die off of a group through out the north in a quick manner would have to be strategically organized if you think the Thule people killed off the Dorset.
              What we don’t want to talk about is when the Dorset people started dying off and disappearing it was at the same time as the Europeans started coming here. All the diseases they brought with them nearly killed off the Thule people also. But back to the conversation of Canada still practicing apartheid, it’s still going strong today but we like to look the other way and pretend we are a nice country.

  15. Posted by History Channel on

    Move aside “Nazi Hunters” and make way for the new show NTI: Dog The Bounty Hunter.

    • Posted by Dave on

      Excellent idea.

      My wife and I once dressed as Dog and Beth for Halloween. I was a manly Dog and my wife has all the assets needed to play Beth!!

      We would be willing to hire on to provide Specialist Training to NTI, as we are clearly the most qualified.

    • Posted by Mossad of the north on

      I was just gonna comment, “Mossad of the north” when I read yours.

  16. Posted by Tom on

    I often wonder how it would be if there was no Catholic Church, this organization has damaged so many people in so many countries around the world. The Catholic Church is such a haven for pedophiles and it’s the largest organized pedophile ring in the world. This church has stolen so much from around the world, they are so powerful they have their one little country in Italy with their own laws.
    They hide and protect pedophiles, if this church really wanted justice they would extradite these pedophiles right away but instead continue to protect them.

  17. Posted by Sustain Socio-Economic Development & Infrastructure? on

    The Nunavut Land Claims mandate was to focus on Infrastructure, Education, Health, and Socio-Economic Development to sustain Municipalities across the territory but NO this certainly is NOT the case.

    The Nunavut Trust certainly do NOT fulfil and sustain Socio-Economic Development, and NTI. The territorial government lacks infrastructure budgets! Many neglected projects and programs due to lack of territorial budget. Lists goes on…

    • Posted by Paul on

      Yeah GN only has over 2 billion dollars to work with in their annual budget, peanuts, not enough to build infrastructure such as deep water ports and complete them on time and be able to operate it.
      It’s just 2 billion dollars a year, plan to retain and attract new nurses by planning ahead and reviewing what is working, what is not working, and implement changes to improve things.
      One department can have hundreds of millions to work with but it’s just not enough, let’s continue to give the GN some slack here. ?

  18. Posted by frank on

    now to wait and see how the outcome will look like, lol. Gonna be an embarrassment for NTI and the whole Nunavut territory since it was publicly announced so everybody will be waiting to hear what the outcome was.

  19. Posted by Questionable on

    NTI Staff Listing:

    Vacant Director of Inuktut Initiatives
    Vacant Records and Information Manager
    Vacant Senior Writer
    Vacant Interpreter/Translator
    Vacant Climate Change Coordinator
    Vacant Trichinella Manager
    Vacant Policy Advisor – Economic Development
    Vacant Inuit Firm Coordinator
    Vacant Policy Analyst – Housing
    Vacant Policy Advisor – Fisheries
    Vacant Implementation Officer
    Vacant Senior Health Policy Analyst
    Vacant Senior Inuktitut Policy Advisor
    Vacant Social Policy Analyst
    Vacant Director
    Vacant A/Director
    Vacant Director
    Vacant Youth Program Coordinator
    Vacant Wildlife Advisor
    Vacant Resource Management Advisor
    Vacant Coordinator GIS
    Vacant Manager GIS
    Vacant Information Systems Officer
    Vacant Director of Finance

    Trip to France and sue the GN. At least NTI has their priorities straight!

    • Posted by Hmmm on

      Who is the Director of Intelligence organizing this op?

  20. Posted by Delbert on

    It realy is a farce.
    It’s bad enough to be incompatent and make very poor descions here in Nunavut. But to have NTI send one person or a delagation to France to demand. The extradition of one it’s citizens. Is absalutly useless. NTI is not even a law enforcement agency in Canada.
    This is wasteful, emberassing, and just wrong. Does not one person at NTI know how international works. Please stop don’t go. If they do go I can hear. The laughter of the lowly French bureacrat laughing at them. Not one victim is being helped by this. As another writer said spend the money on mental health programs here.

  21. Posted by Pierre on

    France has been a beacon of human rights despite its colonial past for centuries, until the XXth century and French was the language of diplomacy, particularly after the 1789 revolution. That changed as a result of the ever increased influence of the US in the world. France also influenced many other countries by its legal system, particularly Napoleonic laws that codified civil matters which removed them from the judges’ domain. As well France is part of the European convention on human rights where the presumption of innocence is as strict as it is in the British legal system that we inherited here in Canada.

    Now time limitation is a tool used in order to support the presumption of innocence and Canada has also time limitation for summary conviction offences between 6 months and 2 years but no time limitation for indictable offences. Yet, most countries in the world have time limitations for serious criminal offences because it is well established that justice delayed is justice denied and that prosecuting offences committed more than 25 years ago is an abuse of process, given that the evidence would be flimsy at best in most cases and the risk of a miscarriage of justice would be significant.

    The French government is unlikely to change its laws to accommodate Canada or the NTI and it would likely be an exercise in futility to go that route. Yet, what can be done is to have Rivoire accept voluntarily to come back to Canada to face justice and/or have the Catholic Church convince him to face Canadian judges. If they can achieve that, it would be a step forward but don’t forget that our criminal court system is also based on the presumption of innocence and the Crown would still have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Rivoire committed the offences he is charged with.


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