Nunavut premier supports extradition of priest accused of sex crimes

"The alleged crimes of Fr. Rivoire have created a devastating legacy in Nunavut"

Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq wants Father Joannis Rivoire extradited from France to face allegations of sexual abuse of Inuit children in the 1960s. To that end, Savikataaq has written to Prime Minister Trudeau. (Photo by Jane George)

By Jane George

Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq has written to the federal government to complain that Canada has backed away from extraditing Father Joannis Rivoire, a fugitive priest accused of sexually abusing Inuit children in the 1960s.

“The alleged crimes of Fr. Rivoire have created a devastating legacy in Nunavut, one that continues to impact our families and cultivate lingering trauma,” Savikataaq said in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that was tabled on March 6 in the legislature.

Savikataaq made the commitment to write the letter to Trudeau in the legislature last month after facing questions from Aggu MLA Paul Quassa on the subject.

Quassa sent a letter to Trudeau on Jan. 22 seeking action on Rivoire’s extradition.

Rivoire, 88, now lives in France and is a French citizen. Canada and France do have an extradition treaty, but neither country is bound to extradite its own citizens.

In his letter, dated Feb. 28, Savikataaq said that it was urgent to explore Rivoire’s extradition “as soon as possible.”

“His alleged victims in Nunavut deserve justice, and to begin to heal from this dark chapter,” he said.

Savikataaq said that that he had learned recently that the extradition process had been abandoned.

Rivoire is also known to have worked in Chesterfield Inlet, Arviat, Naujaat, Rankin Inlet and Baker Lake.

One of his victims is believed to be the late Marius Tungilik, who died in 2012 at age 55.

“Father Rivoire is the reason why Marius died. I truly believe that,” Inuit leader Peter Irniq told Nunatsiaq News in 2016.

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(6) Comments:

  1. Posted by Crystal Clarity on

    Why would the premier write a letter asking for extradition? It was a well known fact that France does not extradite its own citizens. Talk about beating a dead cat. How about a little more imagination…….ask justice to reinstate the charges and try him in absentia. Even if they had extradition they are not going to drag an 88 year old man over to Canada for a trial. Not going to happen. There are other ways of dealing with criminals and terrorists. Mossad and like organizations/agencies have taught us that. Maybe they will do us a favour and haul him over here for us so all the people whose lives he destroyed can get closure.

  2. Posted by Johanne Coutu-Autut on

    On behalf of my family, thank you Joe for writing a letter to the Feds asking that the Pedophile Rivoire gets extradited back to Canada to face our justice system. Marius’s life was impacted in a very negative way by the sexual abuse he experienced by a person who was in a position of power. He abused his trust and that devastated and humiliated him. Our family broke up because of it. I was in Arviat when Rivoire skipped town and the country with the aid of the bishop. I am sure Marius was not his only victim and many others are also suffering. We need closure, especially my children who are now adults. we have all been deeply impacted by this. I am hoping the feds have a heart and do the right thing and pressure France to send him back to Canada to face the music.

  3. Posted by CLEAR AS CRYSTAL on

    What is the matter with us Inuks ?
    Why are our leaders not going after the native pedophiles
    and perverts of incest in our own communities, I hope this
    French priest is hung by his testicles from the Eiffel Tower.
    Probably our leaders won’t do a thing, maybe wait 50 years
    for an apology if they are lucky.
    C. CLARITY is right. Refusing to attend R.C. church would be
    a good start.

  4. Posted by Clarity on

    Deal with stuff that goes on in your territory you have no jurisdiction on this and God knows ou have enough problems to fix in Nunavut…

  5. Posted by Rob M Adams on

    More gratuitous gesturing by NU’s politicians. The abuse to the citizen’s of NU is not coming from without. Why aren’t you clamouring for the heads of friends and relatives within your own community who performed abuse today, yesterday, last year, generations ago (before settlement)?

    Johanne, you know that no measure of closure will come from any subsequent proceedings surrounding Rivoire. To posture so, by you, the Premier or anyone else, is not only dishonest and a waste of time, spirit and other resources, it is a diversion from the real and living challenges in our communities.

  6. Posted by Gobble Gobble on

    Anybody find it interesting that Quassa, a man who has been convicted of sexual assault yet received an absolute discharge, has taken it upon himself to champion this?

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