Trudeau announces protection for Nunavut’s last-ice area

“Finally, Inuit have the tools to do the important work”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Iqaluit on Thursday, Aug. 1, to announce the first step in the creation of a long-term protected area in Canada’s High Arctic Basin—the new Tuvaijuittuq Marine Protected Area.

By Sarah Rogers

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq and Qikiqtani Inuit Association President P.J. Akeeagok signed off on the Inuit impact and benefit agreement for the Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area on Aug. 1, during Trudeau’s visit to Iqaluit. (Photo by Jim Bell)

The federal government has announced a new conservation area off the northwest coast of Nunavut’s Ellesmere Island.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau travelled to Iqaluit on Thursday, Aug. 1, to announce the creation of Tuvaijuittuq Marine Protected Area. Tuvaijuittuq, which in English means “the place where the ice never melts,” is also known the “last-ice area,” as it’s expected to retain year-round sea ice until 2050.

Trudeau’s visit also marked the completion of the Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area through an Inuit impact and benefit agreement signed on Thursday morning.

Together, these areas cover more than 427,000 square kilometres, which means Ottawa has now met its goal to protect 10 per cent of Canada’s marine areas by 2020.

The protection status prevents any new activity in those areas for up to five years, through Inuit can still harvest from either region.

“By protecting these vital areas, we are safeguarding our environment for future generations while advancing Inuit self-determination and preserving Inuit cultural practices, languages, and customs,” Trudeau said at the Aug. 1 press conference, held at Nunavut Arctic College.

The prime minister’s visit also comes with news of funding related to those protected areas: $190 million over seven years to build harbours, food-processing facilities and a training centre in the five closest communities: Grise Fiord, Resolute Bay, Arctic Bay, Pond Inlet and Clyde River.

The IIBA for both protected areas aims to promote Inuit stewardship, providing an additional $55 million for Inuit training and employment.

“Finally, Inuit have the tools to do the important work of being the eyes and the ears of [these areas],” said Qikiqtani Inuit Association president P.J. Akeeagok.

Akeeagok presented the prime minister with a marble carving of an Inuk hunter holding a harpoon over a narwhal, which he said should serve as a reminder of “the connection that Inuit have to this region.”

Prime Minister Trudeau was headed on Thursday afternoon to Arctic Bay, the gateway to Tallurutiup Imanga, to visit Victor Bay and participate in a community feast.

This evening, Trudeau will be back in Iqaluit to help announce the Nunavut Liberals’ federal candidate, Megan Pizzo-Lyall.

During this visit to Nunavut, the prime minister has faced some criticism over the frequency of visits to the territory, compared to that of former prime minister Stephen Harper, who made a point of spending a week in the North each summer.

But Trudeau urged Nunavummiut to look at the substance of the work his government has done in the North, especially through the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee established in 2017.

“There is a relationship now between the Crown and Inuit based on respect and partnership,” Trudeau told reporters on Thursday morning.

The most recent evidence of that is the government’s apology for how it mismanaged the tuberculosis epidemic among Inuit between the 1940s and 1960s, along with a commitment to eradicate the disease from the North by 2030.

But, Trudeau added, “there is an awful lot more to do.”

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(16) Comments:

    • Posted by Kublu on

      This has been in the works for more then 40 years, its more then a election year, this government got it done!

      • Posted by Lori on

        Not sure what’s being protected here…. $190 million funded for Inuit to build fish plants and harbours, etc “related to the protected area”. Looks like the “protection” is only for “up to five years” although “Inuit can still harvest”. My take away from this, is that the area resources are only to be exploited by Inuit. Inuit also live in northern Alaska and Greenland, and have close relatives in Russia. I like the idea of protecting Canadian water, but this is fundamentally discriminatory. And the rest of Canada funds it. Forgive for not being elated.

        • Posted by Inuk on

          That’s ok Lori, when you or someone from the south cannot exploit this area I can see your point, we have seen many companies and individuals come up here to take our resources away and leave a big mess.

          At least now we have this in place to protect the area and also be able to use it for Canadians Inuit. Bravo!

    • Posted by oh ima on

      if your not fimilar with politics that’s how it is done otherwise a person running for office would not have a chance of winning!

    • Posted by Observer on

      Of course it is. It’s also the ideal kind of thing to do, PR wise. It creates a huge protected area but does so in an area where no one has any interest in any other kind of activity, so it really doesn’t affect anyone negatively at all. In the grand scheme of things, it’s really kind of pointless. No one is doing or planning to do anything in that area to protect against.

    • Posted by Kublu on

      This has been in the works for years, nothing to do with elections, good job on this government and QIA.

  1. Posted by Karen on

    This is great news! Thank you PM and QIA! Investment for the high arctic and commitment to protect the marine area, training money and jobs! I am glade its not just a military thing at would be put up there. This has much more substance then that and Inuit are part of it.

  2. Posted by Putuguk on

    Tin foil works really good to keep things frozen.

    • Posted by Harry on

      You will have to take the tin foil off your head first to use it.

  3. Posted by We’re Spesh on

    “There is a relationship now between the Crown and Inuit based on respect and partnership”

    Uh, no. It’s a relationship based on conserving huge areas of land and water or apologizing for things that happened many decades ago and then handing out tens of millions of dollars for slushy purposes.

    I don’t know how sustainable that is. In fact this addiction to big infusions of cash for doing nothing is worrying. We have basically abandoned the idea that Nunavut would develop through education, employment and economic development (and no, I’m not implying that Nunavut should develop a petroleum industry).

    The GN may be inept, but the feds and Inuit orgs from QIA to ITK have become dangerously delusional.

    • Posted by Ken on

      It would actually help if you read the agreement instead of blowing your whistle, wouldn’t look like a fool on hear and sound like an idiot.

  4. Posted by Colin on

    Before the last federal election Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to close the gap between Indians and Inuit and his much-vaunted middle class. That hasn’t even started.

    Closing the gap would have required serious delivery of housing—not just 80 units now planned annually for Nunavut compared with the 3,000 units desperately needed now.

    Bearing in mind that Trudeau is also Youth Minister, it would have required a joint effort with the territorial government to educate and train young people to be doctors and dentists, accountants, geologists and mine managers in their own lands. That would have required really intensive education including the kind of extra tutoring that middle class students get from the Sylvan Learning Centre when they need it. It would have required serious sports and recreation.

    Consider for a moment that Noah Carpenter, born on a trapline and a graduate of residential school in Inuvik, in 1963, became a world famous thoracic surgeon. Consider that Donna May, Dr. K, educated in the South is today in fourth year residency as a heart surgeon.

    By contrast with all Trudeau actually delivers, consider what happened when then Third World Singapore became independent in 1965. Premier Lee began a ten-year program to re-house and intensively educate 60,000 Malays living in a terrible Asian slum. By the 1990s children of relocatees were doing Masters Degrees at Berkeley and Cambridge, in physics and architecture.

  5. Posted by Nunavik on

    Congratulations to the great working efforts that, QIA have done, yes, it’s been in ages that, working plan was organized.

    I applause to QIA Inuit of Nunavut.

    Though, when we vote for PM, why, he never visits Nunavik?! is it just because we are on Quebec Province? His late Father came to Kuujjuaq Nunavik back in the days 1983, why can’t he follow his Father’s foot steps? His Father even went to Kangirsuk Nunavik with his 3 sons along with Justin?! He even went for a boat ride in Kangirsuk with his sons.

    yet again congratulations to QIA, I applause for you.

  6. Posted by Oracle on

    Idefinetly like what Trudeau is doing

    He made a promise to protect the environment and he is doing it
    He signed the Paris Climate Accord when Trump wouldn’t and is really concerned for our environment

    Many Premiers have fought him on the Carbon Tax but the Supreme Court said he was right

    Our world is burning up and he is doing something about it.

    I like him! I will vote for him.

    • Posted by Janet on

      I am with you on that, I will be voting for Justin too, right from when Justin became leader then PM the other party has been spewing memes and misinformation about him, they have been very aggressive about trying to paint Justin in a negative light, but when you actually see what he has done and look at the tangible things he has accomplished all those memes and fake information from the other party you see is just attacks, spreading hate to try and get votes away from Justin.
      I don’t have memory loss, I still remember how awful it was under Harper, all the cuts and services being taken away. They can continue spreading their hate but I see through that crap, no way Cons will be getting my vote.

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