International Women’s Day

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate International Women’s Day. While this day commemorates the social, political, and economic achievements of women across the globe, it also highlights the ongoing work towards gender equality; to the need to break the gender biases in our society, and to the fight to stop violence and abuse towards women and girls.

On this day, I would like to recognize the strong, resilient, successful women in Nunavut who made and continue to make a difference.

I want to begin with our Commissioner, Eva Aariak. Ms. Aariak has had a distinguished career in politics serving as a trailblazer for not only Inuit women but for all Canadian women. She was elected as Nunavut’s second premier in 2008, helping to shape our territory in its early days. Ms. Aariak was the fifth women in Canada to take on this challenging role. She’s an inspiration leader.

Mr. Speaker, I want to also acknowledge Ann Meekitjuk Hanson, the third Commissioner of Nunavut, who served our territory from 2005 to 2010. Throughout her career, Ms. Hanson has been a civil servant, broadcaster, journalist, and author. Above all, she has been a life-long champion of Inuktut. In 2003 she was awarded the Order of Canada, for her efforts towards the preservation of Inuit heritage.

I want to also acknowledge the first female Member of Parliament for Nunavut, and the Eastern Arctic, Nancy Karetak-Lindell. Ms. Karetak-Lindell was elected to this distinguished position in 1997, and re-elected in 2000, 2004 and 2006. She has had a long distinguished political career, holding various leadership positions including president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council. Her many accomplishments include being a key player in the negotiations to establish Nunavut as a political jurisdiction in Canada.

Mr. Speaker there are many other women I can name today, our Governor General, her Excellency Mary Simon, our current Member of Parliament Lori Idlout, The President of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., Aluki Kotierk. I can also add all the women who sit on our cabinet and in this assembly as MLAs.

Mr. Speaker, our territory is no stranger to the multigenerational and intergenerational trauma affecting all Nunavummiut, particularly women and girls. We must do better. We must speak up against gender-based discrimination and violence, and together create a place where women and girls can thrive.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.