Nunavut hosts Northern Premiers' Forum

Mr. Speaker, It was my pleasure to welcome my Northern counterparts, Yukon’s Premier Ranj Pillai and Northwest Territories’ Premier R.J. Simpson, in Mittimatalik from May 6 to 9 for the annual Northern Premier’s Forum.

In our meetings we discussed shared priorities, including Arctic security and sovereignty, disaster preparedness and response, critical infrastructure gaps, housing needs, and the health and well-being of Northerners.

I want to thank my friend, Levi Barnabas, the Vice President of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, as well as Minister Karen Nutarak, Mayor Joshua Arreak and the Elders and community members of Pond Inlet for welcoming us and sharing so much knowledge about their hamlet with our visitors.

Mr. Speaker, the highlight of our time in beautiful Mittimatalik was the on-the-land excursion we took to the sinaaq, the floe edge. After three days of discussions about Arctic sovereignty and security we travelled to the mouth of the Northwest Passage. We were joined by numerous community members, as well as the Nauttiqsuqtiit Inuit Stewards.

While at the sinaaq, local hunters harvested a polar bear, and I shot a seal – all to be shared with the community. Our visitors experience first-hand the importance of harvesting in our communities and how our lives are intertwined with the land and wildlife that sustains us.

Mr. Speaker, meetings such as this one, are critical to strengthening our voice as Northern leaders ahead of engagements with our provincial colleagues at the upcoming Western Premiers’ Conference and the Council of the Federation later this summer.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.