Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Issue 18 - Evidence - February 28, 2017
OTTAWA, Tuesday, February 28, 2017
The Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples met this day at 9:03
a.m. to study on the new relationship between Canada and First Nations,
Inuit and Metis peoples.
Senator Lillian Eva Dyck (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Good morning and welcome to the Standing Senate
Committee on Aboriginal Peoples. I would like to welcome those watching our
committee this morning here in the room or via the Web or CPAC.
I would like to acknowledge for the sake of reconciliation that we are
meeting on the traditional lands of the Algonquin people.
My name is Lillian Dyck, from Saskatchewan, and I have the honour and
privilege of chairing this committee. I will now ask the members of the
committee to introduce themselves, starting on my right.
Senator Tannas: Scott Tannas from Alberta.
Senator Beyak: Lynn Beyak from Ontario.
Senator Enverga: Tobias Enverga from Ontario.
Senator Boniface: Gwen Boniface from Ontario.
Senator Pate: Kim Pate from Ontario.
Senator Christmas: Daniel Christmas from Nova Scotia.
Senator Lovelace Nicholas: Sandra Lovelace Nicholas from New
Senator Watt: Charlie Watt from Nunavik.
The Chair: Thank you, senators. Our deputy chair, Senator
Patterson, has just entered the room.
Senator Patterson: Good morning. Thank you.
The Chair: Today we are continuing to study what a new
relationship with First Nations, Metis and Inuit in Canada may look like. We
continue our look at the historical context of these relationships.
Today we have before us James Igloliorte, Retired Judge of the Provincial
Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, who is an expert on the relationship
between the Crown and the Inuit of Canada. Mr. Igloliorte, you have the
floor, to be followed by questions from the senators. If you would proceed,
please. Thank you.
James Igloliorte, Retired Judge of the Provincial Court of
Newfoundland and Labrador, as an individual: Thank you.
Ullakut, illonase. Kuviasukpavunga maneligama Ottawame. Nakkumek.
Good morning everyone. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you
about my report on the relationship between Inuit and the Government of
On April 17, 1982, I was here in Ottawa as a guest of then Labrador MP,
the Honourable Bill Rompkey who incidentally had been my high school
principal in North West River, Labrador. That April visit was to attend the
repatriation of the Constitution of Canada by Queen Elizabeth II at a
ceremony at the Parliament Buildings. I recall the pomp and ceremony of this
momentous occasion in Canadian democratic history. I'm grateful today to
you, as I was then to Senator Rompkey, to witness Canadian history being
As the Charter was refined shortly after that, it was gratifying to learn
how the fight to include Aboriginal rights and women's rights, of course,
into the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was shoehorned by the
persistent forebears to those beneficiaries of today's modern treaties. To
see today that there are provisions for a federal government assessment of
how effective the implementation process is working, and furthermore, to
observe today that this Senate standing committee wishes to hear of the
incidents of this forged relationship is sufficient proof to me that a
serious effort is being made to change past institutional norms.
In September of 1982, before I started law school at Dalhousie University
in Nova Scotia, our fourth child, Justin, was born. Naturally, he was named
after our present Prime Minister, who was just then a boy, in honour of the
invitation that I had received earlier that year. So your invitation to me
is in fact just completing a personal circle in our family begun some 35
I want to throw another date at you now, a date that has had great impact
on the Inuit of Labrador, who call themselves Nunatsiavimuit, people of our
beautiful land — the creation of our territory in 2005 following
negotiations between Canada, Newfoundland and the Labrador Inuit
For the 30 years before the land claims agreement was signed, Inuit had
joined in, as you recall, that great worldwide movement where the
aspirations and frustrations of indigenous peoples were being vocalized,
possibly spurred on by such things as the challenge to the American
establishment against the apparent folly of the Vietnam War. Social unrest
in those days seemed to be rising in every corner of the world, including
ours, and it was gaining a foothold in the challenges to the Canadian
relationship with the Inuit of Labrador as well.
In Labrador, Inuit chose the path of seeking legal precedent and
negotiations to pursue a formal process of treaty resolution. The newly
formed Labrador Inuit Association pressed for many years to enter into
negotiations to establish a comprehensive land claims agreement. In 2005,
the agreement, as you are aware, was finalized, and it gave the parties the
chance for the promotion of a strong and self-reliant Labrador Inuit
homeland, the improvement of social well- being and economic prosperity for
Inuit, and provided for all parties certainty in resource developments.
One of the legal incidents arising from the Labrador Inuit land claims
agreement, or LILCA, included a newly named Nunatsiavut, meaning our
beautiful land, government, which had self-government provisions of
authority over such areas as culture and language, education, health care,
social services, housing and environmental protection. We also gained
law-making authority and some specific taxation powers.
Another incident was the creation of the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area,
whereby Labrador Inuit obtained specific and defined rights in their
homeland, such as harvesting of plants and the use of natural resources
occurring within it.
A third component of the LILCA was the establishment of the Torngat
Mountains National Park concurrent with the signing of the Nunavik Inuit
Land Claims Agreement in 2008. These two national parks occupy the northern
tip of the Labrador-Ungava Peninsula and the Inuit from Nunavik and
Nunatsiavut have jointly and historically occupied this region, where many
people have family ties on the Quebec as well as Labrador side of the
Prior to and during the arrival of the Moravian missionaries in the
mid-1700s, small groups of Inuit occupied lands from the tip of the northern
Labrador at Killinek, and extending southward in the myriad fjords and
wildlife-filled inlets all the way down to Gross Water Bay near Happy
Valley-Goose Bay. These more northerly peoples were eventually settled by
the religious and colonial pressures of Moravians at 0kak, Nutak and Hebron.
In the mid-1900s, this church and the provincial government, touting health,
service provisions and other reasons, forced the relocation of Inuit to
communities even further to the south. That history has been described by
outsiders as well as Inuit, and it left a traumatic consequence to the
families who had lived up there and still exist now to the present time.
As outlined in the land claims agreement, the establishment of the
national park has had the effect of bringing some of these same Inuit, 50
years later, back to an ancestral homeland at the southern entranceway to
the national park, and these are just for brief summer visits. Since the
establishment of the base camp in 2007, Parks Canada and the Nunatsiavut
government have consistently brought elders and youth who grew up in the
region to attend cultural events in the summers.
For the elders, these short forays back to the familial lands is a
reminder of the wild and beautiful home they once occupied, and the trauma
of the years of relocation is heightened by the memories they retain.
However, even these bittersweet events do bring some degree of healing to
The introduction of bringing youth to the Torngats, as the base camp is
now called, concurrent with the elders who can exchange their experiences
and stories with them, transmits a pride of culture when they leave the
communities further to the south where they, of course, like all young
people, enjoy instant data and communications and they have to slow down to
speak face to face with elders. They also gain valuable insights into the
trauma suffered by their relatives and some recognition of the value of the
healing power of the land and of the remote camp experience.
The base camp is located on Inuit land and borders on the south of the
national park. This has allowed the establishment of a business model where
Inuit operators capitalize on this tourism opportunity. While it's true that
the Inuit of Nunavik and Nunatsiavut use the base camp for valuable cultural
and social purposes, and that its infrastructure allows important research
activity from any aspect of Canadian research and international research,
the expectation we had that the base camp would be a model for economic
prosperity has sadly not materialized.
The Torngat Mountains National Park has indeed helped Inuit strengthen
and renew their ancestral ties to a beautiful part of northern Labrador.
Parks Canada has, with a cooperative management board comprised of local
Inuit partners, made great strides in preserving Inuit cultural and
archaeological artifacts and sites, yet there is a missing piece of adequate
financial support from the federal government to make the base camp a
sustainable financial operation.
In financial terms, it is far from a going concern. This pillar for the
success of the park and Inuit business needs a serious injection of federal
funding through Parks Canada spending in order to reach its potential as
providing the necessary support for Inuit business potential. The other
pillars of cultural experience and identification and preservation of Inuit
culture are on solid ground. If there were a commitment for strong financial
support of a tourism opportunity, the challenge for Inuit economic
developers in Nunavik as well as Nunatsiavut could be met through the
ongoing communications already existing between the parties. They work well
together, they know each other and they trust each other. They need
Another topic of importance to the members of the Labrador indigenous
community is the settlement, as you may have heard in recent months, of a
class action lawsuit between survivors of the Labrador residential schools
and the Government of Canada. Remember that a few years back the apology
given by then Prime Minister Harper to the other residential school
survivors to the exclusion of people in this province was short-sighted and
It has taken 10 agonizing years for the matter to reach a final
settlement to benefit the plaintiffs, the law firms and government, and any
person closely following the case would have tied this settlement, in part,
to a change in the attitude of the federal government at the highest level.
The air of optimism in indigenous people across Canada resulting from
election promises, but being translated into visible actions and
consultation by the Prime Minister himself along with the necessary cabinet
ministers, important cabinet ministers, with Inuit leaders and communities,
has become for us a real and palpable message of hope, particularly to the
The incidents of that case, as I stated, call for a cash compensation to
Inuit and other indigenous groups in Labrador, and further, incentives to
allow for commemoration and healing not only for Inuit themselves but
between the Crown and the three indigenous peoples of Labrador. Recent
policy directives from all government departments that have responsibility
toward indigenous people is a heartening change for the betterment of
relations. In this incentive, the honour of the Crown could not be more
forcefully or clearly explained to Canadians. These two interactions by the
Government of Canada and the Nunatsiavut Inuit, being a transfer of Inuit
self-government powers and the settlement of a painful legacy of residential
schooling, speak clearly as to how a maturing Canada can best approach its
relationship building with us. The land claims implementation is thankfully
a process that is subject to periodic review.
In the short time since the LILCA was implemented, Inuit are proud of the
accomplishments in social, health and cultural preservation. Under the
umbrella of the Nunatsiavut government, the communities themselves have the
autonomy to make fiscal and management decisions in which all the Labrador
Inuit community leaders meet periodically, and people share and interchange
ideas, hopes and frustrations. All beneficiaries who live outside the land
claims area retain access to the programs, benefits and government
participation in a process called the Canadian Constituency.
Contrast this form of community governance with one where historically
either a religious body ran the affairs of the community or a largely
foreign provincial government presence took that role at one time.
I don't have any personal or governance experience to offer you with
respect to the daily workings of the two levels of Inuit community
governance, that is, the central Nunatsiavut government and the community
governments. Suffice to say, as an outsider looking in, the question to ask
is always, by you as well as me, whether the Inuit themselves are growing in
capacity, experience and practice to manage their own affairs without
outside interference but with outside help.
The preferred approach is to work together in providing tools to the
Inuit government and to evaluate progress, as Inuit do and as you are doing;
to measure the level of responsibility in social, educational and cultural
activities; to ask whether elected officials and residents feel a sense of
pride and accomplishment over time in their efforts at capacity building; to
allow people to learn from their successes and mistakes; and of course to
work hard at building respectful, trustful relations.
A single Canadian can create a singular Canada. The actions of a Prime
Minister who signals, not with words but by action, that change is possible,
and a young indigenous graduate returning as a social worker to her
community to build a life there and to work in the community are ways that
we can measure the value of these accomplishments.
Nation-to-nation respect and trust signals the level of commitment both
sides should have for each other. As we move forward with implementation of
the land claims agreements and the Senate committee uses its powers to
examine and appreciate indigenous peoples across Canada, the reconciliation
process, healing and commemoration can all happen.
In my introduction I had described how our son Justin received his name,
but I didn't tell you how he got his second name. It's Peter. It was not
then a tribute to Justin's father, the Prime Minister at the time, Pierre
Trudeau. In fact, there's a more Stuart McLeanesque scenario that happened,
and I will describe it to you.
On the night that Mom was to deliver baby Justin, I read their favourite
Little Golden classic, and strangely enough, it was called Peter and the
Wolf. So, of course, when we said, "Mom and Dad chose the first name
Justin. Who do you want the second name to be?'' their answer was Peter,
because he had captured the big, bad wolf.
I want to thank you so much for your attention. I'm happy to answer your
questions if I can. I appreciate the invitation to appear today and your
kind respect as well. Thank you very much.
The Chair: Thank you very much, judge, for your comprehensive yet
concise overview of the Inuit in Labrador. We will now begin the first round
of questioning, starting with our deputy chair, Senator Patterson.
Senator Patterson: I'd like to welcome Judge Igloliorte and thank
him for his good work in the Qikiqtani region with the truth commission.
That was a significant, historical event for the Inuit of Qikiqtani region
Sir, in examining the question of the relationship between the Inuit and
the Crown and building a new relationship, which we're studying, I think we
have to recognize, as you pointed out, that the Inuit of Northern Canada —
and I include Nunatsiavut and Nunavik in that description — have all settled
comprehensive land claim agreements. Nunavik was the first, and Senator Watt
was pivotal in that settlement, then the Inuvialuit of the Beaufort Delta
region, the Inuit of Nunavut and finally, most recently, the Inuit of
The Inuit are the envy of many other Aboriginal peoples for having
settled these comprehensive claims, as you've described them. What is the
place for Inuit and Canada in negotiating a new relationship since they've
got a pretty solid foundation to build on with all these comprehensive land
I'm going to try to summarize what you said. These land claim agreements
are promising. They give Inuit a lot of tools. We know the Inuit of Nunavut
have had to sue the federal government for implementation of their agreement
and reached a significant settlement last year. You referred to policy
directives from government departments recently who have responsibility
towards indigenous people as being a heartening change for the betterment of
relationships. For the Inuit to improve the Crown-Inuit relationship, is
getting government departments to respect the comprehensive claim agreements
the main thing we need to do? Is that the big challenge here, and is that
what you were referring to when you said the new policy directives are
Mr. Igloliorte: Senator, I think we recognize that what we're all
trying to do in our capacities is to address the needs and build
sustainability within the communities. Whatever way that appears to offer
the path to that end is what we should be pursuing.
For the Inuit of Labrador, at least, we worked long and hard, elected and
negotiated a settlement where, within it, there were self-government
provisions; and in those self-government provisions, we thought that if we
negotiated them with the Government of Canada and the Province of
Newfoundland and Labrador, then we would find our own path to building that
sustainability and peaceful and prosperous communities for Inuit.
We placed our hopes on that process, so we're not about to abandon it. My
main point is that when you review the implementations, when you review what
has happened, the direction things are taking, then we feel that is the way
to address those needs.
Senator Patterson: Thank you. You talked about the actions of a
prime minister signalling not with words but by action that change is
possible. As I'm sure you followed, the Prime Minister came to Nunavut this
month and made an agreement with the Inuit leaders of Canada, presidents of
the land claims organizations and the president of the Inuit Tapirisat of
Canada. Now, some observers have said, "Well, what was in that agreement?''
It was an agreement to meet. I think there was a commitment to meet three
times a year, once with senior cabinet ministers, once with the Prime
Minister. Some have said, "Well, those are encouraging words, but we have
yet to see any actions, and the jury will be out about what that leads to.''
Would you say this is a good start and all we should expect of Canada is
an agreement to sit down at the highest levels with Inuit leaders and plan a
course forward together? Is that what reconciliation should mean for the
Inuit and, I suppose, for other Aboriginal peoples of Canada?
Mr. Igloliorte: It's a change in direction, isn't it? I think that
from our perspective, our responsibility as leaders — and I'm speaking for
political leadership — is to continue to hold government ministers, the
Prime Minister himself and the entire body of the Canadian government to a
test where we are able to say words are followed by actions. I think that's
really our responsibility to continue that aspect of it. But yes, in my
mind, clearly in the past year, there seems to be a change and a thawing of
Senator Lovelace Nicholas: Welcome here this morning. Do you think
the government is living up to its fiduciary responsibility to indigenous
peoples at this date?
Mr. Igloliorte: From the Labrador Inuit perspective, that was
really the test I was looking at during the entire process of the
residential schools case. It had gone on for ten years. There was a fair bit
of acrimony between the sides. There was apparently not much movement but a
lot of pushback from the parties.
I wasn't part of the discussions; in fact, I wasn't called as a witness.
My residential school history was too good. I was successful, and I appeared
to be not the kind of witness that should be called in a case against the
government to make them feel bad so that somehow there could be some
I will say that that switch of rancour seemed to be turned off at some
point, and at least a settlement was reached quite quickly. Personally, I
saw that as a signal that along with the compensation, the potential for an
apology to Labrador residential school survivors, and then the promise that
there might be some commemorative and healing components to the agreements,
and I've been asked to be a part of that delivery, it seems to be one of the
ways that we could look at an improved Inuit-to-government relationship.
Senator Lovelace Nicholas: I feel the government is being
negligent. Do you think the only recourse would be for indigenous people to
take the government to court for negligence?
Mr. Igloliorte: I'm recognizing Justice Sinclair here. When you go
through a lengthy process of examining what happened in the reconciliation
report arising from the residential schools agreement, there are many ways
to urge Canada to work hand-in-hand in building trust relationships with
Inuit and with indigenous peoples generally. As a judge, I would be the last
to say that your only recourse is court. For most judges, that's the last
thing we want to see. We prefer to see trust relationships resulting in
either negotiated settlements or settlements that people can work on.
Senator Lovelace Nicholas: Thank you for your answer.
Senator Enverga: Thank you for that presentation. I have learned a
lot from you today.
My question is with regard to your statement that the question to ask is
whether Inuit themselves are growing in capacity, experience and practice to
manage their own affairs, without outside interference. I'm surprised with
that. I was thinking there is a lot of Inuit leaders who would be able to
manage or be a leader and to make a more productive community. Can you
elaborate on what kind of leadership and attitude you are expecting the
Inuits to have, please?
Mr. Igloliorte: We saw on CBC this morning that there's a story
coming from Labrador with respect to child welfare, that many Inuit children
from Nunatsiavut region are being sent to Newfoundland island, and the last
recourse, of course, for child welfare officials is to send these children
outside of their own communities for safety and to be fostered.
The first question reporters are going to ask is: Tell us the answer.
What's the answer? Do they want to know a one- liner, and somehow or another
you are the person to deliver that answer so that all of these problems are
My view is you have to take the position that, as an outsider, you have
to ask: Is the community working hard with their partners, the Canadian
government and provincial government? Is there capacity within a
self-government leadership to start to address these questions, which took a
long time to result in the kind of behaviour and practices and trauma that
has resulted in families being unable to take care of their children? They
have as much hope and love for their children as you and I do, but they have
a lot of traumatic issues they've dealt for the community to reach this
I'm saying, don't think that there's a bullet that will solve the
problem. Ask whether the people themselves are being provided the support
and services to reach their own attempts at working on the question. Is the
number of young people being educated as child welfare workers sufficient?
Are they providing programs with the assistance of both the province and
Canada to work together on these issues? That's all I meant.
Senator Enverga: With the questions about the capacity, experience
and practice to manage their own affairs, are you saying that one of the
solutions is autonomy, self-governance? Is that the solution for the
Mr. Igloliorte: It's not the only solution. Clearly,
self-government doesn't mean you isolate yourself from the province or
Canada. Self-government means you use any resources when you have these
challenges to try to work on them, and building trust between the levels of
government, in some ways nation-to-nation, is much preferred to either one
side or the other saying that they can handle the issue.
Senator Enverga: You mentioned training and leadership. Do you
prefer to have your own self-education, learning from the roots and the
culture, rather than learning from people outside the community
Mr. Igloliorte: I can't speak for the Nunatsiavut government, but
I think it's clear that this is a process. At this stage, what the
Nunatsiavut government is saying is there are obviously good precedents in
this country, this province and around the world for us to properly educate
people like doctors or social workers or whoever they may be. Right now
we're not looking inward to address the issues, at least that's the
impression I have, but they're saying, "Let's become part of the Canadian
community. Let's educate ourselves to those standards. Once we build
capacity, then if we can use the strengths we have within our own culture,
we'll move to that.'' They're clearly in a transition period when any
assistance, the norms for Canadian education and support, are what we want.
at this time.
Senator Pate: Thank you very much for all of your contributions,
not just here at the committee but the work you've been doing for your
In reviewing Creating Healthy Communities recommendations of the
Qikiqtani Truth Commission, there were very clear links made between mental
health issues, suicide, substance abuse and prisons to the government
policies of the day, of the 1950s to 1975.
It struck me that one of the plans that's in place now, that's just been
recently announced, is to build a new prison in the North. You've already
spoken very articulately, as does the commission report, about the need for
more services and capacity within communities for substance abuse, for
mental health issues, for addiction support programs and services and
education services generally, yet building a prison will actually draw
resources potentially out of those areas. Historically that's what has
happened in most parts of this country. Certainly, when it comes to
indigenous peoples, it has resulted in the over-incarceration of indigenous
peoples. Instead of applying those resources there, could you comment on the
possibility of those resources being invested in communities so that
individuals are actually having the supports in their communities in terms
of health care, social services, education, programs?
In addition to that, could you speak more generally about the role of
nation-to-nation discussions in developing the kinds of national standards
that would increase those preventive initiatives and therefore alternatives
to prison, if you will, at the back end but also at the front end, providing
options so that more people aren't being marginalized, victimized,
criminalized and institutionalized?
Mr. Igloliorte: When you are a judge, you often hear a lot of
statements. One of the myths that's always repeated about prisons is that
one third of the people should never be there, one third of the people who
are there should be there and the other third should always be kept in
there. It's that kind of thing that you hear from the public about how that
In using the child welfare system as an analogy in making sure that the
community is safe, obviously civilization as we know it to this point has
said that we need these facilities to house different kinds of individuals
in their interactions with law and the norms.
Just as prisons alone are not the solution, there are other ways of
addressing these kinds of issues that have to be employed. I don't
appreciate or understand very much about the policy decisions that go into
that. I'm simply saying that there are probably always pressures on
governments to approach the problem in one way or another and that it's
within the authority of governments to make decisions based on priorities. I
would say that better brains than mine make those kinds of decisions for
Suffice to say that when you're looking at people's behaviour in the
context of criminal behaviour or mental issues, then you have to use
whatever possible resources you can to try and address specific matters
coming before you, and you leave it to government officials to make those
other decisions about the broader society. I'm not confident in saying
anything more than that about what might be the way to address that.
When we were asked to work on the Qikiqtani Truth Commission, it started
off, as many people know, as a huge outcry against what was felt to be a
legacy of Inuit feeling that, in the past, the RCMP had done a great
disservice by killing sled dogs. That led directly to some of the issues
that Inuit were facing today.
When we sat down as an executive committee to decide whether we were
going to address that issue alone, we realized that there were many deeper
background matters that we had to look at, so we expanded the terms of
reference with the Qikiqtani association and the NTI to really look more
carefully at the entire government-to-Inuit relationships that occurred at
the time. It was a much more interesting story, and it put aside to some
degree what might have been a very fractious debate about whether these
incidents happened and whether they led directly to the occurrence.
The point I'm making is that unless you know all of the background of
what happens in any community, it's very rare to try to find a single answer
Senator Pate: Thank you for that thoughtful response.
I'm thinking both in terms of your experience as a member of the
community and as a judge. When one of the few resources available is a jail,
in my limited experience, too often behaviour will be characterized as
criminal or will be characterized as requiring a removal because that's the
only resource available. I'm curious as to your perspective in terms of
whether you see that and whether that fear is unfounded when I look at
things like an announcement of a new jail, in the absence, seemingly, of
similar announcements for appropriate mental health care, health care,
social services, including addictions and the like and educational services.
The last time I was in the North, it was the place that women and
children who were being removed from violent situations were being placed,
largely because it was the only resource available and not because anyone
believed that the women and children needed to be in jail.
Mr. Igloliorte: When you're an Aboriginal judge and you work in
your own community, you're usually labelled as a bleeding heart because you
never apply the same harsher standards as a rule against the people who you
see coming to you, particularly Aboriginal people.
I agree with you that in our society, thankfully less than in some other
societies and countries, that is usually the first resort and not the last
one. I'm sympathetic to your perspective. I agree that what you're saying is
absolutely true, and I leave it to people who have that kind of power and
work in those areas to address them the best they can. For me, all the
components must work together.
Senator Pate: Would you agree, then, that those kinds of national
standards or some of those directions may be appropriate as part of
Mr. Igloliorte: I agree with you.
Senator Sinclair: Good morning, Jim.
Mr. Igloliorte: Good to see you again. We were appointed, I think,
in the same year. We met each other the very first year we were appointed as
judges. It was a long time ago.
Senator Sinclair: You've been far more successful than I have.
Mr. Igloliorte: We won't go into that debate here.
Senator Sinclair: Let me congratulate you on your work.
This area that you've been asked to come forward and talk about is an
area that I think is one that Canadians generally, and members of this
committee I think, would probably agree we can learn a great deal more about
than we have information around.
Let me begin with a general question, if you don't mind, and it has to do
with Inuit self-determination or Inuit self- government. Are you able to
talk for a few minutes with us about your understanding of what Inuit forms
of self- government were like traditionally, historically speaking? How did
Inuit people govern themselves? Following that, how will that benefit the
Mr. Igloliorte: I was born in 1949, the year of Newfoundland's
Confederation with Canada, and in my own Inuit community of Hopedale in
northern Labrador, things were already beginning to change, in my young
eyes, because I only ever knew a governance of the community through a
Moravian Church system, which had come to Labrador in the mid-1750s. That
church brought over, for the most part, missionaries from either Germany or
that area of Europe. These were people who were quite scientifically minded.
They were happy to come and work amongst Inuit. They learned the language,
they translated the Bible into Inuktitut and they used Christian Protestant
norms to bring order into the community.
For example, when there were any issues between families in the
community, my grandfather, who was a church elder, would go with a few other
mature, mostly males, and speak to the individual who might have had some
issues either with his own family or whatever the case may be. I can recall
as a young boy that that form of control, that form of bringing harmony, was
the main idea of any of the processes used. It was to bring harmony between
It's similar to what's referred to as a circle sentencing process. Rather
than saying that the matters should be resolved by jail, no jail, probation,
you bring all the parties together to disclose how the incident that brings
the whole matter to the court has affected everyone. You go through various
iterations of the same issue so that, over time, you leave it for a while,
you come back to it again, and then you have another opportunity to allow
different people impacted by this to provide their statement and to have the
people at the centre of the whole matter to continue to explain to each
other and to their family and community members how they can work to resolve
That was generally how the Inuit would have worked out their matters in
the times that the Moravians were present. Prior to that, I only know what I
read about. For the most part, you lived in small, family, nomadic groups.
You interacted with other people in camp settings, not community settings. I
guess if there were differences, they were violent, and if there were not
differences, then people respected each other's relationships. That was the
kind of traditional work that I saw.
Of course, as you know, when we became judges, then we were part of the
way the Canadian system worked and the province worked as well.
Senator Sinclair: Given that experience, what implications does
that have for a dialogue today about a nation-to- nation relationship? What
would a traditional form of Inuit self-government look like that would be
involved in a relationship with Canada?
Mr. Igloliorte: In the Nunatsiavut government experience, of
course, we're moving to different areas of authority. At the present time,
we have authority in culture and child and community welfare. We have
authority to make decisions about resource developments, health and
education. I think there will be a point when the government itself feels
it's ready to start formally moving to the justice area. That point has not
yet been reached.
I really haven't heard any of those discussions as to how the Nunatsiavut
government may move with respect to matters involving justice. From my
perspective, because you're in small communities and everyone knows each
other, of course, the model that allows that kind of interaction and to look
at the impacts on people and to slow down the process of writing a decision
on a case is tedious, but, as you and I know, in the long run, it has a much
Senator Sinclair: Maybe I should make it more open-ended. Do you
believe that the traditional culture and language of Inuit people have a
place in the future for Inuit self-government or Inuit self-determination?
If so, how important is that?
Mr. Igloliorte: The fact is in Nunatsiavut, as Senator Watt knows
and Senator Patterson is aware, the use of the language is becoming less and
less every day. The first challenge is to assure recapturing the language.
It demonstrates a great deal of how your culture works. The first step would
be making sure that everyone is reeducated into the Inuktitut language.
Thinking about how using and leaving your language impacts your norms and
how the community works would be a secondary step.
Senator Tannas: Thank you very much for being here. Thank you also
for your service to the country, your province and your people.
I want to take a different road and try and get some personal reflections
from you. Where do you live now? You have four kids. Where does Justin live?
Mr. Igloliorte: Thank you very much. Thank you for your interest
in that. We have four successful children. The oldest is an engineer with
Husky in St. John's. He's a naval architect. The second is a teacher of art
at Emily Carr over in Vancouver. Our daughter is an art history professor at
Concordia, specializing in Indian Arts. Justin became a chef. He now works
in the mine in northern Labrador where the Voisey Bay nickel mine is. He's
quite happy doing that.They're all married. We have four grandchildren.
My wife says she had been following me hell, west and centre for my
career, and once I retired, it was time to reciprocate, so we live in St.
John's, known for its balmy weather and sunshine. I have borne my cross, I
try to tell her, but it hasn't worked so far.
Senator Tannas: With that in mind, I guess what I'm wondering is,
given that three out of your four kids are not living in Labrador, not
likely to return there, and grandchildren are going to do the same — maybe,
or maybe they'll go back there. I don't know, but let's say for the moment
they don't — what do you see to be the principles of the relationship
between the government and your Inuit descendants?
Mr. Igloliorte: What was the last point?
Senator Tannas: Down the road, if we're looking forward rather
than backwards at how things unfold, what principles would your Inuit
descendants, who I suspect will be strong Inuit people—just not
geographically—want to see in their relationship in the future, 10, 20, 30,
50 years from now, with the federal government?
Mr. Igloliorte: Thank you. I missed the word "descendants'' at the
end. My wife and I have always believed that the biggest challenge that any
couple has is to raise children and to raise them in a safe and loving home.
So we decided that, above everything else, above language, above culture,
above ties to my home — and, of course, she's from Newfoundland, so she's a
Newfoundlander — we essentially said that what we want to see is a
I recognize that when children grow up, they have to make up their own
mind about what they want to do and where they want to go, so in no way have
we ever stressed that one part of your culture is more important than the
other. You go where you need to go in order to get an education or determine
your life as you see it to be a successful, sustainable life.
They, of course, have pride in culture, as you can see from two of our
children who are in art. They emphasize Inuit art as much as they can in
their work and what they do.
With respect to how governments approach people, I think it should be to
the Inuit government; the Canadian government and the Nunatsiavut government
have to build those trust relationships. It's the Nunatsiavut government who
says we have this beneficiary population. They have these desires. They want
to stay in their communities to build sustainable communities, and we can
work together for them to reach their goals. But when it comes to
determining what individuals do, I think they will carry their culture
within them wherever they go and whatever they do. So it's really asking
ourselves what we want to be as Canadians and not necessarily as a group
within a particular part of Canada.
Senator Tannas: If I may, I was struck by your comment about your
wife and staying in St. John's. There's a great story in Alberta of a fellow
from Los Angeles whose wife is from Edmonton, and he announced that they
were compromising and living in Calgary. Your comment reminded me of that.
Just so that I'm clear from your answer, it sounds to me that as we look
forward, if we're talking about this government-to-person or
government-to-nation relationship and all of the mechanics and issues and
principles around that, your thinking is that we focus on the territory and
the people within the territory, and if they're not in that territory, that
they're on their own. They've chosen to go on their own.
Mr. Igloliorte: The way the self-government provisions work is
that I'm still a beneficiary, my children are still beneficiaries, and so
are my grandchildren. They receive the health and social benefits that
anybody else can. The desire, of course, is to have people stay, if they
wish, within their region and their communities; and many are doing that,
and many young people are being educated and returning to the communities.
As long as the self-government provisions call for all members to receive
a basic level of health care and services as they wish, then where you live
is really part of how the land claims negotiations came about. So the
incidence of being a beneficiary comes from that, but the government, the
central Inuit government, of course, is defined within the land claims area
that came out of the negotiations. These are communities within Labrador.
They have their representatives from the community level as well as the
Nunatsiavut government level. It is they who decide the provisions and the
incidence of membership.
Senator Christmas: It's an honour and a pleasure to meet you,
I have a great interest in what the future relationship between the Crown
and indigenous people will look like, but I don't want to miss a more
practical question. You mentioned that there's an Inuit base camp just
outside Torngat Mountains National Park. In your comments, you mentioned
there is a need for some financial resources to make sure that this base
camp achieves a level of economic prosperity. Could you elaborate on the
needs of the base camp? What was the original vision of the base camp, and
why at this point haven't we been able to achieve some of those
Mr. Igloliorte: I sit as a board member on an economic development
Inuit organization called Nunatsiavut Group of Companies. I wasn't on the
board from its inception, but it started around 2009 or 2010, and I probably
came on in 2012. What we have accomplished with some funding in a trust
called the Labrador Inuit Capital Strategy Trust is to acquire a number of
businesses. We, for instance, bought a small, local airline called Labrador
Airways. We joint- ventured on a larger purchase of Universal Helicopters,
Newfoundland and Labrador, with assistance from Paul Martin's CAPE Fund. We
operate a marine vessel that services the north coast of Labrador out of a
Newfoundland community called Lewisporte, and we used to have a couple tugs
and barges. We're trying to divest of them now. Essentially a construction
company. We're trying to build sustainability through this economic
development. One of the businesses we have is to run the base camp in the
southern corner of the Torngat Mountains National Park.
Another position I've held is to be the chair of the Cooperative
Management Board for Parks Canada, running Torngat Mountains National Park
from its inception in 2006 until a couple of years ago. I stepped down and
now we have a very capable young Inuit woman from Kuujjuaq who takes on that
In any event, we worked with Parks Canada to develop an idea. Naturally,
for many years the Inuit government talked about the formation of Torngat
Mountains National Park. It was decided, rather than to put the park base
camp facility within with park lands, that we would just put it at the edge
of the park lands but in Inuit lands so that the business opportunities
might grow for Inuit, because then we would have jurisdiction over how it
was built, what was built and have Parks Canada as a partner in making that
We tried one other site. That didn't work. It was too wet. Then we found
a beautiful camp location, and we probably have a website, so all you have
to do is punch in Torngat Mountains National Park and you'll see the
It takes a huge capital outlay, and as base camp operators, right from
the beginning, we have not been able to make any money. One of the reasons
is because we thought it could be run as a national park is run; that is,
people will come because it's there and they like the wilderness. But we
realized very soon that we've got to have people with very deep pockets to
come that far north, to come to a remote place in order to make this a
paying, viable operation.
We have 90 per cent continuous Inuit employment because we have to have
polar bear monitors. We have to have an electrified fence around the camp.
We bring in elders in the summertime, along with youth, to have cultural
It's a beautiful, wild place, and you have to fly from Goose Bay to Nain,
which is the northernmost Inuit community right now. From Nain you fly to an
old U.S. DEW Line site called Saglek that is still in operation as part of
the agreement between Canada and the U.S. to ensure that they still have
that presence in the North. We get permission to use that paved airstrip.
And then you have to fly or take a boat another eight or nine kilometres to
where the base camp is located. "Remote'' doesn't really describe that
The point is that we can only operate from the end of June to the second
week of September with the limitations we have in weather and ice conditions
and the end of the spring thaw and the onset of summer.
There was an original agreement that Parks Canada would spend X amount of
dollars in helping develop that, and they've had some fantastic success in
bringing up writers and CBC people, and you've heard them tell the stories
about the national park and all those gatherings. But, frankly, they go up
there on the cheap. So what we really need is to turn that around into a
The Inuit government can bring in, of course, the cultural activities if
they wish, but we need to have Parks Canada work with the Inuit to really
redesign the program as a tourism destination. That means bringing in people
who go to Fogo Island in Newfoundland. This is a situation where quite a
wealthy lady came back to her home, built this fabulous hotel where movie
stars come quite regularly, apparently, and spend $1,800, whatever the case
The vision that the Nunatsiavut government has, and Nunatsiavut group of
companies, is to try to make that operation work financially. If Parks
Canada, which has been extremely helpful on the archeological and cultural
side, could be given a loosening of the purse strings to inject more money
into the camp, then that would work well.
Senator Christmas: It certainly sounds like it has tremendous
potential, and of course worldwide there's a great interest now in
indigenous tourism and the so-called authentic experience. It certainly has
I was very intrigued by a comment you made several times in your
presentation about describing the Crown or government relationship with the
Inuit as one of building trust. I found that very interesting because very
rarely do you see Crown and Aboriginal relationships being termed in that
way. From your viewpoint, on this whole concept of building trust between
the Crown and the Inuit, can you expand on what you mean by building trust?
What do you think are some of the main obstacles that work against building
Mr. Igloliorte: I think it stems from the historical relationship,
first of all. Labrador is not an independent territory. It's part of the
province of Newfoundland and Labrador. You can read about this in research
done at Memorial University, particularly by academics who have talked about
that earliest history when Newfoundland joined Canada. In those days, as you
know, the guy who used to be known as the oldest living Father of
Confederation, Joey Smallwood, made a deal with the then Government of
Canada that everyone would recognize that for Newfoundland, there were no
Aboriginal people; they were all Newfoundlanders.
The beginning of the history means that Canada did not exercise its
fiduciary obligation and say, "We will offer you directly the programming
you need that we give to other indigenous people across the country.'' What
happened was the money was channelled into the Newfoundland government and
then it trickled down to the Labrador communities through a department of
the province of Newfoundland. Therefore we start off with this historical
issue of very little reason to have trust in the Government of Canada in
dealing directly with Inuit.
Then the land claims agreement comes along, where there's a negotiated
framework for that relationship. My interpretation of what the Inuit
government is hoping is that, as time goes on, the priorities of both levels
will begin to mesh through the trust relationship. That's essentially the
point I'm making there. It has historical roots.
Senator Watt: [Editor's Note: Senator Watt spoke in Inuktitut.]
Mr. Igloliorte: Thank you very much.
Senator Watt: I'll quickly translate what I'm saying. I basically
said thank you for being here, and it's nice to be able to talk to someone
who has a wide range of knowledge in the field of law.
As you know, there are a number of different issues confronting us and
some decisions have to be made. Certain decisions have already been made in
the past which at times become problematic when it comes to the point of
On that account, I'm going to be asking you questions related to the
well-being of Inuit and having a treaty with the Crown, and where we need to
go in order to rectify the problems that have been created since we have
gone through the modern treaty. There are a number of areas on which I will
be asking you questions.
First of all, extinguishment, surrender and release is a concept called
upon by the Crown if Aboriginal groups are going to put themselves in the
position to arrive with a modern treaty. What is your interpretation of that
aspect, knowing the fact yourself, as a first inhabitant of this country,
being asked to surrender, extinguish and release, whatever that might be?
Mr. Igloliorte: I recognize that you and many other people from
Nunavik have a great deal of experience in direct negotiations with the
Crown. You have sweated and cried the tears for many years to try to reach
the stage of trying to find a way to allow, first of all, self-government
provisions, and second, as you explain, a method to ensure that resource
development becomes more certain in the area.
In the experience of the Labrador Inuit, I doubt if we would have had an
early land claims agreement if the Voisey's Bay nickel mine had not come
along. So it was the desire of the financial and commercial pressures at the
time which made both Canada and Newfoundland say that if we want access to
this very rich mine that's going to be there for 30 or 40 or 50 years or
longer, pumping money into our economy, then we had better sit down and take
indigenous people of Labrador seriously in their desire to negotiate. So
that was the catalyst for that decision.
As you say, some of the concepts that were applied in order for
Aboriginal people, indigenous people to reach that kind of agreement with
the province and the Canadian government was that you give up rights that we
need in order to develop the land and we'll give you your self-government
For you, a particular reason that has been a huge issue, for you who was
originally at the table in those days talking about those kinds of things,
would have been the same as the Labrador Inuit Association presidents from
the past. Of course, we didn't see that as a fair and trusting way to reach
an agreement with indigenous people, the original people from the territory.
The outcome, of course, in most land claims agreements is that, along
with self-government provisions, along with provisions that allow the
governance of health services, some form of taxation and all the rest of it,
there is an agreement of what is retained by the indigenous people in small
areas of their original land of how much ownership you can have. For anyone
who works in a governance capacity or represents the entire group, that must
have been a bitter and difficult pill to swallow.
There is a saying that you don't get what you deserve, you get what you
negotiate, especially when it comes to those high-level negotiations
involving lawyers of all experiences. It comes down to you have to do the
best you can. You have to have your side ready to fight that fight as much
as you can and to give up as little as possible when reaching those
Even though these are written negotiations and they have been agreed to,
it doesn't mean that as time goes by there couldn't be some accommodation
from one side to the other. I suspect that's really where the hope lies,
that Canada recognizes that if you want to build sustainability, you've got
to be able to make sure that it also means financial and economic
sustainability. Otherwise, as you said, the problems will always be found in
the communities. You'll never be able to fight them the same as if you have
all the commercial background and backing behind you.
Senator Watt: Thank you for your answer. We have an opportunity
now that we did not have before, having a Prime Minister that is quite keen
on making some improvement in the life of our people. We should be thankful
for that. At the same time, there is a problem in front of us that we have
to deal with. We have to be able to find a way out in terms of coming up
with something that is workable in the future.
As you know, if you're talking about government or governance, you need
two things to be effective — having a legislative authority and financing
money. Those two cannot be separated. That is very important.
If there is going to be a meaningful government-to-government,
nation-to-nation successful conclusion of a deal between the First Nation or
the Inuit or the Metis, I tend to feel in some ways that we might have to go
back and revisit what we have concluded in the past. I'm not only talking
about the modern treaties. I'm also talking about the old treaties that were
put together many years ago.
I think the opportunity is there, and if we don't take advantage of this
opportunity, I don't think that opportunity is going to be around for very
much longer. All it takes is one election and then it's out the window.
When the time comes to make a concrete recommendation to the government,
those are the main, fundamental issues that we need to address: Ability to
be able to have legislative authority plus being able to access financing.
Those, in a sense, are qualities that could be transformed into different
ways of interpreting it.
Would you share that view, if that's the direction that the indigenous
people across the country are willing to go forward on?
Mr. Igloliorte: Yes. When you're appointed as a judge — and I
think Justice Sinclair knows this — you always feel that you are a judge.
There's a natural reticence to act like a politician. You just kind of
cannot make that change.
I know who the politicians are in Labrador, I know what their aspirations
are, and I will speak to them. You won't hear me coming back and saying this
is how I expect that I should be supporting this.
You're absolutely right. I believe that one of the great hopes we have
for the North is a commitment to infrastructure spending because in our
communities, in housing and in transportation and in communications and
connectivity, we are quite far behind the poorest community in the rest of
southern Canada. So that definitely is an area that needs to be worked on.
I'll leave it to you, and you as senators, to continue to push that message.
Senator Oh: Thank you for being here. Why is it important that the
culture and traditions of the Inuit and Aboriginal peoples are incorporated
into the Canadian justice system?
Mr. Igloliorte: Your language and your culture defines who you
are, and it gives you the pride and the self-esteem to stand up within a
country. Clearly, for all the indigenous people in Canada, reaching into the
strengths that your culture offers you and that traditions and language
offer you is really the best way to maintain all of the outer regions, in
this case, for indigenous people of Canada.
Not everyone is interested in coming into the mainstream and leaving
their communities, particularly people who try to make a living day-to-day.
They want to have that support and strength that they get from being among
their own people, yet being proud to be Canadians.
So I wholeheartedly agree with you that culture and tradition is vital to
indigenous people of Canada.
Senator Oh: What are the benefits and challenges that you have
Mr. Igloliorte: Essentially, in coming from an Inuit community,
what you recognize is that there's always a homeland for you to come back
to. That is where your roots are; that's where you gain your strength.
Although there are many challenges of stepping outside of that comfort zone,
I think that it's important to be able to express your personal wishes and
dreams as well. Sometimes it means acting as an indigenous person in the
rest of the country but demonstrating that you have that strength of culture
The Chair: We will now turn to second round. We only have 15
minutes left, so please keep the questions brief.
Senator Enverga: Actually, judge, I would like to follow up from
Senator Tannas' questions.
My question is with regard to being able to manage yourself. Is it
possible that the reason communities cannot manage themselves is that the
real leaders, the ones who are professionals, migrate somewhere else? They
sort of meld into the general Canadian population. Is it possible that it's
true that the reason Aboriginal communities or other communities don't
survive well is because the people who have learned the white language — the
white culture — don't want to come back anymore? Is that possible in your
community or any other community? Could it be one of the causes of why
there's really no self-governance?
Mr. Igloliorte: We have hundreds of Aboriginal communities across
Canada: Metis, First Nations and Inuit, and every experience, every
community, every level of development is different for each area.
I can only speak for the Inuit of Labrador, and the self-government
provisions have allowed Inuit in Labrador to emphasize education to try to
bring forth a level of health services as much as possible and to try to
regain control in social care, taxation, governance and management of their
communities back to their own place.
This is where I think you build the pride and the ability for each
community to sustain itself, so the answer is clearly to work hard at
education so that when you allow the community to have some form of economic
activity, to learn how that best can be achieved and to learn how to achieve
peace and harmony within communities, this is what keeps people there and
brings them back, even though they may go away for education for a while.
It sounds, when you phrase it that way, that it's a real problem, but in
fact many communities, especially indigenous communities, are working hard
to change that perception of what's been happening. I can give you many
examples in Labrador of young people who are being trained and returning
back to the communities. It's not just one direction.
Senator Sinclair: There's a whole area of conversation that we
could have about the importance of international experience of Inuit, given
the state of northern borders and the circumpolar conference influence over
at least the recent history of Canada. I wonder if you might share with us
your thinking about what we can learn as a committee from the experience
that Inuit people have had in northern Canada with Inuit people in other
parts of the world.
Mr. Igloliorte: Yes. I'm not a participant in that body. I know
friends who, of course, have travelled to other areas in the North where
different kinds of Inuit societies live. My understanding is that, as in all
exchanges of similar cultures in different places, it's a very positive one,
it's an empowering one and one that is very important for Canada to
demonstrate that its Aboriginal people, Inuit specifically in this case, can
be part of a much larger Inuit community. Apart from that, I really don't
have any personal experience.
Senator Watt: I have two more points that I would like to raise.
One is the question of title.
As you know, under the modern treaties, when it comes down to the
question of land, they classify our access — our titles — to the land as
fee-simple rights. That is, in a sense, the same as an individual Canadian.
One person or family, in order to have a property, normally goes under fee
simple. So the same concept is used in the modern treaty.
Do you have any solution as to how to improve that aspect in order for us
to have a good feeling amongst ourselves that we are, in a sense, recognized
within our own homeland? That's the first question.
Mr. Igloliorte: The only thing I ever learned as an Inuk growing
up was that everyone had access and owned the land. Inuit before me in
Labrador actually believed that the rocks and everything that grew on the
land had a spirit and sometimes could swallow you up or other times it could
Then to try to learn in law school that there are all these concepts of
ownership and the way that you can encumber property and own land, which you
assumed that anyone could use, was a huge leap for me. I can't possibly say
I understand it yet.
The point you are making, of course, is a political one. It's one where
people who determine, through their governance, how their relationship with
the Crown works is always settled by negotiation. All I can say is that the
more learned, educated and forceful people you have on your negotiation
side, the more likely you are to change the views of people who have a
different view of wanting to own what's in and under and above that land.
From my perspective, as Inuit, we gain our strength from looking at the
land and being on the land, and it's a completely new area of challenge when
you're talking about interests who want to take what is beneath the land for
commercial purposes, at least for the level of commercial purposes we have.
I can't offer you any guidance in that area.
Senator Watt: This was alluded to by Senator Sinclair in regard to
international components of our responsibility as senators and as second
Over the last seven years, I've been hammering out domestic rights and
international rights of the Inuit people at the international level, and I
have succeeded in getting legal interpretations from the law firms to
describe what the domestic rights are versus international rights.
When you look at the Canadian boundary and the Arctic sovereignty issue,
there are certain parts of the geographical areas that are not under federal
government jurisdiction, and is not in any state's jurisdiction, for that
matter, which is occupied by the Inuit.
How do we deal with that issue? The approach I have been taking over the
last seven years toward all government is willingness to enter into an
agreement arrived at with a treaty at the international level. This way, our
Canadian government could be more secure, especially when the matter is
being dealt with at the international level where a lot of interest is
coming from the international communities wanting to access the raw
Not only do we have an interest in that area, but we definitely have to
be directly involved and be part of the decision-making. I would not say
that the government is reluctant to deal with you, but being silent on the
matter, even though they know that there is a potential there for the
Canadian government to go into partnership with the Inuit from the Arctic.
It's still not there yet, so I'm still pushing it. I want your opinion on
Mr. Igloliorte: My only opinion is to encourage you to keep
fighting and use your Inuit counterparts and the strength you get from their
political pressure across the country. I'm sure they share the same views
that you do — the Inuvialuit region, Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, all the regions.
In many of these cases where changes are made to policies, internationally
and nationally, it's from pressures from people like you, and because ideas
that work are being tried by people like you. I encourage you to keep that
Senator Lovelace Nicholas: This relates to a question Senator Watt
asked earlier. At any point in the negotiations, was there a
take-it-or-leave-it attitude on the side of the government?
Mr. Igloliorte: I was part of the negotiating team as they were
closing up the long years that had occurred between Newfoundland and between
Canada and the LIA. That was in 1996. I was not completely aware of the
entire history that started many years before that.
As I explained, one of the catalysts for the final signing appeared to be
the pressure that if they wanted certainty in resource development, then
there was going to have to be give and take and possibly more than either
Newfoundland or Canada wanted to give, but it was negotiation. We had had an
experienced, trusting lawyer. Of course, he followed the advice we gave him,
but he also gave us insights into how the proceedings were going.
To the specific point, I never heard it, but I dare say that it was
brought up more than once. But as negotiations go, any number of things are
stated, and any number of ways that you want to frame questions are
determined, and eventually, obviously, there's a breakthrough that all
people can live with. So not knowing the answer to that question for sure,
in negotiations these things very likely come up, but because we are happy
with the self-government provisions to the degree that we can now work
within them in the communities, I suspect that was not an impediment to a
successful negotiation. I dare say it was said, but it obviously did not
determine the outcome.
Senator Lovelace Nicholas: The reason I am asking is there are
negotiations going on right now with the Sisson mine project in my area, and
according to the agreement, if you don't take this, we'll take this away
from you. That's how the negotiations went. Thank you.
The Chair: We have come to the conclusion of our meeting. On
behalf of all the senators of the committee, I would like to thank Judge
James Igloliorte for appearing before the committee. Thank you for the
wonderful synopsis you gave us of the history of the Inuit in Newfoundland
I wanted to make one comment. It really struck a lot of us when you said
that, as a judge you have a reticence to act like a politician. As a
scientist, I agree with you and sympathize entirely. I know that every
senator sitting at the table within their own profession likely feels the
As the Senate, of course, it is our job to do sober, second thought, and
we do try to maintain a position that a judge would have and to take all
factors into consideration.
(The committee adjourned.)