Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut November 21, 2017 - 1:10 pm

Nunavut lawyer resigns from MMIWG inquiry

Joseph Murdoch-Flowers was one of six staffers with the commission's Inuit working group

SARAH ROGERS
Iqaluit-based lawyer Joseph Murdoch-Flowers announced his resignation from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls on Nov. 21, but declined to comment any further on his decision to leave. (FILE PHOTO)
Iqaluit-based lawyer Joseph Murdoch-Flowers announced his resignation from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls on Nov. 21, but declined to comment any further on his decision to leave. (FILE PHOTO)

An Iqaluit-based lawyer has resigned from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Women and Girls.

Joseph Murdoch-Flowers, raised in Nunatsiavut and Nunavik, joined the inquiry’s legal team last spring. He was one of six staff who made up its Inuit working group.

Murdoch-Flowers announced his resignation Nov. 21 and sent a brief email to reporters, but declined to comment any further.

His decision comes as the national inquiry continues to face internal turmoil and criticism.

The commission has lost more than a dozen employees this year, including one of its commissioners, Marilyn Poitras.

Emails leaked to CBC this week suggest that the inquiry’s new executive director, Debbie Reid, has taken a heavy-handed approach to staff, insisting their priority is to protect commissioners from “criticism and surprises.”

In other news reports, staff at the inquiry have described the working environment as high-pressure and dysfunctional.

Murdoch-Flowers’ departure comes just weeks before the inquiry is set to host its first hearing in Nunavut—and in an Inuit community—when commissioners touch down in Rankin Inlet Dec. 11.

The other members of the inquiry’s Inuit working group are Edmonton-based lawyer Lillian Aglukark Lundrigan, health manager Barbara Sevigny, community liaison officer Looee Okalik, researcher Lisa Koperqualuk and Gladys Wright, an executive assistant to commissioner Qajaq Robinson.

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(8) Comments:

#1. Posted by JOHN ELL on November 21, 2017

I love working under pressure, at the end of the day you have to remember why you are there, for loved ones that deserve to be heard but never had that chance.  I wish the Inuit working group and others my best.

#2. Posted by sled dog on November 22, 2017

His resigning is not a big deal. Most people who resign from an organization don’t issue press releases unless they feel they are really really self-important.

The picture in the CBC was a lawyer holding a microphone. (hence maybe not that important of a role) 

The inquiry was a mess to begin with and will remain so until it ends

#3. Posted by Mother on November 22, 2017

The MMIWG Inquiry has a big load on their hands all because of discrimination from the Police Forces not doing their job.
I hope that people with loved ones that have passed on will be patient and see what this Group can do to help them.
I was happy when this group was formed, I have a best friend who’s daughter went missing with out a trace, for her and everyone else, I hope the Group keeps fighting on!

#4. Posted by accountant vs lawyer on November 22, 2017

#2 do you really think most people and press releases not issued are about self-importance?  As a numbers guy you would know more about ledgers with balanced books, and not about the roles inside this pilot project.

#5. Posted by Nuvaqiq on November 22, 2017

#2 He didn’t issue a press release. The articles states he “sent a brief email to reporters, but declined to comment any further.” At any rate, when people step down from high profile inquiries that have the nation’s attention, they usually let the media know. Legal counsel to the inquiry is a pretty high profile position on the inquiry, so your criticism seems unfounded and petty. I guess we’ll catch you around the corner, amen.

#6. Posted by IceClass on November 22, 2017

As resignations from the commission have been the subject of national press reports, it is not an act of self-importance to issue a press release announcing one’s resignation and more importantly, the desire not to have to answer press questions.

Now if he had gone on national TV and spilled his guts ...

#7. Posted by Pigiakanniq Startover on November 22, 2017

Start fresh and do it right.  Wipe the slate clean. 

Very unfortunate with a preference to not have to do that but there seems to be no other way since day #1.

#8. Posted by Sled dog on November 23, 2017

Sorry #5. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

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