PM Harper agrees to act as “honorary patron” for Inuit circumpolar gathering
More than 600 people expected to attend ICC’s Inuvik assembly July 21-24
Prime Minister Stephen Harper will serve as “honorary patron” for the Inuit Circumpolar Council’s international assembly to be held July 21 to July 24 in Inuvik, the ICC announced March 11.
“Having Canada’s prime minister serve as honorary patron is a strong indicator of the importance of ICC as a body that can directly address the impacts of our changing Arctic,” Aqqaluk Lynge, ICC’s current international chair, said in a news release.
The Inuvik general assembly, whose theme is “Ukiuqtaqtumi Hivuniptingnun — One Arctic One Future,” will bring more than 600 visitors to Inuvik, including delegates from Greenland, Chukotka, Alaska and Canada.
The ICC said delegates will talk about issues like Arctic sovereignty, resource development, political issues, healthy communities and family wellness, food security, sustainable resource use, and the environment.
Because Lynge’s chairmanship expires this July, ICC delegates are also expected to rubber-stamp the “election” of Okalik Eegeesiak, 52, to ICC’s international chairperson position.
ICC Canada’s board, whose four voting members represent the four regional Inuit organizations in Canada, chose Eegeesiak for the job at a board meeting held Jan. 31 in Ottawa.
By convention, the ICC’s international chairmanship rotates among the organization’s three largest national sections: Canada, Greenland and Alaska.
ICC has also picked Canadian North as its “official airline” for the Inuvik gathering.
The Inuvik-based Inuvialuit Development Corp. owns 50 per cent of Canadian North.
Its associated Inuit organization, the Inuvialuit Regional Corp., will act as “local host” for the event.