Open letter to Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq
“We fear that what the Conservative government is doing is a cultural genocide”
To Hon. Leona Aglukkaq: MP for Nunavut, Minister of the Environment, minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, regional minister for the North and chair of the Arctic Council.
This is an open invitation to you. We are, and have been, fighting to put a stop to seismic testing within waters adjacent to us.
We depend on these waters for food and the very existence of Inuit life depend on them. We fear that what the Conservative government is doing is a cultural genocide and will end the Inuit way of life as we know it.
You are Canada’s environment minister so you probably are aware of what devastating affects oil spills can have on the environment.
Furthermore, based on the information that we are getting, seismic testing does change the migration routes of sea mammals and for that reason we fear that we will no longer be able to harvest what we are able to now.
We have planned a protest to put a stop to seismic testing on July 23, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. and we would like to have you present to either stand with us on our fight to stop seismic testing or to explain to the people and the media as to why you are certain that there will be no harmful affects to our wildlife.
You were able to go to Arctic Bay to defend the Nutrition North Canada program in a short period of time, so I am sure you can find a way to come to Clyde River to either stand with us or to explain to us as to why your party feels that doing seismic tests will be beneficial to Inuit.
Furthermore, our Municipality of Clyde River has put out a call for help in taking the fight of stopping seismic testing to court.
Of all organizations or parties, Greenpeace has stepped up to help fund the court battle. How embarrassing is that, eh? The very people that helped to destroy our seal industry here helping Inuit on a cause that they both believe.
You are our representative. Speak up on our behalf.
I know when people ask you about seismic testing, you say it is not harmful. If that is the case, come to Clyde River with the proof that can ease the minds of people here and within Nunavut.
Yes, your party says that this isn’t for oil or natural gas drilling, but you and I both know that the very reason they are doing this is to find out what is out there and that will open up exploration for such resources.
We posted on your Facebook page but you or your page reviewer deleted our comments, so perhaps this way, you will be able to think of how to deal with our concerns.
In closing, I will quote words written by James Arvaluk back on Feb. 27, 1976,when he was then president of Inuit Tapirisat of Canada and they are as follows;
“Through the centuries, we Inuit have never had any doubts about who owns the land. It is only fairly recently that we have come to realize our land is endangered, and that we must establish formally ownership and control of it under the laws recognized by the Canadian government. We firmly believe that we do own our land under existing Canadian law, and we’d like to emphasize that point.
But in spite of that, southern Canadian society has already imposed a new way of life upon us… whether we’ve liked it or not. We are seldom consulted before decisions are made which affect our future. More often, we are informed after the fact.
Seismic exploration, pipeline surveys, prospectors flying around in helicopters are already disturbing the traditional migratory patterns on the land and in the sea. We complain, we beg to be consulted.
Sometimes lip service is paid to consultation, but the work goes on anyway, and in effect our pleas are ignored.”
Thirty-eight years have passed since this letter was written to the prime minister and his cabinet, but the battle Inuit face is still the same.
You are our elected voice, you are supposed to represent our beliefs and values.
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