Inuvialuit Regional Corporation President Duane Ningaqsiq Smith is expressing his anger over Ottawa’s recent extension of a moratorium on oil and gas exploration in the western Arctic Ocean.
The federal government extended the 2016 order in December. Included in the moratorium is a 2019 decision to bar any oil and gas offshore work in the western Arctic Ocean.
Smith said the IRC was not consulted on the decision and the federal government is undermining Inuvialuit “efforts to enhance sovereignty and security in our region.”
“On behalf of the Inuvialuit, we are discouraged by the federal government’s arbitrary decision to extend the moratorium on oil and gas development in Canada’s Arctic waters, without meaningful consultation,” he stated. “This is a setback to the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, who are in need of new economic opportunities. Our livelihoods are impacted, and it is unacceptable this decision has been made without exploring alternative ways to bring jobs, growth and energy security to Canada’s North. This decision undermines ongoing efforts to enhance sovereignty and security in our region and will have a lasting impact on the strides Inuvialuit have made in these key areas.
“For thousands of years the Inuvialuit have been conscientious and sustainable stewards of our land and water. If the federal government truly respects Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination, they would explore opportunities along with us that are mutually beneficial.”
Inuvik Drum has contacted the IRC for further comment and asked the federal government for a response.