Chamber of mines responds to allegations made at MMIWG hearings – by Alex Buchan (Nunatsiaq News – September 20, 2018)

Alex Buchan is the V.P Chamber—Nunavut N.W.T. and Nunavut Chamber of Mines.

I wish to respond to the recent Nunatsiaq News story regarding violence against women in mining (“Sexual violence a spinoff of Nunavut’s mining industry: MMIWG hearings,” Sept. 13, 2018).

This article makes substantial reference to expert testimony from an Iqaluit resident—TJ Lightfoot—to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls held in Iqaluit last week.

With great respect to the actual professional credentials of this expert, Lightfoot is not an expert on mining in Nunavut. In fact, I understand Lightfoot is a youth services worker. As such, these views cannot be relied upon in considering the risk to women that may, or may not, be posed by resource development in our territory.

Violence against women and girls in Nunavut is unacceptable and a grave risk to the health of our residents, communities and culture. In 2016, it is noted that 64 per cent of all victims, 95 per cent of all sex crime, and 86 per cent of other forms of abuse were directed towards females in Nunavut.

Over the past several years, thousands of Nunavut women and girls have been victims of violence. Statistically, and in reality, within my own family, there is a high likelihood, approaching certainty, of cousins, sisters, nieces, aunts or mother becoming a victim of violent crime—right here in our home communities.

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