Baffinland blasted for its approach to community consultations – by Elaine Anselmi (Nunatsiaq News – November 6, 2019)

Pond Inlet resident Tim Anaviapik Soucie says the problems with Baffinland’s approach to community consultation for its plans to expand its Mary River mine were evident from the moment chairs were set up in the room.

“Lining people up in chairs to talk to us tells us who is important and who is in charge,” Soucie told the Nunavut Impact Review Board during its hearing in Iqaluit on Tuesday, Nov. 5. “Circles do away with this.”

Soucie described Baffinland’s team arriving in town with a PowerPoint presentation that celebrated their achievements and work so far, and then asked if there were any questions. “This is not consultation,” he said.

Giving a presentation and expecting questions and comments, and especially criticisms, Soucie said, is not conducive to getting real responses in Inuit communities—especially if the presenter is defensive.

“Conflict is something, for Inuit and especially elders, to be avoided,” Soucie said. He described Baffinland’s community workshops as a way of mining Inuit for data. This same criticism was made by others at the hearing, particularly about a workshop to identify caribou crossings for the proposed railway route.

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