‘Very representative’: Paul Quassa calls selection of 19 Inuit law students ‘successful’ – North

Nunavut’s education minister is pushing back against accusations the admissions process for the new law degree program at Nunavut Arctic College did not represent Inuit interests.

Paul Quassa says although there were no Inuit on the three-person selection committee, members were directed to get Inuit students into the program.

“We made it very clear that our priority is Inuit lawyers out of this program. And 19 out of the 25 participants are Inuit,” said Quassa, who called the selection “successful” and “very representative.”

The class selected for this year is 76 per cent Inuit. The territory’s population is 85 per cent Inuit. 

The 25 students were selected from a pool of 87 applicants. 

“The application process was done very professionally and diligently with the intent of arriving at a cohort of students who are in a position to excel in law school,” said Quassa.

Quassa said, as in all Nunavut College programs, the admissions committee strives to select students who will complete their programs and become part of the work force.

“That is always our goal: to get as many Inuit working at the professional level in the Nunavut territory.”

‘Not an ethnic government’

Quassa’s statements come as the 25 students begin classes this week in Iqaluit.

Some have criticized the selection committee for accepting older non-Inuit students ahead of younger Inuit, who “have a whole lifetime of contributing to Nunavut ahead of them.”

Others who have experience in the legal system, but were not accepted, have questioned the government’s priorities.

Quassa said the goal of the program is not to cater to Inuit, but to deliver programs for all Nunavummiut.

“This Nunavut government is a public government, and that’s how it should be, because that’s what Inuit elected to have. It’s not an ethnic government.”

He said there have been adjustments…

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