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The Hon. Paul Okalik, Nunavut

Paul Okalik was chosen by his peers as the first Premier of Nunavut on March 5, 1999. He also holds the portfolios of Executive and Intergovernmental Affairs, Aboriginal Affairs and Justice.

Mr. Okalik was born in Pangnirtung, Nunavut on May 26, 1964. He began his education in Pangnirtung before moving to Iqaluit, now the capital of Nunavut, to attend high school.

During the 1980s, Mr. Okalik worked as Deputy Chief Negotiator and Special Assistant to the President of Tungavik Federation of Nunavut. During this time, Mr. Okalik participated as a member of the negotiating team for the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement, the largest land claim in Canadian history, signed in 1993. He further worked to ensure the provisions of this Agreement were implemented.

Mr. Okalik was also responsible for laying the groundwork in the creation of the Inuit Heritage Trust, Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, Nunavut Implementation Training Committee and Nunavut Social Development Council.

Mr. Okalik returned to school in the early 1990s and graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario with a degree in Political Science and Canadian Studies.

He continued his studies in law at the University of Ottawa and graduated with a degree in 1997. He received his call to the Bar on February 12, 1999.

On February 15, 1999, the people of Iqaluit West elected Mr. Okalik to represent them in the first Legislative Assembly of Nunavut. On March 5, 1999, the full caucus of Nunavut Members of the Legislative Assembly choose Mr. Okalik to be Nunavut’s first Premier.

Mr. Okalik enjoys hunting and fishing in his spare time. He is fluent in English and Inuktitut, and converses in French.

Mr. Okalik has two children, Shasta and Jordan.


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