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Tagoona new Kivalliq chamber president

Patrick Tagoona of Rankin Inlet was selected to lead the Kivalliq Chamber of Commerce (KCC) during the chamber's annual general meeting (AGM) in Rankin on June 18 and 19.

Tagoona replaces Glenn McLean of Baker Lake as the KCC president.

Kivalliq Chamber of Commerce president Patrick Tagoona and his wife, Emily, are in the mining spirit as they tour the Meliadine gold site near Rankin Inlet this past week. photo courtesy Patrick Tagoona

Also in executive positions are Harry Aggark and Anthony Mercredi-Tootoo as vice-presidents and Shawn Lester as secretary-treasurer.

Tagoona said he's always had some interest in KCC and its role of advocating for the Kivalliq business community.

He said now he is running his own private business, he figured this would be a good time to get involved.

Kivalliq does have a strong business community,” said Tagoona. “We have our challenges, definitely, but there's also opportunities, with mining being huge right now.

So, I felt it was the right time for me to get involved with the organization and do what I can to advocate for Kivalliq business.”

Tagoona said being originally from Baker Lake, he sees what mining has brought to that community.

He said there was significant discussion during the KCC's AGM concerning the Inuit Impact Benefit Agreements between the Kivalliq Inuit Association (KIA) and Agnico Eagle Mines.

There was some frustration and disappointment expressed over Sakku – the KIA's development arm – getting a preferred contract because it really limits opportunity for other businesses,” said Tagoona.

And, as KCC president, I've been tasked with sharing those concerns regarding the IIBA with the KIA and requesting a meeting with the board.

The KCC is going to be 40 years old next year and its membership has gone down significantly, so I see re-energizing and re-engaging the membership base and being able to show the benefits of becoming a KCC member as areas we need to move to address and improve upon.

There are definitely things we need to explore and with next year being the 40th anniversary of the organization, the time is now to explore what we can do to revitalize it.”

Tagoona said there were between 25 to 30 people at the AGM and they did not represent all seven Kivalliq communities.

He said it would be nice to have membership from the entire region and that means the KCC, as an organization, has to sell the value of becoming a chamber member.

Really, I think that's the challenge we have to take on.

We have to do a better job of promoting the value in joining the KCC.

And, again, with the 40th anniversary of KCC next year, hopefully we can increase our membership base substantially and really make an event out of it because an organization doesn't get to 40 years without the dedicated commitment of a number of members over the years – and we don't get to here and still be able to advocate and push for the Kivalliq business community without the commitment they made.

So, obviously, we have to be able to express our appreciation for what they have done to get us to where they are today.”