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Nunavut Seniors Society in need of new leadership

The dormant Nunavut Seniors Society will soon be in need of a new president.

Lazarus Arreak, the only leader the non-profit organization has known since its inception in January 2018, said he’s ready to relinquish his title as he’s been trying to stay healthy.

Lazarus Arreak, president of the Nunavut Seniors Society, is preparing to hand over the leadership of the organization to someone else. “I’ve had a tough year so I’m going to step aside,” he said, citing various health-related issues.
photo courtesy of the Nunavut Seniors Society

“I’m too old,” said Arreak, who resides in Iqaluit. “My energy levels are out, my hearing, my vision. I’m on the injured list … I’ve had a tough year so I’m going to step aside.

“I’m happy with what little I’ve done (as president).”

Although he’s leaving, Arreak said he’s hopeful that the campaign against Elder abuse – whether mental, physical or financial – will remain a focus for the society.

“It’s just an unending battle,” he said. “We’ve got to keep plugging away.”

He said he’s been gratified by helping to “care for the less fortunate among us” and he credited the federal, territorial and municipal governments, as well as regional Inuit organizations, for coming to the aid of seniors during the Covid-19 crisis.

“We have to keep in mind to keep supporting the Elders. I like the way this pandemic has mobilized our (governments) to support the Elders: certificates and food, even deliveries,” he said.

Arreak said he anticipates the Nunavut Seniors Society’s annual general meeting (AGM) will be held in the next six months. The organization had posted on its Facebook page in January that its AGM was scheduled for Feb. 1.

Society vice-president Andre Tautu, of Chesterfield Inlet, said the seniors advocacy association hasn’t held a formal meeting in a couple of years.

“I don’t even know where we stand anymore,” he said before hanging up the phone during a very brief interview.

The society’s local and toll-free phone numbers are no longer in service.

Some other board members declined to comment and the executive director couldn’t be reached.

Asked about the moving target for the AGM, Arreak replied, “I just want to give prospective presidents time to think about it,” he said.

The Government of Nunavut contributed $75,000 to the Nunavut Seniors Society in 2019-20 for salaries, professional fees, office expenses and travel. The funding agreement requires the society to provide financial reports to the GN. However, the territorial government is still awaiting the 2019-20 report from the organization, according to Angela Petru, director of communications with the Department of Executive and Intergovernmental Affairs.