Ministerial Statement – Minister Dempster Offers Condolences on Passing of Jim Lyall
May 16, 2022
The following statement was read in the House of Assembly today by the Honourable Lisa Dempster, Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation and Minister Responsible for Labrador Affairs:
Speaker, we were saddened on Friday upon hearing that a pioneer of Inuit self-government on the North Coast of Labrador had passed away.
Jim Lyall truly left his mark on everything he did. He had the distinction as the first elected President of Nunatsiavut, a position he held from 2008 to 2012, following the formation of the Nunatsiavut Government in 2005.
Nunatsiavut President Johannes Lampe described Jim Lyall as someone who spent a lifetime advancing the rights and issues of all Labrador Inuit. He is remembered for his determination, a strong will, and an overriding desire to invoke positive change for the benefit of the community of Nain where he lived since 1956 and Nunatsiavut.
On occasion when I spoke with Jim about issues, he was articulate and respectful in expressing his beliefs and hopes for a better tomorrow for beneficiaries and Nunatsiavut.
During the formative years of the Labrador Inuit Association, Jim served as executive director. He also worked for the provincial government stores, served as postmaster in Nain, led the community of Nain as mayor, and successfully operated a business in Nain for two decades.
Speaker, Jim Lyall passed away only a few hours after his wife Jean passed on. I take this opportunity to express my personal condolences and on behalf of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Please join me in reflecting on the contributions of a man who was devoted to family and a friend to everyone.