Labrador Inuit beneficiary among appointees to provincial Supreme Court in Atlantic Canada

Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in the province’s capital city of St.John’s. (Sarah Smellie/The Canadian Press)
David Lametti, Canada’s minister of justice and attorney general, filled the four vacancies on the Supreme Court in the Atlantic Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador this week, with one of the appointments being a Labrador Inuit beneficiary.

Justice Stacy C. Ryan grew up in the town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador and graduated law school at the University of New Brunswick. 

A bio provided by the government says Justice Ryan spent most of her 20-year legal career as a criminal and family law lawyer in Labrador working for Legal Aid NL. 

The other three appointments are Trudy L. Button from central Newfoundland, Irene S. Muzychka from the provincial capital of St. John’s, and Peter N. Browne, who’s been a practicing lawyer in St. John’s since 1986. 

 “I wish Justices Browne, Muzychka, Button and Ryan every success as they take on their new roles,” Lametti said in a news release on Wednesday. “I am confident they will serve the people of Newfoundland and Labrador well as members of the Supreme Court.”

 “A proud moment for all Labrador Inuit”

Johannes Lampe, the president of Nunatsiavut, the Inuit region of the Atlantic Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, said he was pleased to learn of Justice Ryan’s appointment.

“Ms. Ryan spent the better part of the past 20 years practicing family and criminal law throughout Labrador, and certainly has a grasp of the justice issues and concerns facing the region – particularly within Nunatsiavut,” Lampe said in a news release on Thursday.

“On behalf of the Nunatsiavut Government, and indeed all Beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, I want to extend my congratulations to Madame Justice Ryan. This is a proud moment for all Labrador Inuit.”

Nunatsiavut’s population of 2560 is spread out between five communities along the Atlantic coast: Nain, Hopedale, Makkovik, Postville and Rigolet. There are approximately another 3,440 beneficiaries who live outside Nunatsiavut. 

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at) 

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Lack of staff forces legal aid closure in Inuit region of Arctic Quebec, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Police in Northern Finland overstretched, says retiring officer, Yle News

United States: U.S. Attorney General hears from Indigenous leaders about justice problems in rural Alaska, Alaska Public Media

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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