There is a new board of directors at the Canadian Polar Commission, which had been without a board for over two years.

Indian and Northern Affairs Minister John Duncan has announced the appointment of 10 new directors to Canada's lead polar research agency, including chairman Bernard Funston.

Funston, a lawyer, northern circumpolar affairs consultant and longtime member of the Arctic Council, was born and raised in the Northwest Territories but is currently based in Ottawa.

Nellie Cournoyea of Inuvik, N.W.T., was chosen as the commission's vice-chair. A former premier of the Northwest Territories, Cournoyea is currently head of the Inuvialuit Regional Corp., which represents the Inuvialuit people of the western Arctic.

Other directors are:

  • Barrie Ford, who led International Polar Year research efforts in northern Quebec's Nunavik region.
  • Martin Fortier, executive director of the ArcticNet research network and chair of the Polar Continental Shelf Program's advisory board.
  • Robert Gannicott, a geologist and chief executive officer of Harry Winston Diamond Corp.
  • David Hik, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Northern Ecology at the University of Alberta.
  • Robert Huebert, an Arctic sovereignty expert and associate director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.
  • Maxim Jean-Louis, president of Contact North, a distance-education and training network that operates in small, remote and northern communities.
  • John Nightingale, president of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre.
  • Darielle Talarico, a strategic planning consultant based in Whitehorse.

The Canadian Polar Commission is a federal advisory agency set up in 1991 to promote, monitor and disseminate scientific research on Canada's Arctic.

While the commission does not grant its own research funding, it does advise the federal government on what direction Arctic research should take.

The commission had been operating without a sitting board of directors since October 2008. Appointments to the board must be made as orders-in-council from the offices of the prime minister and the Privy Council.

Duncan announced the board appointments in a news release dated Wednesday, one day after Arctic researchers and opposition politicians raised concerns about the two-year absence of a functioning board at the commission.