IQALUIT, Nunavut (December 10, 2002) - Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated and the Government of Nunavut welcomed the court decision issued this morning to temporarily suspend the application of the firearms registration requirements to Nunavut Inuit.
"This decision means that Inuit who have not been able to register their firearms by the January 1, 2003 deadline will not be subject to prosecution," said James Eetoolook, 1st Vice President of the land claims organization that represents the interests of Nunavut Inuit.
"Our government does not support the registration requirements of the legislation," Premier Okalik said. "We welcome the injunction granted by the court as it will prevent Inuit rights from being prejudiced until the motion can be dealt with properly early in the new year."
Madam Justice Beverly Browne of the Nunavut Court of Justice has granted an interim injunction in favour of Inuit in NTI's challenge to aspects of the federal firearms regime. NTI had filed a Notice of Motion on Nov. 26 that requested a stay pending a hearing of the land claim organization's main court action. The Government of Nunavut is an intervenor in the court proceedings.
"NTI objects only to those provisions of the Firearms Act that contravene the rights of Inuit as set out in the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement," said Eetoolook. "The NLCA gives Inuit the right to hunt, fish and trap without permit, license of fee of any kind. We see the requirement to obtain a permit in order to hunt as a betrayal of our rights."
Justice Browne's decision granting an interim injunction until the hearing of the stay motion temporarily exempts the Inuit of Nunavut from the application of:
In materials filed earlier with the court, NTI noted that there had been numerous implementation problems with the new firearms regime in addition to the conflict with treaty rights. Lack of services and forms in Inuktitut, lost application forms and overall poor communication with hunters has contributed to the low compliance rate for firearms registration requirements.
For further information see earlier news releases posted to www.tunngavik.com or call:
Director of Communications
Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.
Tel: (867) 975-4900
Fax: (867) 975-4943
Office of the Premier
Government of Nunavut
Tel: (867) 975-5059
Fax: (867) 975-5051