Nunatsiaq News
COMMENTARY December 20, 2017 - 9:30 am

Legal Ease, Dec. 20

How can I be liable?

JAMES MORTON

Sometimes people end up liable for the debts of a business without realizing they are even formally in business.

That can happen because of a partnership.

Now, people usually think of a partnership as something fairly formal set up with documents and agreements—in such a case the partners of the...

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY December 12, 2017 - 11:30 am

Legal Ease, Dec. 12

Suing a corporation

JAMES MORTON

A corporation is a somewhat mysterious entity. It employs people, it owns property, it pays taxes and it can even be punished for committing offences.

But a corporation is not a person. 

A corporation is a form of organization that the government has given some of the rights and...

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COMMENTARY December 06, 2017 - 3:00 pm

How will climate change affect Arctic caribou and reindeer?

"Just how this iconic Arctic species will be affected in a warming climate remains unclear"

SPECIAL TO NUNATSIAQ NEWS

CONNOR MALLORY
PhD student, University of Alberta

This spring, I spent close to two weeks flying over central Nunavut, peering out the window of a small plane at the rolling tundra below, looking for and counting caribou to monitor their numbers.

The Qamanirjuaq barren-ground herd were arriving...

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY December 05, 2017 - 1:10 pm

Legal Ease, Dec. 5

Freedom of religion

JAMES MORTON

The Canadian Constitution protects freedom of religion. This means, broadly, you can espouse any religious belief and try to evangelize as you see best.

The state may not interfere with that freedom; what’s more the state may not even make inquiry as to the legitimacy of the belief so long as it...

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY November 29, 2017 - 1:10 pm

“Edmonton Eskimos” is a racial slur and it’s time to stop using it

"Painful and abusive rhetoric has both emotional and financial costs"

NUNATSIAQ NEWS

NORMA DUNNING, University of Alberta

The Edmonton Eskimos had a big football game this past Nov. 19 and thousands of people in my hometown who hoped their team would make it to the Grey Cup were ultimately disappointed. But when I think of my city’s Canadian Football League team, I have a...

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY November 13, 2017 - 3:30 pm

Legal Ease, Nov. 13

What judges do

JAMES MORTON

The simple answer is that a judge decides disputes brought to court.

But that doesn’t tell the story properly at all.

Judges are to decide disputes brought before them in accordance with law and precedent. They do not just decide cases according to whim.

So, a judge will always begin by asking...

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY November 08, 2017 - 1:10 pm

Canada must assert sovereignty over the Arctic while there’s still time

"Canada is at serious risk of losing control and sovereignty over its Arctic"

SPECIAL TO NUNATSIAQ NEWS

SEN. DENNIS PATTERSON

The ice in Canada’s Arctic has been steadily melting since 1979. If this trend continues, large swaths of Arctic waters are expected to be free of ice altogether during the summer months.

These changes are leading to a significant increase in cruise ship, tanker and supply...

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY November 08, 2017 - 8:00 am

Open letter pitches new idea for Nunavut: local Inuit associations

"I can see so many good ways this would benefit well-being and improved quality of life"

SPECIAL TO NUNATSIAQ NEWS

ABRAHAM TAGALIK

Dear comrades and Inuit:

I am writing to introduce what I think the next step should be on our journey as Inuit of Nunavut.

I want to introduce the idea of developing a well-funded community delivery model (CDM) for our land claims organizations’ brotherhood and sisterhood and...

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY November 01, 2017 - 3:30 pm

Legal Ease, Nov. 1

What if I am too sick to tell the doctor what to do?

JAMES MORTON

The recent serious illness of a relative made me think of what happens when someone gets sick and cannot make decisions for themselves.

As a practical matter, health centres and the hospital in Iqaluit look to the close family of an ill person to give direction in circumstances where that person...

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY October 10, 2017 - 11:30 am

Legal Ease, Oct. 10

Crime and punishment

JAMES MORTON

Canadian criminal law is based on English law and makes a very clear distinction between a finding of guilt and punishment for a crime.

That is, if someone is found “not guilty,” they are not punished at all—but if they are found “guilty” then punishment will (almost certainly) follow.

In other...

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY September 26, 2017 - 1:10 pm

Legal Ease, Sept. 26

Am I free to go? Your rights on the street

JAMES MORTON

You are out for a walk or on the land and an RCMP officer asks to speak to you.

Almost always, the officer has a legitimate good reason to speak to you and most of the time it’s a good civic action to answer questions and help the RCMP with their inquiries.

There may be a missing elder or...

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY September 12, 2017 - 1:10 pm

Legal Ease, Sept. 12

Speedy Trials?

JAMES MORTON

When I tell people there is a constitutional right to a speedy trial in criminal cases in Canada, sometimes they laugh at me. Certainly it sometimes seems that criminal cases (and civil and family matters) just never end.

There are good reasons why cases take a lot of time.

Often the issues are...

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY September 07, 2017 - 1:10 pm

Legal Ease, Sept. 7

Certainty in Contract

JAMES MORTON

Let’s suppose you and I want to make a deal for me to rent your cottage down South for a few months. We talk about it for a few weeks and then make some sort of a deal. We agree I’ll rent the cottage for a while and I’ll pay you what seems reasonable later this year.

Is the deal enforceable? ...

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY September 01, 2017 - 10:00 am

From tent birth to Inuk nurse: Growing up in, and out of, Nunavik, part five

"In my view, we have to take a massive, grinding and probably painful and costly turn towards mental health"

SPECIAL TO NUNATSIAQ NEWS

Minnie Akparook, born near Great Whale River, went to school in Churchill, Man., finished nursing school and became one of the first Inuk nurses to practice in Nunavik in the 1990s. She eventually specialized in diabetes treatment and prevention, which she considers one of the region’s most......

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY August 31, 2017 - 1:20 pm

Legal Ease, Aug. 31

Living with debt

JAMES MORTON

One of the least pleasant jobs I have as a lawyer is collecting debts; and mostly the debts I collect are credit card debts.

It is very easy to get underwater with credit cards.

You see something you want or a trip you want to take (and who doesn’t want to go south in February?) and it feels...

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY August 31, 2017 - 9:53 am

From tent birth to Inuk nurse: Growing up in, and out of, Nunavik, part four

"Inuit were not used to one of their own being a nurse and the French did not have any experience working with Inuit nurses"

SPECIAL TO NUNATSIAQ NEWS

Minnie Akparook, born near Great Whale River, went to school in Churchill, Man., finished nursing school and became one of the first Inuk nurses to practice in Nunavik in the 1990s. She eventually specialized in diabetes treatment and prevention which she considers one of the region’s most......

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY August 30, 2017 - 10:00 am

From tent birth to Inuk nurse: Growing up in, and out of, Nunavik, part three

"Sometimes I would get as far as an interview and after they saw me I would get a rejection letter"

SPECIAL TO NUNATSIAQ NEWS

Minnie Akparook, born near Great Whale River, went to school in Churchill, Man., finished nursing school and became one of the first Inuk nurses to practice in Nunavik in the 1990s. She eventually specialized in diabetes treatment and prevention, which she considers one of the region’s most......

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY August 29, 2017 - 10:00 am

From tent birth to Inuk nurse: Growing up in, and out of, Nunavik, part two

"I remember at school, and out in public, white people sneering at breastfeeding, making it seem dirty"

SPECIAL TO NUNATSIAQ NEWS

Minnie Akparook, born near Great Whale River, went to school in Churchill, Man., finished nursing school and became one of the first Inuk nurses to practice in Nunavik in the 1990s. She eventually specialized in diabetes treatment and prevention which she considers one of the region’s most......

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY August 28, 2017 - 10:00 am

From tent birth to Inuk nurse: A five-part memoir of growing up in Nunavik and beyond

"I had three sisters, all older than me, and three brothers all younger. They all died"

SPECIAL TO NUNATSIAQ NEWS

Minnie Akparook, born near Great Whale River, went to school in Churchill, finished nursing school and became one of the first Inuk nurses to practice in Nunavik in the 1990s. She eventually specialized in diabetes treatment and prevention which she considers one of the region’s most important......

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY August 17, 2017 - 4:00 pm

Legal Ease, Aug. 17

Adultery is rarely relevant to who gets what, when couples split

JAMES MORTON

Canada has a no-fault family law system.

What that means is, with one significant exception, misconduct during marriage—basically adultery—is not relevant to determining who gets what and where the child lives.

Sometimes people say that’s not fair—why should adultery be ignored? Well there are...

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY August 10, 2017 - 2:30 pm

Legal Ease, August 10

What to do when you're involved in a vehicle accident

JAMES MORTON

What should you do right after a car accident?

If there are injuries, immediately call for the help – you need to report all but the most trivial accidents to the RCMP anyway.

If help is unavailable do what you can to provide first aid to anyone who is hurt – but unless you are a trained...

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY July 31, 2017 - 1:10 pm

Responsibility to consult Indigenous peoples still rests with Crown: lawyer

"Let’s take the path of reconciliation," writes Nader Hasan

SPECIAL TO NUNATSIAQ NEWS

NADER HASAN

On July 26, the Supreme Court of Canada delivered two landmark rulings on the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate Indigenous peoples.

Commentators around the country are asking what these decisions mean for government, industry and Indigenous groups. Many have heralded the Clyde...

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY July 27, 2017 - 4:00 pm

Legal Ease, July 27

Personal Bankruptcy in Canada

JAMES MORTON

Sometimes people get so far into debt that there is no way they can ever pay back all they owe.

The law recognizes this and makes provision for people to start again through a process called “bankruptcy.” Through bankruptcy, a person hopelessly burdened with debt gets a chance to start...

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY July 19, 2017 - 4:00 pm

Legal Ease, July 19

Can I force them to honour their contract?

JAMES MORTON

Suppose you made a deal to have someone come and paint your house. After you make the deal they just refuse to do the work.

Can you get a judge to order them to fulfill their agreement?

No.

What you are looking for is an order for “specific performance” that is an order forcing someone to...

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY July 12, 2017 - 1:09 pm

Legal Ease, July 12

Fairness

JAMES MORTON

Although it does not always succeed, a major goal of the justice system is to determine disputes between people fairly. 

That means that harsh and oppressive behaviour will not be rewarded by the court. Put otherwise, following the Golden Rule—treat others as you would like to be treated—is...

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