Inuit will continue challenging EU seal ban: ITK annual general meeting
“Inuit will not rest until the EU courts strike down this unfair and unjust legislation”
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami took a firm stand against the European Union’s continued ban on seal products when delegates at its annual general meeting this week in Invuik resolved to appeal the recent European Union court ruling on the seal ban.
On Sept. 6, the European General court dismissed the first of two Canadian Inuit legal challenges to overturn the 2010 EU legislation prohibiting trade on seal products.
On Sept. 28 ITK decided Inuit would appeal that ruling, to meet the Nov. 22 deadline for filing an appeal.
“We fully expect our views on the injustice of the EU legislation to be vindicated,” said ITK president Mary Simon in a Sept. 29 news release. “Inuit will not rest until the EU courts strike down this unfair and unjust legislation.”
During the Inuvik meeting, ITK also passed resolutions calling for better Arctic-based emergency response services, more resources to combat mental health problems among Inuit and additional support for Inuit hunters so they can trade legally-hunted polar bear products.
“One of the most important roles ITK serves in Ottawa is to be a visible and effective communicator on Inuit issues,” Simon told the meeting in her opening remarks. “This past year we stepped up our representational work in the House of Commons and Senate and this will continue.”
That communication is vital, she said, because the Arctic has never been the focus of so much international attention.
Simon lauded ITK’s larger achievements over the past year, including the launch of its national strategy on Inuit education last June, which Simon called “important and timely.”
“For Inuit to have a document that says ‘This is our collective vision for our education systems’ is extremely effective for communicating our message,” she said, “and the message is this: We need to educate our way to prosperity and healthier communities.”
ITK’s audited financial statements — which are posted, along with its annual general report, on ITK’s website for members of the public to consult — were also discussed at the annual meeting.
The statements show that ITK has a budget of $7.4 million of which about $5 million goes towards professional fees, salaries, benefits and travel.
This year the organization’s operating budget ended with a small deficit of about $60,000, but the overall the cash position of ITK remained positive, finishing the year with more than $600,000 in the bank.
ITK holds its annual meeting in a different Inuit region each year: in 2012, the meeting will take place in Nunavik.
This coming November, ITK celebrates its 40th anniversary.
To mark that occasion, ITK will host an anniversary conference Nov. 1 to 3 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.