Court hears arguments on GN’s call to throw out NTI’s language education lawsuit

Government says Charter section that protects equality doesn’t apply to language

A hearing on the Government of Nunavut’s application to have a judge dismiss Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.’s lawsuit on Inuktut education began Tuesday at the Nunavut Court of Justice. (File photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

A hearing on the Government of Nunavut’s application to have Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.’s lawsuit over Inuktut education rights thrown out opened Tuesday in the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit.

NTI filed a lawsuit in October 2021, claiming the government has failed to meet its legal obligations to ensure Inuktut language education is provided throughout the territory’s public school system.

The claim calls for a court order to compel the GN to come up with a five-year plan to deliver Inuit language education from kindergarten through Grade 12.

NTI claims the alleged failure to provide Inuktut language education violates Section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects equality rights.

However, the GN wants the lawsuit thrown out, claiming that section does not apply to language.

Lawyers Maxime Faille and Keith Brown argued for the GN for about three hours in court Tuesday, saying NTI’s lawsuit was “doomed to fail” because the Charter section does not apply.

Faille also argued the Charter only protects French and English. He noted that this is a discriminatory aspect of the Charter but, he said, one that cannot be changed.

He also said constitutional authority in relation to education and the preservation, use and promotion of Inuit languages, lies within the purview of the Nunavut Legislative Assembly.

Tim Dickson, representing the plaintiffs, who are parents, and NTI, argued Section 15 does include language, especially in the case of Inuktut which is the dominant language in Nunavut.

The hearing is to continue Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit with arguments from lawyers representing NTI and the plaintiffs.

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(4) Comments:

  1. Posted by North bloke on

    Did not Mary Simon bring this up years ago with Pierre Elliot Trudeau,just saying

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  2. Posted by Is It Though? on

    Is Inuktitut really the dominant language though? I know that it is comforting to many, and politically correct to say, but bilingualism is dominant.

    How many unilingual Inuktitut speakers are there? How quickly are they dying off?

    The real power in this territory is with the Inukitut/English bilingual, often southern-educated, often ethnically mixed, politial elite of this territory.

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    • Posted by Tom on

      Inuktut is spoken by most, it is the dominant language in Nunavut, especially in communities outside of Iqaluit and Rankin.
      Maybe it’s not the dominant language in your circle but for the majority of Inuit it is.

      It is our language.

  3. Posted by John L on

    GN does not have a leg to stand on, they will lose this one like they lost the last court battle they had with NTI.

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