In the Legislative Assembly


Justice Browne to leave Nunavut

Nunavut’s justice minister Keith Peterson rose in the Nunavut legislature June 16 to acknowledge Justice Beverly Browne’s 20-year contribution to Nunavut’s justice system.

Browne, who handed in her resignation earlier this month, plans to leave Nunavut this fall for Edmonton.

“Justice Browne played a key role in establishing the only single level trial court in Canada. This launched a unique system to Nunavut that enables justice to be provided in our remote communities,” Peterson said in his minister’s statement. “Browne has worked hard at making the justice of the peace program successful. Her leadership is commendable.”

Peterson praised Browne’s contribution to creating a court system “that incorporates and embraces Inuit societal values” through its consultation with youth and elders.

“Justice Browne’s genuine and selfless dedication to the well-being of all Nunavummiut is an inspiration to the legal profession. She will be always remembered for advancing the cause of justice in Nunavut,” Peterson said.

But has Nunavut started a search for Browne’s successor, Paul Okalik, MLA for Iqaluit West, wanted to know.

Okalik warned Peterson that the process of appointing a replacement might be long and complicated because the federal government must approve the candidate, even if Nunavut has the right to be involved.

“We will try to get a justice or judge that understands Nunavut, understands the unified court system up here, and understands the type of law and justice programs that we want to continue to implement in Nunavut,” Peterson assured the legislature, noting that Browne only officially tendered her resignation on June 12.

One Inuktitut for all

Nunavut plans to adopt a standard form of Inuktitut, Nunavut’s language and culture minister, Louis Tapardjuk, said last week.

Government documents, rules and acts will have to be written in standardized Inuktitut, Tapardjuk said June 16 in the Nunavut legislature’s committee of the whole.

“You can use your own dialect in your house and in your own community, but we need a standardized language and writing system in the government workforce,” he said.

A conference of stakeholders to be held some time in 2009 will consider how to do this, he said.

More than 50 nominations were received for possible appointments to the first Inuit Uqausinginnik Taiguusiliuqtiit, Inuit Language Authority, he said.

Its members, the Taiguusiliuqtiit, will set standards for Inuktitut, including the correct use of terminology, spelling and grammar, and support businesses, government and other organizations in delivering services.

“They will be the ones who will decide what language will be used within the government, and in the justice system, and what writing system,” Tapardjuk said.

“The Taiguusiliuqtiit will have to look at all these questions prior to March 2010; we will put out a discussion paper and table a report of our findings. After having a few conferences to find answers to these questions, we will have to talk to stakeholders to those issues.”

Tired of English, minister says

Nunavut’s culture and language minister Louis Tapardjuk says he’s tired of English.

That’s what Tapardjuk told Quttiktuq MLA Ron Elliott on June 16 in the Nunavut legislature’s committee of the whole.

“Since the government has been operating in the English language the government already represents them because the government always operates in the English language and we are getting tired of it,” Tapardjuk said

“I didn’t realize that the government was tired of working in English, but I apologize,” Elliott said.

Elliott had wanted to know who would represent English-speakers in implementation of the Inuit Language Protection Act.

Section 25 of the Inuit Language Protection Act requires the minister to develop an implementation plan for the Act and involve Inuit in the development of the plan as well as English and French language communities, he said.

Elliott asked Tapardjuk who the official representatives “for the Inuit language community, the English language community and the French language community” are.

Tapardjuk said l’Association des francophones de Nunavut would represent the French-speakers, Nunavut Tunngavik the Inuktitut speakers.

But he didn’t directly respond to Elliott’s question about who would represent the English-speakers, apart from indicating that would be the GN.

Aariak wants “social advocacy” office

Premier Eva Aariak says she wants to put a new “social advocacy” office under the executive and intergovernmental affairs department.

“One of our priorities under Tamapta [her government’s five-year plan] is to establish Social Advocacy offices,” she told the Nunavut legislature’s committee of the whole on June 16.

Aareak said the office would work on suicide intervention and gender issues as well as carry out its own studies, research and consultations.

Aareal said she hoped the group would focus on children, the physically disabled and “those disadvantaged due to their gender,” responding to an MLA’s question.

“We have heard that when we go to the Nunavut communities and there are men, especially young men who don’t have any support or somebody to advocate for them,
and again we hear of women who need further support, and it’s talking about men and women issues. I hope that’s clear,” she said.

“We also have the physically disabled group of individuals that the government has to seriously consider.”

Aareak said the four-person advocacy office should operate at arm’s length from government, but that to get up and running quickly, it would fall under her department.

“I am confident that social advocates in the office working within this department will be able to make significant progress over the coming year by working together with various stakeholders and other departments,” she said.

To open the advocacy office as well as an energy secretariat, Aareak was looking for more money in the Nunavut budget.

In its report to the committee of the whole, the standing committee noted that the EIA’s proposed 2009-2010 operations and maintenance budget of $13,856,000 had increased by about 48 per cent since 2004-05, and the number of positions had increased from 71.5 in 2004-05 to 86.5 in 2009-2010.

Nunavut eyes new seal skin markets

Nunavut’s environment minister says Nunavut wants to try selling its seal skin pelts to new markets — such as Russia, China and northern Canada.

But it won’t look to Greenland because Greenland wants better quality pelts, Daniel Shewchuk said in the legislature during a committee of the whole meeting on June 16.

Shewchuk said the GN hopes its move to bring seal skins that didn’t sell at auction back to Nunavut works “very, very well so we can get our own sealskins back and produce clothing and crafts and distribute them to southern Canada and the rest of the world.”

But Shewchuk said Greenland is not interested in Nunavut’s sealskins right now.

The main reason? The “quality of our seal skins, “ Shewchuk said

The time lag between harvest to purchase by GN conservation officers causes the quality to deteriorate somewhat: “It’s the quality that’s the factor here,” Shewchuk said.

On Tuesday, June 15, Nunavut’s legislature adjourned its second session, which started June 4, until November 24 in Iqaluit

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