MLAs don’t understand human rights act


When Nunavut legislators and a would-be premier say that we should not accept same-sex as a prohibited ground of discrimination, they are betraying a complete lack of understanding of the new act.

The drafters of the Nunavut act have done an excellent job in balancing existing legal requirements with Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit.

It’s too bad that some of Nunavut’s legislators don’t understand that. And they obviously do not understand the separation of church and state.

The fundamentalists in the legislature believe that the Bible has more authority than the law of the land. What they fail to understand is that, unlike the Bible, Nunavut’s laws are intended to protect not just Christian Nunavummiut, but all Nunavummiut.

As some MLAs have pointed out, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms mentions God. However, it does not mention the church, and for good reason. A government that represents people who belong to dozens of different religions, or no religion at all, cannot and should not subject its people to the rules of the Christian church. Why should the Bible rule? What about those who follow the Torah or the Koran? Or no holy book at all?

It is also dangerous to defend these religious beliefs as IQ. If anything, IQ is better represented by shamanism, which was practiced long before Europeans arrived in the Arctic, than by a religion that was brought to the north by explorers a mere century or two ago.

But the most disturbing thing of all to come out of this debate is the level of intellectual thought that went into the rejectionists’ point of view.

We heard that the Human Rights Act should not be adopted because there is no appropriate terminology, and it is not Inuit custom, “I haven’t read the bill,” and something to the effect that “if we were to give these people their own community, they would die out within 50 years because they can’t procreate.”

Is this the level of consideration that goes into all the legislation that this government puts forward? Don’t we deserve more consideration from those we elect?

(Name withheld by request)

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