Nunavik reiterates call for Quebec to exempt Inuit from gun registry

Makivik Corp. is also monitoring new federal ban on assault rifles

Kuujjuaq gun owners bring their rifles to the Kattitavik town hall in early 2019 to have them registered at a community clinic. Makivik Corp. is still working to have Nunavik Inuit exempt from Quebec’s gun registry, and now a new federal ban. (Photo by Isabelle Dubois)

By Sarah Rogers

A year and a half after it came into force, Nunavik Inuit are repeating calls to the Quebec government to exempt the region’s hunters from its gun registry.

The registry was introduced in Quebec in 2018 but came with a one-year grace period. Since Jan. 29, 2019, all gun owners in the province have been required to register their legal weapons.

Since the legislation was first tabled in 2016, Makivik Corp. has asked for Nunavik Inuit to be exempt from the registry, citing traditional harvesting practices in the region.

Makivik had initially pitched the creation of an Inuit working group to help propose adjustments to the legislation, requesting the province suspend the registry in Nunavik in the meantime.

The organization said it received “a promising verbal reply” from Quebec, but never succeeded in negotiating any kind of exemption for Inuit.

Meanwhile, the registry continues to interfere with Inuit’s ability to harvest, Makivik’s board of directors said at its annual general meeting held in Kuujjuaq July 14-16.

In a resolution moved by Makivik’s treasurer, George Berthe, its board of directors voted to “reiterate their request that the Inuit beneficiaries of the JBNQA be fully exempted from the Firearms Registration Act,” and to “support Makivik in its effort with governments with regards to the use of firearms for subsistence purposes and for the exercise of their right to harvest.”

Makivik hasn’t yet said if it has sent the resolution to the Quebec government.

The Inuit birthright organization is also keeping its eye on a new federal firearms ban.

The same resolution includes Makivik’s efforts to ensure that a new ban on assault-style rifles doesn’t impact harvesters in the region.

In May 2020, Ottawa announced a new ban on some 1,500 models of military-grade weapons.

In response to that, Makivik is working to analyze the list of weapons that are subject to the new restrictions to ensure that none are firearms used by Nunavik hunters for the purposes of subsistence harvests.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said there will be a two-year grace period for firearm owners to comply with the new ban.

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(5) Comments:

  1. Posted by Thomas Spencer on

    Why not separate from Quebec and join Nunavut that way you are guaranteed autonomy?

  2. Posted by richard popko on

    the feds are dividing firearm owners to have their way. subsistence hunters should join all 2.2 law abiding million Canadian gun owners to put a stop to this gun grab. the list contains many guns used by inuit and kabloona hunters . its wrong to use assault weapons fear mongering for political gain.

  3. Posted by Alan Klie on

    I don’t understand what the big deal is. People are just being asked to register their firearms, not give it up. It sounds like an inconvenience, but a fairly minor one. Also, you don’t need an assault rifle to hunt. In order to subsistence Hunt the only things you need are high-powered rifles and/or shotguns. I don’t think anyone has a “right” to a firearm. People may have right to hunt but not necessarily a right to hunt with a specific implement. Firearms can be very dangerous if improperly stored or used.

    • Posted by Reality on

      What next? Free guns too? When you buy a gun you need a permit, so registration is just a step in the process. I agree it’s not that big of a deal to register your gun. History of abuse with firearms in Nunavik needs to be kept in mind. Not that Nunavik has significant more abuse, but there are abusive accounts over the years. Nunavik should not be exempted from the registration, and Nunavik will not be exempted. Why should Nunavik be exempted , like you stated, Just for inconvenience sake?

      • Posted by David on

        Please explain how registering the firearm makes anyone safer in any way.

        You can drive a truck through the holes in Quebec’s registration system.

        It only exists to appease the people that don’t understand what is actually is.

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