Our Mission “Inuit Economic Social and Cultural Well being Through Implementation of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement” NEWS RELEASE NR 02 20 NOT ENG by dfhercbml

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									     Our Mission: “Inuit Economic, Social and Cultural Well-being Through Implementation of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement”


                                     NEWS RELEASE
NR 02-20 NOT ENG – For Immediate Release


NTI seeks injunction against federal Firearms Act:
Would protect Inuit from prosecution for using treaty rights
(NOVEMBER 26, 2002 -- Iqaluit, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated today filed a
Notice of Motion with the Nunavut Court of Justice to stay the application of those provisions
of the federal Firearms Act and the Criminal Code that require hunters to register their
firearms. The exemption would allow beneficiaries of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement
(NLCA) to continue to use their firearms for harvesting purposes and for safety while out on
the land, as provided for in the NLCA, without risk of prosecution.

“NTI is disappointed that Canada has failed to initiate an exemption for Nunavut Inuit from the
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January 1, 2003 deadline for registration, despite our earlier court action,” said NTI 1 Vice
President James Eetoolook. “Until the courts make the time to fully consider the extent to
which the Firearms Act conflicts with our land claim, it is only fair that Nunavut Inuit be
protected from criminal prosecution for actions which we believe are constitutionally
protected.”

The Government of Nunavut shares NTI‟s concerns and is named on the Notice of Motion as
an intervenor. The territorial government is also an intervenor in the Statement of Claim filed
by NTI in June 2000 with the Nunavut Court of Justice.

“NTI would have preferred to reach a negotiated solution to our legitimate concerns,” said
Eetoolook. “In an effort organized by Senator Charlie Watt, NTI and the other Inuit
organizations negotiated for more than a year with Canadian Firearms Centre officials to
develop the basics elements of a proposal. Unfortunately our hard work was rejected and
now we must turn to the courts for a solution.”

The Notice of Motion asks the courts to exempt Nunavut Inuit from the application of:
   Section 112(1) of the Firearms Act, which makes it an offence to not register a firearm,
    and
   Section 92(1) of the Criminal Code, which makes it an offence to use a firearm that is not
    registered.

“The Nunavut Land Claims Agreement explicitly states that Inuit have the right to hunt and
harvest „...without any form of licence or permit and without imposition of any form of tax or
fee‟,” said Eetoolook. “The Firearms Act and its regulations directly conflict with our treaty
rights. These rules make potential criminals of Inuit hunters who are trying to feed their
families and live their culture.”

NTI supports safe firearms use. However, efforts by individual Inuit to comply with the federal
requirements for possession and registration certificates were hampered by the closure of the
Nunavut firearms office and the lack of forms and services in Inuktitut.
See attached Backgrounder for further information or contact:

Nancy Campbell                                                         Nino Wischnewski
Director of Communications                                             Director of Communications
Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.                                                 Government of Nunavut
Tel: (867) 975-4900                                                    Tel: (867) 975-6001
Fax: (867) 975-4943                                                    Fax: (867) 975-6099



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