Laws get overhauled
Commission to review and change legislation

Kerry McCluskey
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 11/99) - Premier Paul Okalik is hoping to put elders in Nunavut to work.

And the important task he has lined up -- creating a new body of laws to govern Canada's newest territory -- is one that will hopefully benefit everyone in Nunavut.

To that end, he recently announced the establishment of Maligarnit Qimirrujiit, the four-member Law Review Commission that, over the next 15 months, will review the more than 100 pieces of legislation that were rolled over to Nunavut from the GNWT following division.

"The commissioners' work will be to identify laws that are inconsistent with the vision and the goals of the people of Nunavut," said Okalik.

Recognizing the immediacy of the need to bring about appropriate legislation while realizing that MLAs were already strapped for time, the premier noted that the decision to appoint elders to the commission would get the work done sooner rather than later and would ensure that values of importance to Inuit were incorporated.

He said it was the commission's job to go over the legislation and in quarterly progress reports, tell him which areas needed to be amended and which were suitable for Nunavummiut.

One such example Okalik said, included the outdated Wildlife Act.

"In the Wildlife Act, there's no mention of a land claim agreement. It still requires us to have general hunting licences when we're not required to," said Okalik.

Further, because the laws to be reviewed will be summarized and translated into Inuktitut, commissioners do not need to speak English or have a strong background in law.

A budget of $500,000 has been set aside for the review during the current fiscal year and additional dollars will be earmarked in the 2000/2001 budget.

Nominations for the commission can be made until Oct. 22 and the names of the successful candidates will be announced during the upcoming session of the legislative assembly.

For more information, contact the office of the premier in Iqaluit.