Media Centre

NTI concerned about the fate of the Inuit Language Protection Act

NR 08-23 LAN ENG Language Protection Act.doc

(June 2, 2008 – – Iqaluit, Nunavut) The agenda for the sitting of the Legislative Assembly indicates that the Official Languages Act, Bill 6, will tentatively be read a third time during this sitting, without any reference to the Inuit Language Protection Act, Bill 7. This has Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. concerned about the fate of Bill 7.

NTI has participated extensively in the development of the two bills over the past three years. On August 31, 2007 NTI made submissions to the Ajauqtiit Standing Committee outlining further improvements needed in order for the Inuit language to truly be equal to English and French and to ensure that Bill 7 secures the sustainability and advancement of the Inuit language. said NTI 1st Vice-President James Eetoolook.

NTI has expressed concern publicly on numerous occasions that Bill 7 is not as strong as it should be, however there is enough added protection and advancement to Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun to potentially start reversing language loss. It will at least be a good foundation to start with, therefore I urge the Assembly to pass Bill 7 with Bill 6 simultaneously. said Eetoolook. This does not mean that we will stop fighting to elevate our Inuit language rights to the standards it needs to be at, but the status quo is unacceptable, Eetoolook added. NTI urges the Legislative Assembly to give third reading to both bills together, and if not, to explain why the Assembly feels that the Inuit Language Protection Act should be read at a later time than the Official Languages Act and when this will occur. Bill 7 cannot be lost by inaction of the Legislative Assembly.

Inuktitut is the language of Nunavut and Inuinnaqtun is in a threatened state that demands urgent action to reverse the loss. The vast majority of the Nunavut population speaks the Inuit language and it is a founding language of Canada and is as important as English and French to Nunavummiut. said Eetoolook.

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