Media Centre

Office of the Languages Commissioner, Qikiqtani Inuit Association & Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. call for immediate action on language

(October 27, 2010) – Iqaluit, Nunavut — The Government of Nunavut Minister of Languages Louis Tapardjuk announced yesterday that he would not be tabling the Inuit Language Protection Act (ILPA) and Official Languages Act (OLA) mandated implementation plan at this fall session of the Legislative Assembly.

In response, the Languages Commissioner for Nunavut, Alexina Kublu, stated: “The Minister of Languages is failing his duty to Nunavummiut. The Minister was legislatively bound to table the implementation plan by March 31st, 2010. He has not done so”.

OLA defines official languages in Nunavut. ILPA aims at protecting and revitalizing the Inuit language. Both acts legally binds the Minister to table an annual report at the end of each fiscal year (ILPA section 27, OLA 15(1)). This year, the report was to include an implementation plan (ILPA section 25, OLA 13(3)) outlining what measures the Government of Nunavut will take to safeguard language rights and protect and revitalize the Inuit language. All department heads are responsible for submitting their implementation plans (section ILPA 25(3), OLA 13(4)).

Qikiqtani Inuit Association President Okalik Eegeesiak stated: “Anymore delays, in effect, will shelve a much celebrated legislation. The Premier must answer to Inuit by directing that the departments work with the Minister of Languages, to ensure that the implementation plan truly has a GN-wide approach with measureable goals.”

“With the use of the Inuit language in the home declining by 10% between 1996-2006, the time to act is now,” said Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. Acting President James Eetoolook. “It is very worrying that the very Minister who had such a large part in passing OLA and ILPA only two short years ago is now failing to meet the provisions set out in the legislation he himself championed.”

The Languages Commissioner, the Acting President of NTI and the President of QIA expect the Government of Nunavut to immediately commit to tabling the Implementation Plan during the next sitting of the Legislative Assembly.

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For more information contact:

David Shadbolt, Public Affairs Officer
Office of the Languages Commissioner
Phone (867) 975-5125

Franco Buscemi
Director of Communications
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated
Tel: (867) 222-1411
fbuscemi @ tunngavik.com

Jesse Nutaraq
Executive Assistant to the President
867 975 8400
Fax 867 979 3238
Toll free 800 667 2742