January 19, 2017 – Kuujjuaq, Nunavik – Makivik Corporation has filed judicial review applications related to Polar Bear Quota decisions made by the Governments of Nunavut and Canada in October 2016 affecting the Total Allowable Take (TAT), and Non-Quota Limitations (NQLs) for the “Southern Hudson Bay Polar Bear Subpopulation” in the Nunavik Marine Region. Nunavut Environment Minister Joe Savikataaq rendered his decision on October 6th 2016. Canada’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna made her decision on October 19th, 2016.
Makivik Executive Vice-President Adamie Delisle Alaku said, “Both the Nunavut and Canadian Ministers had an obligation to give “full regard” to the extensive body of Inuit traditional knowledge in making their decisions, which they failed to fulfill. I am profoundly disappointed in these decisions. They also did not respect the spirit of the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (NILCA) in making their decision on Total Allowable Take, and Non-Quota Limitations.”
“We are asserting our rights under Article 5 of the NILCA, which sets out the wildlife management system for the Nunavik Marine Region.” Said Vice-President Alaku. “We strongly believe the Ministers decisions are inconsistent with the criteria to restrict Nunavik Inuit harvesting rights defined in the NILCA. Furthermore we believe the Ministers decisions are based on a combination of speculation and irrelevant considerations, and that they did not give due credence to the NMRWB process.”
The NMRWB is the main instrument of wildlife management in the Nunavik Marine Region, but its decisions remain subject to Ministerial approval. In 2012, the federal Minister of Environment requested that the NMRWB put in place a management regime for polar bears in the Nunavik Marine Region, including the establishment of hunting quotas. The NMRWB held a public hearing and undertook to collect and analyze Traditional Inuit Knowledge of polar bears before submitting its decisions to the Ministers in July 2015. After learning that its initial decisions were rejected, the NMRWB reconsidered all of the available information and submitted a final decision in December 2015. In October 2016 both Ministers varied the NMRWB decisions.
Makivik Corporation finds the Ministers’ variations unacceptable, to the detriment of Nunavik Inuit rights and in violation of certain sections of the NILCA. Executive-Vice President Adamie Delisle Alaku stated, “Polar bears are a culturally important species for my people and we have harvested them in this region for millennia. In order to protect our rights and interests, Makivik Corporation feels it has no other option but to petition the courts so as to ensure that Nunavik Inuit receive the fair and equal treatment that is their right under the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement”.
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Makivik is the development corporation mandated to manage the heritage funds of Inuit of Nunavik provided for in the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement. Makivik’s role includes the administration and investment of these funds and the promotion of economic growth.Nunavik Inuit File Judicial Reviews Challenging Nunavut and Canadian Decisions on Polar Bear Quotas in Hudson’s Bay