February 19, 2019 – Puvirnituq, Nunavik – Last month Makivik Corporation President Charlie Watt wrote to Québec Premier Francois Legault regarding Bill 64, the Québec Firearms Registration Act.
Several issues were pointed out to Premier Legault in the letter about the adverse effects of the Act on Nunavik Inuit, regarding Registration, Notification, and consequences for non-compliance. As currently formulated, the Québec Firearms Registration Act will not work in the Nunavik region, and does not take into account the traditional lifestyle of Inuit hunting practices, which continues to this day.
“We are seeking accommodations under the Act to ensure that Inuit will be able to register with minimal barriers.,” says Makivik President Charlie Watt. “We want this to be in compliance with our lifestyle, subsistence activities, traditional culture, and our rights as Inuit beneficiaries defined in the JBNQA and NILCA.”
Makivik is proposing a joint approach with the government of Québec via the creation of an Inuit Working Group tasked to propose adjustments to the legislation. This approach has precedents in the Nunavik region and has worked in the past. Makivik also requested in its letter that the new legislation be suspended in Nunavik until proper adaptation measures are jointly developed with Québec.
“A firearm is equally a tool and our currency. It puts food on our table and plays an important role in both feeding our families and defending us when we are on the land,” says Mr Watt.
Makivik’s letter has received a promising verbal reply from Quebec.
The Québec Firearms Registration Act came into effect on January 29, 2018. Under the Act, all non-restricted firearms in Québec must be registered.
Communications Director and Political Advisor
Makivik is the land claims organization mandated to manage the heritage funds of the Inuit of Nunavik provided for under the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement. Makivik’s role includes the administration and investment of these funds and the promotion of economic growth by providing assistance for the creation of Inuit-operated businesses in Nunavik. Makivik promotes the preservation of Inuit culture and language as well as the health, welfare, relief of poverty, and education of Inuit in the communities.