Nunatsiaq News
COMMENTARY February 22, 2018 - 9:30 am

Legal Ease, Feb. 22

Do we need jails?

JAMES MORTON

Prison is such a standard part of the criminal justice system that it is seldom that anyone thinks about it. And yet the reasons we have jail sentences can be challenged.

Section 3.1 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the law that governs federal prisons, reads: “The protection of...

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COMMENTARY February 22, 2018 - 8:00 am

The Nunavut mining industry is back

"We negotiated our land claim agreement with mineral development as our economic foundation"

SPECIAL TO NUNATSIAQ NEWS

ALEX BUCHAN
Nunavut Vice President
Northwest Territories and Nunavut Chamber of Mines

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure to tell delegates at the recent Northern Lights conference in Ottawa about our new Nunavut mining industry, and I want to share that with you here.

I say “new mining...

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COMMENTARY February 14, 2018 - 1:30 pm

Legal Ease, Feb. 14

How can lawyers exclude jurors?

JAMES MORTON

In a Canadian criminal jury trial, both the prosecution and the defence are allowed to block a certain number of people from sitting on the jury without giving any reasons for excluding them.

The right to block someone from sitting on the jury without any explanation is known as a peremptory...

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COMMENTARY February 02, 2018 - 3:30 pm

Legal Ease, Feb. 2

Intermittent sentences or “weekends”

JAMES MORTON

In most occasion when people are sentenced to a prison term, they are taken directly from court to start serving whatever time in jail the judge has allotted to them.

An exception to this general rule is the “intermittent sentence,” sometimes known as “weekends.”

In specific cases and for fairly...

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COMMENTARY January 26, 2018 - 3:30 pm

Legal Ease, Jan. 26

Dogs running loose

JAMES MORTON

In a recent article, I mentioned how dogs allowed to run free can get caught in fox traps. This led a number of readers to write and ask what are the laws regarding dogs running free in Nunavut.

In some smaller communities there may not be much of a problem with dogs roaming around, especially if...

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COMMENTARY January 16, 2018 - 11:30 am

Legal Ease, Jan. 16

Trapping in town—not a good idea

JAMES MORTON

When I was a child, maybe 12 years old, my father explained to me how a shotgun worked.

He taught me how to load and how to shoot. But the thing he really focused on was how I must always assume the shotgun was loaded and how a shotgun has one purpose—to kill.

Safety is absolutely the first thing...

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COMMENTARY January 15, 2018 - 11:30 am

Sexual assault and sexual harassment are not the same thing

“Harassment—bullying—degrades the subject’s quality of life, messes with their head…”

SPECIAL TO NUNATSIAQ NEWS

MARGARET HOLLIS

In his Jan. 11 Legal Ease column, Sex and Consent, James Morton said, “there has been an explosion of stories in the media about sexual assault and sexual harassment in the workplace, schools and other organizations.”

However, his column discussed only the crime of sexual assault,...

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COMMENTARY January 08, 2018 - 2:30 pm

Legal Ease, Jan. 8

What is civil discovery?

JAMES MORTON

It’s a new year and time for new beginnings and fresh starts.

Legal matters are like any other and sometimes need a fresh approach—it’s easy to get caught up in the process and lose sight of the important human issues.

That said, I am going to speak today about one of the more procedural issues...

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COMMENTARY January 08, 2018 - 9:15 am

A red alert for the future Arctic

"Forging the Arctic’s future on fossil fuel development is not the way to move forward"

SPECIAL TO NUNATSIAQ NEWS

EDWARD STRUZIK
Queen’s University, Ont.

Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod was right when he issued a “red alert” in November and called for an urgent national debate on the future of the Northwest Territories.

His peers, the premiers of Nunavut and the Yukon Territory, would be justified...

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COMMENTARY December 21, 2017 - 10:59 am

Legal Ease, Dec. 21

This Xmas, please look after yourself

JAMES MORTON

The Christmas and New Year’s Eve season is a time to spend with family and loved ones. 

Everyone goes to parties and often people overindulge in food and drink.  While eating too much is a bad idea—and can give you a stomach ache—drinking too much can lead to legal problems.

If you are drinking...

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COMMENTARY December 20, 2017 - 9:30 am

Legal Ease, Dec. 20

How can I be liable?

JAMES MORTON

Sometimes people end up liable for the debts of a business without realizing they are even formally in business.

That can happen because of a partnership.

Now, people usually think of a partnership as something fairly formal set up with documents and agreements—in such a case the partners of the...

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COMMENTARY December 12, 2017 - 11:30 am

Legal Ease, Dec. 12

Suing a corporation

JAMES MORTON

A corporation is a somewhat mysterious entity. It employs people, it owns property, it pays taxes and it can even be punished for committing offences.

But a corporation is not a person. 

A corporation is a form of organization that the government has given some of the rights and...

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COMMENTARY December 06, 2017 - 3:00 pm

How will climate change affect Arctic caribou and reindeer?

"Just how this iconic Arctic species will be affected in a warming climate remains unclear"

SPECIAL TO NUNATSIAQ NEWS

CONNOR MALLORY
PhD student, University of Alberta

This spring, I spent close to two weeks flying over central Nunavut, peering out the window of a small plane at the rolling tundra below, looking for and counting caribou to monitor their numbers.

The Qamanirjuaq barren-ground herd were arriving...

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY December 05, 2017 - 1:10 pm

Legal Ease, Dec. 5

Freedom of religion

JAMES MORTON

The Canadian Constitution protects freedom of religion. This means, broadly, you can espouse any religious belief and try to evangelize as you see best.

The state may not interfere with that freedom; what’s more the state may not even make inquiry as to the legitimacy of the belief so long as it...

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COMMENTARY November 29, 2017 - 1:10 pm

“Edmonton Eskimos” is a racial slur and it’s time to stop using it

"Painful and abusive rhetoric has both emotional and financial costs"

NUNATSIAQ NEWS

NORMA DUNNING, University of Alberta

The Edmonton Eskimos had a big football game this past Nov. 19 and thousands of people in my hometown who hoped their team would make it to the Grey Cup were ultimately disappointed. But when I think of my city’s Canadian Football League team, I have a...

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COMMENTARY November 13, 2017 - 3:30 pm

Legal Ease, Nov. 13

What judges do

JAMES MORTON

The simple answer is that a judge decides disputes brought to court.

But that doesn’t tell the story properly at all.

Judges are to decide disputes brought before them in accordance with law and precedent. They do not just decide cases according to whim.

So, a judge will always begin by asking...

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COMMENTARY November 08, 2017 - 1:10 pm

Canada must assert sovereignty over the Arctic while there’s still time

"Canada is at serious risk of losing control and sovereignty over its Arctic"

SPECIAL TO NUNATSIAQ NEWS

SEN. DENNIS PATTERSON

The ice in Canada’s Arctic has been steadily melting since 1979. If this trend continues, large swaths of Arctic waters are expected to be free of ice altogether during the summer months.

These changes are leading to a significant increase in cruise ship, tanker and supply...

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COMMENTARY November 08, 2017 - 8:00 am

Open letter pitches new idea for Nunavut: local Inuit associations

"I can see so many good ways this would benefit well-being and improved quality of life"

SPECIAL TO NUNATSIAQ NEWS

ABRAHAM TAGALIK

Dear comrades and Inuit:

I am writing to introduce what I think the next step should be on our journey as Inuit of Nunavut.

I want to introduce the idea of developing a well-funded community delivery model (CDM) for our land claims organizations’ brotherhood and sisterhood and...

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COMMENTARY November 01, 2017 - 3:30 pm

Legal Ease, Nov. 1

What if I am too sick to tell the doctor what to do?

JAMES MORTON

The recent serious illness of a relative made me think of what happens when someone gets sick and cannot make decisions for themselves.

As a practical matter, health centres and the hospital in Iqaluit look to the close family of an ill person to give direction in circumstances where that person...

FULL STORY
COMMENTARY October 10, 2017 - 11:30 am

Legal Ease, Oct. 10

Crime and punishment

JAMES MORTON

Canadian criminal law is based on English law and makes a very clear distinction between a finding of guilt and punishment for a crime.

That is, if someone is found “not guilty,” they are not punished at all—but if they are found “guilty” then punishment will (almost certainly) follow.

In other...

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COMMENTARY September 26, 2017 - 1:10 pm

Legal Ease, Sept. 26

Am I free to go? Your rights on the street

JAMES MORTON

You are out for a walk or on the land and an RCMP officer asks to speak to you.

Almost always, the officer has a legitimate good reason to speak to you and most of the time it’s a good civic action to answer questions and help the RCMP with their inquiries.

There may be a missing elder or...

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COMMENTARY September 12, 2017 - 1:10 pm

Legal Ease, Sept. 12

Speedy Trials?

JAMES MORTON

When I tell people there is a constitutional right to a speedy trial in criminal cases in Canada, sometimes they laugh at me. Certainly it sometimes seems that criminal cases (and civil and family matters) just never end.

There are good reasons why cases take a lot of time.

Often the issues are...

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COMMENTARY September 07, 2017 - 1:10 pm

Legal Ease, Sept. 7

Certainty in Contract

JAMES MORTON

Let’s suppose you and I want to make a deal for me to rent your cottage down South for a few months. We talk about it for a few weeks and then make some sort of a deal. We agree I’ll rent the cottage for a while and I’ll pay you what seems reasonable later this year.

Is the deal enforceable? ...

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COMMENTARY September 01, 2017 - 10:00 am

From tent birth to Inuk nurse: Growing up in, and out of, Nunavik, part five

"In my view, we have to take a massive, grinding and probably painful and costly turn towards mental health"

SPECIAL TO NUNATSIAQ NEWS

Minnie Akparook, born near Great Whale River, went to school in Churchill, Man., finished nursing school and became one of the first Inuk nurses to practice in Nunavik in the 1990s. She eventually specialized in diabetes treatment and prevention, which she considers one of the region’s most......

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COMMENTARY August 31, 2017 - 1:20 pm

Legal Ease, Aug. 31

Living with debt

JAMES MORTON

One of the least pleasant jobs I have as a lawyer is collecting debts; and mostly the debts I collect are credit card debts.

It is very easy to get underwater with credit cards.

You see something you want or a trip you want to take (and who doesn’t want to go south in February?) and it feels...

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