Is Nunavut recognized in Canada’s Constitution?

June 30, 2013

It is time to recognize Nunavut Territory in Canada’s Constitution, which Peter Goldring has done by introducing the Nunavut Inclusion Resolution in the House of Commons.

In the Constitution Act 1982, articles 30 and 32, specific mention is made to only two of the three federal territories, Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories. To add greater clarity, Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms should also include Nunavut!

Since Nunavut was created in 1999 the Charter of Rights and Freedoms has not been amended to include it, possibly because it was felt that would require using the general amending formula in Section 38 which requires assent from the House of Commons, the Senate and at least two-thirds of the provincial legislative assemblies with an aggregate of at least fifty per cent of the provincial population. That formula has only been successfully used once since its inception in 1982 and constitutional amendment is considered by many to be too difficult and controversial to attempt.

Regardless, it is right that Nunavut Territory also be referenced. The Charter is a living document designed to protect our rights and freedoms. We should not be afraid to discuss it or amend it as necessary, no matter the perceived political obstacles. Otherwise our rights can easily be infringed on or abolished by well-meaning governments who become overconfident that Canadians do not care for their rights in a “government knows best” situation.

To bring Nunavut Territory into the Charter by name is consistent with our Canadian values of inclusiveness and equality. Making this change would also attest to the importance of all our northern Territories to Canada and add clarity to our Government’s emphasis on Arctic sovereignty.

Peter Goldring says it is time to include Nunavut in our Constitution.

What do you think?