On March 11, 2021, Nunavut MLA Calvin Pedersen recommended that firearm safety, wilderness survival and first aid be taught in all Nunavut schools. (View PDF)
“Mr. Speaker, we live in the north and guns are a common feature in our daily lives,” said Mr. Pedersen.
“Firearm safety awareness is possibly more critical for northerners than learning how to drive a car. Knowing how to use and store firearms safely saves lives. Would the minister consider offering firearm safety courses in all of Nunavut’s schools?”
“I do believe this can be provided as an option if a district education authority,” Said David Joanasie, Nunavut’s Minister of Education, “along with the school, does their due diligence on getting all the proper safety precautions in order.
Perhaps emboldened by the Minister’s positive response, Calvin Pederson went a step further.
“I believe we should take every opportunity to provide our youth with knowledge that directly applies to their lives in the north,” he said.
“In addition to firearm safety, survival skills, such as Wilderness First Aid, GPS training, and an introduction to signalling and communications, could be critical if they ever end up stuck on the land, hundreds of miles or hours away from help. There are plenty of qualified trainers all across Nunavut who could deliver these courses.
“Will the minister commit to establishing a program to encourage schools to deliver such courses as firearm safety, Wilderness First Aid, and other skills that are directly relevant to life in the north?”
Unfortunately Minister Joanasie’s response was not as definitive as I would prefer.
“Again, I think those types of courses can be looked at,” he said, “in terms of when there is land-based programming that the district education authorities have depending on different seasons, but those safety aspects in how to ensure your navigational tools are in line and in check and making sure you have all the preparations in order to have a safe and successful outing. Those are something that the schools always look at.”
Personally, I find it refreshing to see an elected official treat the issue of firearms safety training with such sensibility.
The world is run by those who show up.
If you live in Nunavut, please contact David Joanasie, your Minister of Education, and express your support for this program and ask for a timeline of its implementation.
Given his comments on March 11th, a little nudge by constituents should spur him to get off the fence and take concrete action to implement these trainings for Nunavut Youth.
If you know anyone who lives in Nunavut, please forward them a copy of this article and ask them to contact their Minister of Education.