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JUNE 2018 YEAR IN REVIEW: Quassa ousted, Kugluktuk wants elders’ centre, riot at BCC

Mayor to keep fighting for elders centre


"Yeah, it was a disappointment."

That was Mayor's June response to the Government of Nunavut's recent decision to examine all options for an elders' long-term care centre instead of throwing its support behind the Hamlet of Kugluktuk's proposal.

photo courtesy of Ryan Nivingalok
Kugluktuk Mayor Ryan Nivingalok: “We’re not giving up” on proposal for an elders long-term care centre in Kugluktuk.

The hamlet had spent the previous two years developing plans and a site for a 24-bed, 24-hour long-term care facility for elders.

"I don't think it's dead. We're not giving up. We'll still work at it," Nivingalok said.

"We've got a lot of partners in this project. We're going to keep going forward, try. Hopefully we come out with the best."

Kugluktuk MLA Mila Kamingoak pressed the government for a positive response to Kugluktuk's proposal during the late May sitting of the legislative assembly.

"We met as a cabinet to discuss the next steps of how we should be dealing with this and we decided in collaboration that we need to probably issue an RFP (request for proposals) because that would be the most transparent way of doing it," said the Health Minister Pat Angnakak.


Power corp. rejects territory-wide rate


Qulliq Energy Corp. rejected a proposed territory-wide power rate, and prices went up for all customers, said the Minister responsible for the Qulliq Energy Corp (QEC) Jeannie Ehaloak.

Ehaloak announced an increase of 6.6 per cent over two years.

Rate hikes of 3.3 per cent were in effect retroactively as of May 1, and set to rise again by that same amount April 1, 2019.

"In light of the decision to keep the current rate structure, where electricity rates vary from community

to community, cabinet came to a consensus that an assessment of the existing Nunavut Electricity Subsidy Program through the Department of Finance is required," said Ehaloak.

"Once the assessment is completed, the Government of Nunavut will update members on the findings."


Arctic Inspiration Prize renews excitement over community qajaq program

Igluligaarjuk/Chesterfield Inlet

The nationally-recognized qajaq program at Victor Sammurtok School (VSS) was in the process of receiving a much-needed revitalization in Chesterfield Inlet.

photo courtesy Victor Sammurtok School
Qajaq program developer and Victor Sammurtok School science teacher Glen Brocklebank, back right, poses with a group of students and staff members who are rebuilding the school's qajaq fleet with the Arctic Inspiration Prize money awarded the program. 

VSS teacher and program developer Glen Brocklebank said so far the program had gone through about 60 per cent of the $122,000 in Arctic Inspiration Prize monies it received earlier this year.

He said he and his students, with the help of some local volunteers, were totally focused on rebuilding the program's qajaq fleet.

"We've got five built now and we had planned to have them covered, but, unfortunately, our material didn't arrive," said Brocklebank. "So, we're going to have to wait to cover them when this year's sealift arrives."

So far, they'd purchased a construction shed, 30 sets of new gear including dry suits and cold weather protective gear, wood to build more boats and a trailer to transport their qajaqs around the community.

"So that's taken up a big chunk of our funding," he said.

Brocklebank said every student in Grades 7 to 12 has helped build the new boats.


Renovated youth centre reopens

Ikaluktutiak/Cambridge Bay

Renovations totalling $160,000 were completed and the Cambridge Bay Youth Centre was set to reopen to a summer of programming, according to Marla Limousin, the hamlet's senior administrative officer.

The Government of Canada contributed $120,000 while the Hamlet of Cambridge Bay chipped in $40,000. The funds resulted in the installation of a new kitchen, new windows and doors, upgrading of the mechanical systems, patching and painting, expanded storage capacity and the purchase of new furniture, said Limousin.

"The youth centre is a vital place in the community," she said. "It is an old building left over from the DEW Line days... with the new kitchen, we can have a breakfast program and cooking classes at the youth centre."

Mayor Pam Gross added that the facility is a safe place to go in the community, and plays a crucial role in the emotional wellbeing of Cambridge Bay youth.


Hamlet guides students in proposal writing


Senior students at Qarmartalik School planned to teach their younger counterparts a few things, but it involved writing formal proposals.

The senior boys wanted to take the junior boys out to teach them about travelling on the land and go seal hunting while the senior girls are interested in teaching the junior girls how to do beadwork, Mayor Tabitha Mullin said.

The mayor and council approve of the initiatives and have enlisted the senior administrative officer to help draft the funding proposals.

"Especially the younger people, where they have no idea what to do to get some funding, I thought it would it be a very good learning process even before they leave the school," Mullin said of the proposal-writing advice.

She added that another community member has offered to take the students out on the land for a few days on a fishing trip.

"People are trying to do something around the community in support of having younger people being occupied," said Mullin


Quassa out, Savikataaq in


Joe Savikataaq stepped into unseated Premier Paul Quassa's shoes after an unprecedented vote of non-confidence mid-June.

NNSL file photo
Arviat South MLA Joe Savikataaq enjoys a light-hearted moment June 14, as he casts his ballot to elect a premier to replace Paul Quassa.

The Arviat South MLA was pronounced premier after two rounds of voting. Fellow Kivalliq MLAs Patterk Netser and Lorne Kusugak were also in the running.

"Yes, it comes down to leadership issues," said Arviat North-Whale Cove MLA John Main after the non-confidence vote.

As chair of the regular members' caucus, Main spoke on behalf of the other members presenting the motion to remove Quassa. He cited two reasons to remove Quassa – his 'autocratic' leadership style, and integrity.

Sixteen of 21 voted in support of the motion, including most cabinet ministers, with Finance Minister and Quttiktuq MLA David Akeeagok and Kugluktuk MLA Mila Kamingoak choosing to stand with Quassa. Pangnirtung MLA Margaret Nakashuk and Amittuq MLA Joelie Kaernerk abstained.

Akeeagok was the sole representative to speak against the motion. He wanted real examples to back up the claim that Quassa was "misleading."

"I want to know … They (regular MLAs) didn't give us concrete examples. If something like this happened to me, I would like to know the reason," he said.

Main said all the evidence was available in the hansard, the record of what's said in the house.


BCC inmates riot in the night


For the second time in nine months, inmates at the Baffin Correctional Centre (BCC) in

Iqaluit took control overnight.

The incident, which RCMP called a riot and an uprising, began sometime around midnight, with

RCMP and the fire department responding.

"Several inmates barricaded a section of the facility resulting in significant damage to the Charlie Unit," Minister of Justice Jeannie Ehaloak stated in a prepared statement.

According to police, 26 inmates gathered to form the riot.

"RCMP responded immediately with 22 members positioned around the perimeter of the facility to prevent an escape attempt. For several hours, RCMP, Sheriff's Department and GN Corrections staff contained the riot situation until such time as all 26 inmates were extracted one by one," police stated.

Ehaloak said there were no injuries to inmates or staff through the joint effort of Corrections Division and the RCMP, with the fire department also on site.

"In the meantime, the Department of Justice is looking at options to transfer and house inmates in correctional facilities outside the territory until these repairs can be completed," Ehaloak stated.


Men's shelter to double capacity

Ikaluktutiak/Cambridge Bay

The Hamlet of Cambridge Bay unveiled plans to double the capacity at its men's shelter to 16 beds by late October.

The Government of Canada was providing $300,000 for the renovations. The duplex housing the men's shelter would be altered to expand that service into the adjoining space currently occupied by the community's radio station.

"The need is great and the waiting list long," Marla Limousin, Cambridge Bay's senior administrative officer, said of the men's shelter.

There are 32 applicants hoping to get spots at the shelter, according to Isaac Mensah, the shelter's coordinator.

The facility, located on Omingmak Street, was only established in 2016. With so much demand, there have been times when recliner couches in the shelter have accommodated four additional men, said

director of wellness Janet Stafford-Brenton. In addition, there are respite and support services available at the wellness centre and the elder's palace during the day, she added.

The average length of stay at the men's shelter is nine months, Stafford-Brenton said. Clients

come seeking safety and sobriety, retreating from overcrowded homes and some have indicated that they've suffered financial abuse, she said.