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2020 Year in Review: December

Ten years of sobriety for Tootoo

Jordin Tootoo of Rankin Inlet reacts after scoring a goal for the Chicago Black Hawks . Tootoo has been sober for 10 years.
photo courtesy Black Hawk Up

Former NHL player Jordin Tootoo celebrated 10 years of sobriety in December.

“Living up North is hard with the substance abuse, domestic violence, dysfunction in the households and all that,” said Tootoo. “I don’t go around preaching to people because, to me, it’s each to their own. “I try to lead by example for our people and our Indigenous communities... The first two years of sobriety was probably the toughest experience of my life... Ultimately it was the land that kept me grounded. When you go out on the land nothing else matters. You’re living in that moment."

Canada says no to Hope Bay sale

The Canadian government refused to approve the sale of TMAC Resources and its Hope Bay gold mine to Shandong Gold Mining, a Chinese state-owned company, after conducting a national security review.

Shandong had offered $230 million to purchase TMAC in May, which was later accepted by TMAC shareholders, but the Kitikmeot Inuit Association never endorsed the deal.

Jason Neal, president and CEO of TMAC, stated, “While we are disappointed with the outcome, we are very pleased that TMAC achieved significant operation improvements at Hope Bay. We will continue to build on these improvements while considering options to manage our balance sheet."

Fibre-optic internet proposal

“CanArctic Inuit Networks is ready to build this critical piece of Canadian Arctic infrastructure today,” says Madeleine Redfern, chief operating officer for the company.
photo courtesy of CanArctic Inuit Networks

CanArctic Inuit Networks revealed details of its endeavour to run a 2,104 km, sub-sea fibre optic cable from Clarenville, Nfld. to Iqaluit by late 2022.

The capital cost of the backbone between Clarenville and Iqaluit is pegged at $107 million, according to the company. There will be no requirement for the Government of Nunavut to provide capital investment in this project, a company news release stated.

Future phases of the initiative could extend the network – to be known as SednaLink – to other parts of the Qikiqtani, Kivalliq, Hudson Strait and Nunavik.

Baffin political division debate reopens

"A lot of the communities feel left out and not represented,” Clyde River Mayor Jerry Natanine wrote in respect to the potential for splitting the Qikiqtani region in terms of land claim political representation.
NNSL file photo

The Qikiqtani Inuit Association’s Dec. 14 election for vice-president raised a thorny issue that has been simmering for years: the prospect of North Baffin communities forming their own regional Inuit association. Jerry Natanine, Clyde River mayor and close runner-up for the office of QIA vice-president, once again made it publicly known that he’s in favour of a split.

“Thirteen communities under one organization is too many. A lot of the communities feel left out and not represented,” Natanine wrote on Facebook on Dec. 2, reiterating comments he made in 2016. “With fewer communities, it would be easier to do good works for our communities. To be at QIA board is kind of overwhelming in that the land is so vast and so many communities to serve.”

Clyde River RCMP's family fired upon

A Clyde River man is facing numerous charges following an incident where an RCMP residence, occupied at the time, was fired upon with a rifle.

The episode began around 8:30 a.m. when Clyde River RCMP responded to a call that an intoxicated man had allegedly physically assaulted an individual. The suspect is accused of proceeding to the nearby RCMP commander’s home and shooting two rounds through the front window.

The police officer’s wife and several children were inside the residence. No injuries were sustained.

Vaccine obtained for most Nunavummiut

Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq announced that the territory would receive enough doses of the Moderna vaccine to vaccinate 75 percent of Nunavummiut over the age of 18.

He hopes this happens within the first quarter of 2021. While a vaccine by Pfizer was approved sooner, it's impractical for Nunavut, according to the territory's chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson.

“The Pfizer vaccines storage and transport requirements such as a cold-chain storage requirement of -80 C and it’s sensitivity to transport do not make it an appropriate choice for Nunavut,” he explained.

With a storage temperature of -20 C, the Moderna vaccine fits much better for the territory’s needs as a whole, Patterson added.

Kinngait RCMP officer avoids charges

A Kinngait RCMP officer did not break the law even though he struck an intoxicated resident with the door of a pickup truck while the vehicle was in motion and knocked the man to the ground, according to an investigation by the Ottawa Police Service.

The Ottawa Police investigators determined that “the vehicle did not intentionally strike the community member with the vehicle door – whereas the vehicle came to a sliding stop on a snow and ice-covered track, the driver’s front tire went off the track, the vehicle dipped forward and the opened driver’s door swung forward and struck the community member.”

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