Inuktut required in places of business
Following through on his deadline to implement the Inuit Language Protection Act, Culture and Heritage Minister George Kuksuk reminded Nunavummiut July 26 that both the private and public sector must comply, effective July 9, with Section 3 of the Act.
“Did you know that as of July 9, 2017, all public and private sector organizations in Nunavut must offer their communications and services to the public in Inuktut?” the news release began.
Specifically, communications and services to the public must be offered in Inuktut. This includes signs, posters, commercial advertising, reception, and customer or client services.
Iqaluit Chamber of Commerce president Matthew Clark told Nunavut News that details were sparse.
“The Iqaluit Chamber of Commerce, in recognizing where we live and operate our businesses, supports the government’s efforts to protect and strengthen the Inuit language now and into the future,” Clark said via e-mail.
Treatment centre options explored
Just as the beer and wine outlet was under construction in the capital, the Government of Nunavut explored the possibility of a treatment centre in the territory.
The search was on “for a consultant to assess needs and produce options for additional addictions and trauma treatment services in Nunavut.”
The request for proposals (RFP) came from the Quality of Life Secretariat and was being handled by Community and Government Services.
The RFP stated “one of the options must be a residential addictions and trauma treatment centre; an example of another potential option would be mobile, on-the-land programs.”
The consultant’s task was “to provide a clear understanding of Nunavummiut needs for addictions and trauma treatment, identify key gaps between needs and services currently offered, provide three options to address the gaps with a high-level presentation of resources required to achieve them, and identify the resources needed, in detail, to achieve an option identified for further exploration by the stakeholders engaged.”
Inquests examine presumption of drunkenness
Separate coroner’s juries recommended better training for RCMP, jailhouse guards, and frontline health care workers following the deaths of two critically ill Inuit men, who didn’t get proper medical treatment because police and caregivers thought they were drunk.
The first jury convened in Baker Lake July 24 to 27 and heard that RCMP took Paul Kayuryuk to cells instead of the hospital after he was found unresponsive at the hamlet landfill on Oct. 14, 2012. He didn’t get medical attention until the next day, and died after being medevaced to Winnipeg.
A second jury convened in Rankin Inlet from July 31 to Aug. 3 heard that Victor Kaludjak died of severe brain damage because the doctor ignored pleas from nurses to send him for enhanced treatment in Winnipeg.
In both cases, a presumption of drunkenness overrode actual medical emergencies with similar symptoms.
Crime rate jumps
Nunavut’s crime rate climbed for the second consecutive year in 2016, according to Statistics Canada data released in July.
The crime severity index, a Statistics Canada formula used to gauge the “scale of seriousness” of crime, rose four per cent in Nunavut in 2016. On that scale, Nunavut is about three times higher than the national average.
There was a 5.2 per cent overall increase in crime compared to 2015, and 2015 was 5.4 per cent higher than 2014. Taking into account the increase in Nunavut’s population, violent crimes were up one per cent in 2016 while property crimes essentially held steady.
Iglulik saw the largest jump, at 41.7 per cent, while Cape Dorset realized the biggest reduction at -20.9 per cent.
Dental offender case broadens
More plaintiffs and possibly more offenders emerged in a longstanding civil suit involving a now deceased dental therapist who molested children.
Two people alleging sexual assault at the hands of convicted dental therapist Daniel Nahogaloak stepped forward in Cambridge Bay, according to lawyer Alan Regel. They join 12 Iglulik plaintiffs seeking damages from the Government of Canada, which trained Nahogaloak as a dental therapist through Health Canada in the 1980s.
Regel, who visited Cambridge Bay in July, said he was contacted by people who say they were sexually assaulted by others in the dental field at different times in other communities, allegations that he will also investigate.
“It is shocking, however, to see how widespread this particular type of abuse is, in terms of the profession and the communities,” Regel stated.
Lancaster Sound protected
Inuit saw the summer’s second environmental win Aug. 14 with the announcement in Pond Inlet of the final boundary of the national marine conservation area Tallurutiup Imanga (Lancaster Sound). The memorandum of understanding sets the boundaries for a national marine conservation area of approximately 109,000 square km, about twice the size of Nova Scotia.
“Today is an important day for Inuit because of the profound significance of Tallurutiup Imanga to our communities,” said Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) president P.J. Akeeagok. “This area is the cultural heart of the region; these waters thriving with marine life have supported the lives of Inuit since time immemorial. For almost five decades, Inuit have strived to ensure these incredible resources continue to provide for our culture, our traditional way of life and our survival.”
Airlines acted within the law, investigation finds
The Competition Bureau released the result of its two-year, three-pronged investigation into Nunavut’s airlines Aug. 22, finding that First Air and Canadian North did not break any laws, but there was evidence both companies’ sale prices affected GoSarvaq’s attempt to join the Iqaluit-Ottawa market.
GoSarvaq had announced $499 flights between Iqaluit and Ottawa, to which competitors Canadian North and First Air responded with $399 sales of their own. First Air offered a further sale during a limited time for $299 flights between Iqaluit and Ottawa.
“Although it is the bureau’s view that the allegedly predatory pricing promotions by First Air and Canadian North likely had an impact on GoSarvaq’s entry plans, the bureau did not find sufficient evidence to conclude that these were anti-competitive acts as required by the Act and established by case law,” the bureau stated.
Improve mental health services, RCMP commander says
The RCMP’s commanding officer in Nunavut called for improved mental health services in the territory.
In light of persisting ominous crime statistics – a trend reinforced by the release of the crime severity index – RCMP commanding officer Michael Jeffrey said there is a need for more specific programming for drug and alcohol clinics, and better access to mental health counselling for drugs, alcohol and anger management.
Nunavut has the highest number of mental health requests per call volume within RCMP jurisdictions, according to Jeffrey. Mounties in Nunavut also have the second highest Criminal Code file load and the most prosecutions per member in the country, Jeffrey added.
Toxic dump cleanup contract awarded
Seven years after an original work plan was completed, Transport Canada has awarded Iqaluit-based Kudlik Construction Ltd. a reported $5.4 million contract to clean up a decades-old contaminated dump site by Sylvia Grinnell River on the outskirts of the capital.
The area Kudlik will remediate was used by the United States Air Force between 1955 to 1963 as a metal dump for vehicles, truck bodies, barrels and scrap metal, according to the updated 2017 remediation work plan.
The project is good news for the City of Iqaluit.
“This site has been on the radar for years, mostly at the community level, long-term residents of Iqaluit.
It’s not always on the radar for people who come into the community to take work, either at the Government of Nunavut or at the federal level,” said Iqaluit Mayor Madeleine Redfern.