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Helping victims of trauma should come before new beer and wine store, says Nakashuk

Adequately addressing the trauma from past abuse should be a top priority of the government. Traumatized victims need support to heal and become healthy, according to Pangnirtung MLA Margaret Nakashuk.

"I rise today to express my disappointment in what I see as a misplaced priority on the part of our government," says Pangnirtung MLA Margaret Nakashuk. photo courtesy of the Government of Nunavut

Nakashuk pointed out her community has been lobbying for more culturally appropriate mental health supports and counselling in Inuktitut since May 2018.

“The community of Pangnirtung has been struggling greatly with the after-effects of far too many traumatic incidents, many of them a direct or indirect result of substance abuse," said Nakashuk. “I was therefore quite disappointed by the government’s announcement earlier last week that another beer and wine store will be opening in Nunavut.”

Although Nakashuk recognizes the intent of making beer and wine easily accessible to reduce bootlegging, she feels priorities are misplaced.

However, Minister of Health George Hickes expressed his department is “very cognizant of some of the challenges” that Pangnirtung residents have encountered. The government is committed to providing the needed mental health services, he said.

Within the past two weeks government health officials and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated met with Pangnirtung's mayor to discuss the types of supports that can be provided for the community, Hickes.