Henry Coman retired from the RCMP in 2018 following a 25-year career. He says there’s a need for more Inuit Mounties. photo courtesy of Henry Coman

Retired Mountie calls for more Inuit officers

Retired RCMP Cpl. Henry Coman took time to reflect on his policing career following his retirement in May, and he encouraged more Inuit to consider joining the Mounties.

Only five of close to 120 officers across Nunavut were Inuit.

“I hope there are more Inuks that do consider a career in the RCMP because we definitely need more Inuit members, for sure,” said Coman, who left the police force with 25 years experience and having served as a recruiter.

Coman, a graduate of the Akitsiraq law program in 2005, moved on to become a lawyer with Justice Canada.


Education Act changes in the offing

Education Minister David Joanasie said he hopes to present proposed amendments to the Education Act during the first session of the legislative assembly in 2019, as the deadline for bilingual education in an Inuit-language and English or French looms.

The legislation states bilingual education was to be phased in for kindergarten to Grades 1 to 3 for the 2009-2010 school year, then phased in to all other grades by the 2019-2020 school year. At present, some schools transition from Inuit-language to all-English around Grade 4, some at earlier grades and some at later grades.

Joanasie says it’s important to be realistic about what resources are in place to hit the target.

“A big part of it is training Inuktut-speaking teachers and, with that, the curriculum to back that up,” he said.


Nunavut’s former chief coroner Padma Suramala, left – seen here prior to the September 2015 inquest into the high rate of suicide in the territory with counsel for the coroner Sheldon Toner and Northwest Territories chief coroner Garth Eggenberger – is suing the Government of Nunavut for $1 million, alleging wrongful dismissal in a statement of claim filed with the Nunavut Court of Justice June 22. NNSL file photo

Nunavut’s former coroner sues GN

Former chief coroner Padma Suramala filed a lawsuit against the Government of Nunavut for $1 million for wrongful dismissal.

Suramala told Nunavut News prior to filing with the court that she was about to release the result of a TB death in Qikiqtarjuaq when, she claimed, “he (Justice deputy minister William MacKay) suspended me.”

Suramala was fired April 25.

“They tried to negotiate with me, give me some package deal. I said I didn’t want the money. I told them I don’t want the package. I want my job. To hell with the money – when I die I’m not going to take this money with me. I want my job and this is not the way I should be exiting when I have done so much work,” Suramala told Nunavut News.

Dental assault settlement
Iglulik/Cambridge Bay

A settlement was reached between plaintiffs and the Government of Canada in a historic sexual assault civil suit involving a deceased dental therapist.

The terms of the deal and the number of plaintiffs remained a secret.

Lawyer Alan Regel, who represented the plaintiffs, told Nunavut News in 2017 about the case when he was actively seeking additional individuals who may have been molested as children by dental therapist Daniel Nahogaloak in the early 1980s. At the time, 12 people in Iglulik had joined the civil suit as well as two from Cambridge Bay.

Nahogaloak, who was from Cambridge Bay, also worked in Taloyoak.


First Air, Canadian North announce merger

Longtime competitors First Air and Canadian North announced plans to form a single airline.

The airline, if approved by regulatory authorities, would function under the name Canadian North and would feature First Air’s marketing brand, including its recently adopted inuksuk logo.

The proposed airline would be headquartered in Ottawa.

Makivik Corporation, the Quebec-based parent company of First Air, and the Inuvialuit Development Corporation, owner of Canadian North, cited a Government of Nunavut report that recommended more efficiency in Nunavut air transportation services, and stated that a merger “is the only viable way to both meet and exceed these essential needs for Nunavummiut and all Northerners.”


Fatal polar bear attack

A polar bear attacked and killed a 31-year-old Arviat man on July 3.

The fatal incident occurred on Sentry Island, about 10 km outside of the community.

Aaron Gibbons, who was unarmed, was pronounced dead at the scene after medical professionals and police scrambled to assist him after a report of the attack came in at 7:42 p.m.

Gibbons was described as putting himself between the bear and his children, to protect them.

Other residents were nearby and one of them shot and killed the polar bear, the RCMP stated.


Eleven charged after BCC riot

RCMP laid charges against 11 current or former prisoners following a June riot at Baffin Correctional Centre.

The accused were charged with taking part in a riot and mischief to property exceeding $5,000 dollars.

Additionally, seven were charged with taking part in a riot while wearing a mask and intent to commit an indictable offence wearing a mask; six with assault with weapons while peace officers were engaged in their duties; four with uttering a threat to cause death to staff; three with assault with weapons against a peace officer engaged in their duties and obstruction of a peace officer engaged in their duties; and three with uttering a threat to damage property of the Baffin Correctional Centre.

The riot, which began sometime around midnight, lasted five-and-a-half hours and involved 26 inmates. Forty were later flown to Ontario to be housed because of the damage to BCC’s Charlie Unit.


De Beers acquires Peregrine Diamonds

Global diamond giant De Beers purchased Peregrine Diamonds and the Chidliak diamond project, 120 km from Iqaluit, for $107 million.

“The Peregrine team has done outstanding work progressing the Chidliak project, demonstrating its quality and high potential,” said De Beers Canada CEO Kim Truter. “With our extensive De Beers Group operating experience in similar Canadian Arctic environments and employing innovative mining methods, we believe we are very well positioned to develop this resource further.”

Peregrine completed a preliminary economic assessment for Chidliak earlier this year that showed more than 22 million carats of inferred diamonds – not yet proven – exist at the site.

The anticipated cost to get the Chidliak mine up and running is $455 million. Peregrine was also proposing a 160-km all-weather road from Chidliak to Iqaluit.


Money for new Iqaluit dump

The City of Iqaluit announced July 20 it will go ahead with a new dump.

The city will receive $26.2 million from the federal government for the $35-million project to improve its solid waste management system. The city will provide $8.7 million.

“The project includes the development of a new recycling and eco-centre, composting, and new methods of waste collection for residential, commercial and industrial waste. Funding will also be used for the construction of a road to the landfill and the decommissioning of the existing site,” according to the city’s news release.


Ell-Kanayuk becomes ICC president

Former Nunavut deputy premier and cabinet minister Monica Ell-Kanayuk was elected president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) Canada on July 15.

“I’m overwhelmed. I’m very excited,” said Ell-Kanayuk. “I’m excited to be working hard for the next four years on behalf of Inuit in Canada, and bring issues to the table internationally.”

She added there are many issues, including Indigenous knowledge, knowing your rights as an Inuk, social issues, among others for the betterment of Inuit.

Ell-Kanayuk, who is from Iqaluit, took the place of outgoing president Nancy Karetak-Lindell.

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