Nunavut man jailed for sabotaging ex-MLA’s business
Jamesie Alariaq set fire to $77,000 worth of equipment in Cape Dorset owned by Fred Schell
A Cape Dorset business owner has received an 18-month prison sentence for stealing and burning a sealift container in 2014 that belonged to a rival business owned by former Nunavut MLA and cabinet minister Fred Schell.
In November last year, a jury convicted Jamesie Alariaq of one count of arson and one count of theft for using a CAT loader to steal the sea can during the night of Aug. 30, 2014 and drive it to a remote part of town, where he set fire to it.
The sea can held equipment valued at over $77,000 and was owned by Schell’s Polar Supplies Ltd., a company that was a rival to businesses owned by Alariaq and other family members.
In a sentencing decision delivered in Cape Dorset, July 25, Justice Todd Ducharme said Alariaq’s intention was clear when he stole the sea can, because he observed the container “with interest” for days prior to the theft.
Alariaq also kept the lights on his CAT loader turned off to avoid detection when moved the container to an area near the community’s sewage lagoon, and brought with him the grinder he used to force the sea can open.
Alariaq was intoxicated at the time of the crime, Ducharme noted.
The maximum penalty for arson is 14 years, but Ducharme acknowledged Alariaq’s sincerity when he apologized to the court, as well as his commitment to make full restitution for the destroyed property.
Ducharme also noted that Polar Supplies Ltd. is now bankrupt, so all restitution payments will be made to the trustee of the company’s estate.
“I accept [Alariaq] now regrets his involvement in these crimes and his remorse, while late in coming, is genuine,” he said.
Along with an 18-month jail sentence, Alariaq will spend two years on probation after he is released, perform 100 hours of community service, attend counseling sessions and have no contact with Schell, Cheryl Constantineau, Mike Constantineau or Colin Gibson.
Alariaq will also pay an additional $5,280 on top of the $77,140 in restitution payments for the destroyed property, to cover wages Schell was forced to pay to prepare an insurance report for the loss.
Ducharme said Alariaq’s sentence was mitigated by his career as a successful business owner within Cape Dorset who contributes to the community.
Ducharme also acknowledged Alariaq’s past history of substance abuse and other trauma he experienced as a child, in compliance with the Supreme Court of Canada’s Gladue decision in 1999 which says, in sentencing, courts are supposed to take into account Aboriginal peoples’ historic and social hardships, such as the effects of poverty, suicide, residential school and dispossession.
“Mr. Alariaq is a skilled hunter and willingly shares what he catches with elders, his family and members of the community,” Ducharme said, who also cited Alariaq’s volunteer service to the Marine Search and Rescue and the RCMP.
Alariaq is a former Hamlet of Cape Dorset council member and deputy mayor.
R. v. Alariaq, 2017 NUCJ 13 by NunatsiaqNews on Scribd