Our top 10 news stories of 2010

Scandal, social disorder, the emergence of mining


Eastern Arctic residents are likely to remember 2010 as a year marked by social breakdown and scandal, mitigated only by the rise of the mining industry as an alternative to government employment.

Here’s our list of the top 10 news stories last year.

1. The Meadowbank gold mine

In a year when good news was scarce, this was a big piece of good news for Nunavut in 2010. Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd. poured its first gold bar Feb. 27. By the time they officially opened the mine in June, the company had already created hundreds of jobs for Inuit in Baker Lake and the Kivalliq region.

2. Sheila Fraser’s report on GN human resources

This story likely got less coverage than it should have last year, because the Auditor General of Canada’s report, released March 18, goes to the very heart of what ails the Government of Nunavut. Her report makes it clear that unless the GN learns how to hire, train and evaluate workers, the quality of government in Nunavut will never improve.

3. The Chris Bishop homicide trial

The shocking triple-murder for which Chris Bishop was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment with no chance of parole for 16 years flowed directly from the culture of booze, dope and violence that far too many Nunavut youth have embraced.

4. Nutrition North Canada

When Leona Aglukkaq ran for Parliament in 2008, she sensed, accurately, that for most Nunavut residents the cost of living is the biggest issue. Nutrition North Canada, announced May 21, is her response.

6. The Paul Kaludjak credit card scandal

Except for some small funding programs, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. doesn’t actually run anything that directly affects anyone’s life, but its presidency carries much prestige. So when NTI’s president is alleged to be abusing Inuit money, it’s always big news.

6. The crisis in Cape Dorset

When Cape Dorset suffered months of shootings and homicides last year, the whole country eventually sat up and took notice of Nunavut’s deteriorating social conditions.

7. The inspiring words of Jose Kusugak

After learning that’s he suffers from terminal cancer, Jose Kusugak, now the president of the Kivalliq Inuit Association, inspired people throughout Nunavut the circumpolar world with his sunny disposition and his forthright acknowledgment of his disease.

8. The coroner’s inquest into the death of Julian Tologanak-Labrie

This four-day inquest, held in Cambridge Bay this past April to determine why Julian Tologanak-Labrie, 20, leapt to his death from an aircraft flying between Yellowknife and Cambridge Bay in 2009, produced many recommendations, including a recommendation that the Nunavut and Northwest Territories governments take a long hard look at their mental health laws.

9. The Nunavut Housing Corp. construction debacle

It’s likely that many government programs will suffer cuts because of the Government of Nunavut’s need to pay off the $110 million in cost overruns that the Nunavut Housing Corp. ran up on its two big social housing construction programs. This debacle provided all Nunavut residents with a perfect illustration of the kinds of disasters that the GN’s understaffed and underskilled work force is capable of.

10. The Qikiqtani Truth Commission’s final report

We still don’t know how much influence it will have, but the Qikqitani Truth Commission’s final report, released Oct. 20, helps everyone understand the historical events that scarred the lives of Inuit for generations.

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