Hayward wants RCMP to report to council more often

Iqaluit deputy mayor lashes Mounties over city drug problem

By CHRIS WINDEYER

It might just be Iqaluit's dirty little secret, whispered in the corners of city bars and behind the closed curtains of homes.

Crack cocaine is said to be the new drug of choice in Iqaluit and Deputy Mayor Al Hayward wants to hear what the RCMP plan do about the problem. Trouble is, he can't get them to come to a city council meeting.

"On any given day you can look in front of Northmart and see drug deals going down," he said. "We're supposed to have trained professionals in town that are supposed to be able to look after these problems and they're not responding at all."

Mounties have historically presented monthly crime reports to city council, but Hayward said that's only happened twice since the new council was elected last October.

The last time the RCMP presented crime figures at city council, in April, Cpl. Terry Boyd read figures from a piece of paper and couldn't answer questions from councillors.

"We would like to work together with the RCMP but they're not being very helpful on this," Hayward said in an interview from Nova Scotia, where he's on vacation.

"I've had several people come to me and ask me questions about if there was some kind of plan or some kind of program offered by the RCMP, because I know of at least two families that are having specific problems with addiction, crack being one of them," Hayward said.

It's not the first time city councillors have raised alarm bells over the budding crack problem. Last summer, Coun. Glenn Williams made similar complaints about the RCMP's reporting to council after police made a crack bust in the capital.

Mounties were then making regular appearances before council, but Williams said without any follow-up, the statistics weren't much help.

"There is no mechanism for dialogue or further consultation with the police department," he said at the time.

But Cst. Pete Lambros, with the RCMP's drug section in Nunavut, said while there have been a handful of cocaine seizures in Nunavut this year, police haven't found any crack. And he disputes that drugs are a major problem in the city because the supply is inconsistent.

"It depends on who's got what and what's available, what's the flavour of the day," he said.

Hayward said he wants RCMP V Division commander Chief Supt. Marty Cheliak to meet council to discuss the drug problem. He said Cheliak, who's served as Nunavut's top cop since July 2006, hasn't "made any kind of effort, to my knowledge, to meet with councillors or the mayor."

Cheliak said he's met Sheutiapik twice: once in May and once last week after Hayward made his remarks to council. As Nunavut's top Mountie, he said he's responsible for policing across the entire territory and is required to meet mayors and detachment commanders in all 25 communities over the course of a year.

"I would suggest perhaps [Hayward] is confused about my role," he said.

Staff Sgt. Charlie Gauthier, currently based in Tuktoyaktuk, NWT, is to take over as head of the Iqaluit detachment in October. Cheliak said he'd direct Gauthier to meet Iqaluit city council.

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