'I have a much better sense of the camaraderie and friendship of the community.'
Slain Mountie's parents visit Kimmirut
Doug and Marla Scott visited Kimmirut on Friday, Feb. 29, to see the snowy hillside where their 20-year-old son, RCMP Sgt. Douglas Scott, was shot dead four months ago.
They later talked about the trip to reporters in Iqaluit on Monday, March 3. Both were in tears.
The trip gave them brief glimpses into their dead son's life, they say, beginning with their arrival at the Kimmirut airport, where several young girls gave them what Marla Scott calls a "nice, sentimental note."
Their handsome son was popular with girls in town, who called him the "cute cop."
Accompanying the parents were the Scott's two younger sons, Chad and Layne. Also with them were Doug Scott's brother, Staff Sgt. Chris Scott of the Kingston, Ont., police service; and Marla Scott's brother, Staff Sgt. Glyn Lindsey of the Ontario Provincial Police; and an RCMP chaplain.
The family met the mayor and some of Scott's friends: teachers and bylaw officers. It was the first time any of the family had been to Nunavut.
On Saturday the family returned to Iqaluit. They toured the town and dined with the premier.
They felt first-hand the cold Arctic wind their son had spoken of during his regular Sunday phone calls home. They reflected on how far they were from their home in Lyn, near Brockville, Ont.
Then, after a quiet Sunday, the parents lined up in front of video cameras and put on brave faces that slowly crumpled as they spoke about their dead son.
The family declined to comment on RCMP policy. They won't say if they think their son, who had less than six months of on-the-job training, was ready to work in Kimmirut, although Marla Scott did say her son was "older than his years."
Nor did the family say whether they think Mounties need more protection in remote communities. Scott was the second Mountie to be shot in the North in one month, after Christopher Worden was shot to death while responding to a house call in Hay River, NWT.
The two deaths sparked a national debate over whether RCMP should respond to calls alone in remote communities. But after all the chattering ceased, RCMP detachments in small communities such as Kimmirut continue to be staffed by only two Mounties.
This means that, as long as Mounties require sleep like the rest of us, RCMP will likely continue to respond to most routine calls late at night alone, while their partner sleeps.
Nor did the family speak of Pingoatuk Kolola, 37, who is charged with the first-degree murder of Scott.
They did talk about the son his mother still calls "Dougie." They say he wanted to be a police officer his whole life. They say he loved living in Nunavut. They say he could get along with anyone.
"He talked to people as equals," Doug Scott says. "He could talk to anybody."
The family is trying to carry on with their lives, but it's difficult. Marla Scott still hasn't watched her videotape of the ceremonial funeral held for her son, and chokes up at the thought of the thousands of people who gathered to pay their respects in Brockville.
She says that after the trip, "I have a much better sense of the camaraderie and closeness that he was living within."
"He wasn't really alone. That's the best comfort."
Supt. Martin Cheliak, commander of the "V" division, says it's too early to say if a memorial will be built for Scott in Kimmirut, but it's an idea the RCMP will consider "down the road."