Alcohol prohibition ‘not the solution in Nunavik,’ police chief says

Police leadership calls for mobilization of prevention officers, road stops during KRG meeting

Nunavik police leadership covered several topics, notably alcohol-related issues, at KRG’s council meeting Tuesday. From left: Deputy Chief Shaun Longstreet, Chief Jean-Pierre Larose and Deputy Chief Jean-Francois Morin. (Screenshot courtesy of Kativik Regional Government)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Prohibition in communities is “not the solution” to Nunavik’s alcohol woes, police Chief Jean-Pierre Larose told regional councillors Tuesday.

Larose, along with Deputy Chiefs Jean-Francois Morin and Shaun Longstreet, provided a nearly three-hour-long update about Nunavik Police Services activities to the Kativik Regional Government council.

Alcohol-related topics, including bootlegging and drunk driving, took up a large portion of their report with councillors asking what can be done to prevent it.

Kangiqsualujjuaq Mayor Maggie Emudluk asked about several alcohol and drug-related issues in her community, but pondered whether prohibiting alcohol in communities would be effective.

“Sometimes, it’s difficult to know what to do,” Emudluk said in Inuktitut through an interpreter on the Zoom livestream of the meeting.

“Even if we stop ordering alcohol, our community will always have alcohol.”

Inuit Child First, Indigenous Services Canada

Larose responded that he didn’t think banning booze would be effective.

“Prohibition of alcohol is not the solution in Nunavik,” he said.

“We should be inspired to have a better control of the alcohol coming in.”

The senior police leaders talked about how work has been done to tackle bootlegged alcohol which has been coming in from the south.

For example, Nunavik police work with provincial counterparts, Montreal police, airlines that fly north and Canada Post to stop the flow of illegal alcohol and drugs to the region.

Also, police have carried out search warrants and seized alcohol in the communities.

Every child matters, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Even then, those measures have their limits.

“We can seize as much alcohol as we want, there’s always going to be some,” Morin said.

“That’s not going to go away, so we need to find the right balance.”

Larose talked about developing a steering committee with community leaders and partners to address issues around the flow of alcohol into Nunavik.

To address the issue of drunk driving, Morin said he wants to fulfil many councillors’ requests to increase the number of road stops and patrols by police.

“It’s a really nice way to educate people and prevent accidents,” he said.

However, Salluit regional Coun. Stephen Grasser said there needs to be better education to discourage unhealthy substance use.

Grasser was firm in stating that unhealthy alcohol and drug consumption is an “individual choice,” and that there needs to be education in schools about its harmful effects.

In his community, Grasser said, an “all-organization” meeting is set to take place and he wants police to participate.

The police officials agreed, and KRG chairperson Hilda Snowball said she would want Larose to be there for that meeting.

Morin said Nunavik Police Service currently has two prevention officers employed — one for each coast — and that he wants to hire more and extend their reach by having them visit schools all over the region.

“It’s projects we used to do in the past that kind of stopped because we didn’t have the manpower,” Morin said.

“We’re of course willing to participate with the communities [and] the schools.”


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(9) Comments:

  1. Posted by Concerned parent on

    I agree that substance use should be taught at schools, starting early teens; at least they could learn what it can cause to your brain and body; this way, they can make healthy decisions; it’s sad that back when the school board started, this was not part of curriculum as education committees considered it as educating them to use; same with sex education-that’s why you have kids having kids not being able to take care of their children and end up at youth protection. It’s not too late to start such education in school.

    • Posted by Putting this out there on

      Has sex-ed in school helped? I think teen pregnancies’ are still just as high.

      Often those that alcohol is a problem for come from families that also have that as a problem. Kids are not dumb, they see older family members turn to alcohol as an escape as well as the harm it does to the family.
      What also needs to happen is alcohol can not be seen as an excuse for bad behavior. using the defense ‘I was drunk’ or ‘I was blacked out’ should make it worse not better.
      Alcohol can be a nice reward at the end of the day to relax, but each person needs to look at the impact it is having on those around them and not allow themselves to go past the point of control. Though it can be fun to let go every now an then (as long as you dont hurt anyone).

  2. Posted by Inuk on

    This only delays the progress on culture advancement. We as collective have to learn to use as leisure. Not having to get drunk every time we drink. Trauma does not help but we need to get over the hurdle. We need to see this as normal couple drinks without requiring to finish a 24 because it’s in front of us, WE GOT THIS FELLOW INUIT!

  3. Posted by Enforce the law on

    Enforce the law NPS. And if you want to educate as police should, then go around the province or the country and learn something from people in same size communities and that are living in civilized ways with alcohol. Don’t say it’s different in Nunavik, that’s cheap and relieving of your responsibility. How many times are no police to be seen, when our roads are a danger for weekend after weekend with drunks?

  4. Posted by Umingmak on

    Good move. Prohibition only makes things worse. People cannot learn responsible consumption under prohibition.

  5. Posted by Confused on

    “Prohibition in communities is not the solution to Nunavik’s alcohol woes, police Chief Jean-Pierre Larose told regional councilors Tuesday” We have been saying that all along in a community of 3000.

    • Posted by Not confused on

      Just look at the mess , alcohol and the effects of Nunavik life? What this about we’ve been saying that all along? Why are you even making a comment, why don’t you and the we, reflect on your troubles with alcohol, maybe you and we can figure out why you are not having rights to alcohol like other people? Maybe you and we need to do something about your life, so that someone else will Mr have to make decisions about alcohol in your life.

  6. Posted by It does Work! on

    Look at the dry communities of Sani and Pang… no alcohol issues there. People flying on medical escorts are not supposed to drink… that is also being strictly followed.

  7. Posted by Is this the police version? on

    I think this article is about the police version of alcohol in Nunavik. Like prohibition don’t work . We’ll I’m telling you know, for police to say that, when there’s so much happening in Nunavik due to alcohol, then the police should at least have something in mind as a solution. I mean why have such knowledge about alcohol as a police force if no solution can be realized? You know what, the police should start real policing, and crack down on crime around alcohol, dry towns or not. Do your police work dry or not. Let’s see you do your work. Put them lunatic’s drunk idiots off our roads at least. We are not protected from drunk drivers and it’s a big concern to Nunavik.

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