Explorer’s Club manager answers critics
I believe it to be in the interests of your organization to print what follows. A considerable amount of damage has been done to my reputation, personally.and professionally, not to mention what has been done to that of the Explorers’ Club of Iqaluit.
Your organizations have a responsibility, individually and collectively, to be fair minded and to exercise some judgment, most particularly when the manner in.which you report the news impacts on the reputations of individuals or collectives of one kind or another.
It is not your function to agree with every pronouncement made by the police. This is especially critical when they are misrepresenting the facts or acting in a wrongfull manner.
It is not your function to accuse or to create in the minds of your readers or listeners by the methods you employ in your reporting the perception that an individual or organization is guilty of breaking the law. It is certainly not your function to belittle any organization or its members.
One of your reporters for example, in an article concerning the Explorers’ Club, referred to an executive of this incorporated body as being an “erstwhile” one. How does one qualify to become erstwhile?” On what basis did he conclude that this unnamed club executive was erstwhile? He didn’t say. What kind of crap is this?
For years, the Booze Can (not to be confused with The Explorers Club, as the police and your organizations continue to do), a small, informal private members only club, operated out of my residence without incident.
But when Group One (JM) Holdings Inc., the owner of the building, leased this space to an incorporated society, it should have been a clear signal to anyone who cared that the Booze Can Club, never a big deal anyway, nevertheless was now defunct.
In its place., by lease as of January 1 of this year, was the first Inuit club of its kind in this town if not the world Then the roof fell in..
Just shortly after receiving our WCB clearance form, which would have permitted the Explorers’ Club to app[y for its Town business license, and after having made inquiries about the process which would have enabled the club to apply for its private membership- only club liquor licence, we were raided and shut down by the police. How about that. What smells here? Any ideas?
We operated for years, and in all that time, nothing happened out here requiring police intervention. Can you say this about any of the licensed establishments in this town? No.
We routinely faxed the police about matters pertaining to our activities out of respect for them and to put them at ease about our presence. I answered all of their questions truthfully when they dropped by.
They knew what we were about. In fact, some of the officers thought we had a nice place and liked the way we controlled ourselves. They were impressed with the professionalism of our organization.
So why was the Explorers’ Club shut down in a big raid, and why was this followed up with very biased news reporting seemingly calculated to poison the public’s mind against the cub? What was the real reason behind this calculated attempt these past few weeks to destroy the club’s reputation by charging that the club was no different from a common bootlegger?
In fact the only thing it was guilty of was in being slow to get around to getting the paper formalities required by various gover:nment departments out of the way.
So the club didn’t have its private club liquor license yet. So what? We weren’t serving the public. What was the big deal anyway? They knew we were getting around to applying for our town business licence and for our liquor licence.
I could have understood their concern if we had been a semi-public establishment such as the Legion or the Elks or a public one such as the Tulugaq bar. But we were 100 per cent private, and that makes a difference regardless of what Staff Seargent Jim McDougall and other like-minded citizenry believe.
According to these. people we were just common bootleggers Excuse me? Are there no intelligent people working for you? Do you really believe this?
Here is a question for your new. s organizations. Try doing some investigative reporting if you still have anyone who knows how to do this, and answer this question like real news organizations. Ready? This is the question: who in this town doesn’t want the first Inuit Club serving liquor and beer to its members to get a license and why? Good luck.
Joseph R.Y. Morneau
Explorers Club of Iqaluit