Coun. Simon Nattaq made remarks during Tuesday’s council meeting about Black taxi drivers being on their phone while driving. Mayor Kenny Bell said council “will deal with” those comments later. (File photo)

Iqaluit council to ‘deal with’ Nattaq’s remarks about Black taxi drivers

Coun. Simon Nattaq questioned for singling out Black cab drivers during discussion on road safety

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Iqaluit city Coun. Simon Nattaq’s comments about Black taxi drivers at Tuesday’s meeting led councillors to pause the session to consider whether he violated their code of conduct.

Nattaq singled out Black taxi drivers for “constantly” talking on their cell phones “in their language.” He made the comments during a discussion about a report on road safety in the city. Nattaq was speaking in Inuktitut, and his comments were translated by an on-site interpreter at the meeting.

“I have nothing against them but there’s been a lot of complaints from local people,” Nattaq said in Inuktitut.

After the comments, deputy Mayor Janet Pitsiulaaq Brewster asked council  to discuss the issue privately. The vote was unanimous, said Mayor Kenny Bell.

Council’s public session was suspended for approximately 20 minutes. When it resumed, Bell gave Nattaq the opportunity to apologize for his statements, but he indicated, through an interpreter, that he didn’t know what to say.

“If you don’t know, then it’s definitely not a sincere apology,” Bell said, adding that council had moved on from the issue but “will deal with [it] at a later date.”

Brewster told Nunatsiaq News she plans to follow up with the mayor, and that she still expects Nattaq to apologize.

She said the comments “unnecessarily racialized” the issue of people talking on their cell phones while driving.

“The impact of casual racism is no less than the impact of overt racism,” she said in an interview.

When Brewster asked that council discuss Nattaq’s comments privately, she referred to the councillor code of conduct bylaw, which states that councillors must act in a way that is not discriminatory and to treat community members “in a way that does not cause offence or embarrassment to individuals or groups.”

“As an employer, and as a council, [we] must provide [a safe workplace] as well as a safe environment for all of our citizens,” Brewster said in an interview.

A statement from the City of Iqaluit to Nunatsiaq News said Nattaq’s comment doesn’t represent the values of city council.

“Councillors are accountable as individuals to follow the city’s code of conduct and human rights and anti-harassment policy,” statement reads.

Nunatsiaq News emailed Nattaq in Inuktitut on Thursday, requesting an interview to clarify his comments, but has not received a reply. In a phone call, Nattaq said he only speaks Inuktitut.

Iqaluit council has a history of punishing members for controversial comments. Last October, a then-councillor Malaiya Lucassie was asked to resign after she replied to a Facebook post by a Nunavut cabinet minister that seemed to criticize Black women who get abortions, and the Black Lives Matter movement as a whole.

Lucassie apologized once on Facebook and again in a statement to Nunatsiaq News. She resigned following council’s demand on Oct. 13.

The motion to call on Lucassie’s resignation was moved by Coun. Romeyn Stevenson and seconded by Nattaq.

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(113) Comments:

  1. Posted by Fed up! on

    Surprise surprise the casual racism endemic in this entire territory rears its head again. The fact that it’s another government official is tragic. The irony of Inuit calling “racism’!” regarding their dealings with southern Canadian colonizers, and then turning right around to perpetuate racism constantly within their own territory is extraordinary. If you have lived here for some time, as I have, and visited many communities, as I have, you know this is a problem EVERYWHERE up here. The prejudice in Nunavut is born of badly BADLY educated people with absolutely no wish to learn a new way of thinking. And NO empathy for the minorities they offend. The fact that he was just like “yeah I have nothing to say I didn’t do any wrong” is appalling and also embarrassing. This guy is helping to run the territory….with less IQ points than a cheese danish and the empathy of a brick. Do better. Just, do better.

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    • Posted by Woka-Cola on

      Your inference that Mr. Nattaq has the IQ of a cheese Danish is racist.

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      • Posted by Pedant on

        1) The speaker implies. The listener infers.
        2) They did not state that Nattaq had the IQ of a cheese Danish. They stated that Nattaq had “less IQ points than a cheese Danish”.
        3) Stating that Nattaq has a low IQ is not inherently racist. Many have proven that even the lowest IQ need not preclude one from a long and successful career in politics. Indeed, many MLAs would have to study laboriously to even aspire to the test results of the stalest cheese pastry.

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    • Posted by ugh on

      Do you really think Inuit are some how uniquely racist? Yeah, its a problem, but its a problem everywhere.

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    • Posted by Iglu on

      Shoving all this racism crap down our throats is getting old. Let the people, whether they are black, white, yellow or brown express themselves. Suppressing peoples feelings are not the answer. We still have internal thoughts and emotions. Trying to suppress those thoughts and emotions just exacerbates the issue.

      Most people calls inuit people “locals”, is that racist?

      And there is definately an issue with the black, white, yellow taxi drivers that has been well publisized and complained about. Council, please do your job and work on this issue, instead of turning on one of the local elders.

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    • Posted by Jay Arnakak on

      I agree that this is about “casual” racism but it’s not Simon Nattaq. He brought the issue up because his constituents had and said he didn’t know what to say when asked to apologize.

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  2. Posted by Artie on

    It is no secret that racism exists in Nunavut. Many Inuit dislike white people; many white people dislike other white people; many white people dislike Inuit; many black people dislike Inuit; many Inuit from 1 region dislike Inuit from another region; and it goes on & on. I would know because I am Inuit who looks white & have heard all sides of discussions. I have worked in workplaces where the racism, discrimination & nepotism was so rampant I simply had to exit these jobs ’cause my mental health was affected. The community that I found to be the most discriminatory was Iqaluit – I have lived & worked in all 3 Nunavut regions. Good luck! Iqaluit city council deciding what to do about this incident. Maybe cultural sensivity training is required for city councillors.

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    • Posted by Bob on

      Both councillors are Inuk. What type of sensitivity training do you suggest?

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      • Posted by Obviousness on

        Ummm, to help understand Nunavut’s non-Inuit cultures. Isn’t that obvious?

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    • Posted by Oh ima on

      Probably lost in translation! Inuitt talk honestly to discuss something! What the issue of system racism faced by Inuit everyday in Nunavut when is that discussion going to happen

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  3. Posted by Common Sense on

    Racism is so learned, taught from the ones that surround you. Put 2 toddlers of different races and colour in a room to play and they don’t notice anything different. They play and become friends. It’s not until someone tells them that it’s wrong to like this person because of the differences and if it’s your parents , siblings, grandparents aunt, uncle, teacher, the next door neighbour, or friend telling you this than it has to be true. You start hating. Sad really.
    Yes, his words could have been thought out more but in his mind he was bringing up an issue that was brought to his attention. Are taxi drivers talking on their phone while driving? The B word should have been left out. A public apology would be suffice and put on notice. Should he step down? No.
    Nunavut is full of racism. It’s seen every day, teach your kids to be kind no matter who they interact with. If you can’t be kind to everyone than you are part of the problem. We’re all here living together we may as well get along.

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  4. Posted by Polar Boy on

    its 2021, get off your phone while driving. Anywhere. isn’t the customer right here? Safety first, phone calls while driving=never

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    • Posted by Samsung Sammy on

      It is perfectly legal to talk on a cell phone while driving if you use a hands-free device.

      If you use bluetooth earbuds or connect your phone to the vehicle audio system via bluetooth it is perfectly legal to drive while talking on your phone.

      A lot of taxi drivers in Iqaluit have always use their phones to receive calls from their dispatcher to find out where to go to pick up their fares, this is part of their job.

      The only conclusion is that Mr Simon Nattaq is criticizing some taxi drivers for being Black and for doing their jobs. I hope our city council does their job. Will they ask for his resignation?

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      • Posted by Customer Service on

        It may be legal to use hands free, but it is inappropriate for taxi drivers to take personal calls while they have a fare in the car.

        Legal also doesn’t mean safe. Dostracted driving can happen even with speaker phone.

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  5. Posted by Tom on

    Ok I am a little bit confused here, there are different types or races of taxi drivers, French Canadians, Black people, Anglo Canadians, so should this councillor have just mixed all the taxi drivers in general? Or be more specific about the people who constantly talk on their cell phones while driving?
    I don’t think this councillor was trying to be racist but more specific in his detail from information given to him by the public.
    This just seems to be blown way out of proportion instead of looking into the issue of breaking the law talking on your cell phone while driving.
    Maybe this councillor should of said it differently like some of the taxi drivers not the qabloonat but the other ones keep breaking the law by talking on their cell phones while driving. A little more vague and not as sensitive for others. How else should this councillor have put his question forward? It is a genuine concern that needs addressing but it’s made out to be racist now and the point being missed. I don’t think this councillor meant to be racist but was being direct in asking his question or concerns.

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    • Posted by Taxi rider on

      I take a taxi daily, on occasions multiple times a day. Their is a very small amount of drivers that use their phones while driving. What I observed is them using a Bluetooth device which does not break any law. The fact he targeting a racial group is the problem, for speaking their language. When was speaking your native tongue is crime.

      This is blatant attack on a racial group.

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      • Posted by Inuk on

        Less than 50 years ago, inuit were punished heavily for their crimes, he is talking about a road safety issue but of course, white people is making it a race issue. F-ing colonizers. Oh, and the harrasment from taxi drivers towards their customers, especially women, has also increased. Why arent they talking about that? But they can call out a fellow member but cannot enforce the laws on those who have broken them. Or are they just waiting until someone dies or heavily injured?

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        • Posted by Ignorance Abounds on

          And you are part of the problem – without even the sensitivity to understand that ‘white people’ is a very offensive term to many. Many (most?) ‘white people’ don’t identify themselves that way, and instead have specific identities.

          In Nunavut, for some reason, it seems to be acceptable to diminish and minimize cultural identity of anyone not Inuit. I gave up correcting Inuit who refer to me as a ‘white person’ a long time ago. Uniformly they had no interest in learning the nuances of ‘white’ cultures and identities.

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          • Posted by iThink on

            I am white and I think the term ‘white people’ is a not offensive at all. Though crudely made, I agree with the spirit of Inuks comment. Some of us are exhausted at the class of self righteous language clerics, who typically are “white people” deflecting from real issues to monitor petty language use while clutching their pearls and crying “I’m offended” … Yea, I agree, F*** that kind of colonialism too.

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            • Posted by Don’t like on

              I am ‘white’ and while it is not fully offensive, I don’t like it. I suppose that it is better than qablunaaq, which needs to be retired.

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              • Posted by Kenn Harper on

                What do you think is wrong with the word Qallunaaq, that it should be retired? It means non-Inuk.

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                • Posted by kyle on

                  hmmm you sure that’s all it means. heard many translations and for sure the tone of voice and how a person says it can mean entirely different things. like hey who’s the new q not racist just trying to know who they are.

                  when someone knows you and starts off with that q and points at you well you can guess what the rest is that comes. you should know this.

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                • Posted by Words Matter on

                  Squaw, Mulatto, Colored, Oriental and Quadroon are simple words that once had very specific meanings as well but we no longer use them. Why is that, Kenn?

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            • Posted by No Different Than the Edmonton Team to My Mind on

              Fortunately, you don’t speak for me.

              If you want to identify me, identify me the way that I identify myself, not by my skin colour. “White” is another person’s word for me, not my own. It doesn’t identify my culture, just my appearance.

              It is no different than the ‘e…..’ argument.

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              • Posted by Nunavutmiuta on

                I am a inuk and yet I am called indigenous – Aboriginal by a dominating society even tho i am a Inuk to me. And here they are not wanting to be call White, just like ur culture we call you on what we know you as and yet you get offended for being call “white”

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                • Posted by Qablunaaq on

                  Have we reached peak absurd in the comparison of ‘white’ to ‘Eskimo? Careful, someone might notice your kabuki over being called ‘white’ is an appropriation of Inuit oppression, used for your own gain.

                  That said, I agree none of us speak for each other, so the next time you are tempted to feign knowing how “Many (most?) ‘white people” identify, you might want to rethink your wording a bit.

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                • Posted by iRoll on

                  Crying offense over being called ‘white’ is nothing but social media theater. This non-sense doesn’t represent the real world.

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                • Posted by You asked for it, you got it on

                  “Indigenous” is the term preferred by groups who represent the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. It was not forced upon anyone.

            • Posted by white is not a slur on

              “White people” is not offensive. You’re confusing the idea that white culture doesn’t exist with the idea that white people isn’t a thing. Stop trying to play the victim.

              Racism against Inuit is real.
              Racism against black people is real.
              Racism is real, and it isn’t about you.
              White people are not a marginalized group.

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  6. Posted by Power Wagon Texters on

    The scariest driving in our community is done by our youngest who grew up here, staring at their phones while driving daddy’s $60k Power Wagon.

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    • Posted by Andthemj on

      And the incredible number of people driving and smoking cannabis… Each time I walk on our main roads, there is at least 1 car driving by me and leaving a really potent waft of cannabis behind it. That happens 2-4 evenings per week. These are the situations I come across as I go about my daily life. How many more are there? They are not taxis.

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      • Posted by Eskimos Fan on

        Cheech and Chong passed through there?!!
        Awesome. Wicked cool. 😎

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  7. Posted by Not the only councillor on

    Sadly Nattaq isn’t the only councillor who thinks this way, complaining about these cabbies “from away” who “don’t like the north”, as if there’s a fleet of local drivers ready today to replace them. Nattaq is just the only one to say it on the record, which will be his downfall.

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  8. Posted by Inuk from Baffin on

    I guess simons Nattaq got a point, isn’t it against the law to drive while using phone?

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    • Posted by Samsung Sammy on

      Like I said, it is legal to talk on a cell phone while driving a car if you are using a hands free device.

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        • Posted by Naggy on

          True. Perhaps it’s not great customer service. That would have been a fine point for him or the people he said complained to have made. But their issue isn’t with all the drivers who talk on their phones. White ones do it too. A lot. It’s the black ones who are speaking their language that people are complaining about. And that is the problem.

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        • Posted by Who cares? on

          I pay a cabbie to get me from point A to point B, not to regale me with tales of the road or discuss the news of the day on my way from 8-story to the NorthMart.

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  9. Posted by Growing Pains on

    I agree that all of council should take sensitivity training both Inuit and non-Inuit. I think Nattaq is the last local inuk on that council and I know he has volunteered for that council for many years and brought real IQ. I don’t think he is racist, most unilingual Inuit are quite literal in their speaking, he may have been trying to be descriptive to the issue, a safety issue he rightly raised. The offended councillor could learn to think of this instead if jumping to PC righteousness. Most Inuit are accepting and forgiving. I see this as growing pains for Iqaluit, Inuit are learning about living with all cultures and ethnicities. What Nattaq controversially raised though is still valid, can the council address that as a start? No cab driving should be driving and on their phone. Enforce the distracted driving law the city set. Secondly have the mayor have a one on one with Nattaq to say that no one group can be singled out in a negative seeming manner as it may be hurtful. This type of southern PC patrolling will discourage local Inuit from running for council in the future and that would be a real shame. Stop grandstanding on the reputations of others, that is not the Inuit way.

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    • Posted by No Moniker on

      “This type of southern PC patrolling will discourage local Inuit from running for council in the future and that would be a real shame.”

      I’m with you on this 100%. The eagerness to publicly flog and inflict pain on people who offend our conceptions of what is ‘thinkable’ and ‘speakable’ mirrors some of the grotesque cultural contortions the ‘west’ that play out nearly constantly in our media. These echo, I would argue, the purification rituals of Judeo-Christianity; cast the ‘sinner’ out.

      An issue like this can be dealt with way more productively. Mr. Nattaq can learn and grow and be better without having his career or reputation destroyed, which is not warranted or necessary in a case like this.

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      • Posted by Soak Your Head on

        Nattaq learned nothing from the crap storm he started a few years back when he said being gay was not in Inuit culture. But yeah, give him a few more chances and he will “learn”.

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    • Posted by nobody on

      Can you explain IQ to me? the two letters are always brought forward in many discussions when it comes to differences between Inuit and Southerners. However, how many Inuit are actually practicing IQ? My values of IQ are what my parents and the society thought me:
      – Honesty
      – Positive Attitudes
      – Respect
      – Values
      – Integrity
      Just as simple as this and it can be followed by everybody on this planet, there is nothing special about it
      – Dedication

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  10. Posted by Speaking “their language” on

    While claiming to only be able to speak Inuktitut, his attitude is incredibly damaging for Inuit language preservation efforts. Getting upset at cabbies for “speaking their own language” (usually legally on hands-free devices) and expecting them to conduct all their business in English, means that they will expect Inuktitut speakers to do the same.
    .
    The sooner Inuit collectively recognize that they’re on the same team as foreign languages speakers and French speakers, and stop using English as a crutch, the sooner they can begin extending Inuktitut’s life expectancy. English will kill Inuktitut faster than anything.

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  11. Posted by Sam on

    Maybe that’s why they don’t stop at stop signs and cut people off or speed like crazy. I’ve almost been hit a few times, can be scary, it is a concern and a safety concern, distracted drivers.

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    • Posted by Nobody on

      It’s not the cab drivers that are the problem here. It’s all the other vehicles that drive without insurance, registration, lights in the evening, adjusted speed. Your comment is maybe not completely correct

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    • Posted by Rufus T. Firefly on

      As if taxi drivers are responsible for half of the vehicles in Iqaluit driving around missing bumpers, mirrors or windows/ with fenders dented beyond any hope of repair, and not the hundreds of local drivers who have never had to take a proper road test before getting behind the wheel. Witness the mass confusion at every 4-way Stop for a perfect illustration. Cabbies take liberties, for sure, but the real menace are Iqalungmiut. Projecting blame is surely our favourite pastime.

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  12. Posted by Confused on

    I come from the south and really feel bad for Nattaq who wanted to voice his concerns. I guess it’s seen as a serious issue when he is sitting on the city council and giving comments to the public because it could be leading bad examples for other Inuit in approaching other races living in the territory. But on the other hand, I feel it was a little too harsh on an unilingual elder. It sounds really discouraging for people that want to voice their concerns. Multiple occasions my interpreter coworkers said that a lot of expressions and words didn’t exist in Inuktitut and they had to find new ways to describe them. It does show that the city is trying its best to be fair to all of its residents but can we be a little forgiving to the Inuit elders?

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    • Posted by Uvanga on

      And our language is descriptive., w can’t say asians or African American unless we spell them out in English. We are trying to modernize our language to include different races or cultures.

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      • Posted by Shake on

        The problem isn’t with the way he was referring to the cab drivers of colour. This is not a language issue. The problem is that he referred to their race at all. Particularly since drivers of all races in Iqaluit (and every other city I’ve been to) talk in “their language” while driving.

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  13. Posted by seabiscuit on

    Be honest. You don’t like it because it’s another language, and they are black. It makes it annoying to you. It is very common for cab drivers down south to do this too.
    One of the reasons they do this is because they are using WhatsApp or another app to talk to their friends and family in their countries of origin. These guys live in taxi houses where everyone is sleeping when they aren’t working, so it’s impossible for them to talk to their families and friends when they’re off. It may be years before they’ll be able to see their friends or family again, if they get to see them again at all. Ask some of them what they left behind. One guy is from Cameroon. People are getting dragged from their homes, some arrested, some killed. He tries to talk to his mom and friends whenever he can.

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    • Posted by No Moniker on

      I think this is a great comment and observation. Here is the way to solve this; introduce Nattaq to a few of these cabbies, have a conversation, get to know each other. I’m sure that will change a lot.

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    • Posted by Cabby on

      They can call their families when they are on break or waiting and parked for costumers. Instead of talking away on their phones why driving. I don’t mind it’s in their language, no difference to French or English it’s not my first language, it’s more concerning and uncomfortable why we or speeding to our destination and it seems so distracting for the driver, I would not be surprised if there is more accidents soon.

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      • Posted by naggy on

        That may be how you feel (though I suspect it is especially bothersome to you when immigrants of colour are the ones doing the talking, but that’s a side point), but the article is about what Simon said, which is specifically about black cab drivers talking in their language. I agree with you. White ones do it too. It seems to really bug people when it’s black drivers or immigrants. My point was, many of these drivers have left wars and carnage and extreme poverty behind, so perhaps some empathy and compassion will help diffuse peoples’ anger and prejudice.

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        • Posted by To the point on

          As long as they are not distracted while driving, safety first, it is their job, just like any other job you can’t be on the phone all day talking to your family or friends. Watch your speed limit, stop signs and pedestrians, other vehicles too.

          • Posted by Shake on

            Are you talking about all cab drivers who talk on their phones, or just the black ones who talk in their language? Because the problem Simon brought up was just with the black ones. And that’s what the article is about.

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  14. Posted by Qanuqli on

    If Brewster speaks Inuktitut what word(s) does she use when referring to certain groups without any intention of being racist whatsoever??? If she does then she needs to teach Nattaq. Our problem is we have become so Anglo-saxonized we are turning on our own people!!! How do you think you are making the Elders feel if they even understand your accusations???

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    • Posted by Realization on

      These councillors live in an increasingly multicultural city. Iqaluit is slowly becoming more cosmopolitan by the year. Surely they realize that?

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  15. Posted by Wild on

    If anyone should be publicly flogged for conduct unbecoming, Mayor Bell and Deputy Brewster should be first in line for their cringeworthy and thoroughly inappropriate social media posts.

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    • Posted by PC police on

      Are you the PC police? I’ve followed both for many years on a number of different apps? never once have I seen inappropriate offensive posts.

      Both are direct but not offensive, I’ll put money down that they hurt your PC feelings for being you.

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      • Posted by courage on

        I just scrolled throug Pitsiulaaq’s FB account and it was disappointingly wholesome lol

  16. Posted by no name on

    Standard. Personally as a black man, I’ve never been disrespected more often and as regularly as then I have in Iqaluit.

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    • Posted by What to do? on

      I don’t think anyone will doubt you. Curious what you think can be done to change this?

    • Posted by hermann kliest on

      Same applies for this Inuk in major Canadian cities/centers. I feel and sorry for you, I know where you are coming from.

  17. Posted by Northern Guy on

    The casual and mean spirited racism that I have witnessed in my 30 plus years in Iqaluit never ceases to astound me. From people of colour regularly being spat at and called the N-word as they exit Northmart to the regular slights against cabbies on social media to some of the posters to this story calling non-Inuit “effing colonizers”. The almost rabid xenophobia tgat has become the norm getting pretty hard to take.

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  18. Posted by Toonik’s Grandfather on

    If Brewster is fluent in Inuktitut, she would understand Nattaq’s point. Clear sample of big gap between younger Inuit generation and today’s elders. If elders are NOT in the same page, they are branded. Nattaq for mayor.

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    • Posted by Toonik’s Grandfather on

      More than Brewster have a problem with Nattaq’s translated comments though. Think before speaking, angu.

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  19. Posted by Tulugaq on

    Colonialism is alive and well in Iqaluit! Imagine that people are complaining because cab drivers do not speak English when they are on the phone talking to their relatives! English is the colonial language par excellence in Canada that the colonizer tried to force on the vast majority of Indigenous children, including Inuit children, for decades and now they want to impose the same colonialism to those “black” taxi drivers who speak a different language. Sigh!

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    • Posted by Jigsaw Puzzle on

      Tulugaq, are you saying a unilingual elder (who doesn’t speak English) wants people to speak English, versus some other language he doesn’t understand? I think you might be missing what is happening here.

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  20. Posted by Paul on

    Getting blown way out of proportion! Simon is not racist or meant for his comment to be racist, he was being specific and direct and to the point. It’s what his generation knows and not like the tip toeing around your words today. He could of phrased it differently without saying the black drivers but we all would know who he is referring to without saying it, tip toeing. But he was direct and to the point and honest about his question and concern.
    Is it better to be direct and honest or two faced?
    Saying one thing but really meaning something else, that seems to be the new way around here.

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    • Posted by Genius Level Stuff on

      “Is it better to be direct and honest or two faced?”
      The correct answer: It is better to be not racist.

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      • Posted by Paul on

        Of course it is better not to be racist and the point here is that Simon was not being racist in his questions and concerns but speaking in his language which is direct and to the point. Coming from concerns made by his constituents. Simon was not racist.

        • Posted by Lingo on

          You’re saying that in Inuktitut the best way for him to have expressed the concerns about the taxi drivers was to specify “the black people” and “their language”? That it would be weird to just say the “the people who drive taxi” and “talking on the phone”? I understand what you’re saying about the language being specific, but are there not instances that allow for a description of a group of people? Either way, there is an issue here because the fact is, it isn’t just the “black drivers” speaking “their language” that are using Bluetooth to talk on the phone. So why were they the only ones mentioned? If he had no choice but to describe the drivers by race, he should have also specifically mentioned white ones and every other race or nationality of drivers.

  21. Posted by Name withheld on

    As one of the comment stated Mr Nattaq clearly expressed a concern that was brought up to him, As if I were to comment that a qabloonak that I sometimes went on always had a female driving around with him and they always seem high. But I also agree Iqaluit has to be more noticeable in people being vocal of racism. No matter what race you are here, it’s never good enough!! Unless you are in high profile position

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  22. Posted by Forever Amazed on

    Mr. Nattaq is the messenger. He was relaying concerns brought to him by his constituents. and raising it in the only forum he knows. I think the Bell and Brewster need to think about their antics also. Reading between the lines, their reaction definitely have overtones of racism and much worse, colonialism.

    Mr. Nattaq, you have nothing to apologize for.

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    • Posted by blab on

      Isn’t he supposed to be somewhat professional? It isn’t his job to just blurt out every word people say to him. He has to process it and figure out what the root of the problem is and present it in an appropriate way.

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  23. Posted by This Place on

    Most commented news article for the year here about taxi drivers. Same as social media. Who cares about mining protests and the budget, but when it comes to taxi drivers everyone has an opinion. Lol this place and its priorities.

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    • Posted by Non-sense on

      This is not the most commented story of the year. It’s only not a discussion about taxi drivers either, it’s about racism.

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  24. Posted by KICK HIM OUT on

    KICK HIM OUT !!!!

    and for those who say no to that would you kick him out if he was white?

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    • Posted by Perplexed on

      Don’t kid yourself, if he was white he would have been gone on Friday

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  25. Posted by Aha on

    I don’t think Mr. Nattaq mean’t the remark to be racist, I believe he mean’t to describe in his language that he was speaking about the taxi drivers , who were not “white” or Inuk … no one should lose a job over something like this! Been called “white” many times …

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    • Posted by Sharpie on

      “A lot of people in town have been concerned about taxi drivers talking on their phones while driving.”
      That would have been an appropriate way to phrase it. He could have added: “Also, they keep bringing up the fact that it’s black drivers talking in their language. That’s not good. Maybe we should do something to address the anger toward black people and immigrants in our city.”

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  26. Posted by Inukshuk on

    Lot’s if pearl clutching and cancle culture in the comments.
    How about a purge day once a year where we can drop the filters and tell people what we really think of each other. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) lol.

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  27. Posted by Well Entertained by Commenters on

    The Commenters: Thanks for your Entertainment as this is better then watching, “The Maury Show” Always Blaming Others!
    Yes, Safety First…No Matter What Race – We Are ONLY Human!

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  28. Posted by Kenn Harper on

    It seems there is less and less space for a unilingual Inuk in Iqaluit to try to represent his people. Simon Nattaq spoke in Inuktitut and most councillors understood his words through interpretation into English. What did he really say? What nuances did he use in his comments? Councillors don’t really know, yet they want to discipline him. It appears that he was doing his job as a councillor by bringing up concerns reported to him by Inuit who use him on council as the voice of unilingual Inuit. There is nothing wrong with that. It’s what he was elected to do. He has nothing to apologize for.

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    • Posted by snapshot on

      Your right Ken, as an Inuk with unilingual parents who grew up out on the land, they use words that are specific.

      Black would be called

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    • Posted by Inukabloonak on

      The councillors that understand Inuktitut were part of the decision to ask him to apologize. They understood the nuances,and asked him to apologize. That says a lot. I wonder how many people commenting on this story have listened to the broadcast. Probably none because not a single person commenting anywhere has begun with “I listened to the meeting”

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    • Posted by lost in translation on

      I agree with you Ken! Simon never meant to be racist nor was he racist when speaking. Everyone is so quick to crucify someone without actually knowing the whole story.
      It is really sad to see Inuit being pushed out for something that is being blown way out of proportion. Simon has nothing to be sorry for or to apologize for, the mayor and deputy mayor should apologize for their lack of understanding and respect and making this more then it is. Extremely disappointing.

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  29. Posted by Umingmak on

    Lucassie said and did nothing wrong, and she was removed. Nattaq makes a blatantly racist comment, and is coddled by Bell & Co. Hmmm.

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    • Posted by Nanuq on

      “Lucassie said and did nothing wrong” with this you discredit yourself right away, what she said in support of her dad on black lives matter and abortion was racist, with what Simon asked about the others (black people in specific) was not racist.

      Two very different things.

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  30. Posted by Inukabloonak on

    Councillors were right to ask Nattaq to apologize for racializing the taxi drivers.The people who are saying that deputy mayor Brewster doesn’t understand her mother tongue or how Inuit speak are playing out internalized racism, lateral violence, jealousy and attempting to silence her. As a bi-racial Inuk, I get her because it happens to me all of the time being accused of not having or understanding Inuit values when people disagree with me. It’s sad to see people tearing down an Inuk woman for doing the right thing. I’m glad that I voted for her because she is conducting herself exactly how I thought she would.

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    • Posted by Kenn Harper on

      Does Deputy Mayor Brewster speak Inuktitut? An honest question, because I don’t know. Not a trick question.

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      • Posted by Inuktut on

        She’s carries on a conversation answering in english when spoken to in Inuktitut, so probably not, though she always seems to know what is being said to her. Maybe she’s too shy because she grew up mostly down south. Puah!

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    • Posted by Inulataaq on

      This is lateral violence towards an Inuk elder because you fail to understand Simon’s language and meaning behind it. With this lack of understanding you are trying to promote this new colonial way of thinking and promoting the actions of the deputy mayor. Simon never was racist or tried to be racist, he spoke in a direct way that most elders speak.
      You may have issues with your own lack of understanding of Inuit values and support the deputy mayor as such, but to get your pitchfork and go on a witch hunt is not right.

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  31. Posted by To Ken Harper on

    You are right Ken Harper. You said it right on the dot. Thank you. Mialee

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  32. Posted by Uninformed on

    Not sure why people are making a big deal of this. Every time a cab driver is on the phone, they are either using blue tooth or hands free. I’d rather have them talk on the phone with who ever they are talking to then me.
    Maybe people just want to understand what they are saying.

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    • Posted by Driver on

      I’d be more appreciative if they would actually stop at stop signs and when they do stop not get into the approaching road waiting to turn, sometimes there is not much room when they do that while another on coming vehicle is approaching.
      I’m not sure if they are distracted while talking on their phone or it’s just really bad driving.

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      • Posted by nit on

        All of the distracted taxi drivers? Or just the black ones who are speaking in their language? That’s what the article is about. Simon and the ones he was representing were singling out the black drivers who speak their language while driving.

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      • Posted by WALKER on

        I walk every day and the cab driver are actually the most accommodating drivers. Unfortunately, this is not true for the hundreds of other drivers. Especially as a pedestrian, I’m happy to make it to work and home every day without being hurt by a vehicle. May this be because of no sidewalks, or poor drivers who refuse to follow the simplest rules of the roads. Don’t make up stories if there are none.
        As for the actual story in this paper, there are just two solutions:
        1. He meant what he said and need to be ask to apologize to the taxi drivers in question and has to be released from council duties
        2. His statement was misinterpreted and the case rests

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  33. Posted by Legit problems on

    There are legit problems with taxi services in Iqaluit. Being black and speaking another language isn’t one of them.
    .
    Instead of cherrypicking annecdotes and criticising individual drivers, why can’t the focus be on the drivers’ employer? Caribou Cabs ownership has stuck their nose up to the city for a long long time amd he loves that we’re focusing our attention on the drivers and not the ones making decisions.
    .
    He was told to remove all 2WD cabs off the road: hasn’t done it. Drivers were told to stop picking up multiple passengers: hasn’t happened. They were asked to obey the rules of the road: hasn’t happened. Is this all because the drivers are black and speak a different language? Nope. Focus on the people at the top. The drivers are just people like you and I trying to make a living within the rules that were set before them.

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  34. Posted by Bluntness on

    This whole situation is a mess. Lots to dissect here:
    -I can’t stand it when people are blunt for the sake of bluntness. This is what Nattaq is doing. People are frustrated with the cab situation in town, but he goes a step further because “i just say it like it is!” No one asked. I love how northerners are direct, but some abuse that trait and are just jerks and say things that aren’t relevant. This is a great example of that.
    -Mayor Bell: quit being a populist. You keep pandering to Brewster and company, but you’re a card carrying tori who supported a fringe right leadership candidate. It’s so friggen weird. I agree with Brewster that Nattaq needs to smarten the hell up, but the touchy-feely way in which people like Brewster convey their message is unproductive and only adds fuel to the fire. The best way to show compassion as a politician is to do it through action, not talk about love every time you get the chance.

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  35. Posted by Inuttitut tusarumajara on

    lets hear exactly what he said in Inuttitut and get the Inuttitut speakers to weigh in on this. Perhaps it was a crappy interpreter.

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  36. Posted by Shamus on

    Thank you, Kenn Harper for excusing racism against black people with smoke and mirrors. There is no nuance, it was specific. You obviously hold the same prejudices that you so adamantly defend. How disappointing. Then again you defended the use of puatiki when describing black people, which is from the historical slur portagee. This slur has been known for decades. Quit propping up racism. Shame on you.

    Who are you?

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    • Posted by Observation Post on

      Be very careful in trusting people who speak in absolutes and deny nuance.

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    • Posted by Paul Murphy on

      “Who are you”??? He is someone who is not afraid to identify himself when he comments. WHO ARE YOU??

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    • Posted by Uvagna on

      Puatiki is when dark whalers were from Portugal,hence Portuguese,puatiki,also qalunaa,Scot whalers bushy eyebrows potbelly.

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    • Posted by Kenn Harper on

      I am a commenter who always signs my name, unlike you who cower behind the shelter of anonymity. As for the word Puatugi, it is a historical and documented usage in certain communities in Nunavut, for well-documented and non-disparaging reasons, and I will continue to use it and write about it. Have the decency to sign your name if you want to engage me in a conversation.

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  37. Posted by Meeka on

    Why not hire locals? It’s time for the transients to leave and stop taking our jobs

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    • Posted by bahhahahaha on

      Do you think anyone at all is lining up to work as a cab driver? 12 hour shifts for very little money at a dangerous job where the whole town hates you with absolutely zero benefits? Dare to dream! Go sign up. No one is stopping you. It’s a terrible job and the reason why newcomers to the country often have those jobs in every city on earth, is because they are often willing to do jobs that others aren’t. If you aren’t driving cab but you really, really want to, the only one holding you back is you. Goodness. No one is hogging the taxi driver jobs. Anywhere.

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    • Posted by Quick Question on

      I’d love to hear what makes being a cab driver “your job”? I’ll guess your, or ‘our’ is to say this is an Inuit job? I have to ask other Inuit too, does this kind of attitude embarrass you? Truly curious here.

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    • Posted by Get to it on

      Who is stopping any Inuit to drive a cab? If you have a drivers license and a clear criminal record check, go for it. Always referring to the transients as the people who steal your jobs is getting old. The southerners actually keep Nunavut running. Just in case you haven’t noticed yet

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