Iqaluit RCMP see alcohol-related calls increase in April

“That is unprecedented in my time here”

Since Nunavut-wide pandemic precautions took effect in mid-March, the number of alcohol-related RCMP calls in Iqaluit has gone up. (File photo)

By Dustin Patar

Ninety-two per cent of all Iqaluit RCMP calls in April involved alcohol.

That news comes as part of the V Division’s quarterly briefing to Iqaluit city councillors during their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, May 26.

“That is unprecedented in my time here,” said Staff Sgt. Garfield Elliott, who has been with the Iqaluit detachment for two years.

This is increase from the previous 32-month average of 72 per cent.

The numbers of alcohol-related calls were also above average in March, at 85 per cent.

This suggests that, in part, the current increase is related to the ongoing territory-wide pandemic precautions, which began in mid-March and will begin to ease on June 1.

“Once the restrictions get loosened up a little bit, people get to move about, get back out on the land, we’ll see those numbers come back down,” said Elliott.

Overall calls for service were also up by nearly 30 per cent.

From January through April, V Division received 2,785 calls, compared with 2,156 for the same time last year.

Echoing recent council discussions on the availability of alcohol in Iqaluit, Coun. Sheila Flaherty asked Elliott if he knew whether the source of the alcohol was illicit or legal.

Elliot wasn’t able to give a number, citing the number of calls, but did state that it was a combination of both.

Also during Tuesday’s council briefing, Elliott highlighted the Iqaluit RCMP’s “significant” seizure of alcohol in Apex earlier in the month.

The next council meeting will be on June 9.

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(19) Comments:

  1. Posted by Fred on

    Not to downplay the article but I find it somewhat misleading when someone who has been somewhere for two years or less says something like “this is unprecedented in my time here”. Maybe when someone has been somewhere for many years they could make a remark like that then it may mean something. It’s like saying “wow is there ever lots of snow on the ground since yesterday, it’s unprecedented. I’ve never seen it like that before and I’ve been here a year.” LOL.

    • Posted by Does it matter on

      Does it matter how long they are here? It is disturbing that 75%, 82 % or 95% of all calls are alcohol related, this is the true issue here.

    • Posted by Paul Murphy on

      I have been here for 32 years. I can see that and I don’t deal with it every day as our RCMP officers do. Have you been to the cells to see the results Fred?

      • Posted by L’ill Inuk on

        I imagine this officer is qualified to express an opinion such as this because I’m sure he’s seen more here in two years than you would in 10 years anywhere else.

  2. Posted by Jimmy on

    Your COVID-19 tax dollars at work.

    • Posted by Northern Fender on

      Completely agree. They’re getting their “Q19 cheques” (that’s what I’ve heard it called), and partying it up! Woo hoo!

    • Posted by Paul Murphy on

      Can you expand on that Jimmy? Just so the rest of us see the co-relation

      • Posted by Cashy on

        I think he might mean the people who are on income support or others who don’t qualify for CERB, but are claiming it anyway. The Feds said they’ll figure out later who didn’t actually qualify and sort it out then. So for some, they have a lot more money to spend than usual because they are double dipping. And much of that money is being spent at the beer store or on the cocaine and pills that are sold around town.
        Again, not talking about everyone, but some. Its a very open secret right now.

        • Posted by Putuguk on

          The abuse of the CERB program in Nunavut is no open secret. Premier Savikattaq very publicly reminded the whole territory last week on the program criteria and urged people not to apply if they knew they were ineligible. Its nuts that a territorial leader had to do this as opposed to a federal official but nonetheless he had reason to do it.

          GN has income support workers all over the territory. They are continually in contact with their clients and are quite aware of changes in their income. If it is a problem, the GN would know. If it is a big enough problem, they would say something about it, and they have.

          All I can say is that there are people in Nunavut that are genuinely economically affected by the pandemic. Tourism folks for example. When people wrongly apply and get this money it does 2 things.

          1. It ties up federal resources to administer those applications so it is harder for a real applicant to get what they need.

          2. It uses up pandemic relief funds that would other wise be used effectively.

          So people get windfall CERB payments and go out on a drunken binge, that is really not the end of their irresponsibility. Shame on them.

  3. Posted by Jordan K on

    Glad to see all the recipients of the $2000 CERB are spending their funds on much-needed essentials. Ugh. Would have been better to just give money to food bank to prepare hampers for those out of work

    • Posted by Assumptions on

      A lot of assumptions are being made. Why do you think drunks are eligible for CERB? Isn’t there a requirement for previous years earnings?

      • Posted by Jimmy on

        As long as you make the “attestation”, even falsely, you get the CERB. I know some in this town who were on EI or Income Support that are getting their COVID Bucks. The government says they will get it back from the liars, but good luck with that.

  4. Posted by CAM on

    I know that Mr. Elliott has lived in Iqaluit for at least the last 7 years..might be a bit he could say that in his time….i also note that these arcticles never mention anything about how many are repeat offenders…i know there are issues with alcohol here and that public education has to improve and more services be avaliable to help. But when you have a population of 8000 and almost 3000 calls…makes you wonder…. who?

  5. Posted by Walk in his Shoes on

    Staff Sergeant Elliott was here previously some years ago, and is back again and does his job. His credentials and contributions as a senior member of the RCMP are significant. Try walking in his shoes “Fred” and you’ll see in about 3 minutes he knows exactly what he’s talking about.

  6. Posted by Prove on

    Few weeks ago they had city council meeting about data and here is some prove that alcohol related problems like domestic violence, kids are going hungry and living in alcoholics,etc.. before beer and wine store many elders were against it also it’s sad

    • Posted by Paul Hitz on

      I was also very disappointed to see the city recently give their (divided) approval of continuing the B&W store past the pilot project period. We live near the store (several years before it opened and now for years after it opened). Without question it has been a terrible change to our neighbourhood and community. The B&W is surely also supplying many smaller communities with illegal alcohol as well. I encourage all who are concerned with me to raise our voice and ask our city and government to discontinue the pilot project.

  7. Posted by Larry on

    Was the alcohol related calls and the increase in calls since the b&w store opened in the report that the city council didn’t review?

    • Posted by Moe on

      I’m sure even if they reviewed any report regarding the increases in alcohol related issues it would not have mattered to some of these council members.

  8. Posted by Very Wrong on

    And yet another Beer & Wine Store opening in Rankin Inlet!
    When alcohol is the main factor in increased calls!
    I’m a Inuk, born and raised in Nunavut and seen so much alcohol related incidents, living in the north is a struggle, financially, food security, family abuse . We are still trying to adjust to a modern life style, in many ways and loosing out traditional life style we are so lost in both worlds.
    Better education, lower cost of food should be the priority right now so families can learn to survive in this ” you have to be a millionaire” to live and survive in Nunavut! Most of us live pay cheque to pay cheque and I have a decent job. I feel so sad for all of us in Nunavut.
    We need leaders who are sober.

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