Rankin Inlet beer and wine store closes until Friday after ‘recent incidents’

Hamlet councillors request temporary closure to let community ‘recover,’ Finance Department spokesperson says

Rankin Inlet man Manuel Nangaat Netser is circulating this petition to close the beer and wine store in Rankin Inlet “indefinitely.” (Photo courtesy of Manuel Nangaat Netser)

By Arty Sarkisian

The temporary closure of Rankin Inlet’s beer and wine store has been extended to Friday to give the community time “to recover from recent incidents,” says Hillary Casey, spokesperson for the Nunavut Finance Department.

She did not elaborate on the incidents, but last Friday, the Kivalliq region hamlet of 3,000 people experienced a suspicious death that was followed by a lockdown, a standoff with police, and ultimately a first-degree murder charge laid against a 43-year-old man.

Originally, the store was closed last Friday and Saturday due to the incidents but was expected to reopen Tuesday.

However, the store will now reopen at noon Friday, according to an announcement the Department of Finance, which oversees the Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission, issued Tuesday afternoon.

Some of Rankin Inlet’s municipal councillors requested the beer and wine store’s closure, Casey wrote in an email Tuesday.

This was the second incident of this nature in Rankin Inlet in recent weeks. RCMP warned residents of a “possible danger to the public” on May 30 regarding an incident that led to an emergency alert and one man being arrested on firearms charges.

Closing the store has been long overdue, said Manuel Nangaat Netser, who started a petition Friday in the Rankin Inlet Northern store to “close the beer and wine store indefinitely.”

Netser has been driving around the community to collect signatures of people who could not come to his table at the Northern store.

He said by midday Tuesday he had collected more than 160 signatures and is still accepting more.

The petition was prompted by Friday’s incident.

However, Netser said addressing the impact of alcohol consumption on the community had been important to him long before that.

“I was tired of hearing about the complaints and no action being done by our government,” Netser said in a phone interview Tuesday.

He said the community needs to face the issue of alcoholism “head on” and stop pretending “everything will be OK when we’re not putting the proper effort into it.”

Netser was relieved to learn of the temporary closure of the beer and wine store Tuesday. He said he hopes it will lead to more discussion about alcohol consumption.

“We really need to re-evaluate how we are being affected,” he said. “How we have been not supported. We need support.”

Last Friday, police in Rankin Inlet discovered a body at about 1 a.m. and considered the death “suspicious in nature,” according to the RCMP. Officers identified a suspect and the victim.

In a news release Monday, RCMP said the suspect was located near the firing range and surrendered Friday at around 10:30 a.m. after crisis negotiators established communications with him.

The RCMP charged 43-year-old Jack Ekwalak with first-degree murder. He is to appear in court on July 23.

The victim is identified as Tracey Netser, according to court documents.


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(38) Comments:

  1. Posted by Good on

    Kudos to them for wanting to close the store, do it before it gets like Iqaluit. Don’t recognize my hometown anymore, too many drunks roaming around, elder abuse for money, kids not eating or seeing all the drunks. They learn this is normal, which isn’t! Grew up being able to walk into the store without seeing drunks yelling or harassing you. Those days are gone and the leaders of the day do not care. I never see them in the stores themselves too.

    Don’t become like here, it’s stressful.

    • Posted by moderation is key on

      The issue is the amount of alcohol being available to purchase daily. The B&W stores were supposed to provide access for social consumption and cut on bootleggers; BUT allowing someone to buy 4 bottles of wine or 24 beers is not social drinking; it is an absolute disaster waiting it happen. For someone to want a social drink; 6 beers or 1 bottle of wine should be the maximum allowed daily per person; then everyone can control their behavior.

  2. Posted by 867 on

    Prohibition doesn’t work. Never did and never will. Only people that will benefit from this are the bootleggers.

    Time to amend the Liquor Act to stop bootleggers from legally ordering massive quantities of Liquor. As cold hearted a crime as crack dealing. They’re the ones doing the damage, not the B&W store

    • Posted by Long timer on

      Absolutely! The Territorial Government has a huge hand in the current mess. They simply adopted the old antiquated liquor act from the NWT with no thoughts or considerations to its impact. When a person can order and import in 7 litres each day of hard liquor, seems to me that only ones that benefit from that are the bootleggers. No normal person requires that much hard liquor and certainly not daily.
      As much as the B&W has had a negative effect on the community’s vulnerable, it’s nothing compared to the vast amount of issues related to the illegal sales of hard liquor.
      People in the community know who the bootleggers are….

  3. Posted by Northerner on

    Since white man came into our lives, inuit had access to whisky. They were even taught how to make homebrew.

    • Posted by Mephistopheles on

      Please stop blaming others for your own bad choices and acknowledge responsibility.
      Indigenous violence upon other Indigenous people has always been there. Probably always will.

    • Posted by Joe Amarualik on

      We can also blame Quebecers for Poutine. Fun Times. Go Team Resolute

    • Posted by Respond to Northerner on

      A person has the autonomy to choose whether to consume alcohol; no external influence compels them to do so.

      I have observed and heard individuals attributing a family member’s drinking habits to someone else. While blame may be assigned, it is important to acknowledge that no one physically coerces alcohol consumption upon another individual.

      Each of us bears responsibility for the decisions we make; external parties cannot be held accountable. For instance, in the case of murder, the decision to commit the act rests solely with the individual; no one else is culpable. Employing common sense in our decision-making processes is an essential practice that we can all endeavor to employ.

      Consider the implications of drinking to the point of blacking out – who, in the final analysis, suffers as a result? Similarly, if one were to develop cancer from smoking, the resultant distress experienced by their family cannot be attributed to anyone but themselves.

      Should one elect to prioritize gambling over providing sustenance for their family, the repercussions are unmistakable.

      While a plethora of examples could be enumerated, the incontrovertible truth remains: the ramifications of our choices are ours to bear.

      • Posted by Joe Amarualik on

        Your writing ooze pretentiousness and I know that you know what that word means as you have definitely swallowed a dictionary.

        • Posted by Name Withheld on

          When engaging with comments, I express myself using my own carefully chosen wording.

          The pursuit of reading as a hobby offers valuable opportunities for personal development. Consistent reading has been empirically demonstrated to enhance cognitive abilities, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving capacities.

          Do some reading lately in Resolute aside from FB world?

          • Posted by Just sayin’ on

            Joe has a point though. “While a plethora of examples could be enumerated”… LOL

            Good writers don’t write like this.

            • Posted by Watch for Bots on

              Go run that comment through any free online AI/ChatGPT detector. Run it through a plethora of them. It sets off every alarm.

          • Posted by Joe Amarualik on

            “Do some reading lately in Resolute aside from the FB world?” Are you okay with this syntax? You seem clownish…

  4. Posted by Name Withheld on

    The courage displayed by the young man who initiated the petition is commendable. It is not an easy task to persuade others to sign. Best wishes on securing all the necessary signatures to set this initiative in motion.

    • Posted by Just close it already on

      How many more murders are we waiting for? When no help for the alcoholics are there readily available, why bother opening an alcohol store. Keith Peterson ain’t there no more to open any more thank god.

      • Posted by Booger Man on

        Interesting how Mr. Peterson has become the boogie man in this debate. He may have been the Finance Minister when the process started, but had retired in before the actual implementation happened. It was debated and approved by the Legislative Assembly to proceed, then was approved by the communities (Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet, Cambridge Bay) in a plebiscite. In Rankin’s case, the store was approved by an almost 3 to 1 vote.

  5. Posted by Tired on

    This is a good idea. Now, when this doesn’t magically solve the issue we can focus on actual solutions.

  6. Posted by citizen on

    There should have been some fore thought on the consequences, basic socio economics. let this be an example of what can happen when there is significant change. if the people drank responsibly, this would not have happened. alas, this can happen anywhere, it just happened to be in Rankin. condolences to all there.

  7. Posted by Council and GN jumping to conclusions on

    So lets get this straight, the official release is that this issue stemmed from an individual being drunk and irrationally doing something? Does council and the GN know definitively that alcohol and the Beer store was the cause of what went on? The police definitely haven’t stated that this was an alcohol related incident. So council and the GN and the petition are jumping on a bandwagon to blame something and they are okay with this?… OKAY. Maybe it’s time to look at legal ramification for the Hamlet and GN seemingly without cause to shut down the Beer store at random (just because).

    • Posted by Gorp on

      There are a few too many reactive mid-wits on the Rankin council. Just so you know.

    • Posted by petition on

      Petitions yay!!!
      Ummm so why hasn’t the GN implemented a ban on firearm sales for the time period? We know for a FACT that this WAS the cause. It wasn’t alcohol that did it.
      How can they blame one thing and not another? Is it because 10 people yelled the loudest *about nothing* and that the council is just doing the easy thing? This isn’t right and shouldn’t affect the rest of the community over a few bad apples. (I drink, I’ve been drunk but have never-ever gotten into a situation where the cops need to be called) why does the non-responsible parties get a louder say then I do?

  8. Posted by Mass Formation on

    Prohibition worked back in the day…1910-1920. It got rid of the moonshine and the motor cars/trucks which could run on the alcohol. Government couldn’t control self-sufficient people who cheaply made their own fuel for car transportation. Nor could the government collect tax from the fuel.

    So slogans of out of control, drunken madness paved the road to drive the destroying of moonshine making. With moonshine gone, it instantly grounded the making of motors able to run on the alcohol. Opening the highway for gas engines to flourish and full government control of car/truck fuels.

    Strange it’s now all talk prohibition with no court hearings of facts. Just alcohol is the cause, but not a mention of pharmaceuticals. Why’s that? When Rankin’s history has had a beer store since 1960 through to the late 1970s? During those years there was fly-in of hard liquor. Over the winter months, Saturday night beer dances. Non alcohol Friday night teen dances. Changing in the late 1970s everything alcohol became fly in. Special fund raising permit drinking for groups, Hamlet or government Christmas, New Year’s parties for in person drinking. Decades later, Legion dominated control of in person drinking.

    After a 64-year history of alcohol consumption in Rankin Inlet, something seems to have instantly changed.

    Is there a mind-altering prescribed pharmaceutical we must be made aware of when or not drinking?

  9. Posted by young NU inuk on

    A petition to get a treatment/rehab centre would also be beneficial for NU. There is Healing Facility in Rankin, but that seems to be for criminals only (idk). Thank you to the person holding a petition though. Takes a lot of courage to do one. Especially having to take criticism from a lot of people.

    Condolences to the family.

    Not here to take comments, but to comment my thoughts.

  10. Posted by Pepperidge farms remembers on

    Anybody who has been around a while knows that these types of tragedies occur in every community in Nunavut from time to time, whether alcohol is involved, and if so, regardless of how it was purchased. This isn’t something that has just sprung up since a beer store opened. And Rankin Inlet has historically been one of the most violent communities in Nunavut. It’s terrible, but a fact of life in Nunavut that there are many who suffer extreme violence at the hands of family, friends and intimate partners. This latest accused killer has a long criminal history of violence. Obviously previous convictions and attempts at rehabilitation failed. Instead of blaming alcohol the focus should be on the justice system, how it deals with dangerous offenders, and what the communities and Territory can do to proactively prevent violent outbursts. All forms of violence and abuse have been normalized in Nunavut (the reasons for this can be debated, but doesn’t change the fact) , until that changes we can expect more of these senseless events.

  11. Posted by Just my opinion on

    I don’t care if he was drunk. I don’t care if he had smoked weed, crack, took mushrooms, or any other drug. I don’t care if he was abused as a kid, or had a tough upbringing. I don’t care if he had Fruit Loops for breakfast. If guilty he is a murdering SOB who should be locked away from society for the rest of his worthless life. Being drunk isn’t a get out of jail free card for killing someone.

  12. Posted by alex on

    This may sound insensitive, but let’s say this individual was drunk during this murder(if in fact proven to have done so), but happened to be drinking liquor that wasn’t from the beer and wine store, but say bought a bottle from a bootlegger,without any proof at this time, the Government is aiding in the constant cycle here. If you must shut down the store for this type of event, why even have a store? This is nothing but pure virtue signalling by the Government. They don’t care, they just don’t want the bad press.

  13. Posted by Binoculars on

    Surely the bootleggers are rejoicing at this decision. They’ll get their cut this week for sure.

    • Posted by Concerned on

      Minimum fine $500 per bottle found, and minimum 6 months jail time for 5 & under bottles. 6 to 10 minimum of 1 and half years. 11 and more, 2 and half years, plus $2000 per bottle fine. No parole!

      It is time laws were passed to stop these people, and protect the people

  14. Posted by TGIF on

    I wonder what happens this weekend when the store reopens after the mini prohibition this week. Chaos 🙁

    • Posted by not chaos on

      The line up might be the longest we’ve seen in a while in Rankin Inlet lol. I know I’m out of beer and will be there lined up on Friday. The beer store should release the number of people that show up Friday – I bet it’s more than 160.
      Not only that but now I got to start worrying about hording and going there more often to make sure that every time some idiot does something stupid and the Hamlet/GN yells foul about the beer store and shuts it down I got a supply. Good thing the legion was open still and I had my couple 60’s of vodka to share and hold me over this week lol, but that means I gotta bring back in my suitcase again next time I’m south for the next shut down.
      The Hamlet and GN does realize that this is counter productive right?

      • Posted by Long Timer on

        The Legion has never been so packed nightly since B&W is closed. Vehicles parked all over. Wonder how many intoxicated drivers are out nightly.

  15. Posted by Question for not chaos on

    Can you abstain from alcohol for a week, or do you rely on it daily?

  16. Posted by Confused on

    Please don’t embarrass us by a long line up, tomorrow.

  17. Posted by The only tree on

    “It’s easier to build strong children than to fix broken men.”
    Fredrick Douglas.
    Bring back standardized testing in schools.

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