The GN takes a stand
Every human being is capable of violence. It’s a quality that was once essential for human survival, and to claim otherwise would be to deny our humanity.
But in Nunavut, far too many people are committing devastating acts of violence against each other, and too often against those they love the most. That’s not a secret anymore, even though some people still pretend as if it were. Our annual crime statistics tell part of this story, revealing that Nunavut has a higher per capita rate of violent crime than any other province or territory of Canada. The most painful part of this story, however, is told behind closed doors, where too many victims of domestic violence suffer in fear and silence. It’s people who are least able to defend themselves who suffer the most — women, children and the elderly.
There are those who say that talking openly about Nunavut’s high rates of domestic violence is harmful — on the grounds that it might give Nunavut a bad image. But we say this: those who deny the reality of violence in Nunavut are not friends of Nunavut; they are some of Nunavut’s worst enemies.
The government of Nunavut deserves praise, then, for standing up and telling the rest of Nunavut society that domestic violence is unnacceptable.
On its own, the poster campaign that Jack Anawak, Ed Picco, Paul Okalik and Peter Kilabuk unveiled this week isn’t likely to bring about any immediate reduction in family violence among Nunavummiut.
But the work of government is more than new laws, programs, policies and budgets, important as those things are. Government is also about values.
And every government must, from time to time, communicate those values in an assertive and public manner. That’s part of the responsibility of leadership — to encourage the best by displaying the best. This week, the GN told us what it stands for. It’s what we should stand for too.