Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Here are the three parts in my three-part feature for APTN National News, titled "Justice delayed." Part one today, I'll edit and add parts two and three as they come up.
I received unprecendented cooperation from the Justice department, and I even have a judge in there. Anyone who has ever tried to interview a judge before knows, they just don't talk to reporters all that often.
Also, the next time I suggest a three-part anything that includes two lawyers, one judge, and a civil servant, kick me square in the nuts. They answer fine, they all just answer long.
Part One: Waiting for court (after the first commercial break)
Part Two: Standing room only at jail (before the first commercial):
Part Three: Things are different here (last item of the show):
Friday, November 23, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I usually avoid commentary. Since I'm a journalist, it usually behooves me to keep my virtual mouth quiet. This case, I couldn't resist.
One of the first things they teach you in J-school, localize a national story.
Remember that scene from The Paper, with Michael Keaton (second worst Batman ever).
"Disaster here, no one from New York. Disaster there, no one from New York. "
The shooting death of Const. Doug Scott had a very tenous PEI connection. His partner in Kimmirut was a fill-in officer from PEI, so the Guardian ran a story about another officer from Charlottetown that had served in Kimmirut. For the record, he quite liked it.
In the comments page, someone wrote in with this thoughtful commentary on policing in Nunavut:
Andy from Ch'town, PEI writes: It comes down to money. And since the
territories are a federal jurisdiction, then the feds have to throw more money
for policing at the territories.
What you are suggesting in post #1 is to have a level of policing service
in Arctic Canada similar to what we have in southern Canada.... numerous police
officers within a reasonably short response time to calls for assistance.
This isn't currently the case in Nunavut and other places, so the feds
would have to practically quadruple the number of officers up there.
In addition to the obvious benefits for officer safety, this would tie in
nicely for sovereignty purposes too. After all, next to the Innu and the
Canadian Rangers, the RCMP have the 2nd biggest presence across that region.
The Canadian Forces with southern softies make their laughable snowmobile
trip every summer across the icepack but that doesn't really count, unless you
believe everything you read in the vaunted Globe & Mail of course....
quadruple RCMP in Arctic = increased officer safety + better sovereignty =
Andy from Ch'town struck me as a bit of a know-nothing-know-it-all, leading me to write my first ever post in the comments of the Guardian website. Enjoy:
Kent Driscoll from Iqaluit, NU writes:
Post 2, here is where you are wrong.
And since the territories are a federal jurisdiction, then the feds
have to throw more money for policing at the territories.
Yes and no. Nunavut has our own government, and pays for our own RCMP
presence. Since there is no deal on devolution struck with the feds, we receive
money from the federal government. If the feds would cut a resource revenue
sharing deal with Nunavut, the minerals under 1/5th of Canada's landmass would
easily cover more RCMP, along with adequate housing, healthcare, and a host of
What you are suggesting in post #1 is to have a level of policing
service in Arctic Canada similar to what we have in southern Canada.... numerous
police officers within a reasonably short response time to calls for assistance.
Kimmirut has 2 officers for a population of 400, a 1 to 200 ratio. You
won't find that anywhere in southern Canada.
After all, next to the Innu and the Canadian Rangers
Inuit, not Innu.
The Canadian Forces with southern softies make their laughable
The last trip across the icepack was a group of Canadian Rangers, not
southern softies. It was far from laughable, they covered a route that hadn't
been covered in 30 years, and they did it. The navy are frequent visitors, but
you won't catch any of the southern forces on the land without Rangers.
quadruple RCMP in Arctic = increased officer safety + better
sovereignty = no brainer
A Band-aid solution. Try this formula on for size.
Cut a resource revenue
sharing deal with Nunavut = adequate social funding + a corresponding reduction
in crime = no brainer.
Sovereignty is people. Let the Inuit people here be the
sovereignty. Give them control of the resources, so they can afford to build a
Canadian presence here, instead of dumping more money into cops the people don't
really need. All of this has little to do with poor Douglas Scott, but it is
worth pointing out to a southern audience that the long term fix for Arctic
soverignty is to allow the people of Nunavut to exploit their own resource
revenue, to build a sustainable economy and society. Anything less is just a
short term answer.
You can teach an Islander to read, but you can't make them think... jerks.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
I've been working as a reporter for two and a half years in Nunavut, and now when I show up with Jimmie, I actually get respect from people. You can hear the wheels turning in their heads, "Well, he's working with Jimmie, maybe he isn't full of shit".
Tignish has a reputation for toughness even amongst people from PEI. To steal one of my brother's favourite stories:
We were walking outside of the bar in Charlottetown, and I heard a guy shout, "I'm going to punch the next son of a bitch from Tignish that I sees."
Brenton, being the social sort, asks the guy, "Where are you from."
'Tignish," roared back the angry man.
I lived "Up West" -- Western PEI is "Up West", Eastern PEI is "Down East" -- for two years, and have learned that the Tignish tough guys are usually more bark than bite. Small town for sure, but good hearted sort. That guy who wanted to fight another Tignisher, he would have probably given the guy a drive home after... he would have been driving his pick-up 140 up Route 2 drunk as hell, but he would have never left a fellow Tignisher alone in Charlottetown.
So, from today's Guardian -- it covers PEI like the dew -- the story of a Tignish Halloween. Halloween violence is a tradition in those parts.
Thrown asphalt injures RCMP officer
Object thrown at police vehicles in Tignish
TIGNISH — A member of the RCMP was taken to hospital for treatment of a deep cut to his head when a chunk of asphalt was thrown through the window of the police car he was in during a wild Halloween incident Wednesday night in Tignish.
Several large groups of people were responsible for throwing rocks and bottles at the police vehicles and officers throughout the night, resulting in extensive damage to three police vehicles, said Sgt. J.A. George, NCO in charge of Prince District Operations.
Thirteen young people, ranging in ages from 16 to 21, were arrested for various breaches of the peace as the West Prince detachment of the RCMP had a very busy Halloween night throughout the entire area, said George.
Police spokesperson S-Sgt. Jay McInnis said Thursday that the injured officer was treated and later released from hospital after getting a number of stitches.“He’ll be fine,” said Jay.
Police are hopeful that charges will be laid for the assault on the officer, but admit it will be a difficult investigation because the people throwing bottles, rocks and asphalt all wore dark clothing and masks.
In Tignish, police, town maintenance staff and the fire department were kept busy responding to nuisance fires and complaints of damage to town property.Police had not received any reports of rocks or bottles being thrown at other vehicles travelling in Tignish, “which leads to the conclusion that those carrying out these cowardly acts were targeting the police,” said George.
“The RCMP was disappointed in the reaction from the young people involved in these large crowds and have been in contact with the Tignish council to help identify community strategies that will help to curb these cowardly and dangerous acts in the future. Hopefully this will address an embarrassing and shameful incident for the majority of citizens of Tignish.”
This poster and attached story garnered me a nomination in the OCNA (Ontario Community Newspaper Association) awards. I lost to a story about apple juice.... it was a good story.
Seal of disapproval
Iqaluit (Mar 20/06) - It took a high-profile rock star with an agenda to bring out the edge in Murray Angus.
In response to Paul and Heather McCartney's trip to Prince Edward Island - to oppose Newfoundland's annual seal harvest - Angus brought the double barrels of irony and humour to the fight.
The McCartneys used the trip to protest against the annual harvest of seals on Canada's east coast. Angus feels they are ignoring the importance of the seal to Inuit.
"There is a presumption that people make, that the southern ways are the best. People in the south need to learn some humility and show respect," said Angus, who is an instructor at Nunavut Sivuniksavut (NS) in Ottawa.
Angus emphasized that the poster was not a school project, but simply a personal one. He has received requests from Newfoundland, Greenland and the Yukon for copies.
The poster poses the question: Is killing a wild seal less humane than raising a cow in a closed pen to keep its meat tender?
Tommy Akulukjuk, an NS student, posed for the poster, and isn't shy on humour.
First, he requests that this reporter refer to him as "Sir Tommy Akulukjuk" in this story, so that he is on equal footing with Sir Paul McCartney. He also wisecracks that he would like to see "Inuitmania" spread worldwide, so that he would have as much say as the outspoken musician.
"At first, I was pretty angry. It gave me a new perspective on famous people," said Akulukjuk.
"I think humour can be a weapon for us in this. It is like racism and American comedians. They use it to say a lot."
For Angus, the inspiration for the poster comes from an incident years ago, when Brigitte Bardot made the same trip to the ice floe.
"It was an idea I had 15 years ago, and when I saw the pics of the McCartneys, I thought it was like Bardot in the 1970s. With e-mail, it doesn't take long for this kind of thing to spread," said Angus.
As for Akulukjuk, he'll be looking at the Beatles in a different light. "I think I'll listen to the John Lennon songs from now on," said Akulukjuk.
Former Nunavut commissioner Peter Irniq said the rock star may have killed the baby seal. "You know how birds abandon their eggs after humans have touched them?" Irniq said.
"It's that funny human smell. Seals are only able to find their babies from their smell, among other seals on the ice. Paul and Heather touched the seal, we all saw it on TV. The mother probably abandoned the baby seal. It's probably dead by now.
"That is why, when we are out seal hunting through the seal holes in the spring time, we sometimes put 'things,' smelly things, like gerry cans, so that when the seal sees it, it will abandon the seal hole. That way, it's easier to catch the seals."
I call this one the "Live and Dead animal show"
and this one is from my trip to Eureka and Resolute, courtesy of the Canadian Rangers, the only military group in Canada to elect their leaders:
Thursday, November 1, 2007
What he didn't know, I had no choice. Does that look like a face you could bargain with?
Then, I have a new cellphone with camera and video. Expect lots more.