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Nunatsiaq News: June 21, 1996

The news in Nunavut this week:

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Editorial


NTI prepared to sue GNWT

JIM BELL
Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT­If they can't resolve their differences over Article 24 of the Nunavut land claim agreement, Nunavut Tunngavik may take the territorial government to court.

"The want to re-write the agreement and we have to take some dramatic action," NTI president Jose Kusugak said this week.

Last December, delegates at Nunavut Tunngavik's annual assembly in Taloyoak voted to give NTI's permission to do that, if it's deemed necessary.

"We can't afford to derogate from the [Nunavut land claim] agreement," Kusugak said. "It was in that understanding that the general assembly gave us the authority to go ahead with legal action."

Article 24 is the section of the Nunavut land claim agreement that sets out how governments should help Inuit companies win government procurement contracts.

For nearly two years, NTI and the GNWT have wrangled over how to interpret that section.

Won't recognize latest GNWT move

About a month ago, NWT Public Works Minister Goo Arlooktoo announced some temporary "interim implementation measures" to guide the GNWT's contracting practices in Nunavut until a permanent deal is worked out.

But in a press release issues last week, NTI says they refuse to recognize them.

Kusugak even went so far as to accuse the GNWT of attempting to write its own version of the Nunavut land claim agreement.

And in a letter to Arlooktoo last week, Kusugak said simply that NTI refuses to recognize the GNWT's latest Article 24 announcement.

"We do not recognize the interim implementation measures announced last month by the GNWT as being in compliance with the Land Claim Agreement, since NTI was not consulted in advance on the details of the measures and this is clearly required under the terms of the Agreement," NTI President Jose Kusugak said in the letter.

Wants talks to continue

But he did say that NTI wants to continue negotiating with the GNWT, in the hope of reaching a complete implementation plan by September 1 this year.

"Basically, we are anxious to see the GNWT and NTI officials get back to the table and continue to discuss the GNWT's introduction of minimum levels of Inuit participation and employment," Kusugak said.

Those "minimum levels" represent the latest point of dispute in talks between the two organizations.

Under the GNWT's latest announcement, businesses who win government contracts will be required to hire minimum numbers of Inuit, under agreements that will be tailor-made and written into each contract.

For example, a contract for a new fire hall in Igloolik will contain clauses under which contractors will be required to include at least "30 per cent Inuit contract" in the labour portion of the contract.

But Kusugak says NTI is afraid those "minimums" could turn into "maximums."

"The [Nunavut land claim] agreement does not talk about minimum levels, but rather representative levels," said NTI's business development director, Tagak Curley.

"This is an important distinction, since representative level implies a goal of Inuit participation that is closer to the percentage of Inuit currently making up the population of the Settlement Area­around 85 per cent. But using instead minimum levels of participation, this seems to imply the introduction of a quota system which, in the end, runs the danger of becoming the maximum level rather than a minimum level," Curley said.

Kusugak meeting with Arlooktoo this week

Kusugak also said he was to have met with Arlooktoo by the end of this week to talk about the dispute.

As well, he also said he wants to use that meeting to raise NTI's concerns about the GNWT's community empowerment policy.

He said it's clear that the GNWT is carrying out community empowerment to save money.

But he said NTI is concerned that if the GNWT moves to a "bare bones government," they might end up with "bare bones" funding from the GNWT.

Arlooktoo wants to keep things positive

After meeting with Kusugak, Arlooktoo said they agreed to keep things as "positive" as possible over the next few months.

"Jose and I had agreed earlier that we should meet and build up a closer personal relationship," Arlooktoo said. "We have the same goal, and that is to get the best deal for Inuit beneficiaries."

And Arlooktoo said he and Kusugak also talked about the GNWT's concerns with the upcoming Nunavut infrastructure agreement between NTI and Public Works Canada.

He said many small, private Inuit businesses may not be ready to participate in the public tender process though which Nunavut infrastructure contracts will be awarded.

"The GNWT may have its faults, but we have provided a lot of help to small businesses," Arlooktoo said.

The interim measures recently announced by Arlooktoo contains provisions for workshops and other educational help for Inuit businesses.

Arlooktoo said he's asked Kusugak to make sure that the same kind of help is available to small privately-owned Inuit businesses who want to get Nunavut infrastructure sub-contracts.

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CBC charged with violating publication ban

JASON van RASSEL
Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT­The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has been charged with violating a publication ban in a sexual assault trial.

The RCMP alleges that the name of a Crown witness in the Maurice Cloughley trial was broadcast on a CBC North radio show that aired last March.

Cloughley, 62, a former NWT teacher, was sentenced to 10 years in jail in February, 1996 after pleading guilty to seven counts of indecent assault and two counts of sexual assault. The offences took place against Inuit and Dene children during the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

The trial judge, Supreme Court Justice Ted Richard, ordered a ban on the publication or broadcast of the names of several Crown witnesses.

The RCMP in Yellowknife laid the charge Monday after searching CBC North's Yellowknife office last Friday.

RCMP Cpl. Alan McCambridge would not comment on the investigation, but CBC North area manager Craig Mackie confirmed the police showed up at the CBC office.

"They did execute a search warrant, they were in the office and we handed over scripts and tape," Mackie said Tuesday.

Neither Mackie nor McCambridge would comment further.

"At this point, the investigation is completed and it's before the courts, so I don't wish to comment," McCambridge said.

The March 15 broadcast was part of a five-part series on the aftermath of Cloughley's trial.

During the trial, the CBC contested an application by Crown attorney Pierre Rousseau to delay publication of testimony by Crown witnesses until the Crown has closed its case.

Richard denied Rousseau's application for a delay, but granted an application to ban the publication or broadcast of the names of Cloughley's victims and several other Crown witnesses. Such bans are common in sexual assault cases.

The charge against the CBC will be heard in a Yellowknife court on July 2.

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Singer-songwriter from Pangnirtung faces arson charges

Pang man charged in fish plant fire

JASON van RASSEL
Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT­A man charged in connection with the 1995 fire at Pangnirtung's Imavik fish plant has been released on $40,000 bail.

Michael Murphy of Pangnirtung was arrested by the RCMP in Iqaluit last Wednesday evening and charged with arson. He appeared before justice of the peace Susan Sammons for a show cause hearing in Iqaluit Friday.

The charges are a result of an investigation that's been ongoing since the April, 1995 fire, RCMP Cpl. Don Lewis said.

"Basically, it just took that long to get the witness statements that we did," Lewis said from Pangnirtung Monday.

Murphy, 47, has been the owner of Pangnirtung Cable TV and is a singer-songwriter, having released two recordings.

After the 15-minute hearing, Sammons released Murphy under the following conditions: he post a $40,000 cash deposit; he live in Ottawa, provide his address to the court, and check in with RCMP in Ottawa every two weeks; he have no direct or indirect contact with one of the witnesses; and that he provide the court with a copy of a return air ticket if he travels to Ireland.

The April, 1995 fire at the Imavik fisheries plant destroyed $21,000 worth of fish, caused $30,000 worth of damage to the building and wiped out the company's 1995 processing season.

In July, 1995 Imavik owner Kevin MacCormack sold the plant to Pangnirtung Fisheries Ltd. for an undisclosed amount.

MacCormack, who no longer lives in Pangnirtung, was an ardent critic of Pangnirtung Fisheries and the GNWT-owned Northwest Territories Development Corporation, or "DevCorp."

At the time, MacCormack argued that the government-backed Pangnirtung Fisheries was competing unfairly with his plant, which was privately owned, and that there weren't enough fish in eastern Arctic waters to sustain both plants.

Pangnirtung Fisheries is a partnership between the DevCorp and Cumberland Sound Fisheries¬a community-based company owned by Pangnirtung residents.

Murphy was once a board member of Pangnirtung Fisheries.

Murphy is scheduled to appear in court in Pangnirtung on August 13.

Under the Criminal Code, the maximum sentence for arson is 14 years in jail.

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Rocks raise hopes and hype in the Baffin

Inuit don't want to be left out of the sudden rush of mineral exploration in south Baffin. The Qikiqtaaluk Corporation has already staked its claim and is hoping to cash in on the lucrative spin-offs from exploration.

JASON van RASSEL
Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT­Could the next Voisey's Bay be sitting beneath the tundra of southern Baffin Island?

The odds are against finding a mineral deposit as rich as the nickel find that's sent so many mining companies flocking to Labrador, but that hasn't stopped a half dozen companies from spending a combined $1 million this summer to explore the area between Iqaluit and Kimmirut in search of the mineral world's next big thing.

But even if the exploration companies find valuable deposits in the area­and that's a big "if"­it would be years before a mine could go into production and provide jobs and economic benefits to the region.

Long odds on rich find

"It's a little early to get terribly excited," said Mark Smith, a project geologist with Vancouver-based mining company Cominco Ltd.

"Obviously, someone hopes to find something the size of Raglan or better," Smith said, referring to the northern Quebec nickel and copper find that Falconbridge Ltd. hopes to turn into producing mine by 1998.

"But the chances are 99.9 per cent that you don't find anything."

Those long odds are common in the exploration business, and haven't deterred Cominco from laying claim to more than 300,000 hectares of land between Iqaluit and Kimmirut. Three Cominco geologists will spend two weeks in the area this summer, sampling rocks and stream sediment.

"It was worth the risk to us, but it is a pretty high risk venture," Smith said from his Toronto office.

New maps fuel interest

Up until last year, the geology of the Meta Incognita Peninsula was largely unknown. But then the Geological Survey of Canada issued maps of a 1,500 square kilometre area between Iqaluit and Kimmirut, showing the same types of rocks that exist in northern Quebec.

"That's increased [south Baffin's] value from zero to something," Smith said.

Indeed, the maps created an immediate stir with mining industry representatives when the GSC released them at its open house in Ottawa last January.

"The first run sold out that day," Marc St. Onge, a geologist with the GSC said last week.

Flood of applications

The GSC's findings are only preliminary­based on field observations and some chemical tests­but in the highly competitive mining business, they were enough to cause companies to apply for 75 exploration permits.

"They've certainly learned from Voisey's Bay that there are still giant deposits out there­they don't want to miss out on the next Voisey's Bay," St. Onge said.

"But that's not to say that the next Voisey's Bay is in the south Baffin­we just don't know," added David Scott, another geologist with the GSC.

Last year's GSC expedition was the first part of a three-year survey of the geology between Iqaluit and Kimmirut.

Qikiqtaaluk gets in

The rush to capitalize on the area's mineral potential hasn't been restricted to southern-based companies­Inuit are getting involved as well: the Qikiqtaaluk Corporation, which is the investment arm of the Baffin Region Inuit Association, has staked a small, 80 square kilometre claim of its own.

"We took the position that if we're going to be involved in the business, you've got to have some good ground," said Michael Hine, Qikiqtaaluk's recently-hired manager of mineral development.

The claim is a good "bargaining chip" for Inuit if mining in the region ever takes off, and Qikiqtaaluk would have the option of developing the claim or selling it for a profit instead, Hine said.

Local economies to benefit

In the meantime, the local economy will profit from the spin-offs of this summer's activity.

Local homeowners in Kimmirut have rented houses to prospectors, and others are staying at the hotel, said Robert Jaffray, the hamlet's economic development officer.

Smith said Cominco will likely spend about $100,000 during its stay in the Baffin, and that's not including salaries.

Qikiqtaaluk is also arranging transportation and accommodations for the exploration companies and recruiting local employees for them.

Not many jobs­for now

But because mineral exploration is highly specialized work, there aren't many opportunities for local workers. Qikiqtaaluk has found a handful of jobs for Inuit this summer.

"It's not big numbers," says Hine, "but they're eight or nine jobs that weren't there before."

Hine says it may take a while, though, before mining helps create many jobs for Inuit. Cominco Ltd.'s Polaris lead-zinc mine, for example, took more than a decade to go into production after the initial mineral discovery.

"That's the scale one has to look at¬a decade instead of a winter or two," St. Onge said.

The exploration traffic hasn't gone unnoticed in the small hamlet of Kimmirut, where they've seen about 25 to 30 charter flights arrive in the past week alone.

"You never really realize that rocks could be so interesting and that so many people could find them interesting," Jaffray said.

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MLAs visit Maritimes to seek tips on business opportunities

Todd, Picco and pals off on maritime fishing expedition

TODD PHILLIPS
Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT­Six MLAs, led by Finance Minister John Todd and Iqaluit MLA Ed Picco, are going fishing for new business in the Maritimes next week.

There they will visit with business and political leaders in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Picco's home province of Newfoundland.

"This trip is a chance for members to see firsthand the programs that have been developed in smaller provinces in an effort to attract more investment and create jobs," Todd said in a news release issued this week.

Yellowknife North MLA Roy Erasmus, North Slave MLA James Rabesca, Mackenzie Delta MLA David Krutko, and Natilikmiot MLA John Ningark will join Todd and Picco.

Not a junket

Picco, who stresses that the trip is not a "junket" but a legitimate trip, says MLAs want to find out what other governments are doing to lure investors to their regions and to get people working.

"The more you learn, maybe you can borrow some of those ideas," Picco said this week from his Iqaluit office.

One idea Picco is trying to promote is using Iqaluit's airport in conjunction with the Forward Operating Location base as a cold weather test site for aircraft. He said he was going to bring up his airport scheme with Defence Minister David Collenette when he visited Iqaluit this week.

Other ideas include issuing a Nunavut stamp, lowering corporate tax rates to win back some former investors, and tapping into a federal program that allows immigrants to gain Canadian citizenship if they agree to invest a certain amount of cash in the community that sponsors them.

That program has been widely abused in other parts of the country, but Picco says Ottawa has tightened it up, and the NWT should now benefit from it.

MLAs also want to learn about how the Newfoundland government quickly moved the process along to allow for the development of the ore-rich Voisey's Bay region of Labrador.

Have to find new money

Picco says that Nunavut has no choice but to start coming up with new ways to decrease its dependency on Ottawa. To do that, governments and business have to convince businesses to invest their money here and not in other provinces.

"If I have $300,000 to invest, am I going to invest it in Tough Luck Bay, NWT or Don Mills, Ontario?"

Subs? Watch what you say

The MLAs are part of a group called the "investment search sub-committee."

But they had better be careful if they mention the word "sub" when they visit Picco's hometown of Portugal Cove, Newfoundland.

German U-boats attacked nearby Bell Island during the Second World War in 1941 and sank three freighter ships, killing about 50 people. Bell Island was a major site of iron ore production at the time.

The Newfoundland Home Guard tried to fire on the Germans, but they aimed their guns too high and their shells landed in a nearby potato field. Luckily, no one was injured, although some sheep were killed and barns wrecked, Picco explains.

One of Picco's relatives, courageous Gunnery Sergeant Duncan Picco, led the campaign against the Germans. Soon after, the Germans fled. It was the only known German attack on North America, Picco says.

Picco said he hopes to take his MLA pals around his home town and teach them about the proud Picco tradition. He says the Piccos, (pronounced "Pick-oh") are famous the world over, partly because they were the first to discover a giant "kraken" squid in 1873.

"I'd like to show them where I'm from and see the monuments that are up to me and my family, and to show Mr. Todd my 'edifice complex,' " Picco said jokingly.

He said the oldest headstones in Portugal Cove belong to the Picco family, who first settled in the region in 1780, when wealthy Elias Picot arrived.

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Iqaluit youth speak out and B-heard

A new Iqaluit publication will carry the voices of Iqaluit's troubled young people.

by JIM BELL
Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT­No matter how they spend their time, many Iqaluit adults don't know much about what their children really see and feel and think when they look at the crazy world their parents have made.

But that could change after a new "zine" called B-Heard hits the streets at the end of this month. In the south, "zines" are small, cheaply produced publications produced outside of the mainstream media.

"I am tired of our leaders quarreling about things that don't matter," one teenager says in the first issue of the new publication. "I am tired of the town continuing to take the abuse the bars and drug dealers give us. We are being fed shit and I am tired of people eating it."

Learn new skills

B-Heard is the brain-child of the people who run Iqaluit's Sailivik Community Centre.

"The idea for the zine began when we were looking for different ways to fund youth programs," says Mieke, a Sailivik staff member.

She said the zine project gives Iqaluit youth a chance to do two things: raise money, and develop literacy skills.

"I said, 'write me a story, a poem, anything," Mieke said. She said contributions have come from BCC inmates, young offenders and other young people who spend time at Sailivik.

Once B-Heard is published, they'll sell it for $5 to adults­and give it away free to youth.

Outside the mainstream

Jonathan Sprakes, another Sailivik staff member, said the zine is modeled after a small publication put out by university friends of his in Montreal.

In Iqaluit's new zine, young people don't hold anything back­including the language kids use on the streets.

"On Friday all my Mom thinks about is beer, booze and drugs. My Dad drinks to take his anger out on my Mom and I fucken hate that," says one teenager.

"Get the damn beer and liquor out of Iqaluit," says another. "Even the elders go out drinking when they know it's bad for them."

Safe sex and free advice

There's also a Dear Abby type advice column, a page of information about safe sex, and a report on a visit with Iqaluit's elders.

"Youth who do not understand what elders are saying are like small children. They need to ask their elders to teach them and ask for some advice," one youth writes.

Mieke and Jonathan say that anywhere between five and 20 young people can be found in Sailivik at any given time.

And many of them are there because it's not safe for them at home. "They're like a family," Mieke says. "They know that they can rely on each other."

Some government help

Housed in a rambling two-storey building near the Anglican church, Sailivik has a kitchen used to prepare food for children who may not get enough to eat at home, a drop-in centre where people can shoot pool or watch TV, and a thrift shop that sells inexpensive clothing.

B-Heard is one of several projects paid for by money from a federal government program called Youth Services Canada, which is aimed at providing young people with job skills through involving them in community service projects.

Any one who wants to make a contribution to B-Heard can come to the Sailivik Centre or can phone 979-4151.

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The dogs would have eaten him, says grandma

Iqaluit boy mauled by dog team

TODD PHILLIPS
Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT­Mosesee Tiglik says if he hadn't pulled six-year-old Daniel Caza away from the dogs biting him, the boy would be dead.

"They would have torn him to pieces," Tiglik said in the hospital room where Daniel is recovering from more than two hours of surgery. It took almost 100 stitches to piece him back together.

The boy's scalp was chewed, his neck punctured, and he has cuts, scratches and bruises all over his body.

How did the boy feel when the dogs were biting him?

"I was hurt," Daniel said, head bandaged, with a black eye and an intravenous tube stuck in his arm. He was released from Baffin Regional Hospital Wednesday.

Mother angry

Tiglik was watching a friend sharpen his harpoon head in a shed on the beach when he saw the dog team attack the fallen boy. The dogs dropped Daniel when Tiglik came, and he took the crying, bleeding boy to his mother Sheepa Nowdluk.

"I was very scared," says Nowdluk. "I was upset and angry. It's a good thing I didn't have a rifle."

Judging from the bites all over his body, Clara Rumbolt says she thinks the dogs would have eaten her grandson.

"They would have eaten him if [Mosesee] wouldn't have got in there to get him. The dogs were tossing him back and forth to each other," she says.

Dogs were tied up

Iqaluit's dog control officer, Chris Groves, says he got a call that the child was bitten by a pack of loose dogs. But when he went to the scene, he found all the dogs were tied up on chains.

Groves said one witness told him that he saw the boy and another girl playing around the dogs with a stick. The boy slipped and fell down among them.

The dogs were in an area the town's bylaws require them to be.

Pitseolak Alainga, the dogs' owner, agreed to have five of the dogs destroyed. The dogs will first be observed for 10 days for any signs of rabies. Groves says he suggested to Alainga that he post warning signs advising people not to touch or bother the dogs.

Need to educate youth

Bruce Stephen, Baffin's environmental health officer, says he's had a hard time getting the message through to people in Iqaluit that they should just stay away from dogs¬especially sled dogs.

"It really frustrates me," Stephen says. "You get kids going down and walking in amidst dogs. It's not the fault of the dogs¬they were tied up."

Stephen says the stray dogs running around down also pose a danger, especially if there's a female dog in heat. The best advice, he says, is just to stay away from them.

"Kids shouldn't go near dogs. They shouldn't provoke them."

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My Little Corner of Canada

The little guy from Shawinigan

by John Amagoalik

Prime Minister Jean Chrétien likes to refer to himself as the little guy from Shawinigan.

History may not see him as one of the more notable prime ministers of Canada but he certainly can be seen as an average guy in a political sea of midgets. Mr. Chrétien is lucky to be prime minister in a time when strong and popular political leaders are few and hard to find in Canada.

The closest thing to an opposition leader in Parliament is Preston Manning. His party, the Reform Party of Canada, finds a way to shoot itself in the foot almost every week.

Mr. Manning has found it very difficult to weed out the narrow minded and extreme elements in Reform. Stuck with about 15 per cent support of the Canadian public, it is difficult to imagine Reform doing much better than they did in the last federal election. The only chance they have is if the Liberals really screw up.

The other right wing party is the once mighty Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. After the disastrous leadership of Avril Phaedra Campbell, the party was reduced to two Members of Parliament.

Also, the foul smell left by Brian Mulroney continues to hover around the party. Jean Charest is probably one of the better politicians in Canada with a potential of being prime minister. His misfortune is belonging to the wrong party at the wrong time. It will probably take at least two elections for the Progressive Conservatives to regain their credibility.

The official opposition in the House of Commons is the Bloc Québecois led by what's-his-name. The leader of the official opposition will be a footnote in history. Unless the Blocheads get a more charismatic and visible leader, they will probably be reduced in numbers in the House of Commons after the next election.

Once a significant force in Canadian politics, the New Democratic Party is now lost and missing in the political wilderness. The last I heard, the new leader of the NDP is a lady by the name of Alexa MacDonough. She's even more invisible than Audrey McLaughlin was. With global and North American politics moving further and further to the right, the NDP will be lucky if they are not wiped out in the next federal election.

And then there are the provincial premiers. If you look up the word "provincial" in the dictionary, I'm sure you will agree that these people belong where they are. Perhaps Brian Tobin is the only one with potential beyond his province.

And finally, there is Lucien Bouchard. Mr. Bouchard is a crafty man. Some might even say smart. But he made a wrong turn somewhere. Instead of being a potentially important political leader in Canada, he has chosen to embark on a very questionable political adventure. He has become an intellectual and moral liar. He is like a foolish hunter who wants to go caribou hunting in the Arctic during the month of March wearing a pair of cowboy boots.

Jean Chrétien is the little guy from Shawinigan. But to all the political midgets around him, he looks pretty big right now.

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Letter to the Editor

Preston Joe will be missed

Hi, just read yourJune 14/96 editionoff the Internet.

The pilot was a student of mine in his senior high school year, and it was so nice to read his determination and good character stayed with him through his adulthood.

He will be missed, however we all have the memories.

Thanks for being on the Net, it has helped to read how he was respected and loved so far away from home.

Heather E. Conran-Paul
Gander, NFLD
hpaul@calvin.stemnet.nf.ca

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No town for dogs

If there's one thing that Iqaluit residents like better than dogs, it's arguing about them.

Every time a human being gets attacked by a dog in Iqaluit, an old, old argument erupts.

It's argument that started not long after the glaciers melted, and likely won't end until they after they return.

We don't want to make a light of the dog attack on a six-year-old boy in Iqaluit last Friday. Neither he nor his parents deserve what happened and our sympathies go out to them. The boy will no doubt remember that dog attack for the rest of his life.

It's worth pointing out though, that the dogs who attacked that boy were tied up, in a place on the beach where the municipality's bylaws say they're supposed to be tied up.

But as we've said, every time something like that happens, people start to shout at each other about dogs.

Iqaluit's dog control officer even urged us not to say where the dogs who attacked the boy are kept. That's because some people have threatened to shoot them all. As it is, five of the owner's eight dogs will be shot anyway.

Not so long ago, this newspaper was flooded with letters from angry dog owners when Iqaluit's town council made a few sensible amendments to its dog bylaw aimed at protecting the public.

And to hear the passion with which Iqaluit residents conduct their arguments, you'd think dogs were the cause of all our problems.

Which is a little hard to fathom. After all, no dog ever beat up his wife, and no dog ever sold a gram of cocaine to a teenager. No dog ever got anyone so drunk they froze to death, and no dog ever raped a 12-year-old. No dog ever made a cent from bootlegging.

And yet, everywhere you go in Iqaluit dogs get treated even worse than children and old people, which in this town is pretty bad.

If you don't believe us, take a walk some evening. You'll see dogs get pelted with rocks, and you'll see dogs get harpooned with broken hockey sticks. You'll see dogs get beaten over their heads with shovels and you'll see dogs left half-starved and half-strangled at the end of tangled-up ropes with nobody around who looks like an owner.

Rarely will you ever see a dog do anything to deserve that kind of treatment, though you might find a few humans who do. All the same, it's not surprising to hear about the odd dog attack. Dogs in Iqaluit have good reason to fear humans and develop the desire to attack them.

Perhaps the dog debate is simply a way of speaking in code about other kinds of pent-up frustrations, especially the kinds of frustrations that people are too polite to talk about normally.

Qallunaaqs complain incessantly about the how Inuit don't tie up their dogs and don't get them sterilized. And Inuit still complain about the time when the RCMP shot all the dogs and many snicker at the pompous habits of some Qallunaaq dog-owners, especially those who treat their dogs better than people.

It would help, probably, if more people in Iqaluit got their dogs sterilized. It would help, probably, if more people fed their dogs, and told their children not to beat them or throw rocks at them.

It would help a lot more if adults didn't beat or throw rocks at dogs either. Kids have this annoying habit of doing what their parents do, not what their parents say.

And most certainly, kids­and adults­should not play near tied up dog teams and should be warned not do that as often as possible.

Like the thousands of feral cats that have survived for centuries in Rome, Iqaluit's dogs will always be with us. So too, will the dog debate.

But if they are going to be with us, is too much to ask that we try a little harder to get along with them? JB

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Last updated June 21, 1996
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