Mayor of Iqaluit calls for public inquiry into Nunavut RCMP


Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell says a public inquiry is needed to examine the operations of the RCMP in Nunavut after he says officers weren’t showing up for service calls.

“We hear a lot, you know, ‘I called the RCMP and they didn’t show up for a fight, I called the RCMP and they didn’t show up for a drunk person walking down the street,’” says Bell. “We’ve heard these things over the years.”

According to Statistics Canada, Nunavut has the highest rate of violent crime in Canada – but the territory also has a higher number of officers per capita.

On average, Canada has 189 officers per 100,000 people – that rises to 278 per 100,000 in Nunavut.

During Nunavut’s COVID-19 strategy, the territorial government told Nunavummiut to call the RCMP to report violations says Bell.

But that’s as far as those complaints got.

“They were refusing to attend Covid calls,” says Bell. “Our taxi drivers, not the company, but the actual drivers, went on strike specifically because the RCMP weren’t attending their calls. Waiting 45 minutes for an RCMP member to show up to vandalism that was happening to their cars.”

Nunavut spends $69 million a year on RCMP service.

Bell went public this week to pressure the government of Nunavut to call for a public inquiry into why the Mounties aren’t responding more promptly to calls.

APTN News reached out to the RCMP but our calls were not returned prior to this posting.

Bell says he’s being ignored.

“I don’t understand what’s going on. I’ve had talks with them, the former justice minister wouldn’t even respond to my emails. The RCMP said they would look into it – they never reported back,” says Bell. “The deputy commissioner (said) ‘Oh I’ll look into it,’ – never reported back.

“I’ve been in contact with the new minister of justice. I let him know this was going to be happening because at this stage in the game when they’re not responding to the may, how can our citizens trust they’re actually going to respond to calls?”