Ottawa won’t get involved in police shootings in Nunavut

Kent Driscoll
Mark Blackburn
APTN National News
A spokesperson for the minister responsible for the RCMP says it’s too early for the department to get involved in the Mounties’ affairs despite the number of police shootings in the territory over the past few months.

“It’s premature to comment while the Ottawa Police Service investigations are on-going,” said Scott Bardsley, a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale. “The results of these investigations will provide an impartial review of the incidents.

The RCMP is responsible for policing the 1.7 million square kilometre territory and the 35,000 people who live in its remote communities.

In the last six months, officers have been involved in the deaths of three men.

The latest shooting occurred May when police shot and killed Jeremy Nivviaq in Hall Beach, NU.

Ottawa Police have been called in the investigate the shooting.

The results of the investigation will not be released to the public.

To date, no Mountie has been charged or disciplined for any of the shootings.

Paul Okalik, former premier and minister of justice in Nunavut said the reviews of police shootings in Nunavut must be more transparent.

In March, Okalik called for a study on whether Nunavut should have its own police force.

“I want to see a review of perhaps aboriginal policing in our smaller communities so that we can recruit our own, and serve smaller communities with local police forces, that can so a job that is currently the job of the RCMP,” said Okalik.
But the review Okalik is calling for won’t be done by Goodale.

APTN asked the minister if he was concerned about the number of shootings in such a short period of time.

The minister’s office did not answer that question.

Instead, in an email statement said the RCMP is trained to deal with these situations.

“All members are trained in de-escalation techniques and are instructed to consider all intervention options based on subject behaviour, situational factors, tactical considerations and officer perceptions,” said Bardsley.

The other men shot and killed in Nunavut in recent months are Charles Qirngnirq, 21 who was killed in Gjoa Haven Dec. 19, 2016. And a 20-year-old man in Pond Inlet who died in March, 2017. Police are not releasing the man’s name or whether officers shot him or he killed himself.

Calls requesting an interview with RCMP Nunavut Superintendent Mike Jeffrey were not returned.

Police have also been a target in Nunavut. In 2007, Const. Douglas Scott was shot and killed in Kimmirut. RCMP Const. Jurgen Seewald was killed in March 2001, in Cape Dorset, NU.

Hunter Tootoo, the Member of Parliament for Nunavut, said the shootings show more resources are needed.

“The shootings are very tragic and unfortunately serve as a reminder of something that I have long advocated for – the need for more Mental Health Resources in Nunavut,” he said in an email.

[email protected]



Online Producer / Ottawa

Before moving to become the APTN News social media producer, Mark was the executive producer for the news in eastern Canada. Before starting with APTN in 2009, Mark worked at CBC Radio and Television in Newfoundland and Labrador and Ottawa.

2 thoughts on “Ottawa won’t get involved in police shootings in Nunavut

  1. how did this people who thought the day was going to continue have their lives end?It was pure accident, I don’t agree with their choice of accident but it happened. As humans, there are limitations and control, it just got out of hand, r.i.p for those that died by a gun shot wound, people continue to believe that there is good in me, in you, in everyone. I was taught that guns are for animals to feed us humans, remember the purpose of using a weapon, how would you react facing a bullet to you face? its natural to react but really, use the weapon wisely

  2. This reflects the low recruitment which in turn reflects the numerous incidents that have made national headlines from excess use of deadly force, horrendous behaviour in Ottawa by nude officers, thousands of harassment cases of various kinds, lack of body/proper update weapons. Lacking leadership for several decades, the involvement of top brass in the extensive sexual harassment cases either by direct involvement or the covering up.
    With low numbers the RCMP is unable to post more officers to remote areas, provide periods of rest for overworked officers resulting in poor judgement calls by resorting to using deadly force. Will the RCMP ever be held accountable?

Comments are closed.