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Canada: Alcohol prohibition ‘not the solution in Nunavik,’ police chief says

Canada: Alcohol prohibition ‘not the solution in Nunavik,’ police chief says
Police leadership calls for mobilization of prevention officers, road stops during KRG meeting

Nunatsiaq News
By Jeff Pelletier – Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
September 12, 2023

Larose responded that he didn’t think banning booze would be effective.

“Prohibition of alcohol is not the solution in Nunavik,” he said.

“We should be inspired to have a better control of the alcohol coming in.”

The senior police leaders talked about how work has been done to tackle bootlegged alcohol which has been coming in from the south.

For example, Nunavik police work with provincial counterparts, Montreal police, airlines that fly north and Canada Post to stop the flow of illegal alcohol and drugs to the region.

Also, police have carried out search warrants and seized alcohol in the communities.

Even then, those measures have their limits.

“We can seize as much alcohol as we want, there’s always going to be some,” Morin said.

“That’s not going to go away, so we need to find the right balance.”

Larose talked about developing a steering committee with community leaders and partners to address issues around the flow of alcohol into Nunavik.

To address the issue of drunk driving, Morin said he wants to fulfil many councillors’ requests to increase the number of road stops and patrols by police.

“It’s a really nice way to educate people and prevent accidents,” he said.

However, Salluit regional Coun. Stephen Grasser said there needs to be better education to discourage unhealthy substance use.

Grasser was firm in stating that unhealthy alcohol and drug consumption is an “individual choice,” and that there needs to be education in schools about its harmful effects.

In his community, Grasser said, an “all-organization” meeting is set to take place and he wants police to participate.

The police officials agreed, and KRG chairperson Hilda Snowball said she would want Larose to be there for that meeting.

Morin said Nunavik Police Service currently has two prevention officers employed — one for each coast — and that he wants to hire more and extend their reach by having them visit schools all over the region.

“It’s projects we used to do in the past that kind of stopped because we didn’t have the manpower,” Morin said.

“We’re of course willing to participate with the communities [and] the schools.”