‘It’s life or death:’ Nunavik leaders look to improve search and rescue
December 8, 2022
By Jeff Pelletier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Leaders from Nunavik’s 14 villages will discuss best practices and the future of search and rescue in the region over the course of a three-day conference in Montreal this month.
Craig Lingard, Kativik Regional Government’s civil security director, announced the conference during this week’s regional council meeting in Kuujjuaq. The conference is set to take place from Dec. 11 to 13.
“It’s intended on being a reflection on past events, a good discussion on best practices and frustrations that we’re presently dealing with, and trying to develop a vision of where we’re trying to go,” Lingard said.
“It’s a very contentious issue, a very passionate issue for everybody concerned; it’s life and death for some of our citizens.”
According to Lingard, search and rescue policies can vary from community to community. For example, some villages might call on Canadian Rangers or police, while others might organize community search efforts.
The region lacks a consistent and united search and rescue framework, Lingard explained.
“It’s not always thought into or agreed to by individuals or municipalities or personalities,” Lingard said.
“I don’t know if it’s possible to find a complete consensus on something so complicated and controversial.”
To help achieve that consensus, Lingard said outside experts will weigh in. Specifically, public safety representatives from the federal and provincial government, as well as representatives from the Canadian Armed Forces, provincial police and Canadian Coast Guard will offer their ideas.
Lingard says he hopes all the participating parties will have the opportunity to share the challenges their communities are facing on this topic and work towards overcoming them.
“It’s time to reflect and say, ‘What are we doing and can we do it better?’” Lingard said.
“I can’t predict where we’re going to go, but I’m really looking forward to the discussions. We’ve got some very qualified, experienced people that will be participating.”
Jeff Pelletier is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Nunatsiaq News.
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