Year in review
 NWT News/North
 Nunavut News/North
 NWT Business
 Nunavut Business
 Yellowknifer Business
 NWT Sports
 Nunavut Sports
 Yellowknifer Sports
 NWT Arts
 Nunavut Arts
 Yellowknifer Arts
 Kivalliq News
 Deh Cho Drum
 Inuvik Drum
NNSL Photo/graphic

News/North: 2015 - The Year in Review


Trudeau makes Inuvik stop

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau touched down in the Beaufort Delta on Jan. 9 for the first of a three-stop tour of the Canadian North.

NNSL photo/graphic

Trudeau, who was making his first Northern tour last year since becoming leader of the federal Liberal party, was swiftly swept up in Inuvik Sunrise Festival celebrations.

Throughout his two-day tour of the town, Trudeau stopped to chat with the festival-goers, posed for pictures with residents and joined in for the community dance with the Inuvik Drummers and Dancers.

He even wielded a spatula at the legion for the Community Pancake Breakfast on Jan. 10.

Trudeau said he heard from residents about how devolution and the decreasing price of oil was affecting the community.

Cabinet embarks on trade mission to Asia

One year ago, Premier Bob McLeod and former Industry, Tourism and Investment minister David Ramsay were packing their bags for a trade mission to China and Japan.

Ramsay said at the time he was optimistic the junket would yield positive results for the tourism, fur, diamonds and mining sectors in the NWT.

Representatives from seven NWT businesses went along on the trip.

A delegation from the territorial government made a similar trade mission in 2014, and the number of Chinese visitors to the NWT has more than doubled since the Chinese government granted Canada favourable destination status in 2010, Ramsay noted at the time.

However, then-Sahtu MLA Norman Yakeleya said his region had not seen any positive results from previous trade missions and called on Ramsay to outline how smaller communities benefit from these trips.

The Jan. 17 to 21 trade mission came with an estimated price tag of $300,000.

Dilapidated health centre draws ire

The last assembly's Sahtu MLA, Norman Yakeleya, was furious over the state of living conditions for nurses working in Tulita.

After taking a tour of the Harriet Gladu Health Centre in October, the former MLA tabled photos of water damage, mice droppings and stained furniture during the next sitting of legislative assembly in mid-January.

"The hardworking nurses in Tulita deserve better accommodations than cramped units with uneven floors, stained furniture and mice," Yakeleya said.

Three nurses serve the community of Tulita. During his tour, Yakeleya was told that the nurses' residence shakes whenever anyone does laundry and the building shifts during freeze up and thaw. There are mice traps in and around the living quarters because rodents are a problem, Yakeleya added.

News/North reported Jan. 19 the Department of Health and Social Services had commissioned a planning study for a new health centre in Tulita, which was scheduled to be complete by late last year.

Workers strike in Hay River, Fort Smith

Two groups of unionized workers to strike in the South Slave last January.

In Hay River, 90 per cent of workers for the town who cast ballots voted in favour, which meant strike action could be taken by Feb. 6 and would affect about 30 workers. At the time, wages were said to be the main stumbling block between the two sides.

Meanwhile in Fort Smith, eight housing authority workers rejected their employer's final offer after months of contract negotiations, paving the way for a strike.

The final offer was rejected unanimously by the membership Jan. 8, said Todd Parsons, president of the Union of Northern Workers (UNW).

Doug Ritchie remembered

At six-feet-four-inches, dedicated environmentalist Doug Ritchie may have cut a physically imposing figure from a distance.

However, friends and colleagues who witnessed the respect he commanded during his tireless campaign against pollution and climate change came to know Ritchie as a "gentle giant" determined to make the world a better place.

On Jan. 10, Ritchie died peacefully at the age of 52 with his wife, France Benoit, at his side at Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife - just over a month after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

While the news that Ritchie didn't have long to live came as a shock to Benoit in December 2014, she said the outpouring of support over the past month helped both her and husband cope with the reality they faced.

Ritchie first came to the North in the summer of 1987, when he travelled to Fort McPherson to work as a lifeguard.

After a few brief stints in Arviat and Baker Lake, he moved to Yellowknife in 1996 where he quickly became involved with Ecology North as a volunteer. After working for the GNWT for several years, in 2004 he quit to work for Ecology North full time.

Although he remained a board member at Ecology North until his death, in 2011 he left his position as senior program manager to work as a special projects co-ordinator for the Yellowknives Dene First Nation.

Ground breaks for Mackenzie Valley Fibre Line

A massive rotor blade ground its way through a stretch of land just 20 minutes outside of Inuvik, off the Dempster Highway, as politicians, aboriginal leaders and dignitaries celebrated the start of construction on the Mackenzie Valley Fibre Line Jan. 14.

The project is expected to cost more than $80 million and will extend broadband Internet access from Fort Simpson to Inuvik, through an underground fibre-optic line.

Stretching more than 1,000 km, the line will connect Wrigley, Tulita, Norman Wells and Fort Good Hope along its route. The project has been slated for completion some time later this year.

No charges after alleged RCMP assault on Fort Resolution elder

There were no criminal charges laid against any RCMP member in Fort Resolution after an alleged assault against an elder last September.

The RCMP concluded there would be no charges after the Jan. 9 completion of an external review of the incident.

Sgt. Jason Graham of the Medicine Hat Police Service was tasked with the review.

In October, the RCMP investigated a public complaint in Fort Resolution after it was alleged that an officer had assaulted an elder. Upon completion of that investigation, managing officers ordered an external review be conducted. The alleged assault by an RCMP officer involved a 71-year-old woman.

According to a family member speaking to News/North just after the incident, Loretta Edjericon was elbowed in the face by an RCMP officer and suffered a bruised arm on Sept. 20 after two officers entered her home, looking for another woman who had allegedly breached her probation conditions.


Grollier Hall predator out of prison

Notorious sex predator Paul Leroux was released from prison Dec. 30 after serving 10 months of a three-year sentence for crimes committed against eight young boys in Saskatchewan in the 1950s and 1960s.

Leroux was sentenced for eight counts of indecent assault and two counts of gross indecency on Dec 12, 2013 for those crimes.

In 1998, he faced charges for his abuse of young boys at former Catholic residential school residence Grollier Hall in Inuvik. He was convicted of three counts of indecent assault, attempted buggery (sodomy), attempted indecent assault and nine counts of gross indecency. He committed those crimes between 1967 and 1979, while working as a supervisor there.

His victims were teenage boys aged 13 to 19. He served three years of a ten-year sentence in a federal penitentiary for his crimes in Inuvik.

Roundtable held to discuss missing and murdered indigenous women

Panelists and audience members were brought to tears discussing missing and murdered indigenous women in the North at the Denendeh Health Symposium on Jan. 29.

"I lost my sister in 1987. She was murdered. She was only 16-years old," said Mabel Bohnet of Behchoko at the symposium.

She then addressed the panel asking for support, not only for victims of violence, but those who are close to them. She went on to explain that her sister's face was unrecognizable due to the damage done by her attacker, and she was identified only by a birthmark. Two young couples found her body and, while they were happy and successful at the time, Bohnet said they went on to struggle with substance abuse, and instability in their lives.

"What kind of help is out there for people like them?" she asked.

Women's centre to be replaced at Fort Smith Correctional Complex

A replacement women's correctional centre was planned last February for Fort Smith.

A request for proposals to design and construct a new women's centre at the Fort Smith Correctional Complex issued by the Department of Public Works and Services closed on Feb. 13.

Construction is expected to be completed by the summer of 2017, she said, adding the new building will then be occupied.

"We're looking at October 2017 as being fully operational."

"The existing women's centre started as a youth group home about 45 years ago," said Department of Justice director of community justice and policing, Shirley Kemeys Jones.

"They did extensive renovations at the time." Now, the women's centre, and an associated duplex, have been deemed out of date. For one thing, the buildings are wooden structures."

Fort Simpson RCMP returns to Billy Cholo case

Police were back in Fort Simpson late last January hoping to dig up more clues in the year-old Billy Cholo murder investigation.

Police stated in a news release at the time they were returning as the investigation into his murder "advances."

Officers with the major crimes unit of the RCMP from Yellowknife came to the village for several days using an unmanned aerial vehicle, commonly called a drone, to revisit the scene from above where his remains were found. The officers also hoped to speak with witnesses to the crime. RCMP Const. Elenore Sturko said at the time police know there are witnesses in the community who could come forward.

An avid outdoorsman, the 45-year-old Cholo was reported missing in December 2013.

His remains were found by an RCMP officer inside a gazebo beside the Fort Simpson Health Centre Jan. 9, 2014.

Six years later, Margaret Leishman's fight continues

A Kakisa mother talked to News/North last February about the consequences of what the GNWT has admitted is a gap in Stanton Territorial Hospital's security protocols has had on her son, Allisdair Leishman. In Nov. 4, 2009 Allisdair, then 35-years old, was taken by ambulance to Stanton in visible distress. Not long after arriving he wandered to the hospital kitchen, where he injured himself with a knife.

"At that moment ... his life and that of his family changed forever," Allisdair's mother, Margaret Leishman, wrote in a Dec. 17 open letter to MLAs and local media.

In the wake of publicized violent outbursts at Stanton, where News/North reported in November 2014 that patients had punched, scratched and choked nurses, Margaret renewed her call for Department of Health and Social Services (HSS) to provide better care for her son and make public the findings of an inquiry into his actions.

Fort Smith strike begins

The union representing eight striking workers at the Fort Smith Housing Authority warned it might start picketing the homes of the authority's manager and board of directors as a strike in the community heated up.

Todd Parsons, president of the Union of Northern Workers, said such so-called secondary picketing is not unusual in the labour movement.

The strikers, who walked off the job on Feb. 2, picketed the home of the housing authority's manager on Feb. 6.

"It's something we would not normally do during the first week of a strike," said Parsons. "It's something we do in an effort to escalate pressure." He said the manager has avoided the workers' picket line by usually going to work at about 6 a.m. and leaving after the pickets are down at 6 p.m.

Hay River man not criminally responsible for stabbing death

A man who stabbed his mother twice in the chest with a 10-inch knife was found not criminally responsible for her death on Feb. 18.

The verdict in the second degree murder trial of Richard Deleeuw came after three days of testimony pointing to his history of mental illness. Deleeuw was 25-years old when he stabbed 52-year old Linda Lafferty in the woman's Cranberry Crescent home on Sept. 24, 2012. NWT Supreme Court Justice Karan Shaner ruled Feb. 18 that although Deleeuw stabbed his mother and that she died as a result, he is not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder.

"This case is absolutely heartbreaking," said Shaner, adding she couldn't imagine the difficulties the family, including Deleeuw, was facing in the wake of the incident.


Two sudden deaths shake territory

The Mounties and the NWT Chief Coroner are investigated two sudden deaths in the territory last March.

A man was found dead in the driver's seat of a vehicle in the ditch Feb. 25 on Highway 1 near Fort Providence at about 7 p.m. RCMP stated that it did not appear that a collision had occurred.

The next day in Gameti, police said a male was found dead between the arena and the hamlet garage. A cause of death had not been determined when the death was reported, police stated.

RCMP stated foul play was not suspected in either case.

Sudden death of councillor stuns Inuvik

Inuvik residents were in mourning after town councillor and long-time community member Terry Halifax died suddenly after a cancelled town council meeting in late February.

Halifax was leaving town hall after the regular Feb. 25 meeting was cancelled, when he fell to the ground in front of the fire hall. He was 54.

"Up until that moment he was the Terry Halifax I knew," said Grant Hood, Inuvik's senior administrative officer, at the time.

"There was no indication something was wrong. It's a tough day for a lot of people."

The fire department was holding its regular Wednesday practice when Halifax collapsed and members were able to perform CPR quickly and transport him to the hospital. However, he was pronounced dead after doctors weren't able to save him.

Fort Smith Fire claims a life

A fire in Fort Smith Feb. 22 claimed the life of one person. The fire was discovered at about 6 a.m. in a duplex on Pike Street. According to RCMP, a resident who could smell smoke in the same duplex reported the fire. Occupants of one half of the duplex evacuated the structure and attempted to alert anyone in the other half of the building, but received no answer.

Fort Smith Fire Chief Wes Steed said at the time that 13 firefighters responded to the call, and some tried to enter the burning building.

"They attempted to go in the front door," he said, explaining they were forced back by flames and smoke.

Superboard put on hold

The former Conservative federal government's plans to create one centralized land and water super board in the territory were put on hold in late February.

NWT Supreme Court Justice Karen Shaner granted an injunction Feb. 27 which preserved the Wek'eezhii Land and Water Board, as well as the territory's two other regional land and water boards, until the Tlicho government's lawsuit against the feds was to be heard in court.

Jason Madden, the lawyer representing the Tlicho Government, explained at the time that Shaner had essentially suspended the Government of Canada's attempt to implement parts of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (MVRMA) that would eliminate regional land and water boards in favour of a territory-wide super board. "Canada has to recognize that (with) these treaties the constitutional architecture in the NWT has fundamentally changed," said Madden.

Inuvik Drum founder dies

Tom Butters believed never to take himself too seriously.

When he founded the Inuvik Drum in 1965, he had a motto. Under the newspaper logo on the editorial page of early editions of the paper, before Northern News Services took it over, read the Latin phrase Hodie Acta Diurna Cras Cacarta Charta, or, the day's newspaper is tomorrow's toilet paper.

The founding editor of the Drum and five-term MLA died March 2 in Duncan B.C., at the age of 89.

The publisher, editor, writer, photographer and printer was born in Vancouver in 1929. Growing up during the depression in British Columbia, Butters lived in poverty most of his young life, said his son Ian.

Butters is predeceased by his wife Margaret "Peg" Butters and his son Alan Butters. He left behind children Christine Cross, Ian Butters, Meg Innes and five grandchildren.

Huge storm rattles Tuk

Mangilaluk School became a shelter to more than 50 people after high winds knocked out power in Tuktoyaktuk on March 1.

Katrina Cockney, executive assistant for the hamlet, told News/North at the time the majority of people who sheltered at the school came and went but around 25 stayed the night on mats in the gym.

"Everybody was in good spirits. We just made sure everybody was OK and had something to eat and drink," she said.

"A donation from a hamlet store provided sandwiches, water and snacks for the children."

Woman fights for daughter's Chipewyan name

Shene Catholique-Valpy's daughter had just celebrated her first birthday in March but as far as the NWT government is concerned, she didn't exist.

Since her birth in February 2014 in Yellowknife, Sahaia has been denied a birth certificate by territorial health authorities.

The problem is a tiny linguistic symbol, called a glottal stop, that sits in her name. Although the NWT has 11 official languages, including Chipewyan, when it comes to official documents, characters outside the Roman alphabet are not accepted.

"I've been waiting for about a year now and I have to pay for the medical bills every time she goes to the doctor," Catholique- Valpy told News/North at the time.

"The Vital Statistics Act requires the name of a child be written entirely in the letters of the Roman alphabet," said Dr. Arok Wolvengrey, head of the Department of Indigenous Languages, Arts and Cultures at the First Nations University of Canada in Regina.

Thaidene Nene discussions ramp up

Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation and the territorial government were working toward a "made-in-the-North" agreement

last March on Thaidene Nene, which could leave the possibility for mineral development alongside subsistence hunting and recreational activities.

"We have compressed probably two to three years of the old traditional style negotiating into literally a very few months," said then-Environment and Natural Resources Minister Michael Miltenberger.

He added negotiations around establishing the 33,500 square kilometre park reserve that encompasses the east arm of Great Slave Lake were also to include other groups, such as the NWT Metis Nation, the Yellowknives Dene and the Deninu Ku'e First Nation.

The negotiators were going for a made-in-the-North approach to the park, which means Northern values would be incorporated into its management strategy, said Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation (LKDFN) chief negotiator Steve Nitah.


Study shows polar bear population healthy

An April 2015 study on Inuvialuit traditional knowledge regarding polar bears in the Western Arctic ran counter to the narrative that climate change is decimating the species.

"There's this rush to judgment that the fate of polar bears is sealed and their extinction is a foregone conclusion," said Lindsay Staples, chair of the Wildlife Management Advisory Council for the North Slope, the group who performed the study. "That really is alarming to many of us who are involved in the management and research of polar bears."

The study found that climate change since the 1980s has created new sea ice and weather conditions in the Western Arctic but polar bear populations in the area appear to have remained healthy and stable.

Baby needs new liver

In April of last year, Charlotte Francis knew something was wrong with her five-week-old son.

"He was in a lot of pain, crying, wouldn't eat," Francis said of her son, Emmett, who had also been born with a case of jaundice. "That's why I took him to the emergency ward."

Francis, who is originally from Fort McPherson, now lives in Whitehorse, Yukon with her common-law partner, Michael Smith and her three other children.

Baby Emmett Smith was born Nov. 21, 2014. Once he was admitted to the Whitehorse General Hospital, an X-ray immediately revealed something unusual.

"There was one big giant mass in his belly," Francis said.

Emmett and Francis were sent to the BC Children's Hospital in Vancouver where staff performed a biopsy.

On Jan. 5, Emmett was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a rare liver cancer, which started the process of searching for a new liver for the baby.

Bison hazard hits South Slave highways

The territorial government reminded the public to be wary of bison on highways following a serious collision in March 2015.

A tractor-trailer travelling south on Highway 3 between Behchoko and Fort Providence hit a herd of bison on the road early in the morning late last March. Michael Conway, regional superintendent with the Department of Transportation, said at the time low visibility conditions contributed to the collision.

"(Collisions) usually happen in low-visibility situations," he said. Conway could not give details about whether there were any injuries or how many bison were struck. He said bison collisions vary year to year.

"I think that the efforts that the Departments of Transportation and Environment and Natural Resources have made over the last few years with regards to ensuring people are aware of bison areas has probably reduced the amount collisions but they still happen," Conway said.

Charge laid in fatal Hay River stabbing

One woman was dead and another charged with second degree murder after police responded to a report of a stabbing at Hay River's Mackenzie Place High Rise on April 8.

Roberta Lynn Sabourin, 42, was found having suffered stab wounds in the highrise shortly after 9:30 p.m. that evening, according to RCMP. The police issued a news release April 10 stating 41-year-old Lori Roberta Hansen, also of Hay River, had been charged with Sabourin's murder.

The charge against Hansen was stayed in December.

Deh Cho MLA charged with assault causing bodily harm

Deh Cho MLA Michael Nadli, who was charged with assault causing bodily harm in April, gave up his position as chairman of the Standing Committee of Government Operations at the legislative assembly soon after the incident.

He was granted bail on April 8 with a number of conditions after an incidence at his home in Fort Providence on April 5.

Nadli, 50, had been in custody since being charged in connection with an incident in Fort Providence on April 5 and pled guilty to assault. Despite being convicted of the charge later in the year and serving jail time, Nadli was re-elected to respresent the Deh Cho riding in November's territorial election.

The standing committee is responsible for reviewing territorial government business, including budgets, bills, reports and financial statements.

Gameti man found dead in Yellowknife alley

A man found dead in a downtown Yellowknife alley on Good Friday morning last year was identified by family members as Raymond John Simpson, 43, originally from Gameti.

His body was discovered just after 8 a.m. on the morning of April 3.

Simpson's sister Therese Bekale, who lives in Gameti, confirmed it was her brother who was found. She said he also went by the name Peter.

"He grew up here in Gameti. He was badly hurt when he was struck by a pick-up truck in Yellowknife in 2013," she said.

In December, the coroner concluded he had died from head trauma, likely after a fall.

Sex offender gets seven years in custody

It was unclear where sex offender James Tutcho was to serve his seven-year prison sentence following his conviction on seven counts of sexual assault over an 18-year period.

The 50-year-old former Colville Lake band councillor was sentenced to seven years in prison by NWT Supreme Court Judge Shannon Smallwood on April 1. Smallwood recommended Tutcho be allowed to serve his term in the territory. People who are sentenced to more than two years in custody are usually sent to federal penitentiaries down south.

Tutcho was convicted Feb. 12 for the crimes committed on three different victims between 1995 and 2013. The youngest victim was eight-years old.

Nurse's appeal dismissed

A judge dismissed an appeal by a former NWT nurse over the suspension of her nursing licence and a $10,000 fine last April.

NWT Supreme Court Judge Virginia Schuler ruled the Registered Nurses Association of the NWT was within its rights to suspend Madeline Heffel for what it called unprofessional conduct while treating a patient. The ruling followed a hearing held in February of last year. Heffel's licence was suspended following an incident in 2011 at the health centre in Deline, where she was treating a 15-year-old boy who had been pulled from Great Bear Lake after a suicide attempt.

Court documents describe how the hypothermic boy was biting, kicking, scratching and spitting at Heffel and two other nurses. Heffel's lawyer, Austin Marshall, said she had covered the boy's face with an open hand and had turned his head away from her after he had spit in her mouth.

The two other nurses said at an earlier disciplinary hearing that Heffel had struck the patient with an open hand, covered his mouth, pinched his nose and said, "I'll stop when you stop."


Google looks North

NWT parks and wilderness opened to the world with Google Street View heading North to take in and record the sights of the territory's two national parks: Wood Buffalo National Park, shared with Alberta, and Tuktut Nogait, in the Beaufort Delta east of Paulatuk.

On April 30, the web-based platform made images of the Northern parklands available, something Cathie Bolstad, the executive director of NWT Tourism said was a great opportunity.

"The more we can get beautiful, spectacular Northwest Territories out there in the World Wide Web where people are watching video and looking for places to go, the better for us," she said.

A big whoop over cranes

Some First Nations and Metis Councils were upset with Parks Canada over a lack of consultations on whooping crane visitor experience tours planned in Wood Buffalo National Park.

"There was just no consultation involved with the park's proposal," said Ken Hudson, president of the Fort Smith Metis Council.

Tours were planned to begin at the end of May, according to the Parks Canada website, and involved helicopter tours and landings on wetlands, as well as hikes to view cranes from a distance.

The tours would be the first time park visitors would be guided to the secluded summer nesting grounds of the whooping crane - an endangered species.

Hudson said the issue came up in late April at a meeting on the Hay River Reserve involving Parks Canada and representatives of the 11 First Nations and Metis Councils surrounding Wood Buffalo National Park.

Grollier Hall sex offender back in jail

A former residential school dormitory supervisor charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse was ordered back to prison in early May.

Paul Leroux, now in his mid-70s, worked at Beauval Residential School in Saskatchewan and the Grollier Hall dormitory in Inuvik for a period spanning nearly 20 years.

During that time he was found to have sexually abused many of the boys in his charge.

In 1998, NWT Supreme Court found Leroux guilty of sexually abusing 14 boys who lived at Grollier Hall between 1968 and 1979 and sentenced him to 10 years behind bars on charges of indecent assault, attempted buggery and gross indecency.

Leroux served three years of the sentence in federal prison before being granted parole.

In 2013, Leroux was charged with similar offenses related to his time a Beauval and given a three-year term but released on parole less than a year later. On May 4, the Federal Court of Appeal ordered Leroux back to prison, stating his original sentence was inappropriate given the charges.

Diversion option for domestic abusers

A new option for low-risk domestic violence offenders became available in Hay River, seeing the accused in treatment instead of the typical criminal justice system.

The plan was to funnel those who committed what are deemed low-level acts of domestic violence into a special domestic violence court, held in Hay River roughly once every three weeks. If both the Crown prosecutor and defence lawyer agree, the offender may be referred to the treatment option, a five-week course run by Probation Services and Community Counselling.

If they are successful in the group counselling, they go back before a judge who will take that into account when sentencing. For geographical reasons, the program is open to people in Hay River, Enterprise and the Hay River Reserve.

Striking oil in the Sahtu

An estimated 191 billion barrels of shale oil was determined to be under two fields in the Sahtu region, according to an evaluation by the territorial government and National Energy Board released May 22.

The amount was described as "staggering" by then-minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment David Ramsay.

This was the first assessment of the Bluefish and Canol plays, located around Norman Wells and Tulita, for shale oil potential. Shale extraction is most commonly linked to the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking."

There has been very little exploration of the oil resources in the region so there was some uncertainty in the data.

Heatwave washes over Deh Cho

In mid-May, the Village of Fort Simpson broke temperature records with the mercury rising to 30 C on multiple occasions.

"I've been in this business for over 45 years ... it's unprecedented," said David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada. "In the wintertime having temperatures that are 12 degrees cooler than normal is not rare at all. But getting temperatures 12 degrees warmer than normal in the warm season, it just doesn't happen."

The duration is also surprising, he added. A spike in temperature for a day or two isn't unexpected but the heat held steady.

By May 25, The Department of Environment and Natural Resources had already received reports of eight forest fires - three of them human-caused - and were promptly put out.


George Braden dies

The first elected leader of the NWT government, George Braden, died in Ottawa on May 25 after a short battle with gastric cancer. Tributes poured in for the 65-year-old who was largely considered to be the "father of devolution."

Originally from Saskatchewan, Braden moved to Yellowknife in 1964 with his family, attending Sir John Franklin High School before receiving a B.A. in political science from the University of Alberta and a master's degree from Dalhousie University.

Braden's political career started in 1979 when he was voted in as MLA for Yellowknife North at only 28 years old.

Fracking motions voted down

Members of the 17th Legislative Assembly voted down two motions relating to hydraulic fracturing, the controversial process of natural gas extraction also known as fracking. Both a motion calling for a moratorium on the practice, put forward by then-Weledeh MLA Bob Bromley and a call for a plebiscite on the practice to be held at the same time as the territorial elections by Yellowknife Centre MLA Robert Hawkins were shot down.

Bromley sought a two-year ban along with consultation with the oil and gas sector in regards to the method of extraction that has been linked to various environmental issues.

Both measures were opposed by cabinet.

Search on for lost residential school claimants

Staff with the Independent Assessment Process sought out hundreds of resident school survivors, including six people from the Northwest Territories who had yet to have their claims processed.

"Our information at this point tells us that there are six people from the Northwest Territories who have claims that we've lost touch," Dan Shapiro, program chief adjudicator said. "We'd very much like to hear from these folks."

The six are among 400 survivors from across Canada being labeled as "lost claimants," meaning they had claimed files by the deadline to do so but staff and lawyers had since been unable to make contact with them in order to move the claims forward.

Michael Nadli pleads guilty to assault

Deh Cho MLA Michael Nadli pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm and agreed to enter an alternative justice program following the charge.

Nadli turned himself into RCMP on April 5 after police had gone to a Fort Providence residence where a victim reported an assault. The victim, later revealed to be Nadli's wife, was taken to the health centre in Fort Providence and treated for non-life threatening injuries. Nadli was arrested later that day and held in custody before being released on $1,500 bail.

Imperial suspends Beaufort drilling program

Imperial Oil officially announced it was indefinitely suspending all work on its Beaufort Sea exploration drilling program.

"The decision involves suspending all the regulatory work that we've been involved in and planned submissions," Imperial spokesperson Pius Rolheiser said in an e-mail to News/North.

The decision to defer the project was made to allow the three partner companies - Imperial along with Exxon Mobil Canada and BP Exploration - more time to conduct additional technical studies and research specific to the area. As well, Rolheiser said the time would allow the companies to complete a thorough regulatory program.


Debate sparked after murdered and missing women report

An RCMP report released June 19 recommended prevention efforts focusing on curbing family violence in response to statistics showing the majority of female homicide victims in Canada meet their death at the hands of men known to them.

The document was intended to supplement the RCMP's missing and murdered indigenous women national operational overview.

Gail Cyr, executive director of the Native Women's Association of the NWT, said the term "known to them" was too broad, taking basically any person a woman is in contact with into account, and argued that RCMP were basing the report off of incomplete data.

With 106 unsolved homicide cases involving indigenous women, and 174 outstanding missing persons, she said the RCMP was lacking critical information.

Fort Smith man's body found

Human remains located on July 6 in a pond along Highway 5 outside of Hay River were identified as those of Brian Melvin Boucher of Fort Smith.

The 52-year-old was last seen in Hay River on Oct. 25, 2014. He never made it back to Fort Smith. Boucher's vehicle was discovered submerged in the pond containing his remains.

The RCMP expressed a great deal of concern on behalf of the public when Boucher went missing, and great efforts made by both police and public to locate him.

Although the cause of death was not yet determined, foul play was not suspected.

Dehcho process paused

The long and bumpy dealings of the Dehcho process saw leaders considering pressing pause until after the fall's federal and territorial elections.

During the Dehcho First Nations Annual Assembly from June 23 to 25, communities considered postponing deliberations until a new government takes power.

Grand Chief Herb Norwegian said the entire process could shift if the federal NDP party were to be elected.

Anthrax in wood buffalo

An anthrax outbreak in Wood Buffalo National Park was suspected after 49 bison were found dead in the park that covers an area of northern Alberta and southern NWT.

Although anthrax was not yet confirmed and samples had been sent for testing in Lethbridge, Alta., park spokesperson Tim Gauthier said the carcasses found had the appearance of animals that had died of anthrax. Those signs include lying on their back or side with legs very stiff in a sawhorse position.

Virtually all of the carcasses were found in remote areas of the park and would be left to decompose naturally.

Aerial and road patrols of the park were increased to ensure visitor safety and anthrax control measures were in place near high-use areas, such as roads, to minimize the release of anthrax spores into the soil.

Thaidene Nene plan unveiled

Mixed reaction came from a public meeting on the proposed boundaries for the territory's newest national park reserve. Plans for the Thaidene Nene National Park Reserve have been in the making for nearly half a century, and the newly determined boundaries were presented at a public meeting on June


Some attendees expressed concern that traditional activities would not be permitted in the conservation area, though then Environment Minister Michael Miltenberger was largely able to assuage those concerns.

The park, located on the East Arm of Great Slave Lake, is divided between federal and territorial jurisdiction, with the GNWT amending its Territorial Parks Act to ensure activities such as hunting, trapping, snowmobiling, dog sledding, camping and fishing could continue within the area.

Internet pulled from communities

SSi Micro pulled its AirWare Internet Service from 10 Northern communities following years of financial issues.

The move saw services pulled from Colville Lake, Deline, Lutsel K'e, Paulatuk, Gameti, Sachs Harbour, Ulukhaktok, Wekweeti, Nahanni Butte and Trout Lake. Fort Providence was the only community where AirWare remained. Following the shutdown that began June 19 that was to be completed by Aug. 19, the communities were left searching for a new Internet provider.

Representatives from several communities said the change should not have grave effects, with customers able to switch over to service from Northwestel. Other representatives said it would be a big change, leaving community without service until they are able to find a replacement.


Hay River Strike ends

After months of striking, workers with the Town of Hay River voted to accept council's offer in early August.

Having been on strike since Feb. 9 over wage increases, workers "overwhelmingly accepted" the town's offer, said one of the 31 town employees, Rachel Yee.

"We're hoping to be able to return to work in the near future, and hopefully the transition will go smoothly, with little animosity," she said.

The newest offer included a two per cent wage increase for the first two years of the contract and 1.75 per cent for the third.

The dispute was both long and bitter, with the Union of Northern Workers calling town council's tactics through the ordeal "harsh," referencing the use of replacement workers.

The new agreement expired Dec. 31, replacing the previous agreement that ended Dec. 31, 2013 - meaning pay raises under the new agreement would be retroactive.

Road upgrades with help from feds

The federal and territorial governments pledged $96 million to go toward road and highway upgrades across the NWT.

The announcement came in late July, and was proposed as an effort to improve safety, extend the life of roads and to support economic growth, job creation and stronger communities, according to a GNWT news release.

Moving natural resources to markets was a priority, said Premier Bob McLeod, that required significant contribution form the federal government. The improvement of infrastructure would support economic prosperity, lower the cost of living and improve the lives of residents as well, he said.

Writ drops on fed election

With the writ dropping on the federal election on Aug. 2, some political parties in the NWT were left scrambling to choose candidates.

The front-runners with the early writ drop included incumbent Dennis Bevington, who announced Aug. 6 his intention to run for re-election under the NDP banner once more. He also suggested the early call, leaving a longer than normal campaign period, would backfire on the Conservative government. Not knowing the actual motives for the long campaign, Bevington suggested it was likely money - in that the Conservatives had more of it.

The Conservatives also had their candidate picked out with former premier and mayor of Inuvik Floyd Roland representing the party in the territory.

Following an Aug. 8 meeting, the Liberal Party of the NWT was set to choose its candidate, with former MLA Michael McLeod and former Yellowknife city councillor Gail Cyr both seeking the title. McLeod eventually won the nomination and the seat in the Oct. 19 election. The Libertarian Party of Canada also had a candidate in Yellowknife's Bob Stewart but he dropped out before the election. John Moore of Inuvik was the Green Party candidate.

Review of lost medical records ordered

Eight patients in the NWT did not immediately receive medical followup after a computer glitch prevented reports from their diagnostic images from being forwarded to their doctors or nurses.

On Aug. 21, Health Minister Glen Abernethy confirmed this software glitch existed from April into early August. In response, Abernethy ordered an external investigation into how exactly the glitch happened at Yellowknife's Stanton Territorial Hospital and why it took so long to detect. A total of 1,427 diagnostic images, including X-rays, mammograms, ultrasounds and CT scans were affected by the malfunction. Of those, 844 reports were normal and patients did not require a follow up. However, 445 did require future follow and 138 required immediate follow up. Of the latter, Abernethy said 130 did in fact receive the appropriate follow-up despite the glitch and health professionals had since reached out to the remaining eight.

Metis, federal and territorial governments closer to deal

Following nearly two decades of negotiations, a land and resources agreement-in-principle was signed between the NWT Metis Nation and the territorial and federal governments.

The agreement-in-principle gave all three governments the ability to move forward into a final agreement on land and resource divisions. In the future, talks would address self-government by the Metis Nation and ensure clarity over the owners, use and management of the land and resources among Metis.

"I am proud of the milestone we have achieved and it has been a long time coming as we have been in negotiations since 1996," said Garry Bailey, president of the Northwest Territories Metis Nation.

He said the Metis look forward to a final agreement that recognizes Metis rights to self-governance, as well as land and resource capital.


Forest fires not as bad as predicted

Forest fires only consumed about one fifth of the land that they did in 2014, said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources towards the end of forest fire season last year.

Experts had warned that the 2015 forest fire season could have been worse than in 2014. However, only 6,220 square kilometres burned this past summer compared to more than 34,150 square kilometres in 2014.

A variety of reasons contributed to the tamer fire season, including an earlier and more intense response to fires deemed likely to become larger. Also, because so much land burned in 2014, there was less timber for fires to consume the following year.

The NWT forest fire season officially ended on Sept. 30.

Baby Emmett goes home

Nine-month-old baby Emmett Smith returned home to Whitehorse, Yukon on Aug. 28 after being in hospitals in British Columbia and Alberta since he was five-weeks old.

Emmett, who was born in November 2014, had been diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a rare form of liver cancer, in January 2015. His father, Michael Smith, donated a piece of his liver to the baby and the transplant was completed in May.

Emmett's mother, Charlotte Francis, is from Fort McPherson.

Housing project uncovers graves in Fort Simpson

Four unmarked graves were found during sonar surveys where the NWT Housing Corporation had planned to build three new duplexes in early September.

The duplexes were to be constructed on a lot behind the Nahendeh Kue building in the village's downtown. Dehcho First Nations Grand Chief Herb Norwegian said there are many graves on the island where Fort Simpson is located, some of which are mass graves for people who died during the 1928 flu epidemic.

Elders said the graves should be left untouched and the $1.25 million construction project was put on hold.

Man pleads guilty in murder case

The man accused of killing 63-year-old Lutsel K'e elder Yvonne Desjarlais pled guilty to second degree murder on Sept. 21.

David Richard Harrison, 30, admitted to strangling Desjarlais, whom he had invited to drink beer with him.

The court heard Harrison had been an employee at Le Stock Pot deli when he invited Desjarlais in to drink beer after hours on the night of Dec. 29, 2012.

When Desjarlais attempted to leave, Harrison strangled her. Her body was found behind the deli the next morning. Harrison was originally charged with first-degree murder but pled guilty to second-degree murder.

Beloved doctor leaves Inuvik

After 10 years in Inuvik, Dr. Peter Boronowski left the community after "mysterious circumstances" led to his contract not being renewed.

Boronowski said there had been complaints at the hospital, but that hospital executives had not told him what the complaints were. A community feast held in Boronowski's honour attracted about 100 people, many of whom shared stories of the doctor's life in Inuvik. The feast had originally started out as a small event, but blossomed into a full-blown celebration that lasted until late into the night on Sept. 12.

Leaked e-mails reveal Tuk highway over budget

A leaked e-mail to News/North revealed the Inuvik-Tuk highway could be as much as $32 million over budget by the time it is complete.

The internal Deptartment of Transportation e-mail thread stated stated the highway's contractors, made up of E. Gruben's Transport and EGT-Northwind was preparing to submit a claim for cost overruns on the highway and the GNWT had been considering reimbursing these losses.

The Department of Transportation confirmed that EGT-Northwind had contacted the DOT about making a claim on its contract, which led to a confidential review between the company, the department and the project's independent engineer.

The $229.3 million contract, $200 million of which was provided by the federal government, was awarded to EGT-Northwind in 2014. But pre-construction work ended up increasing the final cost of the project to $299 million.

Despite the e-mails, the GNWT maintains the Inuvik-Tuk Highway will be completed on time and on budget.

Buffalo Airways plane crashes

A Buffalo Airways plane crash-landed in Deline on Sept. 25 after its engine failed.

The four crew members on board were not injured when the plane crashed while transporting cargo between Yellowknife and Norman Wells. The plane was one of two Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commandos owned by Buffalo Airways, which has had the planes in service since 1945. Emergency crews and police responded to the scene of the crash, which took place over the lunch hour that day.

Fort Good Hope man dies after boat capsizes

Eddy John Erutse, a 44-year-old man originally from Fort Good Hope, died after his boat capsized on the Mackenzie River on Sept. 19.

Erutse had been trying to bring his boat to a floating dock outside Tulita when the accident took place. He was not wearing a life jacket.

Bad weather meant it took two days to recover his body from the river.

Relatives said Erutse was a kind man who always helped others. He had been on his way to Fort Good Hope to renovate a house he owned in the community.


Justin Trudeau visits Yellowknife

Justin Trudeau made a speech at Mildred Hall School in Yellowknife on Oct. 9.

His speech included campaign promises, such as a pledge to increase the Northern living allowance, which he said had not kept up with the rate of inflation. Trudeau also explained how a Liberal government would prioritize housing and climate change preparedness. About 300 people attended the campaign stop, including former NWT Liberal MP Ethel Blondin-Andrew and Nunavut Liberal candidate Hunter Tootoo.

Trudeau, who was more than an hour late for the event, spoke to the crowd for about 15 minutes. He went on to win a Liberal majority government in the Oct. 19 federal election.

First Pride Week held in Norman Wells

Students from Mackenzie Mountain School in Norman Wells held a Pride Week celebration, which aimed to promote tolerance and celebrate diversity within the school and community, in October.

The week included a movie night, homophobic language workshops and a pride parade that travelled through the town. Lessons and activities were geared to each age group in the school, which ranges from kindergarten to Grade 12.

The NWT Human Rights Commission also supplied books that featured stories about different kinds of families and the importance of acceptance. The school has had a Gay-Straight Alliance group for more than a year, called the Rainbow Alliance.

North Arm Territorial Park water levels drop

Behchoko Chief Clifford Daniels said water levels in North Arm Territorial Park were the lowest he had ever seen in September and October.

About 100 metres of lake bottom was exposed on the shore of Great Slave Lake about 16 km outside Behchoko when the water was at its lowest. Environment Canada records showed that the water level in the lake dropped by 10 centimetres between Sept. 25 and Oct. 1. Strong north winds were blamed for the decrease. Daniels was concerned about a whitefish spawning area four km from the park at Mosquito Creek, as well as dangerous boating and fishing conditions as a result of the low water levels.

Dehcho Grand Chief Herb Norwegian said water levels were also low on the Mackenzie River and boaters were having to replace their outboard motors due to striking rocks.

GNWT calls on Nunavut to limit caribou hunting

Michael Miltenberger, then-Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, called on the Government of Nunavut to reduce caribou tags for sport hunters in light of declining Bathurst caribou population numbers.

The herd migrates between the two territories.

The most recent count found that numbers had declined in the Bluenose-East, Bluenose-West, Bathurst, Cape Bathurst and Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula barren-ground herds.

In the NWT, caribou can only be hunted for food and ceremonial purposes while Nunavut still provided commercial hunting tags. Officials from NWT and Nunavut were expected to continue to discuss ways both jurisdictions could work together on the issue.

Aklavik pays $1.90/litre for gas

More than 100 Aklavik residents signed a petition last fall demanding that the community find another fuel supplier.

When Beaufort Delta Petroleum took over fuel delivery from Arctic Dove in August, the price of fuel increased from $1.60 a litre to $1.90. Mackenzie Delta MLA Frederick Blake told the 17th legislative assembly customers had not been made aware that the rate would suddenly increase. The petition called for the hamlet to begin looking for companies that could provide cheaper fuel.

Home owners, hunters and trappers, community government representatives, recreational vehicle users and residents signed the petition.

Deh Cho MLA Michael Nadli sentenced

Deh Cho MLA Michael Nadli was sentenced to 45 days in jail after pleading guilty to assault causing bodily harm on Oct. 15.

Nadli had been at a home in Fort Providence on April 5 when he slapped and broke the wrist of a woman he was attempting to remove from the house. He turned himself in the same day. Nadli was convicted of assault against the same person in 2004.

He was suspended from his seat in the legislative assembly. His court sentence was mitigated by the fact that Nadli had turned himself in and agreed to participate in an alternative justice program involving group counselling.

He was re-elected to represent the Deh Cho riding during the territorial election on Nov. 23.

Michael McLeod new Liberal MP for NWT

Michael McLeod, a former MLA, Minister of Transportation and brother of Premier Bob McLeod, was elected the Liberal MP for the NWT on Oct. 19.

McLeod replaced NDP MP Dennis Bevington. He was one of 10 indigenous MPs who were voted in during the election and McLeod said he planned to connect with the other nine immediately in an effort to create a network. He also committed to speaking with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about other Liberal campaign promises, such as upgrading the Yellowknife River water pipeline and asking for federal funding for the new Stanton hospital.

New mayors elected across territory

Four communities out of five voted in new mayors during municipal elections on Oct. 19. In Hay River, Brad Mapes was elected over Andrew Cassidy while Darlene Sibbeston beat incumbent Sean Whelly in Fort Simpson.

Interim mayor Jim McDonald defeated councillor and former mayor Derek Lindsay in Inuvik while Lynn Napier-Buckley won over mayor Brad Brake in Fort Smith. No election was held in Norman Wells where the mayor and council were acclaimed, meaning Nathan Watson is still in charge.

Mayor Mark Heyck was re-elected to a second term in Yellowknife.


David Richard Harrison gets life in prison

David Richard Harrison, 30, who pled guilty to the murder of Yvonne Deslarlais, was sentenced to life in prison on Nov. 1.

Earlier in the year, Harrison had pled guilty to strangling and killing Desjarlais on the evening of Dec. 29, 2012.

NWT Supreme Court Justice Shannon Smallwood called Harrison a violent person and said his sentence reflected the need to protect the public. Desjarlais, 63, was originally from Lutsel K'e. She accepted Harrison's invitation to join him to drink beer at Le Stock Pot, where Harrison was employed at the time, on the night of Dec. 29. Her body was discovered the next morning. Harrison was arrested in July, 2013 after DNA evidence linked him to the crime.

He will be eligible for parole in 13 years.

Salt River First Nation opens gas station

The Salt River First Nation opened its own gas station on Nov. 2 with a community celebration. About 100 people attended the station's grand opening, which is located on Trout Street, between McDougal Road and Highway 5. The Petro Canada Gas Bar and Convenience Store is completely owned and operated by the first nation. It took about five years for the project to come to fruition.

Senior dies after being held in jail cell

A senior citizen died in an Edmonton hospital nine days after being found in medical distress in a Fort Smith jail cell.

The 66-year-old man was found in medical distress on Oct. 16 and was taken to the Fort Smith Health Centre where he was medevaced to Edmonton. He was treated there before being transferred back to the NWT and admitted to the Fort Smith Medical Centre. He died there on Oct. 25.

Medicine Hat Police investigated the incident and determined that the Fort Smith RCMP in no way contributed to the man's death. He had been held in the jail cell for a non-criminal matter and might have been intoxicated.

Investigation into meat wastage near Dempster Highway

Conservation officers launched an investigation regarding wasted meat found a few kilometres over the border into the Yukon from the Northwest Territories.

Four bull caribou had been shot, but not butchered. The animals were believed to have been killed on Oct. 13 and were found on Oct. 15. An officer travelled to Inuvik and Fort McPherson to gather witness information and to follow up on leads. The Gwich'in Renewable Resource Board condemned the act and a representative said wasting meat flies in the face of elders' teachings. The board also created posters as part of an education campaign to teach the importance of traditional obligations while hunting.

NWT election finishes

The 2015 territorial election took place on Nov. 23 and changed the legislative assembly dramatically.

Eight MLAs were replaced, including long-time members Jane Groenewegen in Hay River South and Michael Miltenberger in Thebacha. The others who lost their seats were: Robert Bouchard in Hay River North, Kevin Menicoche, MLA for Nahendeh, Jackie Jacobson in Nunakput and Dave Ramsay in Kam Lake, Daryl Dolynny in Range Lake and Robert Hawkins in Yellowknife Centre.

Recounts were held in three of the ridings, Nunakput, Yellowknife North and Range Lake and all three of the original winners were the confirmed.

The new and re-elected MLAs were: Michael Nadli in Deh Cho, Kevin O'Reilly in Frame Lake, Glen Abernethy in Great Slave, R.J Simpson in Hay River North, Wally Schuman in Hay River South, Alfred Moses in Inuvik Boot Lake, Robert C. McLeod in Inuvik Twin Lakes, Kieron Testart in Kam Lake, Frederick Blake Jr. in Mackenzie Delta, Jackson Lafferty in Monfwi, Shane Thompson in Nahendeh, Herbert Nakimayak in Nunakput, Caroline Cochrane in Range Lake, Daniel Mark McNeely in Sahtu, Louis Sebert in Thebacha, Tom Beaulieu in Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh, Julie Green in Yellowknife Centre, Cory Vanthuyne in Yellowknife North and Robert R. McLeod in Yellowknife South.


Snap lake mine stops production

More than 400 employees were expected to be out of work after De Beers Canada announced it was stopping production at its Snap Lake diamond mine on Dec. 4.

The mine hadn't been profitable since opening in 2008, but De Beers expected it to operate until 2028. A crashing diamond market was blamed for the halt, which De Beers Canada CEO Kim Truter described as being a "care and maintenance" period. About 100 full-time employees from the NWT were expected be affected by the pause in production, but the company announced they were to be paid for 16 weeks and receive severance packages.

The mine is anticipated to open again if the market for diamonds improved.

Bob McLeod re-elected premier

Bob McLeod was re-elected as premier of the Northwest Territories during a secret voting process by MLAs.

He beat Great Slave MLA Glen Abernethy for the top spot. It was the first time in the territory's history that a premier was elected for a second consecutive term. His first term began in 2011. McLeod is originally from Fort Providence and was elected to the legislative assembly in 2007.

TRC releases final report

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its final report on Canada's residential school system. The report details the experiences of more than 150,000 aboriginal children who attended residential schools from the 19th century until 1996. The report included the history of the schools, as well as the stories of former students. It marks the culmination of the TRC's work, which began in 2008.

The report also included calls to action for the Canadian government, including reducing the number of indigenous children in foster care and improving education funding for First Nation children on reserves to match that of First Nation children off reserve.

2013 helicopter crash the result of calm seas

The Transportation Safety Board released a report Dec. 7 detailing what could have contributed to a deadly helicopter crash in the M'Clure Strait in September 2013. The helicopter was doing an ice survey mission when it took off from the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Amundsen.

The report stated that good weather that day meant the sea was calm, creating a mirror-like effect. As a result, the pilot might not have realized how low he was flying when he crashed into the water. The crash killed Daniel Dube, the helicopter's pilot, Marc Thibault, commanding officer of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Amundsen and Klaus Hochheim, an Arctic scientist with the University of Manitoba.

Superboard appeal paused

The Government of Canada halted its appeal of a court order that would have stopped the territory's land and water boards from merging.

The Tlicho government had challenged the former Conservative government's measure to merge the Mackenzie Valley, Wek'eezhii, Sahtu and Gwich'in land and water boards into one board.

The changes would have come into effect in April 2015, but in February, the Tlicho Government was granted an injunction in the NWT Supreme Court.

The Conservative government then appealed the injunction in the NWT Court of Appeal. The newly elected Liberal government put the case on hold and the Tlicho Government and the federal government were expected to begin out-of-court discussions in order to come to an agreement.

Inquiry begins

In December, the federal government pledged to launch a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.

The first phase will involve speaking with the friends and family members of victims, as well as local and national leaders, to determine how the inquiry should take shape.

An online discussion guide was also expected to be launched, which would help determine who should conduct the inquiry and how long it should take. Indigenous women made up 16 per cent of all women murdered in Canada between 1980 and 2012.

As of December 2015, five of the unsolved homicides in the NWT involved aboriginal women. There were also eight cases of unsolved missing aboriginal women, three of which were believed to have been the victims of foul play.

Copyright © by Northern News Services Ltd. All rights reserved