Friday, September 7, 2012
My Brush with the Law
I spent most of yesterday at the RCMP office. I was involved in a bar fight and it took three officers.....no, I'm just kidding. I had an interview today for a supply teaching position, and part of the process is to have a criminal check done, which of course is handled by the police. I walked from the school to the RCMP, and met a young woman who was the summer student at the office, and who was one of the 15 high school graduates this year. She hopes to become a police officer eventually, although some of her friends are urging her to go to college or university. A number of post-secondary institutions have preparatory programs for Inuit and other tribes whose education system isn't quite up to the standard we're used to seeing back home. A high school graduate from here is roughly on par with a grade 8 graduate in Ontario, so this prep course is like a bridge year to help transition these students to a level where they can tackle university-level coursework. Add to that significant discounts on textbooks, classes, and residency, and you've got a big advantage available, for those willing to pursue it.
Anyway, when I got to the RCMP office, I was told I need two pieces of ID to complete the check; unfortunately, I only had my health card on me, so it was another 20 minute walk back to the house, where I retrieved my wallet and headed back down. When I got back to the police station, they were all gone, apparently to pick up a new boss who had just flown in. While I waited there, another 10 people arrived looking for the police for various reasons. I met another woman who was also looking for work at the high school, the local conservation officer, and some guys who were surveying out of town for a possible gold mine. I also met a man named Peter, who is amongst other things a prison guard, and he suggested I apply. The position is on-call, so you get called in whenever they have someone to guard, usually for drunk and disorderly behaviour.
When he told me a bit about himself, I got excited - not so much for the position, but because I now knew who he really was. I should explain - before we left for Baker Lake, my cousin Gaye, who is a fantastic woman, had mentioned there was a Bahá'í member up here named Peter who worked at the jail, and he and Gaye were long-time friends (they saw the pre-release of Star Wars together when it first came out!), so we had a nice chat, mostly about Gaye, and it was nice to see how small the world can be, even 2500 km from home. For those of you not familiar with the Bahá'í faith, they believe that religious history has unfolded through a series of divine messengers, each of whom established a religion that was suited to the needs of the time and the capacity of the people. These messengers have included Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and others. The end goal is for the gradual establishment of peace, justice and unity on a global scale. I can understand the attraction - it cancels out all of the warring and mistrust between people of different faiths and collectively embraces all of them as paths to God.
Back to the RCMP - after an hour of waiting and chatting with the locals, the police finally showed up....but they informed us they were responding to a domestic dispute, and weren't sure when they'd be back, so I ended up walking home again. It was a pleasant walk, because the summer student I met lived along that route too, so I chatted with her while we walked. We spoke about the high cost of living, and she was flabbergasted that a case of pop cost $9 in Ontario (you can't buy a 4-pack for that here). I mentioned I was glad they had basketball courts, and she said she was ranked one of the top ten female players in Nunavut, but hurt her knees training and has since stopped playing. Apparently, Baker Lake came first last year in both boys and girls high school teams, and the title of top team varies each year between Baker Lake and Cambridge Bay, which was one of the stops Stephen Harper made on his recent tour of the territory.
Tomorrow I will head back to the police station, and hope the residents behave themselves long enough to confirm I am not a fugitive from justice. Then, fingers crossed, we wait and see if any openings come up. I really hope so, because being at home with not much to do has been hard to adjust to, and the extra money wouldn't hurt, either. We'll let you know how things progress.