I have just noticed a fresh instance of Nunavut's frontier journalism. It caters to my adrenaline rush addiction with some classic ambulance chasing, spiked with a little anti-government diatribe.
I sheepishly suspend my better judgment and enjoy the thrill until, eventually, I can't help wondering how thoroughly the reporters have delved into the matter.
None of us really expects a Toronto or Edmonton meter maid to show much discretion when issuing a downtown parking ticket, for example. We all understand it's just another source of revenue to help with road maintenance.
However, we do expect supervisors to provide some discretion, perhaps even an avenue of appeal. If I leave my car for a hundred and fifty seconds while rushing to help an accident victim until paramedics arrive, I might reasonably expect the bureaucracy to review that context.
Judging from the Nunatsiaq News report on this latest Nunavut incident, it appears the once and former Fire Marshal, rather than merely ordering the deficiencies at the Territorial Correctional Center to be remedied, opted for an immediate closure order?
I'm just musing here, but with my vicarious adrenaline rush over, my reaction as a resident tends towards wondering whether the reporters, or the Fire Marshal, thought of the safety impact on the community of so sudden a closure, compared to the short term risks to the inmates.
What about the safety of the public, or the logistics and financial impact of air lifting that many people to another jurisdiction for six months to a year? How about the impact on unilingual Inuktitut speaking families and relatives?
The Auditor General's latest report points to a common underlying element in most difficulties in Nunavut. A chronic and crippling lack of people and resources in government programs.
So I am left to wonder how thoughtful it would be to blame the situation on a few exhausted public servants trying desperately to hold Nunavut's under-resourced services together. I wonder what really sent the former Fire Marshal running to the police crying professional interference? Did someone in the nebulous bureaucracy ask the same questions that have occurred to me as a mere resident and lay person in this matter?
On its face, most of us understand the Fire Marshall's logic, of course, but he's a professional, not a mere inspector-reporter. Shouldn't he test his assumptions in a slightly broader context in case he's overlooking something?
How about charging Doctors Without Borders and all the parents in cholera-plagued Haiti with criminally neglecting their sick children?
Ah yes, I feel so much better now. That should wake those infernal bureaucrats!