RANKIN INLET, Nunavut — Two headlines sharing the front page of a local Nunavut newspaper say a lot about the Far North.
"Arctic Training Centre at Resolute blessed by elder," reads one, touting a new $25-million Canadian Forces' centre that opened earlier this month. Above it: "Taking anger to street: Feed My Family Facebook group wants message on high cost of food to be heard across Nunavut."
Yes, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has strengthened the military presence in the Arctic. Yes, he wants to create more jobs here to spur economic growth.
But it's also true there are big social problems here, such as the very high cost of living and the astronomical suicide rate.
The same week the Canadian Forces opened its new facility in Resolute Bay another Nunavut community, Repulse Bay, was grieving the suicide of an 11-year-old boy.
And a spate of suicides rocked a Baffin Island community in May. First a teen reportedly shot himself on the airport's runway. Then a 13-year-old girl and her grandmother killed themselves in quick succession as well.
According to Statistics Canada, Nunavut's suicide rate stands at around 65 per 100,000 people. The national average is 11.5.
While the other territories have far lower suicide rates (the Northwest Territories' was 16 per 100,000 and Yukon's was 5.9 in 2009), the cost of living throughout the region is sky-high.