Nunavut, Canada holds territorial election; premier to be chosen in November

A file photo of Nunavut’s legislature. In the territory’s unique electoral system, the newly elected MLAs will vote amongst themselves for the new premier. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)
A general election was held in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut on Monday that will send eleven new representatives to the territorial legislature.

New Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) include:

Patterk Netser in the constituency of Aivilik (who last served  as MLA in the riding of Nanulik in the mid-aughts); Joelie Kaernerk in Amittuq; John Main in Arviat North-Whale Cove; Adam Arreak Lightstone, Iqaluit-Manirajak, Elisapee Sheutiapik in Iqaluit-Sinaa, Mila Adjukak Kamingoak in Kugluktuk​, Margaret Nakashuk in Pangnirtung, David Akeeagok in Quttiktuq, Cathy Q. Towtongie in Rankin Inlet North-Chesterfield Inlet and Lorne Kusugak (previously MLA in the late aughts) in Rankin Inlet South.

One constituency is still up for grabs after only nine ballots separated newcomers Jeannie Hakongak Ehaloak (259) and Pamela Gross (250), and triggered a recount.

Elections Nunavut says the court will decide the recount date.

There are 22 constituencies in Nunavut.

Constituency Map
For an interactive map of Nunavut’s 22 constituencies along with updated election results, VIEW HERE on the Elections Nunavut site
Premier to be chosen by MLAs
Outing Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna in 2009. (Bill Braden/The Canadian Press)

Earlier this year, outgoing Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna said he would not run for reelection in the constituency of Kugluktuk.

Nunavut, and the neighbouring Northwest Territories, are unique in Canada’s political landscape. Unlike other provinces and territories, they have no political parties and run consensus -style governments.

Nunavut’s newly-elected MLAs will gather in mid-November for the Nunavut Leadership Forum where they’ll vote for the territory’s new premier, speaker and ministers in a secret ballot.

The first sitting of Nunavut’s 5th Legislative Assembly is expected in late November.

A general election is held in the Nunavut every four years.

Quick Facts: Nunavut

Population: 37,996

Official Languages: Inuit language (Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun dialects), English,  French

Capital: Iqaluit

Area: 1,994,000 km 2

Year Created: 1999

Sources: Government of Nunavut, Government of Canada

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canada’s new budget thin on Arctic policy substance: expert, Radio Canada International

Finland:  UN rep. urges suspension of Sámi elections, Yle News

Greenland:  Greenland, Alaska elections bolster Arctic resource extraction, Blog by Mia Bennett

Iceland:  Meet Eliza Reid – Iceland’s Canadian first lady, Radio Canada International

Russia: United Russia wins elections in Russia’s western Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden:  Land, water rights big issues in Sweden’s Sami elections, Radio Sweden

United States:  Unsecured database discovered with information from about 600,000 Alaska voters, Alaska Public Media

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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