Mayors and councillors were elected across Nunavut on the same day for the first time on Monday, as communities went to the polls to select their leadership.
In Iqaluit, former councillor Kenny Bell is the capital’s new mayor. Bell was elected to a four-year term with 1,049 ballots, while rival candidate Noah Papatsie had 688 votes. Voter turnout was 46.42 per cent.
Bell sat on council between 2012 and 2015 but resigned, citing frustration with the way the city was being managed. In his platform, he cited managing the city’s water shortage crisis as a top priority.
Papatsie served as a councillor from 2013 to 2015 and was re-elected to the most recent council in 2017 through a byelection. He ran for mayor in 2015 but lost against Iqaluit’s outgoing mayor, Madeleine Redfern.
Redfern, who chose not to run again this fall, said she accomplished what she set out to do in the term. This was to “stabilize the city” and bring about financial change, she said.
Eight councillors were also elected for Iqaluit. They are Janet Pitsiulaaq Brewster, Joanasie Akumalik, Solomon Awa, Romeyn Stevenson, Sheila Flaherty, Kyle Sheppard, Simon Nattaq, and Malaiya Lucassie.
In total, 27 people sought seats on council.
Elections postponed, suspended due to weather
Municipal elections used to be run through the Nunavut government’s Community and Government Services Department.
Now, Elections Nunavut fills that role, after the Nunavut Elections Act was updated in 2017. Elections for district education authorities ran at the same time.
Elections in Rankin Inlet and Chesterfield Inlet were postponed due to weather. Elections in Whale Cove and Baker Lake were also suspended due to weather. Community returning officers will let residents know when elections will take place.
“We’re hoping that’s as soon as possible, that depends on the weather,” said chief electoral officer Dustin Fredlund. “Everyone will get a chance to vote, blizzard or not.”
Mayors elected across territory
Elections were set to be held in every community in the territory on Monday. Mayors were acclaimed in Arctic Bay, Coral Harbour, Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay. Nobody ran for mayor in Cape Dorset.
Read below for a quick list of who was victorious in each community. Full results are available on Elections Nunavut’s website:
- Arctic Bay: Moses Oyukuluk (acclaimed).
- Arviat: Bob Leonard.
- Cambridge Bay: Pamela Hakongak Gross.
- Clyde River: Jerry Natanine.
- Coral Harbour: Willie Nakoolak (acclaimed).
- Gjoa Haven: Megan Porter.
- Grise Fiord: Meeka Kiguktak (acclaimed).
- Hall Beach: Jayko Simonie.
- Igloolik: Merlyn Recinos.
- Kimmirut: Maliktuk Lyta.
- Kugaaruk: Teddy Apsaktaun.
- Kugluktuk: David Audlatak Ningalok.
- Naujaat: Alan Robinson.
- Pangnirtung: Hezekiah Oshutapik.
- Pond Inlet: Joshua Arreak.
- Qikiqtarjuaq: Harry Alookie.
- Resolute Bay: Mark Amarualik (acclaimed).
- Sanikiluaq: Johnnie Cookie.
- Taloyoak: Chuck Pizzo-Lyall.
In Clyde River, Natanine served as mayor while the community was at the forefront of a Supreme Court of Canada case about seismic testing in the area. This time, he says he wants to work with the Nangmautaq Hunters and Trappers Association to build up the community halibut and shrimp fishery.
“It feels really good and I’m really looking forward to it,” Natanine said of the election win. “There’s a lot to do.”
In communities where eight of fewer candidates ran for council, those councils were acclaimed. Those communities include: Arctic Bay, Cape Dorset, Clyde River, Coral Harbour, Gjoa Haven, Grise Fiord, Hall Beach, Igloolik, Kimmirut, Pond Inlet, Qikiqtarjuaq, Resolute Bay, and Taloyoak.
Related stories from around the North:
Finland: Sámi Parliament of Finland torn on local rights, urban influence, Yle News
Norway: Political earthquake shakes up Northern Norway, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: How Murmansk government plans to attract newcomers and reverse regional decline, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Swedish gov’s budget raises fears over inequality, Radio Sweden
United States: Protest, policy critiques mark first day of Alaska Federation of Natives Convention, Alaska Public Media