With the nomination period officially ended in Quebec, voters in the riding of Ungava can now look ahead to a choice between five candidates in the Oct. 3 election.
The big challenge for all candidates will be to motivate voters to get out and cast ballots.
In Quebec’s last election in 2018, the turnout in Ungava barely exceeded 30 per cent of the 28,314 registered voters, or about half the Quebec average turnout.
In the majority of Nunavik communities, voter turnout was less than 20 percent and sometimes as low as 10 per cent, according to Elections Québec.
Denis Lamothe — Coalition Avenir Québec
Incumbent MNA Denis Lamothe is seeking re-election for a second term representing Ungava.
Lamothe is a retired police officer who worked for nearly 30 years at the Sûreté du Québec police force, including eight years around the Ungava riding.
During his first term as a member of the National Assembly, Lamothe served as parliamentary assistant to the minister responsible for Indigenous affairs. He also served on the transportation and environment commission.
Lamothe won his seat in Ungava in 2018 with a 46-vote lead over Parti Québécois candidate Jonathan Mattson.
Lamothe paused his campaign activities Sept. 13 to spend time with his mother, who is in poor health.
According to the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) website, the fight against inflation, a more efficient health system and the improvement of cellular coverage in the region are among his priorities.
Maïtée Labrecque-Saganash — Québec solidaire
Cree activist Maïtée Labrecque-Saganash hopes to become the first Indigenous woman elected to the National Assembly of Quebec.
In recent years, she has become known for her efforts to raise awareness about First Nations issues.
She currently resides in the community of Waswanipi and works for the Cree Board of Health and Social Services.
Her priorities include dealing with the housing shortage that is hitting northern communities hard.
Labrecque-Saganash says this problem has an impact on all the public services provided in communities within Ungava.
“I think it takes someone who will doggedly defend this file in the National Assembly,” she said.
Her party has proposed investing $330 million for the construction of 1,000 housing units in Ungava.
Labrecque-Saganash was in Kuujjuaq Monday and Tuesday, where she met with Makivik Corp. president Pita Aatami. She said she also toured the local hospital, met with staff there, and visited the construction site of the future Isuarsivik treatment centre.
Labrecque-Saganash called the feedback she received as “incredible,” adding, “as usual, people were very welcoming.”
Tunu Napartuk — Quebec Liberal Party
Tunu Napartuk may be running for his first Quebec election, but he served as mayor of Kuujjuaq between 2012 and 2018, which makes him a well-known figure in Nunavik communities.
However, Napartuk hopes now to raise the interest of voters throughout the riding of Ungava.
Speeding up the construction of housing and improving training opportunities are among his priorities.
“The reality is that in some houses, there are two generations living in a three-bedroom house. It has an impact on people’s well-being and mental health. We have to build more,” Napartuk said.
Christine Moore — Parti Québécois
After sitting in the House of Commons for the federal riding of Abitibi-Témiscamingue between 2011 and 2019, Christine Moore made the leap into provincial politics.
The state of the health system in the region prompted Moore, a nurse clinician by training, to make the decision to run.
“It is particularly difficult to recruit in the North. Currently, people are paying the price. Services have been cut. This is unacceptable and someone has to deal with it,” she said.
Moore said she intends to tackle the housing shortage in the riding, as a way to improve staff hiring and improve the quality of life of residents.
Moore will focus her campaign in the regions of Jamesie and Eeyou Istchee. The high cost of transportation means she won’t visit Nunavik.
Nancy Lalancette — Conservative Party of Quebec
Originally from Chibougamau, Nancy Lalancette has been a licensed practical nurse for 12 years. She is also training to become a counselling therapist.
CBC was unable to speak with Lalancette about her priorities in the current election campaign.
On the party’s website, she says she wants to make in-depth changes to the Quebec health care system.
“We have seen it for at least 30 years: this false solution of injecting money into [it] has no point and all Quebecers, users and workers alike, suffer from this outdated system,” Lalancette said on the party’s web page.
By Félix Lebel, with files and translation by Jane George
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