Iqaluit elects Solomon Awa for mayor

Iqaluit voters have elected Solomon Awa as mayor. He has served in the role part-time since October 2022. (Matisse Harvey/Radio-Canada)

By Emily Haws · CBC News

Awa had a decisive victory over challengers Yvon and Weemen

Iqaluit voters have elected Solomon Awa to lead the city as its mayor.

Unofficial election results show Awa won 1,007 votes — a decisive victory over challengers Vincent Yvon and Lili Weemen. Awa has been in the role part time since October 2022, when former mayor Kenny Bell abruptly resigned. He was previously the deputy mayor.

“Thank you all for your support,” Awa wrote on his personal Facebook page after the results were posted to the Elections Nunavut website.

Awa had originally filed papers to run as a candidate for city council, but decided to run for mayor on the last day of nominations. He’s a well-known elder and author, and currently works for the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.

Awa has told CBC News that his priorities include reducing utility service rates, creating more recreational activities for youth and reducing burial costs.

Another challenge for the new city council to tackle is Iqaluit’s long-term water issues. Awa has said the city needs to look into increasing its water quantity so it can build more houses.

He added he has been asking to replace water and sewage pipes with better materials so they don’t freeze.

“I know it’s going to cost a little more but it’s going to save a lot of money in the future,” he has said.

Along with experience on council, Awa says he has been on the recreation committee, the alcohol education committee, a climate change committee and is a member of the Amaruq Hunters and Trappers Association.

“Congratulations to Solomon Awa and all councils,” said Yvon on Facebook after the result was known. “Wish you the best for the next four years.”

Voters elect some new faces, veterans to council

Iqaluit’s eight city council seats will be filled by some new faces, along with some who have previously served on council.

Kimberly Smith won the most votes of any Iqaluit city council candidate. (Submitted by Kimberly Smith)

Kim Smith won 829 votes, the most of any candidate. She was first appointed to council in June 2022 and was previously chair of the city’s planning and development committee.

“I’d like to thank Iqalummiut for your overwhelming support,” Smith wrote on Facebook. “I am looking forward to continuing the good work we are doing at the City of Iqaluit, and continuing to advocate for our city and for our youth.  I am proud and humbled to be one of your representatives.”

Romeyn Stevenson, who was previously unsure if he would run again, won 783 votes. Kyle Sheppard won 741 votes. Samuel Tilley had 688 votes, while Simon Nattaq won 665.

Harry Flaherty, the long-time president of the Qikiqtaaluk Corporation, won 686 votes. The corporation is the business arm of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.

Jack Anawak, a well-known elder and former federal politician, won 635 votes.

Methusalah Kunuk won 663 votes.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Nunavut MP Lori Idlout to run again for NDP in next federal election, CBC News

Norway: Norway’s FM Anniken Huitfeldt demoted in government reshuffle, The Independent Barents Observer

United StatesIndigenous leaders divided over ANWR court ruling, Eye on the Arctic

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