Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavik January 10, 2018 - 3:30 pm

Leadership candidate wants to bring more innovation to Nunavik Inuit org

"I just felt like things were not getting done"

Lucy Grey, candidate for Makivik president, wants to emphasize Inuit leadership values like resilience, team work and caring, if she's elected Jan. 18. (HANDOUT PHOTO)
Lucy Grey, candidate for Makivik president, wants to emphasize Inuit leadership values like resilience, team work and caring, if she's elected Jan. 18. (HANDOUT PHOTO)

By the end of next week, Nunavik will have a newly elected president at the helm of its Inuit birthright organization.

And first-time candidate Lucy Grey said she hopes she comes out on top.

The Kangirsuk woman, who’s worked in the region’s justice system for many years, is one of five candidates running for Makivik Corp.’s top job on Jan. 18.

Grey is running on a platform that promotes more sustainable and Inuit-focused programming in the region, with an emphasis on Inuit autonomy, mental well-being and restorative justice.

These issues are often personal to Grey, who worked as a victims’ support agent and as director of a reintegration centre, and as a mother who lost her teen son to suicide in 2016.

“We can’t keep putting out fires,” she said. “We have to ensure we can work through these issues alive and well.

“We can use our Inuit values, like resilience, team work and caring.”

Grey listed the top three issues she plans to tackle, if elected:

• First, Grey said Inuit employees of Nunavik’s regional organizations need to receive benefits equal to their non-Inuit counterparts.

“There is a lot of inequality between Inuit and non-Inuit employees. Look at non-Inuit teachers, who get housing and trips and other benefits. Inuit are just as important to the workforce,” Grey said.

“This inequality is internalized by our children; they think Inuit are less important. It’s institutional racism.”

• Grey also wants to revisit discussions around self-government, in an effort to bring regional organizations under one body that could negotiate more autonomy from Quebec.

“We’re capable, but the best way to do it is to work together,” she said.

In 2011, Nunavimmiut voted down a proposal to create the Nunavik Regional Government, which would have merged existing regional bodies under the authority of a new elected body called the Nunavik Assembly.

A second phase of that proposal would have included negotiations for a second agreement, one that could provide new powers to the regional government.

But Grey said there was a lot of fear and misinformation circulating during the campaign leading up to the 2011 referendum. She is calling on a new and younger generation of Inuit to lead the discussion this time around.

• Nunavik’s Inuit birthright organization has a major responsibility to uphold the region’s land claim agreement, the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. And that includes holding both the federal and provincial levels of government to their fiduciary obligations to Nunavik, Grey said.

In recent years, the region has faced stalled housing negotiations and agreements with those levels of government, whose role it is to deliver social housing to Nunavik as per the JBNQA.

“I will focus on ensuring we have resources to support our well-being,” Grey said.

The region also needs to reconsider its priorities, Grey said. Makivik should be using programs like Ungaluk—a crime prevention fund available to the region—to create more long-term, made-in-Nunavik social justice programming, rather than spending millions on one-time recreational initiatives.

A self-described mental health advocate, Grey said she was motivated to take a leadership role after she watched a televised Montreal vigil held for two Nunavimmiut women who died in the city last summer—and noted that no one from Makivik was there to represent the organization.

“No one was there to say those women’s lives mattered,” she said, noting the lack of women leaders in Makivik’s top ranks.

“I was compelled to run. I watch politics and just felt like things were not getting done.”

Grey is running against Makivik’s incumbent president, Jobie Tukkiapik, and three other candidates: Senator Charlie Watt, Jackie Williams and Alasie Arngak. Check back at for more candidate profiles this week.

Advance polls will be open in Nunavik communities on Jan. 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on election day, Jan. 18, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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