Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavik January 16, 2015 - 12:29 pm

Nunavik gives clear mandate to reigning Makivik president

Incumbent Jobie Tukkiapik re-elected with 51 per cent support

SARAH ROGERS
Voters cast a ballot Jan. 15 at a Makivik Corp. polling station set up at Kuujjuaq's Forum. (MAKIVIK PHOTO)
Voters cast a ballot Jan. 15 at a Makivik Corp. polling station set up at Kuujjuaq's Forum. (MAKIVIK PHOTO)
Makivik Corp. president re-elect Jobie Tukkiapik is pictured here in the fall of 2014 when he met with Quebec premier Philippe Couillard. (FILE PHOTO)
Makivik Corp. president re-elect Jobie Tukkiapik is pictured here in the fall of 2014 when he met with Quebec premier Philippe Couillard. (FILE PHOTO)

Makivik Corp. president Jobie Tukkiapik held onto his job Jan. 15 when he was re-elected to a second term as head of Nunavik’s Inuit birthright organization.

Tukkiapik won a clear victory with 51 per cent support, compared to contender Jobie Epoo’s 31 per cent and third-place Robbie Watt’s 18 per cent.

“What I find positive about elections is that the voters always turn up the volume and speak their minds on what really concerns them,” Tukkiapik said in a Jan. 16 statement.

“In this campaign people spoke about the need to do more to cut poverty, the need to exercise more control over our lands and that has encouraged me even more. I take the mandate Nunavimmiut have given me seriously.”

First elected in 2012, Tukkiapik’s support appears to have risen among Nunavimmiut, who elected him by a narrow margin in 2012; he won that election by just 13 votes — 1,281 votes to Pita Aatami’s 1,268.

Following his first three-year term, Tukkiapik campaigned on the idea of empowering Nunavimmiut to take the region’s future into their own hands — including its birthright organization.

That grew from Tukkiapik’s promises ahead of his 2012 election, when he promoted the idea of Inuit decision-making in the region: having more authority over their social programs, education and natural resources.

And he has responded to many of those issues. Under his leadership, Makivik has helped implement changes to its cost of living subsidies to direct more money to Inuit.

The organization drafted a Nunavik mining policy last year, and came out against uranium development in the region.

Given a new term, Tukkiapik said he wants to put the issue of self-governance back on the table, almost four years after the Nunavik Regional Government model was voted down in a referendum.

Through Nunavik’s Parnasimautik consultations, Tukkiapik believes the region now has a clear and unified voice.

But while voters clearly supported Tukkiapik’s re-election, some Nunavimmiut say they want their leader to be more vocal in his second term.

Discussion within a social media thread referred to Tukkiapik as the “silent leader,” calling on him to improve regular dialogue with Nunavik’s Inuit.

On Jan. 15, Makivik officials say there were no issues reported with voting at each of its polling stations, and election staff had results counted and announced within two hours of polls closing.

Turnout for the Jan. 15 was 48 per cent, or 3,593 voters, including polls in both Montreal and Chisasibi.

Turnout was highest in Kangirsuk, where 76 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot, and lowest in Montreal at 19 per cent.

Tukkiapik polled highest in his hometown of Kuujjuaq and nearby Kangiqsualujjuaq, garnering 73 per cent support in both communities.

Tukkiapik led in all but six communities; second-place contender Epoo polled highest in Puvirnituq, Akulivik, Ivujivik, Umiujaq, Salluit and in his hometown of Inukjuak, where he received 60 per cent support.

You can see a full breakdown of election results at makivik.org.

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