58 candidates vie for seats in Nunavut’s territorial election

5 incumbents acclaimed in ridings with no competition

Nunavummiut will elect members of the sixth legislative assembly on Oct. 25. (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By Mélanie Ritchot

Updated on Friday, Sept. 24 at 9 p.m.

Campaign signs are scattered around Nunavut’s capital and candidates are busy knocking on doors Friday, as they vie for votes in the Oct. 25 territorial election.

Fifty-eight candidates had declared themselves by Elections Nunavut’s deadline on Friday afternoon.

Many incumbents, who were MLAs in the last legislative assembly, are seeking another term, including the premier, Joe Savikataaq, who is running again to represent Arviat South.

The race also features some others who are familiar to public life.

Pamela Gross, Cambridge Bay’s mayor, is challenging Community and Government Services Minister Jeannie Hakongak Ehaloak to represent the Cambridge Bay constituency.

In the capital, Iqaluit Coun. Joanasie Akumalik is going up against incumbent Adam Lightstone in Iqaluit-Manirajak.

The city’s deputy mayor, Janet Pitsiulaaq Brewster, is running in Iqaluit-Sinaa against Christa Kunuk, a former chair of the Iqaluit district education authority, and Jeff Ungalaq Maurice, a director of policy and planning at Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.

With four candidates running in Iqaluit-Tasiluk, Finance Minister George Hickes has some competition for his seat as well.

In Rankin-Inlet South, Tagak Curley – a longtime fixture of Nunavut politics and former MLA –is running against Lorne Kusugak, Nunavut’s minister of health.

Curley was the founding president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and led negotiations in the Nunavut land claims process.

In five ridings, the incumbent members of the legislative assembly, face no competition and have been acclaimed: Joe Savikataaq in Arviat South, John Main in Arviat-Whale Cove, Margaret Nakashuk in Pangnirtung, David Akeeagok in Quttiktuq, and David Joanisie in South Baffin.

The two ridings with the most candidates — five each — are Aivilik and Gjoa Haven.

Here’s the complete list of all the candidates running in all 22 of Nunavut’s ridings, as it appeared on the Elections Nunavut website Friday after the deadline for nominations passed:


  • Methusalah Kunuk
  • Joanna Quassa


  • Helena Malliki
  • Solomon Malliki
  • Lucassie Padlayat Nakoolak
  • Patterk Netser
  • Johnny Ningeongan


  • Solomon Allurut
  • Joelie Kaernerk

Arviat North-Whale Cove:

  • John Main

Arviat South:

  • Joe Savikataaq

Baker Lake:

  • Elijah Amarook
  • Daniel Piryuaq
  • Craig Atangalaaq Simailak

Cambridge Bay:

  • Jeannie Hakongak Ehaloak
  • Pamela Hakongak Gross
  • Peter Ohokak

Gjoa Haven:

  • Allen Aglukkaq
  • Tony Akoak
  • Gregory A. Nahaglulik
  • Paul Tunik Puqiqnak
  • Veronica Ullulaq

Hudson Bay:

  • Mick Appaqaq
  • Ronald Ladd
  • Daniel Qavvik


  • Joanasie Akumalik
  • Adam Lightstone


  • P.J. Akeeagok
  • Noah Papatsie
  • Dinos Tikivik


  • Janet Pitsiulaaq Brewster
  • Christa Kunuk
  • Jeff Ungalaq Maurice


  • James T. Arreak
  • George Hickes
  • Jonathan Chul-Hee Min Park
  • Michael Salomonie


  • Bobby Anavilok
  • Angele Kuliktana
  • Genevieve Nivingalok
  • Calvin Aivgak Pedersen


  • Simon Qingnaqtuq
  • Emiliano Qirngnuq
  • Inagayuk Joseph Quqqiaq


  • Margaret Nakashuk


  • David Akeeagok

Rankin Inlet North-Chesterfield Inlet:

  • Albert Aokaut
  • Alexander Sammurtok
  • Q. Cathy Towtongie

Rankin Inlet South:

  • Tagak Curley
  • Lorne Kusugak
  • Bobby Oolooyuk

South Baffin:

  • David Joanasie


  • Joshua Arreak
  • Karen Nutarak
  • David Qayaakuttuk Qamaniq


  • Sheila Enook
  • Mary Killiktee

Correction: This article was updated from previous version to correct the number of incumbent MLAs who were acclaimed in ridings where they were the only candidate.

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(34) Comments:

  1. Posted by Candidates on

    Its good to hear Tagak Curley is running for public office again. I hope he gets elected. Its also good to hear other communities have multiple people applying for MLA.

    • Posted by More please on

      What, in your mind, is good about Tagak running again?

      • Posted by hermann kliest on

        Asker about Tagak; old guys still have steams didn’t you know? stop being a critic and try running for an office. I would try small local boards first, i.e. local radio baords, very easy to get into. They’ll take anybody.

        • Posted by More please on

          Which part of my comment makes you think I am being a critic?

  2. Posted by Truestory on

    May the new MLA(s) make a difference.

  3. Posted by Concerned voter on

    We don’t need toddlers in chambers. As the low gn employees can’t bring our toddlers to work because of no daycare so why should mlas get to bring their kids to work. As for religion that shouldn’t be mixed with politics mlas have be neutral. Looks like there’s a lot of religious folks running this time around. Vote smart nunavumiut. No kids toddlers in chambers period! Next, mlas will bring their dogs, cats or whatever pets that make them calm. Good luck John and Alex

  4. Posted by Good to see on

    This is so good – and interesting – to see that there are credible candidates contesting the current (former) MLAs, and that the MLAs who are acclaimed (i.e., John Main) are returning to the Legislature. It will be a great mix of folks to represent us.

    • Posted by Interested to know on

      Who are the credible candidates you see?

  5. Posted by Old timer on

    And no one tried for arviat here we never see anything yet from the 2 mla or I guess no change for years to came again all so for whale cove.

  6. Posted by monty sling on

    there ain’t much in interest of being MLA up here, it’s self serving position now. no bones in their promises but I hear Arviat North is interested in rainbow flag for all of hamlets’ flag poles in NU. Bummer eh? We are truly in the last days for those of you who understand me…

    • Posted by Bisexual on

      Please explain what is wrong with the rainbow flag? That shows acceptance to all sexuality including others than your own?

      Let me guess, you might have a scripture to quote. I’ll wait.

      • Posted by Bert on

        There’s nothing wrong with the rainbow flag ?️‍? . But why do we need to fly it in all the communities? (Not to say that is happening, mind you)

    • Posted by Pain In The Groen on

      Frankly, it’s disappointing that the Nunatsiaq moderators still haven’t removed this blatantly homophobic comment.

  7. Posted by NTI bennie on

    I don’t expect anything from the old MLAs only from the new ones, old mlas created the poorest service to Nunavut since the birth of Nunavut government.

    • Posted by monty sling on

      the next four years will be ever so slow, as the the last few sitting days, nothing of teeth was enacted, telling us the MLAs are running out of ideas, thing has been considered. the only thing the house came up with beer and wine stores in each region. putting profit before wellness, where are the detox centers?

  8. Posted by Accomplishments on

    The situation in Nunavut is an indication of total management failure, starting at the very top.
    MLAs are about to be elected.
    Nunavummiut, ignore the promises the candidates make. When have those elected ever kept their promises?
    Ignore the positions the candidates have held.
    Instead, pay attention to what those candidates have accomplished. Nunavut needs leaders who have shown they can lead succesfully.
    Those new MLAs will have to elect a Cabinet.
    Nunavut needs a Cabinet consisting of people who can inspire workers, who can distinguish between employees who are capable and those who are bs artists, who can make changes and who can teach others to be better than they thought they could be.
    It’s either that, or we continue along the downward spiral.

    • Posted by Make Iqaluit Great Again on

      You can’t expect to hold these politicians accountable for keeping promises when none of them make promises that are substantive, thought through and worth keeping.
      These politicians will all make general motherhood and apple pie promises like “ help Nunavutmiutt make ends meat”, “make housing more affordable”, “more money for addictions treatment” and on and on.
      These nice generalities mean nothing and elections turn out to be popularity contests.
      When you vote in the south, most of the time you have at least some idea of what you’re voting for ie: If you vote Liberal you’re voting for a more activist government that wants to spend more and, if you vote conservative, you want a less activist government that will spend less.
      That’s why Nunavut needs political parties so voters have real options on Election Day in terms of what they’re voting for.
      Wouldn’t it be nice to cast your vote for something more than whether the candidate “seems like a nice person” “seems smart” or “ looks like a hard worker”. Unless the system changes, that’s all you will ever have to go on.

      • Posted by hermann kliest on

        Make Iqaluit Great Again; you mean iqualuit? I say this, Iqualuit are becoming haven for Nunavut’s harden criminals, thanks for giving peace to the smaller communities and taking their harden criminal.

  9. Posted by S on

    Imagine any organization with $4 billion in annual revenue of complex products and services; 7,000 employees; 35,000 customers,; and 25 locations being run by this lot as its executive officers and vice-presidents


  10. Posted by Toonik’s Grandfather on

    Time for new ideas, new faces. Recycled materials make rooms for new materials.

  11. Posted by Aputi on


  12. Posted by Good luck on

    Good luck Greg!

  13. Posted by yes no vote on

    It’s time for a change for Rankin Inlet North-Chesterfield Inlet, don’t elect the same old – same old who talk lots but do nothing.
    Elect Albert Aokaut and lets see what someone new can do.

    Thanks (Go Albert Go!!!)

    • Posted by vote yes for Albert on

      I also think it would be good for a change and that he could do something in that position. He understands what the regular people need and want.
      Vote for Albert.

  14. Posted by Pain In The Groen on

    Finally. An election worth getting excited about.

    • Posted by Ned Flanders on

      He said “Goid idea.”

      • Posted by Ned Flanders on

        He said…”Good idea.” ?

  15. Posted by Whoo Hoo!! on

    C’mon Rankin/Chester let’s get ourselves properly represented! Whenever Alex has representated us he has worked hard for us. Let’s have him work hard for us again!!! Go Alex go!!!!

    Atii Tagak!!! Tagak has worked long and hard for us. He has so much more fight left. Let’s use him again!!!

  16. Posted by trim it down on

    The lack of education of MLAS and the Inuit department officials to continue feeding the government machinery the same policies. That is not to say the qablunaat officials are any better. Their lack of knowledge of Inuit and Nunavut culture reinforce ineffective policies and programs. Government moves very slowly so don’t get your hopes up, voters. Non-voters, show some leadership, go out and vote next time. I agree with ‘S’s comment above. We did fare a bit better under the GNWT and the regional boards. The Nunavut electoral boundaries are a farce. Let’s trim it and reshape this government once and for all.

  17. Posted by trim it down on

    Edit: The lack of education of MLAS and the Inuit department officials continue feeding the government machinery the same policies. That is not to say the qablunaat officials are any better. Their lack of knowledge of Inuit and Nunavut culture reinforce ineffective policies and programs. Government moves very slowly so don’t get your hopes up, voters. Non-voters, show some leadership, go out and vote next time. I agree with ‘S’s comment above. We did fare a bit better under the GNWT and the regional boards. The Nunavut electoral boundaries are a farce. Let’s trim it and reshape this government once and for all.

    • Posted by Make Iqaluit Great Again on

      I think it’s unfair to blame the lack of education of MLAs. Each of those MLAs come into office as individuals with their own little ideas and thoughts as to how to make government better. Individual politicians who come into office under those circumstances are likely to be led around by the Deputy Ministers and Senior Managers. As a result, you have an elected government controlled by the bureaucracy.

      On the other hand, when you have a majority party of MLAs elected, they come in with a comprehensive agenda of what they want to achieve, and a shared set of values on how to govern. These things allow them to set the agenda for the government bureaucracy instead of the other way around.

      In summary: A disparate group of independent, free agent MLAs get controlled by the bureaucracy and told what to do in “ mandate “ documents drafted by the Deputy Ministers. Alternatively, a political party of MLAs sets the agenda and the DMs fall into line and serve that agenda. I prefer the latter!!!

  18. Posted by Amused by all comments on

    Remember everyone….we are all under British rule and law , we all pay to be a Canadian.

    • Posted by Make Iqaluit Great Again on

      I hope it’s not my comment that amuses you. Political parties have long been an integral part of the British parliamentary system. I trust you would agree with my comments?

  19. Posted by Voter on

    Hopefully we will have a new Premier that will work for the majority of Nunavummiut, we need a change.


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