Corporate secretary job at Nunavik org will go to newcomer
Incumbent Andy Moorhouse to run for Makivik VP position
If there’s a sure outcome to expect from Makivik Corp.’s upcoming elections, it’s that the birthright organization will get a new corporate secretary Jan. 21.
That’s because Andy Moorhouse, Makivik’s corporate secretary since 2010, resigned from that position last month to run for another executive position: vice president of economic development.
That leaves the position open to a field of five newcomers who are vying for the job.
The corporate secretary has a number of duties: keeping Makivik’s minute books and corporate records; giving all required notices; calling board meetings; and occasionally heading Makivik subsidiary companies when required.
Nunatsiaq News reached out to the candidates to ask them about what they plan to bring to the job, if elected.
Here are the candidates’ responses:
Laina Grey, who was born and raised in Kangirsuk, now makes her home in Montreal. She’s worked at Makivik’s Montreal office since 2013, helping to coordinate the Parnasimautik consultations and the production of the new documentary Napagunnaqullusi (So That You Can Stand.)
“There are times in life when you just know you have to ‘walk the talk’,” Grey said about running in this election. “This is my time.”
Grey offered her top three priorities for the role:
• better administration: As corporate secretary, Grey says her primary responsibility will be efficient administration, which includes “information sharing and transparency;”
• youth: Grey says she’s committed to making youth a priority, supporting youth activities at the community level, and supporting youth to pursue higher education. She said she will offer support to the new Nunavik youth forum; and,
• Parnasimautik as a blueprint for Nunavik: Grey stresses Makivik’s role — and her own, if elected — in leading the implementation process for the Parnasimautik, in collaboration with other regional organizations. “Nunavik leaders must work in unity and find ways to work with the governments to serve Inuit more effectively,” she said.
Jonathan Epoo, originally from Inukjuak, is now based in Kuujjuaq, where he works as a school bus driver. He worked previously as a liaison officer for Hydro Québec.
He’s served as president of the Saputiit Youth Association and the National Inuit Youth Council, and as a youth representative to a number of regional organizations.
“I have always been passionate about my region, my people and our communities and felt I was ready to take on a greater challenge in my life,” Epoo said.
If elected, he wants to see:
• action on Makivik’s subsidiaries: Makivik draws strength through its subsidiary companies, Epoo said, and as such, should ensure those subsidiaries remain strong and profitable, “so as to invest back into our region’s development and well-being;”
• review of policies and by-laws: Epoo would like to review Makivik’s policies and by-laws to ensure accountability to the organization’s beneficiaries;
• implementation of Parnasimautik: Makivik must work to implement the aspirations outlined in Parnasimautik, Epoo said, to address education and employment needs in the region, as well as health and social services, justice, housing and the high cost of living.
Charlie Takirk worked as an office manager for Makivik in Montreal until he decided to run for corporate secretary.
The trilingual candidate, born and raised in Salluit, studied social sciences and music at Collège Marie-Victorin.
“I’m spontaneous and driven and capable of organizing things,” Tarkirk said. “I am also determined to move forward with my people.
“I will serve my fellow Inuit, Inuuqatika, not because I deserve it, but because they deserve to be supported and protected.”
Tarkirk hopes, if elected, to push the birthright organization to act on a number of issues, even if they don’t fall directly within his mandate. These include:
• justice: Tarkirk would like to see Nunavik’s justice system reformed by and for Inuit in the region. He believes that would the reduce the number of Nunavimmiut children taken from their homes and put into foster care;
• airlines: Tarkirk proposes changes to the way Makivik’s airlines operate. He wants to see First Air provide its own cargo services rather than use contractors. Tarkirk also wants to shift Air Inuit’s pilot training to Nunavik, to help more youth pursue careers in aviation;
• an increased profile for Makivik: Tarkirk wants Makivik to have a stronger presence in meetings with provincial and federal governments, to lobby for better cost-of-living subsidies and housing.
Adamie Padlayat, is executive director at the Nunavik Marine Region Wildlife Board, based in Inukjuak.
He’s usually on the administrative side of elections, as a former returning officer to Makivik elections and regional referendum director.
“This is the first time I’m campaigning,” he said. “And I believe that I could contribute in improving the lives of our beneficiaries of Nunavik.”
As an executive member of Makivik, Padlayat wants to see:
• a focus on Makivik’s relationship with Avataq Cultural Institute and Nunavik elders, to strengthen the region’s traditional and cultural values;
• solid wildlife management: “We need to make sure that this hunting, fishing and trapping continues and is not disturbed,” he said; and,
• a key role in Parnasimautik: Makivik should have a key role in moving ahead on goals outlined in the Parnasimautik report, particularly those that support youth development, education and training.
Lizzie Epoo-York is a freelance interpreter in Kuujjuaq, the community which she has called home for the last 40 years.
She has served as a board member and chair to both the Tulattavik health centre and the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services.
“With all the knowledge I’ve stored over the years, I thought it was high time I used it to try and make a difference,” she said.
Epoo-York said her biggest motivation for running to serve as an executive member with Makivik comes from the chance to promote the recognition of Inuit rights.
“I’ve met people who think we live in igloos,” Epoo-York said. “I want Inuit recognized as any other Canadian. Sometimes that means human rights, which are not always extended to Inuit.”
She also wants to act on:
• housing: With more than half the population under 18 years of age, regional leadership must make plans to secure housing as the population ages and continues to grow, Epoo-York said.
“We’ve been doing nothing but catch-up on a lot of issues,” she said. “Makivik has been using their own funding to do things the government should be doing.”
• implementation of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement: Commitments to the region laid out in JBNQA have yet to be met, Epoo-York said, weakening the agreement’s original goal; and,
• education: Education offered to Nunavimmiut is subpar, Epoo-York said. Inuit should have access to high-quality post-secondary training in their own communities.
Nearly 7,000 Nunavimmiut will be eligible to cast ballots Jan. 21 in the corporate secretary and vice president of economic development elections. Each of the successful candidates will serve a three-year term.
Polling stations will be set up in each community’s Northern Village office Jan. 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Nunavik Inuit in Montreal can also vote at Makivik’s Ville St-Laurent office during those same hours.
An advance poll will take place a week before the election, on Jan. 15, at all NV offices and Makivik’s Montreal office, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.