Nunavik leaders welcome new Quebec premier, government
"I look forward to meeting Premier Legault to advance Inuit rights in the Nunavik region"
Nunavik’s leadership has extended its welcome to Quebec’s new premier-elect, François Legault, and the province’s new Coalition Avenir Québec government.
Quebecers elected the new majority government Oct. 1 in a tumultuous election night that signalled a shift away from the province’s mainstream parties, the Liberals and Parti Québécois.
Voters in Ungava, Nunavik’s riding, voted accordingly, electing the riding’s first CAQ MNA, Denis Lamothe.
Lamothe, a former Sûreté du Québec officer who worked for a time in both Kuujjuaq and Kuujjuaraapik, was one of only a few candidates to campaign in Nunavik.
Based on feedback he received over the campaign period, Lamothe believes he drew support from across the region, Nunavik included.
“I did a lot of ground,” he said. “We had a good platform for the Inuit, for the Cree and the Jamésie region. I think I was very credible.”
But Lamothe’s win could still be contested; he won with 26.5 per cent support and just 45 votes ahead of second-place PQ candidate Jonathan Mattson.
The riding’s final count will be completed Oct. 4, at which point Mattson will decide if he wants to request a recount.
“They have that right,” Lamothe said. “It’s part of the electoral process. But I’m very confident I’ll win.”
Both the Kativik Regional Government and Makivik Corp. congratulated the premier-elect Oct. 4, and pledged their support to work with the new government.
“I met Québec’s newly elected premier-designate, François Legault, before the election and he demonstrated understanding and support for many of the issues I brought up and support for the United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said Makivik President Charlie Watt in an Oct. 3 release.
The CAQ campaigned on a promise to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
“On behalf of the Inuit in Nunavik I look forward to meeting Premier Legault to advance Inuit rights in the Nunavik region,” Watt said.
Watt also took time to congratulate the two Inuit candidates who ran in Quebec’s election: Kuujjuaraapik’s Alisha Tukkiapik for Québec Solidaire in Ungava and Mona Belleau, originally from Iqaluit, who ran for the Quebec NDP in a Quebec City riding.
Tukkiapik finished with 16.5 per cent of the vote, growing Québec Solidaire support in the riding from just 4.7 per cent in the last provincial election.
“It was a good experience,” Tukkiapik said, expressing interest in running again.
“If I was able to show people that as Inuit we can become a candidate, that is already a win for me.”
Outgoing Liberal MNA Jean Boucher, first elected in Ungava in 2014, finished in third position Oct. 1 with 24 per cent of the vote. Boucher offered his best wishes to the riding’s new MNA in a Facebook post Oct. 2.
“It was a pleasure to be your MNA for the last four years,” he said. “Congratulations to the candidates, electoral campaigns are never easy.”
Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq also took the time to congratulate Quebec’s new premier on social media.
“Nunavut and Nunavik share Inuit language, culture and values, and I look forward to working with you to strengthen our common ties,” Savikataaq said.