Redfern takes Iqaluit mayor job with 59 per cent of votes cast

Wilman second with 527 votes; Papatsie takes 160

By THOMAS ROHNER

“It's an honour to be chosen by the community for the office. We have a lot of work ahead of us in the next three years,


“It’s an honour to be chosen by the community for the office. We have a lot of work ahead of us in the next three years,” Iqaluit’s mayor-elect Madeleine Redfern said. (FILE PHOTO)

(Updated 11:25, p.m., Oct. 19)

Former Iqaluit mayor Madeleine Redfern is back in the mayor’s seat after winning the Oct. 19 mayoral election by taking nearly 60 per cent of ballots cast.

“It’s an honour to be chosen by the community for the office,” Redfern told Nunatsiaq News moments after official poll results were released.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us in the next three years.”

Redfern took 1,005 of the 1,692 cast ballots, while incumbent mayor Mary Wilman took 527 votes and second-runner up Noah Papatsie took 160.

Wilman could not be reached for comment, but Papatsie told Nunatsiaq News that he’s confident in Redfern as mayor.

“I think the city will be in good hands,” Papatsie said.

Redfern’s council for her three-year term as mayor — her first full term after winning a byelection for the mayor’s office in 2010 — has some old and some new faces.

Four councillors were re-elected: Romeyn Stevenson, Joanasie Akumalik, Terry Dobbin and Simon Nattaq, who squeaked into the eighth and final council seat only 18 votes ahead of ninth-place finisher Lynda Gunn.

The four veteran councillors are joined by four newcomers: Megan Pizzo-Lyall, Kuthula Matshazi, Jason Rochon and Gideonie Joamie.

Dobbin, back for a second consecutive term, said it feels great to be re-elected.

“I think we got a good strong team together…and I look forward to working with them.”

The previous council was often overshadowed by the administrative staff, Dobbin said.

“I’m optimistic that council will start taking some control back.”

In the race for the six available seats in the Iqaluit District Education Authority, the top vote-getters were well above those not elected.

Those six people are, in order of votes, Lana Dawiskiba, Doug Workman, Sherene Gissing, Andrea Witzaney-Chown, Pascal Maclellan and Alden Williams.

In a pre-election profile, Mayor Redfern told Nunatsiaq News that addressing the city’s expanding deficit would be one of her top priorities.

That’s going to mean some tough decisions ahead, Redfern said Oct. 19.

“We need to ensure that essential services aren’t unduly affected, and that the community has an opportunity to be part of the decision-making process,” said Redfern, who spent election day driving Iqaluit voters to both federal and municipal polling stations for over 12 hours.

One decision-making process Coun. Dobbin said he’d like to revisit is the shortened water-truck delivery schedule that upset some Iqalungmiut at a recent council meeting.

“We’re still getting complaints, so I’m hoping we take a second look at Waterless Wednesdays,” Dobbin said.

The newly-elected mayor said her first order of business will be to familiarize herself with the new council members and city staff.

“I think it’s important to establish those relationships, and let them know they’re a valuable member of a team.”

There is one more council meeting scheduled for the outgoing mayor and council, on Oct. 27.

After that, the new mayor and council will be sworn in.

“I’d like to acknowledge everyone who ran in the election,” Redfern said, “because it takes tremendous courage and effort to run and clearly people care about the community when they make that commitment.”

Nunavut premier Peter Taptuna congratulated Redfern in a tweet, saying he looks forward to working with her on “key projects.”

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