'I haven't even come into that realm of thought yet.'

Will lone woman MLA reach for top?

By JOHN BIRD

The only woman elected to Nunavut's third assembly is not ruling out putting her name forward for the job of premier.

But the morning after her election victory in Iqaluit East, Eva Aariak, said she will need more than a day to think about it before making her decision.

"I haven't even come into that realm of thought yet," she said. "I have been concentrating on getting elected."

Aariak, Nunavut's former languages commissioner, won the Iqaluit East riding convincingly, with double the votes of her nearest rival, city councillor Glenn Williams.

She had a "wonderful response" from the people she met during a "rigorous compaign," she said, but "in that situation, you have no idea about how the choice is going to go, even after three weeks of campaigning."

Aariak said she was humbled by the results, but felt it was a confirmation of some of her work as languages commissioner, and showed that people have faith she can help move the territory forward.

Aariak said the number of new people elected shows that voters are looking for a change, and that it is time for a complete review of the direction the Nunavut government has been taking so far.

"That was in my platform, and I was glad to hear it from the constituents too," she said.

The most pressing concern she "heard from all over" during the campaign was with an education system that does not seem to be working for Nunavut's children.

The school dropout rate and "school children not completing their education" is at the root of many of Nunavut's social problems, she suggested.

Aariak admitted she was disturbed at the lack of female representation in the new assembly, where she will be the only woman.

"I don't have the answers, but that needs to be addressed," she said. "I believe in balance – in everything."

She also recognizes that people "feel we are being immersed in everything negative. They want to get out of that. They are yearning to see and hear positive things."

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