Bernadette Makpah sweeps NTI election


Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT – Nunavut beneficiaries have elected Bernadette Makpah to a three-year term as secretary-treasurer for Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.

Less than a third of eligible voters bothered to cast ballots, but Makpah said winning still felt sweet.

“I’m very pleased,” she said. “I’m trying not to fall speechless.”

Although incumbent Natsiq Alainga-Kango managed to attract most of the Baffin vote, Makpah’s supporters in the Keewatin and Kitikmeot assured her victory by a margin of 417 votes.

Candidate Meeka Kilabuk trailed in third place, garnering less than seven hundred of the 3,881 votes cast.

This was Makpah’s third run for Secretary-Treasurer. She was the first to hold the position when Nunavut Tunngavik was newly formed, and says she still takes credit for some of the policies in place today.

“There are policies and guidelines that I was instrumental in developing during the first two years I was in there,” Makpah said.

Is the position worth seeking three different times?

“I trained for it,” she says. “It’s a career interest and aspiration I will probably have throughout my life.”

Interest in the vote ranged from generally poor to awful. Voter turnout was below 50 per cent in all by one community – Broughton Island – and dipped to just 13 per cent in Cambridge Bay

Makpah said the first thing on her agenda is to meet with NTI’s executive and staff for a review of the birthright corporation’s current financial picture.

“One of the priorities is to look at what we’re going to do with the $5.7 million windfall from Nunavut Trust,” Makpah said.

She said she also wants to give her attention to the upcoming 1999 celebrations, and to ensure each community in Nunavut gets to participate.

“We deserve the same and more of what Newfoundland got for their Cabot anniversary,” she said.

“It’s the economic opportunity of a lifetime.”

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