Deputy mayor to ‘hold down the fort’ until more women arrive

Coun. Kim Smith was top vote-getter in Oct. 23 election

Iqaluit city council members pose for a photo after their first meeting Tuesday at city hall. Top, left to right: Couns. Harry Flaherty, Kyle Sheppard and Romeyn Stevenson. Bottom, left to right: Couns. Kim Smith, Simon Nattaq, Mayor Solomon Awa and Coun. Methusalah Kunuk. Missing from the photo is Coun. Samuel Tilley. (Photo by David Lochead)

By David Lochead

Iqaluit’s new deputy mayor says it’s hard not to be disappointed being the only woman on the city’s eight-member council.

“I’d like to think one day that half of these chairs will be filled by women,” Coun. Kim Smith said Tuesday in an interview after being appointed deputy mayor during council’s first meeting since the Oct. 23 election.

“But I will hold down the fort for the ladies until then.”

Smith was the top vote-getter last month. She said it was an honour to be named deputy mayor, a position that will see her fill for Mayor Solomon Awa when he is not present at council meetings.

“I know it will be a lot of work and I’m not expecting it to be an easy role by any means,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to it and I really appreciate the community and council’s trust in me for the role.”

Councillors did not use their first meeting to address the vacancy created when Jack Anawak, a former MP and former MLA, resigned last week, just days after being sworn in.

“We’ll have to wait until it’s on the agenda and see what council decides,” Smith said.

There are two options for filling a vacancy under the Nunavut Elections Act. Council can choose to return to the list of candidates from the last election or do a public callout and pick an applicant.

Anawak resigned on Nov. 6, citing his involvement in a vehicle crash the previous weekend. On Nov. 7, police charged him with impaired driving. Council accepted his resignation letter during Tuesday’s meeting.

Awa said during opening remarks that he will be in the position full time. For the last year of the previous term, Awa was a part-time mayor, after replacing former mayor Kenny Bell, who resigned abruptly in October 2022.

Tuesday was also the first meeting for two new council members, Harry Flaherty and Methusalah Kunuk. Council named Flaherty, the president of Qikiqtaaluk Corp., as its alternative deputy mayor.

Appointments for chairperson and vice-chairperson of committees took up most of Tuesday’s meeting. They are:

  • Finance Committee of the Whole — chair, Kyle Sheppard; vice-chair, Harry Flaherty.
  • Public Works and Engineering Committee of the Whole — chair, Harry Flaherty; vice-chair: Methusalah Kunuk.
  • Planning and Development Committee of the Whole — chair, Kim Smith;  vice-chair, Harry Flaherty.
  • Recreation Committee — chair, Samuel Tilley; vice-chair- Kim Smith; ex officio: Solomon Awa.
  • Grievance Committee — chair, Harry Flaherty;  vice-chair, Kim Smith.
  • Cemetery Committee — chair, Methusalah Kunuk; vice-chair, Simon Nattaq.
  • Taxi Review Committee — chair, Kyle Sheppard; vice-chair, Methusalah Kunuk.
  • Public Safety Committee — chair, Solomon Awa; vice-chair, Samuel Tilley; council member, Kim Smith.
  • Community Economic Development Committee —chair, Methusalah Kunuk;  vice-Chair, Kim Smith; council member, Kyle Sheppard.
  • Board of Revision — chair, Romeyn Stevenson.
  • Development Appeal Board — chair, Romeyn Stevenson.

In addition to committee work, Coun. Simon Nattaq will be the representative to search and rescue as well as the city’s representative to the Qikiqtani Inuit Association’s community land and resource committee.

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(16) Comments:

  1. Posted by Most votes = Deputy Mayor on

    Great choice for Deputy Mayor! Kim is very engaged, outspoken, and committed to our community.

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  2. Posted by good council on

    woman have to want to get into council first deputy mayor smith, i have a feeling theyre going to call out instead of picking the next guy with the highest votes just cause hes male

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  3. Posted by John K on

    I’m so happy for her. I was disappointed when I heard people at the Racquet Club talking about her. Nasty, nasty people with nasty opinions … I’m glad that such a large portion of the community doesn’t share their colourful opinions.

    Congrats Kim

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    • Posted by sure on

      I have only meet Kim a couple times and seemed nice enough and smart. But if the people who go to the Racquet club dont like her, means she must be more down to earth then I thought.

      Way to go Kim.

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      • Posted by alex on

        This comment! the best and so true. You want to know where you truly stand in the world relating to Iqaluit, if people talking badly about you at the Raquet club, you are likely a very good human, doing a great job, and insecure bougie high class members of Iqaluit dont like it. Keep up the good work KIM!!!!!!!!!!!

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  4. Posted by Umingmak on

    Sheppard back in charge of the taxis? How much of a rate hike will he support this time? How hard will he fight to maintain the predatory “per passenger per trip” fare?

    How did this guy get re-elected?

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    • Posted by Friends and Casual Encounters on

      Elections in Iqaluit are just popularity contests. It’s a matter of how big your social circle is.

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      • Posted by sure on

        I might not be Shepard’s biggest fan, but elections are exactly that… Popularity Contests. We hope the reason someone is popular is that they have shown they are good at leading…. but not always the case. and people that are good at leading and would be good for the community, if no one knows them (not popular) they will not get elected even if they do run.

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    • Posted by alex on

      He got re-elected by getting enough people to vote for him. Did you run? did you get elected? If you are so passionate about the taxis, run for council, head the committee, let’s see you do it bud.

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  5. Posted by Iqaluit Lady on

    Go Kim!!! Proud to be represented by her. I am not surprised more women don’t run for local politics in Iqaluit. The way people in Iqaluit talk about women in power is disgusting. It takes thick skin and a strong will to rise above that BS. Good for Kim, she will inspire other women to follow in her footsteps.

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  6. Posted by DarkSoul on

    Great to see a young person so passionate about politics and Iqaluit, we need more like her, time to move out the old boys club.

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  7. Posted by Needs new and younger blood. on

    Man, that’s a lot of old Inuit Has-Beens on council! Why isn’t the next generation stepping up to lead?

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    • Posted by Pedro on

      Maybe voters have become apathetic about who gets elected.
      In our little pile, in Nunavut, pretty much the same family, kin and friends have been running the “town” for the last fifty years or so. Some shrug shoulders….”Whatever”😶

  8. Posted by qikiqtaaluk on

    need transparency here and e need to have half the council from local people,proper elections needs to happen and people whom get election over time need to have limit how many years they can hold position. Inclusion also needs to be part of the council as older they are the process gets no where but barrier’s?

  9. Posted by How Corporate Business Functions for Dummies? on

    I don’t think CG&S provides any orientation Training’s on HOW to FUNCTION as public service for new elected Councillors or Mayor! This is a consumption of how new elected Councillors become very flawed on their own personal agenda or family matters during regular public meetings! For DUMMIES on Council functions:
    – Councillors (couples in household elected)
    – Business (operating a Corporate Business seated as elected Councils)
    – Business Licence (what is business licence i.e. sitting as Councillors)? Is this conflict of interests?
    – Who monitors outside Corporate Businesses when operating in Nunavut, and elected?
    – Business operations (sitting different 2 or 3 HAT’s in various Boards, and running Corporate Business)

    This raises a FLAG how system is monopolized in remote Municipalities! Suggestions how this system is broken!?!

    • Posted by Is it all in line? on

      Nunatsiaq News should also do an ATIPP to see if any GN employees have filed their Disclosure of Outside Activity forms.

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