Gjoa Haven voters to choose new mayor Monday – and maybe new liquor laws
Voting for hamlet council postponed following death of one candidate
Leading up to Nunavut’s Oct. 23 municipal elections, Nunatsiaq News is publishing snapshots of races in the territory’s 25 communities.
Gjoa Haven’s municipal council race has been postponed, following a candidate’s death, but the two-way race for mayor and a vote on changing the hamlet’s liquor laws are still going ahead on Monday.
Gjoa Haven, a Kitikmeot region community, is located off the southeastern coast of King William Island and has a population of about 1,350.
In the mayor’s race, incumbent Mayor Megan Porter is facing challenger Raymond Quqshuun Sr.
Porter declined an interview with Nunatsiaq News, saying she was too busy with work. However, she did post a campaign message on the Gjoa Haven (Uqshuqtuuq) Facebook page.
Porter said her reason for seeking a second term is that there are unfinished projects she wants to complete, with the help of the municipal council.
“I want to continue being the voice for our people at the territorial and federal level for our growing population,” she wrote in her post.
Porter said she has been involved in local politics since 2006 and served as deputy mayor from 2015 to 2019, before being elected mayor in 2019.
She noted Gjoa Haven was facing an overwhelming deficit but said she and the council have nearly eliminated it. Porter said challenging decisions had to be made in order to reduce that deficit.
“This means we can now run more programs for our growing population and focus on our elders and youth,” she said of the reduced deficit.
Quqshuun currently teaches at Qiqirtaq High School. Previously he worked at the Nunavut Water Board, where he was director of corporate services.
According to the board’s website, Quqshuun has also been involved in the community’s housing association, co-op board of directors, and the hamlet and district education authority.
Nunatsiaq News was not able to interview Quqshuun despite multiple attempts to contact him.
In addition to the mayoral election, Gjoa Haven voters will cast ballots in a liquor plebiscite on Monday.
Residents will decide whether the hamlet should continue to prohibit the importing or buying of alcohol, or change its rules by putting restrictions on the amount a person can import or buy.
According to Elections Nunavut, under the restricted system every 14 days Gjoa Haven residents would be allowed to import or buy up to:
- 24 cans of 355 ml of beer or other liquor that is not more than eight per cent alcohol by volume;
- four litres of wine.
To change the liquor laws in Gjoa Haven, at least 60 per cent of the eligible voters need to vote in favour of a restricted system.
Members of the district education authority were acclaimed. They are Samuel Takkiruq, Hannah Kingmiaqtuq, Rebecca Ikuallaq, Jack Ameralik, Wilfrid Bagley, Mohammadali Shaikh and Carol Takkiruq.
Meanwhile, Gjoa Haven’s election for municipal council has been postponed due to the recent death of candidate Helen Tunngulik.
When a candidate dies prior to the election, the vote is rescheduled, the territory’s chief electoral officer Dustin Fredlund said.
“She was an important member of our community’s council, bringing a strong voice to the things she knew to be important,” Porter said of Tunngulik on Gjoa Haven (Uqshuqtuuq) Facebook page on behalf of the hamlet and council.
Residents interested in running for council must submit their names by Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. MT. The deadline to withdraw is 5 p.m. on the same day.