Glenn McLean won’t seek re-election
“I have to start looking for a job”
Baker Lake MLA Glenn McLean will be hunting for a new job this time next month.
After five years within Nunavut’s first legislative assembly, McLean is calling it quits. He announced this week that he won’t seek re-election in the Feb. 16 territorial election, and that he’ll be looking for a job in the private sector after the assembly dissolves next month.
“I made up my mind about a year ago that I wasn’t going to seek re-election. It’s basically a family decision. I’ve got a young family, a son, 6, a son, 12, and a daughter, 15. I thought it was time to spend more time at home,” McLean said this week.
McLean took the Baker Lake seat easily in the Feb. 15, 1999, general election, winning 466 votes. His nearest opponent, Patrick Tagoona, took only 191 votes while David Toolooktook Sr. finished well back with 76.
In the five years since, McLean kept his nose to the grindstone, serving as a bread-and-butter, grassroots politician. He never sought a seat on cabinet, and always put local issues first.
“I made a promise to my constituents that I would not go into the cabinet,” McLean said.
That’s because the people of Baker Lake wanted a member who would continue to reside in their community, rather than a cabinet minister who would be required to move to the capital.
No one has stepped forward to contest the Baker Lake seat in the Feb. 16 election.
McLean thinks that’s because, until this week, prospective candidates were holding off until he announced his plans.
“I don’t know at this point who’s running. I think people assumed I was running again, but I think now you will see people step forward in the next couple of weeks,” McLean said.
McLean’s advice to Baker Lake’s next MLA?
“Concentrate, first off, on the grassroots issues like the traditional economy, and the youth. I think we ignored youth issues in this go-round…. And on the broader issues, if you get a chance to help the other communities, then help them,” McLean said.
Though McLean built bridges with MLAs outside the Kivalliq region, such as Iqaluit MLAs Paul Okalik and Ed Picco, on issues such as the location of Power Corp. and Public Works jobs in his community, the highlight of his legislative career is the construction of a replacement for Jonah Amitna’aq School.
“The intense lobbying on the part of the community to get that new facility in the community was one of the highlights and I’m so happy with it. When I walk through the school I feel so happy, because my kids will be going there along with all the other kids in the community,” McLean said.
Though McLean leaves politics with “some reluctance,” he says he’s happy to go back to being just a “regular Joe” – and that means looking for a way to put food on the table.
“I have to start looking for a job, anything that pays a wage,” McLean said.