Gordon pledges to reduce Nunavik’s high costs
Former Kuujjuaq mayor seeks executive post with Makivik Corp.
When the votes are counted on March 30, Michael Gordon, the vice-chair of the Kativik Regional Government, hopes he’ll be elected as Makivik Corporation’s new vice-president for economic development.
Gordon is running against Adamie Alaku, who wants a third term on the executive.
“I feel I am the better candidate to help the people of Nunavik,” Gordon said. “All of the elected positions, anybody can run for them, and they don’t belong to just one person, so that’s why I am running.”
Seeking an executive position within the birthright organization is a move Gordon said he thought about for years.
But as mayor of Kuujjuaq between 1999 and 2005, Gordon said he was too caught up in urgent municipal affairs to think of running. Gordon still sits as a municipal councillor and is the town’s regional councillor at the KRG.
If elected to Makivik, Gordon said he’s determined to find a way to reduce Nunavik’s high cost of living.
A recent survey conducted by Université Laval for the KRG showed prices are at least 57 per cent higher in Nunavik than in Quebec City, mainly due to high transportation costs.
While at the KRG, Gordon has sat on a transportation committee with Quebec, looking at ways to offset higher transportation costs.
“Makivik has a big role to play in this,” Gordon said.
That’s because the Makivik-owned airlines and shipping subsidiaries largely transport the goods Nunavimmiut need.
“I’d like for Makivik to come up with a plan to reduce some of the cost of items, keeping in mind these companies have to stay afloat,” Gordon said.
Gordon also supports the long-standing call from the Hudson Bay communities for access to jet service through Puvirnituq.
“This would really have an impact on the cost of goods and store-bought stuff,” Gordon said.
As for the subsidiaries, which Makivik uses to generate money and jobs for the region, Gordon would like to see more Inuit at the top management levels. He said it’s high time that Inuit start running these companies.
“It’s been around 30 years that some of the major subsidiaries owned by Makivik have been around,” he said. “There has to be a plan for Inuit to run the management areas of these subsidiaries.”
With Nunavik’s population achieving higher levels of education each year, Gordon said these top jobs need to be widely advertised and filled by educated Nunavimmiut.
Gordon also wants to find close partners to work on boosting Nunavik’s economy. If elected, he plans to work more closely with the region’s cooperatives and the Fédération des Coopératives du Nouveau-Québec.
Gordon said he’s also ready to throw himself wholeheartedly into the other areas where Makivik executive members are active. He wants to work closely with communities on local projects to improve community spirit such as Puvirnituq’s snow festivals, the Aqpik Jam, Salluit’s music festival and the Ivakkak dog team race.
“I think Makivik must work hard to support the community teamwork,” he said. “Makivik does a very good job at this and has to continue.”
His other plans include working closely with Quebec to improve community arenas and to provide better road access to hunting areas.
Gordon said he’s eager to bring his energy and determination to Makivik.
“I believe that elected officials have a purpose and people look at them much more closely, so they have to try and do the best they can and not slack off,” Gordon said.
Married, with a family, Gordon has lived in Kuujjuaq all his life, with the exception of the years he spent in Montreal, studying at John Abbott College and then McGill University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1994.
Interested in how the Quebec election turns out, Gordon hopes Nunavimmiut remember there are two important elections taking place in the region during the same week – the provincial election on Monday, March 26, and the Makivik election on Friday, March 30.