Iqaluit city councillor contenders make their pitches

Twenty-seven candidates compete for eight seats

On Oct. 28, residents of Iqaluit will take to the polls to decide which of the 27 candidates running for council will fill eight available seats. (Photo by Dustin Patar)

By Nunatsiaq News

On Oct. 28, Iqaluit residents will take to the polls during territory-wide municipal elections.

In Nunavut’s capital, the ballot will consist of two mayoral candidates, Kenneth Bell and Noah Papatsie, as well as 27 candidates running for council, of whom eight will be elected.

To help with the decision-making process, Nunatsiaq News reached out to all 27 councillor candidates by email, and in some cases by phone, to ask four questions:

  • Please tell us a bit about who you are?
  • What are your qualifications to serve as a city councillor?
  • What do you see as the city’s pressing issues?
  • What do you hope to accomplish?

Their answers were limited to 150 words and have been edited for length, grammar, punctuation, clarity and spelling.

(Photo courtesy of Alan Webb)

Alan Webb

Iqaluit has been my home for the past five years. My background is in finance and banking. I am a master’s in public administration candidate and I work in the office of the public trustee as the deputy public trustee in the Department of Justice. I have served on the city’s public safety and taxi advisory committees for the last four years.

I am running because I believe that by working together we can make Iqaluit a better place to live by focusing on three key areas: improving the quality of life by creating free and affordable spaces for community physical exercise and recreation; out of the cold initiatives for the homeless: places where they can stay warm and get help during the winter months; economic development: we should make it easier to establish a business in Iqaluit. so that we can grow our local economy and tax base by creating pro-business incubation models.

(Photo courtesy of Bethany Scott)

Bethany Scott

Originally from New Brunswick, I spent nearly a decade in B.C. before moving to Iqaluit, where I’ve worked for the Qikiqtani Inuit Association for the past eight years. I am an active volunteer and have served in executive roles with several boards and societies related to community development and housing. I am the president of the Iqaluit Action Lab and a recent member of the city’s economic development committee.

My top priorities for the next council are the following: supporting the development of more affordable housing, finding a long-term solution for our water supply, and advancing the construction of the solid waste facilities project and satisfactory closing of the old landfill. I am running for council because I believe deeply in being engaged in political decision-making at all levels and because we all benefit from diverse voices and experiences participating in decision-making for our community.

(Photo courtesy of Caroline Anawak)

Caroline Anawak

I am a trained trauma counsellor and addictions counsellor, having worked for KIA and NTI. I was also an elementary school teacher in Naujaat, a college instructor and a suicide intervention specialist having conducted workshops in 15 communities.

I want to uphold the financial stability of the city council. I want to speak up about the over 120 suicides here in this very small city that never get brought up. I would like a campaign to decrease violence; our shelters are full! I want to work on the water problems, garbage service problems and site development because Iqaluit is growing and we will need housing and developed lots.

I want to see the liquor task force’s recommendations honoured and implemented. I would like to lobby MLAs to fight for climate change and global warming—as we see it here—and lobby Ottawa. I want to see happy people at peace here, without crime, without violence. I want to address those kids selling drugs at the stores where there is no quality control and they could be laced with other ingredients.

(Photo courtesy of Haley John Shimout Anawak)

Haley John Shimout Anawak

I have resided in Iqaluit, in and out, since 1999. I work for AtiiGo Media. I have worked all different kinds of jobs my whole life, territorial and federal government positions, and I have learned many skills that would help me meet the needs of the City of Iqaluit.

I believe the city’s main pressing issues are the water supply/distribution, waste management, along with health and safety. If elected, I hope to focus on making the roads safer, finding a more concrete solution for our water supply and more wheelchair accessibility.

(Photo courtesy of Janet Pitsiulaaq Brewster)

Janet Pitsiulaaq Brewster

I’ve always been a social-political activist, feminist, artist and avid community volunteer. I’m currently the executive director of the Nunavut Arts & Crafts Association. I’ve dedicated 27 years to the public and non-profit sectors with a successful track record in leadership and governance positions. I continue to push boundaries to create a positive difference.

There are sizable challenges that affect our community. What’s key to my platform are issues such as homelessness, public safety, affordable housing, affordable public transportation, ensuring Iqalungmiut have a voice and, of course, the sectors of economic growth that are essential to our community.

Integrity is rooted in my core. We are in this together, and we need to build this community together. I see moving the current strategic plan forward through a sustainable and flexible approach, leaving room for new constructive initiatives. Working with council, staff and listening to Iqalungmiut is fundamental to progress.

(Photo courtesy of Jean-Luc Nevin)

Jean-Luc Nevin

As a young Nunavummiut, I spent my formative years in Kimmirut and the majority of my life in Iqaluit. I embrace a unique position as a young Iqalungmiut. I feel I can identify with the issues that face our youth in Nunavut, such as employment, food security and preparing to raise a family.

My personal focus, if I were to be elected as a city council member, would be first and foremost food security. Second, the ever-growing housing crisis, as a young person who has been saving and waiting for four-plus years for a downpayment with few to no options to purchase and even fewer suitable openings in the rental market.

I would intend to open a dialogue in Iqaluit about the realities that our youth and our elders must face. For example, young families struggling to make ends meet and elders who have limited mobility or who are almost bound into social assistance to survive.

(Photo courtesy of Jennifer Lane)

Jennifer Lane

As a community leader with 14 years of experience in business management, program directorship and process improvement—including community engagement and outreach—I have the experience and the willingness to work towards bettering the quality of life for Iqalungmiut.

I will be a voice for action within city council with a focus on getting things done, and I will encourage the municipality to take a results-based approach to improve our city services and infrastructure. This means action towards important issues, including the city’s water crisis, waste management (lack of recycling), land lotteries and allocation policies, and lack of accessibility for the elderly and those with mobility impediments.

I will not promise things that are not within the municipal boundaries to act on—like increased building of housing, Inuit employment, and food subsidy programs—but I will promise to aggressively push these important issues on the territorial and federal governments, whose responsibility it is to resolve. My commitment to Iqalungmiut is to be innovative, resourceful and, most important, action-oriented.

(File Photo)

Joanasie Akumalik

I have been living in Iqaluit since the 1980s. I worked as a certified Government of N.W.T. interpreter/translator. I am now a project manager for the Nanilavut Project with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., looking for graves of the Inuit buried in southern Canada who died of TB. I have not worked for the territorial and federal government since 1984. I have mostly worked for Inuit organizations.

This would be my third term as a councillor for the City of Iqaluit. I have a lot of experience with municipal governments: I’m a former mayor of Arctic Bay and have worked for the Clyde River hamlet council. I’ve also served on territorial Inuit organizations.

I am an approachable person and a good listener. I am a family man. I am able to ask tough and good questions and raise issues. I have raised the issues of homelessness and water issues affecting the residents and businesses of Iqaluit and a lot of other issues. I have an understanding of southern and Inuit ways.

(Photo courtesy of John Fawcett)

John Fawcett

I am a proud father, a volunteer and a leader. Iqaluit became my home on Mar. 5, 2006. I received my diploma as a computer systems technician at Nunavut Arctic College in 2013. Since that time I have worked for the Government of Nunavut as a service desk technician, at Nunavut Arctic College as the instructor for the computer systems technician program, and currently work as the information systems manager for Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated.

I am running for Iqaluit city council out of love: love for my territory, love for my community and love for my family. I want to see Iqaluit grow into the best possible version of itself and I believe that my skills in project management, my understanding of governance structure, and my ability to find innovative solutions can help guide the city to be everything I know it can be.

My focus will be on creating better communication with residents, the development of affordable housing and the enhancement of the utilidor system.

(Photo courtesy of John Maurice)

John Maurice

I’m a resident of Iqaluit and Nunavut since 1976, a long-term volunteer with many diverse organizations, a retired teacher, husband, father, grandparent, and witness to many of the transitions of the past 43 years.

I want to improve the quality of life for everyone in Iqaluit, by beautifying the city, making it a safer place, promoting a cleaner, more environmentally friendly place to live, and to work on initiatives that respond to the coming challenges of climate change and environmental transitions.

I am deeply concerned about the world we are passing on to our children, our grandchildren and all future generations. Creating a municipal bus service that would help alleviate traffic jams, supporting a realistic flow of traffic. Promoting the use of Inuktut in all City of Iqaluit promotional materials and services. Starting now to develop waste-to-energy systems, for the production of heat or electrical energy through the incineration of combustible waste, and encouraging the sorting of municipal solid waste into recyclable components, thereby providing employment.

(Photo courtesy of Keith Baines)

Keith Baines

I have lived in Iqaluit since 1973 and I am a homeowner. I have a background in municipal services, hospital administration and human resources. I am totally committed to serving as councillor as I do not have a full-time job that may conflict with that duty.

I would like to tackle the issue of collecting back taxes and infrastructure. I would like to try and change the cemetery bylaw to give families an option to lessen the financial burden. I would want the staffing of positions to be based on merit through an interview process and not on friendship or nepotism.

There need to be proper wages paid to heavy-duty mechanics, so the fleet of heavy-duty trucks can be properly maintained and up to safety standards instead of contracting out mechanical services at a cost of more than two times the cost.

(Photo courtesy of Kyle Sheppard)

Kyle Sheppard

I’m running to continue with the progress we’ve made since I was elected to city council two and a half years ago. With 18 years of banking and finance experience, and as chair of the finance committee, I helped fundamentally change the financial picture of the city for the better and eliminated deficits, which will now allow us to make significant investments in our infrastructure, with our water supply, piped infrastructure and roadways being a top priority.

Our new land administration bylaw will help us to develop a lot of new housing, and provide priority access to new lots for Inuit. We’ve assisted with the acquisition of a new men’s shelter and added long-term affordable housing lots.

We will work to develop more land, an improved road network and to significantly improve services and communications with residents in the next term. We will do this and much more if I am re-elected to a strong city council team.

(Photo courtesy of Lili Weemen)

Lili Weemen

As a multilingual life skills worker at Akausisarvik Mental Health Treatment Centre, I understand the importance of adequate affordable housing and how the lack of it impacts on people’s health and well-being.

As a small business owner of Travel Iqaluit Tourism and Shiatsu Massage Works, I want Iqaluit to be a decent fiscally responsible Canadian capital city with all our roads asphalted and our infrastructure well maintained.

I have a certificate from the Nunavut Municipal Training Organization, a certificate in finance from the Brisbane North Institute of TAFE Australia, and have volunteered on various boards and committees.

I want to address outdated and not well-maintained infrastructure, affordable housing and services for the poor.

I want the mud roads asphalted and properly sanded in winter for our safety. We need more activities organized for families and seniors. Simplifying the method of getting lots for building homes would alleviate the affordable housing crisis. The city should send an SMS to all the cell phones for important communications.

(Photo courtesy of Nasser Haymour)

Nasser Haymour

I moved to Iqaluit 10 years ago. I’m a father of two wonderful kids and an owner/operator/dispatcher for Caribou Cabs. I worked in the construction and transportation businesses, and Iqaluit is growing fast.

Our city is running out of water, yet we have many future construction projects on the go, which means more people will be moving to our city. That also means more vehicles on the roads that lack proper sidewalks. We need to improve our drivers’ awareness and training, while we provide a safer place for our pedestrians.

My hopes are to see Iqaluit become a tourist attraction (with our new port and airport), a home for families to grow safely, and a place for our local businesses to expand and encourage new ones to start up. Thank you and don’t forget to vote!

(Photo courtesy of Philip Otukol)

Philip Otukol

I believe the city needs a new fresh voice to advocate for Iqaluit and its residents. I bring with me a wealth of personal and professional experience that play an important part in my decision-making as a city councillor.

As a council member I will ensure the city remains fiscally responsible and advocate for improvements to our roads and investments in our water- and waste-management infrastructure.

I want to ensure the city promotes sustainable development. I hope everyone comes out and votes and voices their opinion, and I look forward to the opportunity to serve the people of Iqaluit.

(File Photo)

Romeyn Stevenson

I have been a city councillor for 10 years here in Iqaluit. In that time I have worked on many significant projects, including the building of our aquatic centre, the paving of many of our roads, the establishing of a new wastewater treatment plant, the restructuring of our financial plan that’s given us a strong economic position from which to work from, and the development of new lands for new neighbourhoods.

My focus during my time with the city has been to make Iqaluit a livable place where long-term residents feel respected and understood, but also where new citizens to our community feel welcomed and comfortable. I have worked to make Iqaluit a welcoming place for new and expanding businesses so that economic development has a place to grow.

In this upcoming term, there needs to be a focus on our waste management solutions, including the opening of a new waste transfer station and the closing of our current landfill. It is also pressing that we deal with our water security issues.

(Photo courtesy of Ronnie McGregor)

Ronnie McGregor

Now beginning my seventh year as an Iqaluit resident and having professional experience in different sectors like business development, civil engineering and dispatching, I believe that I can help the city to focus on and successfully accomplish projects that will improve the quality of life for all of Iqaluit’s citizens.

(Photo courtesy of Sheila Flaherty)

Sheila Flaherty

My husband Johnny and I own a home in Lower Base. I am working toward creating a bed and breakfast where people can experience the warmth and taste of Inuit culture. In the last two and a half years, I have catered events using Inuit foods, and I am honoured to be included in the Globe and Mail’s next top chefs in Canada (Oct. 11, 2019).

With over 25 years in management-type positions, I can review reports in a timely manner and I am always solution orientated. I am also proud to be in the group of the first trained lifeguards at our aquatic centre.

A most pressing issue is the lack of food security. I also want to see increased efforts to break down employment barriers, especially for low-income households. Most important, I want to help empower healthy families.

(Photo courtesy of Stephen Leyden)

Stephen Leyden

I am Iqalungmiut, father, husband, engineering technologist, City of Iqaluit board of revision member, former greenhouse society president, Arctic Inspiration Prize nominee and finalist. I believe I can bring new vision and inspiration to council to help solve the issues we face. I have experience from the engineering fields and from living and raising a family here.

Infrastructure has to be the priority, as it is the basis for all new development. We need to set a solid foundation for growth, opening up lots that fit our budgets and lifestyles tied to the land. We need to look within to find solutions that work here, fit into our landscape and daily life. Solutions that are rooted right here. I hope to refocus the City of Iqaluit toward the basics as laid out in the Communities, Towns and Villages Act. Not to only make plans but follow through on seeing completion. Thanks for the opportunity.

(Photo courtesy of Stephen Penney)

Stephen Penney

Water, food, and shelter are basic human needs and yet the city of Iqaluit isn’t meeting the needs of its citizens. Many issues exist with our water system, food insecurity is a real problem, and the number of overcrowded housing units is unacceptable. What we’re doing isn’t working.

In order to solve any problem, you must first fully understand the problem before you can even begin to start solving it. If elected to city council, I promise to listen to the citizens of Iqaluit, read all of the binders, and consult with experts in the field to help guide my decisions on the matters discussed in city council. I want to be able to make the most informed decision I can about a problem. I want to work with my future councillors and mayor to develop solid plans based on all of our input combined for the best possible solution!

(Photo courtesy of Swany Amarapala)

Swany Amarapala

I was born in Ontario and have lived in many places, but never felt more at home than when I first came to Iqaluit in 2011. I recently purchased my home in Happy Valley where I happily reside with my husband and our rescue dog, Noodles. I dedicate myself to providing help to all Iqalungmiut and I obtained my BA degree from UPEI. This combination of education and volunteer involvement in the community allows me a unique advantage of first-hand knowledge, and the ability to connect with and inform residents on the issues.

I feel strongly about the following issues: housing the city’s growing population, the water crisis, continuing road maintenance and increased vehicle usage on the roads, and programming geared towards youth and mental health.

My plan is to make the issues heard loud and clear, to collectively address these issues, while also being progressive and proactively plan solutions for the future.

Despite attempts by Nunatsiaq News, some candidates could not be reached or declined comment. The following are absent from this list: Bibi Bilodeau, Claudia Breton, Kathleen Gomes, Malaiya Lucassie, Simon Nattaq and Solomon Awa.

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(1) Comment:

  1. Posted by Voter on

    Wow 27 candidates, and similar portfolios across the board. The 6 that did not participate to make their portfolios public are the ones that will probably have a harder chance of getting elected. Iqaluit is big enough now that a popularity contest wont win you the vote.

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