A look at the outcomes of some high-profile races in Nunavut’s election
Two incumbents were unseated and two new Iqaluit MLAs win in a nail-bitter and landslide
Netsilik, Iqaluit-Sinaa and Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu will all see new MLAs as a result of Nunavut’s sixth general election.
Janet Pitsiulaaq Brewster is Iqaluit-Sinaa’s next MLA, winning by seven votes, according to unofficial results from Elections Nunavut. Territorial election laws require recounts when results are close.
She said she spent Monday doing some housework that was neglected while she campaigned, then had her close friends and family over to wait for the results to come in.
“We watched the results starting to roll in and just got more and more excited for who was winning,” she said. “Then when we heard the results, we were absolutely ecstatic.”
Jeff Ungalaq Maurice and Christa Kunuk placed behind Brewster, with 90 and 75 votes respectively. Only 264 ballots were cast out of 902 listed voters for a 29 per cent turnout.
Brewster said the tight race shows the strength of each candidate who ran.
“It doesn’t surprise me that it was a close race for all three of us,” she said. “I think we’re all really strong candidates.”
Brewster said she’s going down south to visit her mother, then she’s looking forward to the upcoming leadership forum and starting work as an MLA. The legislative assembly resumes on Nov. 19.
“I’ll continue to do the good work that I’ve always done for Iqalummiut and I’ll do that at the territorial level now,” she said.
In the riding of Netsilik, which includes Taloyoak and Kugaaruk, Inagayuk Joseph Quqqiaq unseated incumbent Emiliano Qirngnuq by seven percentage points, with former Taloyoak mayor Simon Qingnaqtuq finishing last.
Quqqiaq, vice chairperson of the Inuit Broadcasting Corp., found out he won the riding 10 minutes prior to an interview with Nunatsiaq News.
“I’m at a loss for words,” he said. “I’m just excited. I’m elected. I’m just letting it sink in.”
He said he’s been doing his “homework” to be MLA for eight years and that he is ready to serve his community.
“I’m ready to help the community. I’m ready to help Nunavummiut as a whole,” Quqqiaq said. “I’m ready to take on the four years.”
Cambridge Bay’s former mayor, Pamela Gross, won her riding from incumbent Jeannie Ehaloak by a slim margin, according to Elections Nunavut’s unofficial election results.
In fact, the difference between Gross and Peter Ohokak, who finished third, was only 15 votes, or 2.3 per cent.
A Nunavut judge will recount the ballots for a constituency if the margin of victory is less than two per cent, according to Elections Nunavut’s website.
Gross could not immediately be reached for comment.
P.J. Akeeagok won Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu by a landslide, taking 84.3 per cent of the vote.
Akeeagok, former president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, was not immediately available for comment.