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

Janet Pitsiulaaq Brewster sits down in her art room after winning Iqaluit-Sinaa’s seat in the Nunavut legislature Monday night, according to unofficial results from Elections Nunavut. (Photo by David Venn)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

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.

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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by Voter on

    I hope the Iqaluit ridings can change the voting process.
    Congratulations to Janet, top vote! I would also add that some who were 2nd in any other ridings are better than those who were voted in.
    Please change this like other elections that we vote for 4 MLAs for Iqaluit, not per riding. then to work together for all 🙂 Top 4 wins the elections, not the current process. City does this process.

    • Posted by Uvanga on

      Engage in electoral reform! They have been trying to get public feedback on the electoral process for years. Reach out to them and give your recommendation. When they were on the ground in Iqaluit discussing electoral reform where were you?

  2. Posted by More fleas than voters on

    We elected an MLA with 97 votes?!
    Is this a joke?

    • Posted by More Iqaluit specials than voters on

      No surprise there – just look at the last NTI election. Just as appalling.

      • Posted by Inuk1 on

        67% voter turnout and nearly a perfect 1/3 split between the 3 candidates in Iqaluktutiak. Judicial recount even.
        Pam – 224
        Jeannie – 215
        Peter – 209
        Not one word said about this tight race we had in the west.

        • Posted by Uvanga on

          No surprise there! Kitikmeot always forgotten and dismissed. East Nunavut never considers the time difference for Kitikmeot participants when arranging meeting times, never consider travel days to meetings (often 2 days), even when there was a COVID-19 outbreak here in Kugluktuk the communication came from the Health staff in the region, not one word from the CPHO. Just look at who participates in GN initiatives…little uptake from Kitikmeot employees because of little communication or visitation from over there. Just ignorant of the west! So frustrating.

          • Posted by Karboneater on

            Hmm? Uvanga, what do you suggest? plebiscite/referendum to separate and re-join NWT? Cambridge Bay candidate that finished third had higher number of ballots than half the of winning candidates that are mostly from Baffin ridings. But, hope the new Assembly will put some thought into ensuring that Kitikmeot region gets its fair share of the pie.

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