Lem ready to return to politics
One-time town councillor wants to help down-and-out youth
One-time town councillor Doug Lem is keen to get back into Iqaluit’s political scene.
Lem sat on Iqaluit’s town council for one term, from 1997 to 2000. He threw his hat into the race again last month, after residents urged him to run for one of the two vacant seats on city council.
The encouragement convinced Lem to take another stab at local politics. “Council needs some help. The town needs some help. I’d like to be there to help out,” Lem said in an interview.
The 38-year-old is a seasoned businessman. He came to Iqaluit 12 years ago from Montreal to work as general manager of the Discovery Lodge. Six years ago, he started his own company, Nunavut Catering and Consulting Services. He expanded that business last year, and now runs Chicken and Ribs and the Northern Lights Café.
What drives Lem to want to sit on city council is his desire to tackle social problems and improve life in the community.
“I’d deal with the social issues. You always hear about the development, the infrastructure, but you don’t hear about the social issues,” Lem said.
While working at Nunavut Catering, Lem saw first hand the desperate situation of youth in Iqaluit. Young kids would come to his shop looking for a warm place to hang out and something to eat.
Seeing that sparked Lem to help the community. He started hiring at-risk students to work on catering jobs and he adopted a 14-year-old boy.
He also initiated fundraising activities to help high school students. The money was used to help sports teams travel to other communities to play in tournaments. This year, Lem is donating money for the purchase of team uniforms. “They need things to do,” Lem said of young people. “Without any help they can’t afford to go to tournaments.”
This past January, he and several local volunteer committees got together enough resources to open a soup kitchen in Iqaluit. Nunavut Catering supplied the food for many of the meals.
If elected, Lem says he would try to steer city council to get more involved in social issues, and possibly start up some outreach programs.