Tunu Napartuk, seen here at the Grand Council of the Crees annual general assembly earlier this month, said if elected he would be a voice for the “forgotten people” of northern Quebec. (Photo courtesy of The Grand Council of the Crees/Facebook)

Liberal Tunu Napartuk vows to be voice for ‘forgotten people’

Former Kuujjuaq mayor running to represent Ungava in Oct. 3 Quebec election

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Tunu Napartuk wants to be a voice in Quebec City for the province’s Inuit and Cree communities.

“For far too long, we have been the forgotten people,” said Napartuk, the Liberal party candidate for Ungava riding in the Oct. 3 Quebec provincial election.

“We are ready to have a voice, to have a native voice, to have an Inuk native voice to represent the people of [this] riding.”

Napartuk, 50, spent most of his life in Nunavik. He was born in Salluit, but has also lived in Kuujjuaraapik, Puvirnituq and Montreal.

Kuujjuaq is where he resides now with his wife, Lynn Lemire. They have six children and a grandson.

Napartuk was twice elected mayor of Kuujjuaq, in 2012 and 2015. He did not seek re-election in 2018 and is now director of compassionate and complementary services at the Kativik Ilisarniliriniq school board in Nunavik.

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Fluent in three languages — Inuktitut, English and French — Napartuk said his life in Nunavik gives him a perspective on issues in the North that other politicians lack.

“Our voice really needs to be heard at the government level, the representation that we’ve received in the past four years has been lacklustre,” he said.

“My goal is to be able to remind the government that there are people in the North, and they are living a reality that is even more complicated than what the general population of the province of Quebec is going through.”

If elected, Napartuk said his priorities include a commitment to address the high cost of living in the North, food security, elder care, and services and opportunities available for young people.

Napartuk is also taking on the issues of Quebec nationalism.

Specifically, he said he is opposed to Quebec separatism. He expressed opposition to Bill 96, a law recently passed by Quebec legislators to protect the French language.

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The bill garnered criticism from groups who feel the law will make it harder for people in Nunavik to access health care and get into post-secondary schools.

“We currently have a government that has taken steps to protect their language and their identity, but at a cost of everyone else, whether you’re an anglophone or any group of natives,” Napartuk said.

“We really need to put in processes and structures where we are given the best opportunity to protect our culture, our way of life, and especially our own language, which has always been a challenge for as long as we can remember.”

In 2014, Jean Boucher became the first Quebec Liberal Party candidate to win in Ungava, ending more than 30 consecutive years of Parti Québécois dominance in the riding.

His time in office would be capped at four years, though, when Denis Lamothe of Coalition Avenir Québec won his party’s first race in the region.a

Napartuk said that while he is a Liberal, he’s running a campaign focused on the communities and the people in the North.

“The Liberals have always been an important part in my learning of what politics is,” he said.

“I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity to do the best I can as a Liberal candidate, but also as an Inuk candidate who will represent its people and the other groups within Ungava riding.”

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(3) Comments:

  1. Posted by INUK FROM NUNAVIK on

    Liberal s not doing too good in the polls. i have allways voted for them ,but CAQ are doing a pretty good job , i figure , i ll vote for them . Sorry buddy Tunu.

  2. Posted by Vote Napartuk on

    Vote for Napartuk In this election. Not only because CAQ is not doing a good job for our area, but also because Napartuk has the best plan for the area. A native, three languages, smart, and a great person. He can and will do a good job.

  3. Posted by Solution on

    Following the work of Tunu over time you can get a look at his desire to get solutions rather than just sitting in meetings and not knowing what’s going on. He should be elected to the chance that we need right now. What keeps Nunavik back from progress is that same old group of committees that travel and meet over and over not having a clue what the person next to them has to say, think or do. It’s a zero solution committee, same people on most if not all of them as board members. Tunu is one of the members that seeks solution, in spite of the negative groups that he mingles in. Let’s vote him in.


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