Craig Atangalaaq Simailak was acclaimed on July 24 as Baker Lake’s new MLA. (Handout photo)

MLAs acclaimed in two Nunavut ridings

“I think people know me as someone who’s willing to speak up”

By Sarah Rogers

Nunavut has two new MLAs.

August byelections planned for two ridings—Baker Lake and Kugluktuk—were both won by acclamation on July 24.

In Baker Lake, Craig Atangalaaq Simailak will serve as that community’s new member of the legislative assembly.

Simailak, 43, said he was surprised to be the only candidate to step forward. He replaces outgoing MLA Simeon Mikkungwak, who resigned for family reasons earlier this year.

“I decided to do this mainly to be the voice for Baker Lake,” Simailak said. “I think people know me as someone who’s willing to speak up on issues.”

Simailak is a longtime purchasing clerk for the Qulliq Energy Corp. He’s served three recent terms as a hamlet councillor and two terms on Baker Lake’s housing board.

As a new MLA, he said he plans to be a strong advocate for public housing in Nunavut, seeking the provision of more units for Nunavummiut and better care of the territory’s existing housing stock.

Simailak plans to champion better trades training to be integrated into the secondary school curriculum in Nunavut. He also wants to see more support and care for the territory’s elders.

In Kugluktuk, Calvin Aivgak Pedersen was also acclaimed as that community’s MLA on July 24. Pedersen is the grandson of Red Pedersen, former MLA and Kugluktuk mayor.

He replaces Mila Ajukak Kamingoak, who also resigned from the position of MLA last spring.

Nunatsiaq News did not reach Pedersen before press time.

The legislative assembly’s spring sitting was cancelled as a measure to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. As it stands, the assembly is scheduled to reconvene on Sept. 15.

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(10) Comments:

  1. Posted by pissed off on

    I don`t know either of these gentlemen so this comment should not be seen as a personal complaint of any kind. However the fact that 2 MLA`s have been acclaimed seems to show the lack of interest in territorial politics by the constituents.

    Maybe there are simply too many ridings and Mla`s ?

    Being a representative of a riding is ( or should be) a very important task to be taken on with respect and confidence. This is not a door prize !!

    One should step forward only if willing and able to stick in for the duration and ready to perform.
    Thank you

    • Posted by Peter on

      The interest in politics seems to be at an all time high yet people don’t want to be the ones representing their community or territory. I urge everyone who believes that they can make positive change to ask themselves, “why not me?”

      This happened too during the last round of NTI elections when I ran for Vice-President against James Eetoolook. I was asking friends, family, and community members if they were looking forward to the upcoming elections and if anyone was interested in running, but to no avail, many not knowing an election was on the way. But as soon as it hits the news who is running, then everyone had a say on how things should be done. I understand the need to be heard, but if no one is there to listen then your opinion will never be heard.

      So there was James and myself in a Territory wide election. I say no more! Mark these dates on your calendars, ask questions, nominate people or run yourselves, the winds of change wait for no one.

      • Posted by Annie on

        The 2 acclaimed men look like they could be the perfect candidates. It worked out well even if there was no election. Good luck! to both of them.

        • Posted by Peter on

          As far as I’m concerned they deserve it and I wish them the best of luck in their new leadershop roles. I just hope more people will have the courage to do what these men did and commit to run in an election.

          • Posted by Artie on

            Doesn’t take courage to fill out nomination docs when prize is $100k min for working 6mos a yr. NU lucky these 2 got acclaimed tho.

    • Posted by Spread thin on

      Yup, too many ridings and too many communities. For what Nunavut has, in terms of the budget, skilled workers, etc., it is simply spread out too this. Its been noted before, combine the smaller related communities, and we’d all get a bigger bang for our buck.

  2. Posted by Kelland Sewell on

    Congratulations Craig. Best on being the voice of Baker Lake.

  3. Posted by Mungo Fletch on

    -Curious that Kugluktuk has an acclaimed MLA twice in a row.

    -Was Taptuna acclaimed also?

  4. Posted by John on

    When there is interest in making a difference and having people run for political positions there should be no acclaimed MLAs, the lack of interest is shocking, we need to talk about this lack of interest and why people do not care anymore.

  5. Posted by No Eskimo on

    Ahem, remember to keep business and shareholders to be in blind trust. 😉

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