NDP’s Lori Idlout sees resource management as a priority
Iqaluit lawyer says securing benefits for royalties is key to Nunavut’s growth
This week, Nunatsiaq News is publishing profiles of the candidates in the Sept. 20 federal election. There are three women running to represent Nunavut in Parliament: Liberal Pat Angnakak, the NDP’s Lori Idlout and Conservative Laura MacKenzie.
If the federal government wants revenue from Nunavut’s natural resources, then the territory should benefit more from exploration and mining activity, says Lori Idlout, the New Democratic Party’s federal election candidate.
To that end, Idlout says her first priority, if elected, will be to “shift” the working relationship the territory has with the federal government to get more services and resources for Nunavummiut.
“We have to realize that the federal government wants resources from us,” she said. “And knowing that … we have some negotiating power.”
Idlout, 47, says she also wants to improve housing and infrastructure, such as airports and internet connectivity.
The lawyer, who is from Igloolik, won the NDP candidacy in August by a coin toss and was the first person in the territory to announce her intention to run in the Sept. 20 federal election.
Idlout has worked as technical adviser to the Ikajutit Hunters and Trappers Organization during a public hearing into a proposed expansion of Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s mine near Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay. She has also represented a group of hunters who blockaded access to the mine to protest the proposal earlier this year.
Idlout has also worked for the Department of Health and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. as a policy analyst, finishing her time with the department as the director of policy and planning.
While serving as director of the Iqaluit District Education Authority, Idlout founded the Coalition of Nunavut DEAs, an education advocacy group. She was also the founding executive director for the Embrace Life Council, and served as that organization’s director for about six years.
Idlout said the Embrace Life Council began with no budget, and by the time she left, the organization had $1 million per year to work with, and six staff members.
“[My career] shows my commitment to improving well-being. … [It’s] all about making sure that we could have more success stories in Nunavut so that Nunavummiut can feel like they have been heard [and] have the ability to make decisions that impact their lives,” she said.
That, in addition to her Inuit identity, the knowledge she has gained from elders and the skills she learned through studying in a southern law program, are what she says have prepared her to be Nunavut’s next MP.
“I’ve proven my integrity and my willingness to work hard for Nunavummiut,” she said. “I feel like I have both worlds.”