The flag of the Hamlet of Pond Inlet outside the Nunavut legislature flies at half-mast following the March 29 death of the community’s MLA, Joe Enook. (Photo by Jane George)

Nunavut by-election for Tununiq set for September

Pond Inlet will vote for a new MLA, following the death of Joe Enook

By Sarah Rogers

Updated 11:35 a.m.

Nunavut’s MLAs return to the legislature in a month’s time, in a spring sitting that runs from May 28 until June 6.

But MLAs will be short a member: the seat for Tununiq, the riding that covers the Baffin community of Pond Inlet, will remain empty for the sitting.

Late last month, Tununiq MLA and Speaker of the House, Joe Enook, died after a short illness. He was 61.

Nunavut’s executive council confirmed this week that the by-election for Tununiq will be held on September 16.

“The timing of the by-election will ensure that the people of Pond Inlet are represented in their legislative assembly during the upcoming fall sitting,” said Premier Joe Savikataaq in an April 25 release.

Elections Nunavut will soon release information for potential candidates, while the Commissioner of Nunavut will issue the writ August 12.

The Nunavut Elections Act provides for a six-month period to fill a vacant seat.

MLAs will, however, choose a new Speaker of the House during the spring sitting; the selection of the Speaker will be the first order of business for the legislature when its spring sitting begins on May 28.

In the meantime, Baker Lake MLA Simeon Mikkungwak continues to serve as deputy Speaker.

The late Joe Enook was acclaimed as Speaker on Nov. 17, 2017, just before the opening of Nunavut’s fifth legislative assembly.

In recent tributes, Enook was remembered for his command of the legislature during upheaval, including the censure of a cabinet member and a non-confidence motion for outgoing premier Paul Quassa last year.

Members of the public can still pass along messages of sympathy to Enook’s family by sending a message by email.

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