Nunavut votes: 3 candidates vie to be new MLA in Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu
P.J. Akeeagok, Noah Papatsie and Dinos Tikivik competing to replace Pat Angnakak
In the lead-up to the Oct. 25 territorial elections, Nunatsiaq News is publishing snapshots of the races. Look for articles with “Nunavut votes” in the headline.
Three candidates are seeking to become the next MLA for Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu.
After running unsuccessfully for the Liberals in September’s federal election, Pat Angnakak, the only MLA to represent the relatively new riding, is not running for re-election.
After the riding was established in 2013 through the merging of Iqaluit East and Iqaluit Centre, Angnakak won the following two elections.
Encapsulating Tundra Valley and Apex, Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu represents both urban and suburban residents in Iqaluit.
Competing to replace Angnakak are P.J. Akeeagok, Noah Papatsie and Dinos Tikivik.
Akeeagok, 36, was the president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association for the last seven years, before resigning this summer to run for MLA.
Papatsie, 52, was an Iqaluit city councillor between 2013 and 2015 and 2017 to 2019. Since becoming legally blind in 1999, Papatsie has been an advocate for people with disabilities.
Tikivik, 58, has worked as a correctional officer and run an Inuit culture and heritage program for inmates. He has also trained Canadian Rangers on how to survive in the High Arctic.
Housing and mental health are the most common issues identified for the candidates.
Tikivik said the territory faces an epidemic of mental health problems and not enough is being done about it. He added that some of his own brothers have died by suicide and during the last 10 years other members of his extended family have ended their lives as well.
“I want to try and help the people in my riding and Nunavut,” Tikivik said.
For housing, Akeeagok said that at least 3,000 more homes are needed in Nunavut. To realize that goal, Akeeagok said he wants more co-ordination between government, businesses and Inuit organizations in building homes. He cites his knowledge of how government and Inuit organizations function as a strength in creating a more centralized housing plan.
“I really see an opportunity where we can break down these [decision-making] silos,” Akeeagok said.
Papatsie said that improving education is one of his top priorities. He added that using Inuit traditional knowledge principles to protect Nunavut’s environment should lead to better mental health.
The territorial election takes place on Oct. 25.