Cambridge Bay Mayor Pamela Gross (top left), incumbent Jeannie Ehaloak (bottom left) and Peter Ohokak are the three candidates hoping to represent Cambridge Bay in the next territorial legislature. (Photos courtesy of Elections Nunavut)

Nunavut votes: Cambridge Bay mayor seeks rematch against incumbent in territorial election

Incumbent Jeannie Ehaloak up against Mayor Pamela Gross and Peter Ohokak

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Cambridge Bay Mayor Pamela Gross is after a rematch against incumbent Jeannie Ehaloak in the race for the community’s seat in the Nunavut legislature, with a third contender, Peter Ohokak, also joining the competition.

In 2017, Ehaloak won with 40.5 per cent of the vote, while Gross garnered 38.8 per cent.

Ehaloak most recently served as Nunavut’s minister for community and government services and the Qulliq Energy Corp. Before November 2020, she held the justice and environment portfolios.

Ehaloak said her biggest accomplishments as MLA were opening up a women’s shelter, renovating the airport road, installing a new bridge between the hamlet and Ovayok Territorial Park and finalizing details for a new power plant and beer and wine store.

Before becoming MLA, Ehaloak, too, spent time as a hamlet councillor and mayor. She said that her track record speaks for itself.

“I feel that I have a lot of experience and I’ve proven that my dedication to my community and the residents has shown,” she said. “I will continue to support them and fight for programs and services that I feel my constituents need.”

She said, if re-elected, she wants to continue to lobby for a regional, 24-bed continuing care facility.

Gross said that she’s learned a lot since the last territorial election. Afterwards, she said community members encouraged her to run for mayor, which she did, and began a two-term mayorship in December 2017.

“I learned a lot and grew a lot from all campaign experiences and all experiences that I’ve been in since,” Gross said. “I’m glad that we have a choice in Cambridge Bay for our next MLA. That’s what people are happy about.”

During her time as mayor, she said the hamlet has accomplished many things, such as the opening of the Itqaumavik Heritage Park and Red Fish Arts Studio, and receiving funding for a new community arena and pilot project to reduce dust on the hamlet’s ring road.

If elected as MLA, Gross said some of the challenges she wants to address are housing, elder care, mental health, access to country food and the lack of Inuinnaqtun speakers and translators.

She said as mayor, she has learned how to work with various levels of government on projects and how to be the voice of a community.

Both Gross and Ehaloak said that a priority of theirs is to try and bring elders who require a higher level of medical attention be moved to a facility that is closer to home, such as in Yellowknife or Edmonton.

Ohokak was not available for an interview, but, during a leader’s debate, he said some of his priorities are housing, better internet and reinstating the hamlet’s continuing care facility.

He said he wants to focus on long-term economic sustainability and making Cambridge Bay a place where people can build a life.

“I love it here. This is my home, I’ve lived here my whole life … and I’m passionate to serve my community,” he said. “I want to see Cambridge Bay thrive.”

You can hear more about each candidate and their platform from the CFBI 97.7 MLA debate.

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(17) Comments:

  1. Posted by Umingmak on

    Former Cambridge Bay resident here. Jeannie has been a fantastic representative for the community, and for Nunavummiut. She’d have my vote if I were still living in the community. Pam is a good person, but Jeannie brings more leadership to the table.

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    • Posted by Vote for Peter! on

      Jeannie has done nothing tangible for our community. She has a long list of accomplishments that she shouldn’t be taking credit for. A new holiday? That was a federal initiative. A new power plant? That was also due to federal funding and the board of QEC. A beer and wine store? Where is it? I can’t find it. She said in the debate that she doesn’t make election promises. Why? Because promises hold you accountable? Just saying….. it’s time for new solutions to old problems.

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      • Posted by Jeannie fan on

        well, you can’t just run on empty and expect people to take you seriously! Community development and sitting on boards or councils are the best assets and Jeannie has that experience unlike the others

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        • Posted by The talent! on

          I recall her mentioning in the leg that something wasn’t completely because she was busy dealing with covid and the IT cyber attack.
          I had no idea she was a Dr or an IT specialist.

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          • Posted by She lost my support on

            I worked under MLA JE’s leadership for many years. She never seemed interested in making things better. Issues were brought forward and she seemed more concerned at covering them up than fixing them. She is a nice lady- no doubt but staff were extremely frustrated with her lack of action. There was a lot of grumbling on the floor I worked on about how she didn’t care. I was her strong advocate for many years but at the end of day I had to give and say that the others were right. Maybe she had too many distractions in her own life but her focus was not on the office.

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  2. Posted by Good candidates on

    This should be a good run. Nice pool of educated and competent candidates, unlike in most communities where just about anyone will run when they see the nearly $200,000 salary

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  3. Posted by Youth to move forward on

    The youth need to have a voice. Lots of respect to the elders, but what about the next generation? What will be the new economic factors besides the government and mining? Housing, jobs, housing, jobs we need more of those. We need the MLA to address violence towards women and children, illegal drug and alcohol activity, education, food insecurity, education, housing, jobs. Again, I repeat, education, housing, jobs! We don’t need any more ‘photo ops’ we need updates, good objectives that are followed by concrete actions, please no more ghost speech writers too. Youth, don’t disappoint, excercise your vote on Monday!

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  4. Posted by Cam Baymiut on

    Nasty! Some people get nasty during elections. 😔

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    • Posted by Go Pam. Go Peter. on

      I agree. Lying and taking credit for things you had nothing to do with is nasty.

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  5. Posted by Cam Baymiut on

    Would love to see the complainers step up to the plate. Takes a lot of courage to run in these elections.

    Instead of complaining why don’t you come up with solutions to work together for the betterment of your community.

    Good luck to all candidates. I applaud you for putting your name in.

  6. Posted by Tired of the lies on

    Jeannie is clearly in a world of her own, she’s trying to take credit literally for every government of Nunavut initiative that she didn’t start and had virtually no say in it’s outcome.

    Airport road? she had nothing to do with it. It was going to happen regardless in fact it gets done every year. New bridge, again it was happening with or without her as the old bridge was a safety concern.

    The new QEC powerplant well that’s the funniest thing ever, these power plants have life cycles. Jeannie where are the real things that you were supposed to do? Beer and wine store? No where to be seen, what about the paved runway? It’s not 10 cents closer to being built than 4 years ago.

    Now for those of you saying she’s great and is engaged in her community. Do you people even read minutes and agendas for council meetings? Well please allow me to explain, according to the municipal minutes had agendas that are public information and available online she’s only been to 4-5 council meetings in her entire term, that’s 1 per year.

    Jeannie maybe you shouldn’t have slacked off the last few years cause your constituents are tired of you doing nothing.

    Time for a change.

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    • Posted by Spot on! on

      I couldn’t have said it better myself. What has she to show for her time in office?

      I tried contacting her many times on a sensitive issues and got the run around and a pile of excuses.

      I was really hurt by the fact that she turned a blind eye when my family needed her.

      Please go vote for someone other than her.

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  7. Posted by Cam Baymiut on

    I’d like to know what political experience Peter has. He ran against a vetran for the Vice-Presisent for NTI. Maybe you should start on council or other boards before you try for MLA. Get some experience under your belt

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    • Posted by One voice on

      I agree with you entirely, Peter has no clue what he’s doing. The man has no place even wasting peoples time with his name on the ballot. He hasn’t ever done anything for the community. He says he wants the community to thrive then why is he on no boards? No committees? Never ran for mayor, for council or any public boards?

      Peter ran for president of NTI and didn’t even come close in that race. The man has no politics experience, sorry Peter get your feet wet on committees, you want to make a difference gain some experience start from the bottom and work your way up but don’t think we are foolish enough to vote you in with absolutely zero experience. A diploma only takes you so far.

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    • Posted by Ouch! on

      So funny. Because what kind of experience did Joe the Premier have before becoming Premier?

      He was a wildlife officer. Did he even ever have an office job?

      Peter at least worked in an office environment for many years. Finance, NTI and QEC.

      He is an honest guy trying to make a difference.

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    • Posted by Greg E on

      I have to disagree. He was a public servant and worked at Inuit orgs for many years.

      He has hands on experience working in the trenches that will serve us all well.

      Often times you see politicians who are so disconnected with the realities of the office. All they care about is taking pictures and their own public image. Meanwhile the workers in the office suffer in silence trying to make a difference with no support from above.

      I like his youthful energy.

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  8. Posted by Hunter on

    Peter appears to be motivated and clearly very educated. After viewing debate it is clearly that Peter won the debate. Feed back which I got is that Cambridge Bay needs a big change with young blood. It’s a shame that our recent MLA has done nothing but only try take credit. Shame our Mayor Pam has been fired from her recent job working with the Elders. VOTE: Peter

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