Nunavut votes: Health care top of mind for Hudson Bay candidates
Sanikiluaq residents will elect a new MLA from 3 first-time candidates
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.
Voters in the riding of Hudson Bay will select a new MLA from a pool of three candidates, all of whom are running for the first time in the region.
Hudson Bay is the riding for Sanikiluaq, a community of just over 1,000 people on the Belcher Islands, nearly 1,000 kilometres southwest of Iqaluit. The community’s remote location means access to services like medical care often proves a challenge.
Daniel Qavvik is entering politics for the first time. Having previously worked as a conservation officer with the Department of Environment from 2013 to 2021, Qavvik said he wants to develop the infrastructure he says is needed in the community.
“[A] family wellness and family violence shelter are one of my key priorities to address at the legislative assembly if I am elected for Hudson Bay,” he said.
“So often in small communities there is some form of violence in homes. Building basic infrastructure like a family violence shelter would help our community in a small positive way, because in a small community, it’s hard to get [help].”
Recreational development is another of his priorities.
“We have a very high number of young children and teenagers that have no adequate recreational activities for them to just be young kids … we don’t have the complete functionality for our arena, for example,” he said.
Mick Appaqaq — whose uncle Moses Appaqaq was a candidate in the 2004 and 2013 elections — said he always knew he would run for MLA since he began working as a constituency assistant 10 years ago for departing MLA Allan Rumboldt.
“My parents always told me, ‘You need to help people as much as you can,’ so I wanted to become a voice for the people,” he said.
One of Appaqaq’s main focuses is on improving access to health care.
“We deserve proper [and] immediate health care. Being in a remote place, [there are] so many issues within our health department … that needs to be addressed, especially for those that travel to medical hubs such as women,” he said.
Reviewing the housing budget and boosting food security and education are other priorities of his candidacy, he said.
Rounding out the candidate pool is Ronald Ladd, who has worked in the public service for 25 years. Most recently he was a senior administrative officer in Kugluktuk.
Ladd said he would also work to build a women and children’s shelter and would improve community patient services for health care.
“As part of this pledge, I will fight for a refrigerated morgue and continue to push for an elders’ facility so our loved ones can stay in the community in their later years close to family and friends,” he said.
Other plans include developing programs such as “a made-in-Nunavut solution for alcohol and addiction” and building a mental health centre.