Nunavut votes: Lorne Kusugak looks to keep seat in Rankin Inlet South

Incumbent faces challenges from political veteran Tagak Curley and newcomer Bobby Oolooyuk

Three candidates are vying to be the MLA for Rankin Inlet South. From left: Lorne Kusugak, Bobby Oolooyuk and Tagak Curley. (Photo credit Elections Nunavut)

By David Lochead

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.

Lorne Kusugak is looking to fend off one well-known challenger and a newcomer to territorial politics in the riding of Rankin Inlet South.

With a population of 3,026 according to the Government of Nunavut’s 2020 data, Rankin Inlet is the hub of the Kivalliq region and is split into two ridings.

Kusugak is seeking his third term as MLA. Over his last term he served as minister of health, community and government services, human resources, and was also the minister responsible for seniors and suicide prevention.

Kusugak was first elected as MLA in 2008. Previously he served as the mayor of Rankin Inlet. He is also one of the founders of the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation.

Nunatsiaq News reached out to Kusugak for an interview but he did not respond.

In his campaign brochure, Kusugak said he will continue to push for the construction of new homes in Rankin Inlet. He added that he will push for a homeless shelter, as “it is very stressful for our residents who do not have a place to call home.”

His brochure also says a mental health centre is needed in Nunavut and that he will continue to work to get such a facility in Rankin Inlet.

Challenging Kusugak is another well-known politician from Rankin Inlet, Tagak Curley.

Curley, 77, is a former MLA and a founder and first president of the organization that would become Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.

During his time as president he sat on the steering committee that would establish the Nunavut land-claim negotiations.

Curley said homeownership programs in Rankin Inlet need to be improved through more engagement with the community.

“That isn’t happening enough,” he said.

Curley named mental health as another priority, saying formal certification should not be needed to be a mental health counsellor. He added that community members with an understanding and connection to the people of Rankin Inlet should be able to be mental health counsellors.

Bobby Oolooyuk is a first-time candidate. Oolooyuk, 55, said he has worked in management-level positions, such as a maintenance technician with Community and Government Services and a manager of the Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. Harvester Support program.

Oolooyuk said to fix housing he wants more jobs available to residents in Rankin Inlet, instead of contractors being brought in from outside the territory.

“That will strengthen the economy in this community and create more jobs,” he said.

Oolooyuk also said he wants to see a homeless shelter in Rankin Inlet, and more treatment centres, especially for addictions treatment.

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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by Aa’mmak! on

    Bobby certainly has had an interesting tag game started between these three.
    They all share extended family relations by kin, or by marriage. What a web he has woven for Tagaaq and Quasa.
    The novel candidate for this riding may just upset the 2 seasoned politicians because the large family vote that Quasa would’ve enjoyed will be shared with hi Uncle-in-law, Tag and Mr. Ulujuk has a large local family base base that may not have the nicest opinion or history for the ole boys.
    Wish the same could be said about Rankin North. Unless the whole town of eligible voters in Chester casts a ballot for Alex, the scary incumbent will get back in. The 3rd candidate for this riding, is an unknown. He poses not threat to CT or AS as he will not garner enough votes to be a threat like Mr. Ulujuk does for Mr. T and Quasa.
    Rankin South will be a fun tag game (aa’mmakutaujjuaq) to watch on Monday night.

    • Posted by Local on

      Just curious what accomplishments Bobby has? People mention he was a go getter, what has he done so I can look into it. I dont know much about Bobby so I’m trying to find out. I only know what’s being said during nice election campaigning days… which will fade once election is complete.

  2. Posted by Cold island bear on

    Which one will push for some northern stores to close?
    And get local businesses more heavily subsidized freight so people dont sell cakes on facebook for 80 bucks or auction off cakes to highest bidder or sell pizzas for 50.

  3. Posted by It’s time on

    Although Tagak and Quassa have political experience needed. It’s time for a change and new blood to get things going. I don’t know much about Bobby but from I hear he doesn’t leave things alone when speaking out and you need that. Someone like Adam

  4. Posted by Rankin North on

    Although I am on the Chesterfield Inlet and Rankin Inlet North riding, go Bobby Ulujuk. We need new members, it seemed to have worked well for Arviat North and Whale Cove with Mr. Main and the riding for Mr. Lightstone. Lorne went into cruise control after making a few management changes with CGS and did fairly well as Minister of Health, considering the state the country was in when he became the Minister for that department. Tagaaq, I’m not sure what I think other than he didn’t do good at all as VP for Kivalliq Inuit Association. He made changes that benefitted him a lot. Made VP a paid position, had KIA provide housing for him. IMHO, not worth a chance.

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    • Posted by Rankin South on

      The reason why he received the housing was because the KIA board approved that he gets a company housing.
      (Don’t mind all the white people who get their company housing from KIA and who are paid way higher)

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  5. Posted by Transparency on

    If he was given a staff housing with appointment. Than he should be able to purchase one now as he sold his house the same time as the Minister of Health went back to Rankin.

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