From left to right: Coun. Ookalik Curley, Mayor Kenny Bell and Coun. Paul Quassa pose for a photo outside of City of Iqaluit council chambers Tuesday evening, after Curley and Quassa were chosen by ranked ballot to fill two empty seats on council. (Photo courtesy of Aleksey Cameron/City of Iqaluit)

Paul Quassa and Ookalik Curley are Iqaluit’s new city councillors

Council picked replacements for former councillors Tuesday night

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Iqaluit city councillors have chosen Ookalik Curley and Paul Quassa to be their new colleagues.

The pair will fill two council vacancies that were created last year by the resignations of Janet Pitsiulaaq Brewster and John Fawcett.

The vote to fill the seats took place during Tuesday’s regular council meeting.

The city asked residents to apply for the open positions throughout February, rather than choosing the next two runners-up from the 2019 election. There were seven applicants by the end of the month.

Each of the seven applicants answered two questions during Tuesday’s meeting. The first question was, what can you contribute if you are appointed as a city councillor, and the second was, what do you think the most important qualities of a city councillor are and why.

Curley gave her speech in Inuktitut.

She told council she was born about 110 kilometres from Iqaluit and has spent her entire life in Apex and Iqaluit. She is a former vice-chair of the Nunavut Human Rights Tribunal, a member of the Nunavut Labour Standards Board, and an employee of the City of Iqaluit and Government of Nunavut.

Curley became emotional when speaking about why it’s important to run for council and about her mother and father, who have died.

“These elders, I want them to be remembered. It’s because they wanted us to have a good future by being involved [as] councillors, lay workers at churches, or work somewhere, that is why we are here today,” she said.

“Our ancestors that have left us [have] guided us very well.”

Quassa, a former Nunavut premier with years of political and administrative experience, shared ideas about how he thinks the city can progress.

“There’s an opportunity where we can work with other institutions,” he said, adding that the city should explore more public-private partnerships.

“We have a lot of corporations here, right in our city. We have mining companies. Now, if they want to be good corporate citizens, I think we can work with them, and I think it’s very important.”

Quassa is currently senior adviser to Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s CEO, Brian Penney.

After applicants gave their answers, councillors filled out ballots, ranking the candidates.

Lili Weemen, Kimberly Smith, Noah Papatsie, Samuel Tilley and Swany Amarapala were among those who were not voted in.

The results were announced shortly after 7 p.m., and passed unanimously by council moments later to make it official.

“Thank you to everyone who put their name in,” Mayor Kenny Bell said. “We really appreciate it.”

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(9) Comments:

  1. Posted by Putting this out there on

    well if that is not a clear indication that council wants BIM to happen. Unfortunately for BIM, Mr Baffinland never did a great job representing anyone when he was elected previously…

    • Posted by Confused Cat on

      So as far as I can tell BIM is on the exact opposite side of Baffin Island, about 1,000 km away from the Iqaluit City Council chambers… help me make the connection between the two?

      • Posted by Putting this out there on

        Well you see Iqaluit likes to make decisions that impact even the North Baffin (if not all Nunavut). If you need more direct relationship, where are the majority of the meetings that decide approval for BIM held… not 1000km away.

        • Posted by JT on

          @Putting this out there

          It’s almost like it’s the Capital of Nunavut, and central hub to Qikiqtaaluk, oh wait it is.

          That’s like complaining that water is wet. Got any actual frustrations to vent?

  2. Posted by 10 Seconds on

    Well it sure didn’t take Paul Quassa very long to start advocating on behalf of his puppeteers.

  3. Posted by New mayor on

    Hoping Ookalik will run for mayor next time around. We could sure use someone like her in that seat after the last couple of years. More compassion for residents and less ego.

  4. Posted by Kenn Harper on

    I don’t usually congratulate Paul Quassa but this time I will. Good for him for speaking out from the start about the need for mining projects to contribute to the economy in the North, and about the need for communities to support industrial initiatives in the North. BIM has much to contribute to Iqaluit and the rest of Baffin.

  5. Posted by Aside on

    7 running for 2 seats, bravo Iqallumiut

  6. Posted by qikiqtaalummiu on

    everyone said great things but no one listened. as the oppose is real. we are runned by puppets


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