Nunavik Inuit elected Pita Aatami as Makivik’s president Feb. 4, with 66.7 per cent of the vote. (File photo)

Pita Aatami returns to Makivik presidency

Aatami wins with 67 per cent of the vote; edges out incumbent president Charlie Watt

By Nunatsiaq News

Nunavimmiut voted decisively Thursday to return one of Makivik Corp.’s longest-serving leaders to the organization’s top job.

On Thursday, Nunavik Inuit elected Pita Aatami as Makivik’s president with 66.7 per cent of the vote, according to unofficial results posted to Makivik’s website. Atami received 2,356 of the 3,532 votes cast, according to the results page.

Incumbent president Charlie Watt garnered 25 per cent of the vote, or 898 votes, while Noah Cain finished in third place with seven per cent support, or 258 votes. There were 20 spoiled ballots.

Aatami, 60, resigned from his role as president and CEO of Air Inuit — a subsidiary company of Makivik — late last year to run for president.

Aatami’s history with Nunavik’s Inuit birthright organization goes back more than 30 years; he was first elected as a Makivik board member in 1987.

He served as the organization’s treasurer from 1993 until 1998, and then ran in a by-election for president the same year. Aatami went on to serve as Makivik president from 1998 to 2012.

In January, Aatami campaigned on the pledge to bring more unity and prosperity to the region.

“I feel like Inuit have been left behind,” he told Nunatsiaq News last month.

Aatami said he plans to add a youth representative to Makivik’s executive council.

Aatami said he also wants to expand airport infrastructure across the region, and hopes to broaden the use of Makivik’s subsidiaries and joint ventures to better serve Nunavimmiut.

But Nunavimmiut have not entirely forgotten or forgiven Aatami’s decision in 2008, when he served as both Makivik president and chair of First Air’s board of directors, to pay out $1.5 million in bonuses to directors, including $600,000 to himself.

Aatami will serve a three-year term as president.

A breakdown of election results by candidate and community is posted here.

Just 41 per cent of Nunavik’s 8,626 voters cast ballots. Polls in Montreal were closed this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, but beneficiaries were able to vote by proxy.

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(11) Comments:

  1. Posted by Lydia on

    Congratulations Pita – please make sure to request the report that the Inuit put together regarding Human Resources! This report was not previously acted on.

  2. Posted by articrick on

    Nunavut/Nunavik the land of recycled politicians

  3. Posted by Past and Future on

    Now that the election is over with, will NN finally allow commenters to rightfully question him as President given the scandals last time he held that position?
    Or are we still denied the ability to point out what Pita did last time he was put in the driver’s seat?
    To know where we are going, we also must know where we came from. And that was one of the biggest issues to ever emerge in Nunavik since the JBNQA.
    I accept that Pita won, but others should accept why many are sceptical that hs has suddenly become a ‘voice for change’ given his past actions…

    • Posted by Alan Klie on

      For those of us who don’t know what were the scandals and what did he do?

    • Posted by J O raaluk on

      It is not only Pita who has to own up. There are other board members who approved their own bonuses and never said peep to their constituents. They should at least be kicked out of any kind of elected office.

      • Posted by Hit the road jack on

        This is well organized
        Well paid
        There on top of nunavik and nunavut, they own your airlines now

        • Posted by Not my airline on

          We owed an airline? LOL jk

  4. Posted by Truestory on

    Another round of bonuses. But, first raise the airfare for Nunavummiut before you get your much needed bonus.

    • Posted by Hit the road jack on

      They will earn every dollar

  5. Posted by I know too much on

    How can you guys vote for him ? Old boys club will be once again front and centre , haven’t anyone learned ? Charlie didn’t need a salary to represent , he would have done this for free, this once
    Again will be self serving , you voted for him , you get what you deserve – disgusting

    • Posted by boris pasternak on

      It might be true Charlie does not need the money. However, there a better things with some ppl that means more than $$$. Trump did not need the money but he sure got drunk with desire to control ppl, look at former GG; sure like to yell at ppl and treat them like dirt. Yep too many ppl like power more than anything else…


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