QIA’s incumbent president faces three challengers

QIA President Pauloosie Keeyootak wants more time to fulfill his campaign promises of a year ago.

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

MICHAELA RODRIGUE

IQALUIT — Four candidates are vying for the right to represent Baffin Inuit as president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.

Incumbent president Pauloosie Keeyootak says he wants to continue his work after only a year in office. But Keeyootak has three challengers who are each trying to unseat him as president.

Meeka Kilabuk of Iqaluit, Johnny Kopak of Igloolik and Johnathan Palluq of Clyde River are all trying to take th president’s job away from Keeyootak.

Palluq, who is the senior administrative officer for Clyde River, says he has the experience and education to take on the job and will protect democracy if elected.

“I want the organization to be run in a fully democratic form,” Palluq said. “It’s democracy we should protect.”

He said that the recent time zone debacle exposed the lack of public consultation practiced by both the Nunavut government and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. If elected, Palluq says he would maintain an open-door policy and would listen to directors from the communities.

“I’m committed to what I do and committed to the people I represent. I don’t try to hide anything.”

Palluq could not say what his first priorities would be as president. Instead, he says that, if elected, he would review QIA’s status and take direction from the board of directors.

He also says he would work with the new Nunavut government to make sure their policies reflect Inuit values.

Incumbent president Keeyootak said that with only a year under his belt as president, he wants time to complete some of his campaign promises.

“A one-year term seems too short,” Keeyootak said through an interpreter. He said more work needs to be done on the Padloping Island relocatee project, and that he wants to inform relocatees of their rights.

Keeyootak also says he will also work to help bereaved family members attend funerals.

With the Nunavut government now underway, Keeyootak said it’s important that QIA distinguish itself as the “real voice of Inuit.”

“The Nunavut government said they’re going to have more power. We have to make sure that we’re the real voice for Inuit and try to meet their needs,” Keeyootak said.

The QIA election is scheduled for Dec. 13. Kilabuk and Kopak could not be reached by Nunatsiaq News press-time.

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