Runner-up in Iqaluit election says he’d be ‘happy’ to fill vacant council seat

Lewis Falkiner MacKay garnered 110 fewer votes than Jack Anawak, who resigned from council Monday

Lewis Falkiner MacKay finished ninth in Iqaluit’s municipal election on Oct. 23, just missing a seat on city council. With a seat left open this week by the resignation of Jack Anawak, MacKay said he would be happy to take on the role. (Photo courtesy Lewis Falkiner MacKay)

By Jorge Antunes

When Iqaluit’s newly elected city council meets for the first time on Tuesday, one of its first decisions will be how to fill a seat left open by the resignation of Jack Anawak.

The veteran leader stepped down from council Monday, two weeks after he was elected, following a weekend car crash that led to impaired driving charges.

Under the Nunavut Elections Act, council has the choice to either appoint the runner-up in the last election to the role or hold a public call-out to pick a new councillor.

The act does not give the option to hold a byelection for councillors.

In the Oct. 23 municipal election in Iqaluit, Lewis Falkiner MacKay finished ninth with 525 votes. Anawak won the eighth council seat with 635 votes.

“I would be happy to take on the position on council if chosen,” MacKay said in an interview Friday.

He noted a large portion of the vote went to him, giving him what he believes is a mandate. If appointed to council, he intends to fulfill the promises he made in his campaign platform.

That includes upgrades to Iqaluit’s road network, with new turning lanes and traffic lights, and creating a prioritized list of projects from the city’s transportation master plan. He also wants to see more land rezoned to allow for housing development and more transparency in city hall.

That includes, he said, a call for council to “establish and publish clear and transparent rules on how it will appoint future councillors,” MacKay said.

Council’s first meeting is scheduled for Nov. 14.


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(21) Comments:

  1. Posted by Maq-Pat on

    Mackay received a larger percentage of the vote than 10 of the last 24 people put on the council. Seems fair to call that a mandate.

  2. Posted by Prioritizing Inuit Women’s Representation on

    I would like to propose that council strongly consider selecting an Inuk woman. This decision would not only enhance diversity and inclusion but also ensure a more representative and balanced perspective on council. The unique insights and experiences that an Inuk woman could bring are invaluable and would significantly contribute to our decision-making processes.

    • Posted by northerner on

      Did you see any Inuk women on candidate list? I surely didn’t. I fully support an Inuk woman on the council but they must come out of the woodwork and put their name out as candidate!

    • Posted by why tho on

      elect the candidate with the most votes that didn’t win, if an inuk women wanted to go for council I’m sure they would’ve put their name in the ballot, not 1 inuk woman put their name in

    • Posted by Sad truth on

      I think in the future we should do more to encourage inuk women and women in general to run for office.
      however, the election was only a few short weeks ago, I think the only option is to take the next candidate. anything else completely ignores the will of voters only a few weeks ago. they havn’t even done a meeting yet, and one backed out, so it should go to the next one in the line.

    • Posted by Mediocrities on

      The “Church of Diversity” has spoken. Be prepared for more of illiberal non-sense in the future.

      Dear ‘Prioritizing Inuit Women’s Representation’ I recall a story in this very publication that made a similar plea not so long ago. Take a look, and please read the comments, because they were good:

      When you get through that, contrast that piece with this one:

      • Posted by Jonah on

        And what is “illiberal”?
        Come on. Did you just make that up?

        • Posted by Mediocrities on

          Hi Jonah;

          The first time I heard the term was in the late 90’s, in Fareed Zakarai’s book ‘The Future of Freedom’. So, it’s been around for a while. If you need a definition this ones, by Bonet, & Zamorano appears on Wikipedia:

          “An illiberal democracy describes a governing system that hides its “nondemocratic practices behind formally democratic institutions and procedures”

          To me this sounds like an apt description of the proposal above.

  3. Posted by lets go on

    would be the best thing to do he got votes, lets hope council just doesnt handpick a councilor with less votes than him

  4. Posted by Democracy not Closed Doors on

    The election was only two weeks ago , seems like the 9th person is the most reasonable choice. Better than council making secret decisions behind closed doors.

    • Posted by A Call for Inuk Inclusion, Not Just a Ninth-Place Solution on

      The voter turnout was 30.68%, which seems insufficient to assert that the individual ranked ninth on the list is the most suitable next choice. What is clear, however, is the importance of maintaining representation. The loss of an Inuk member on the council underscores the need for their replacement with another Inuk individual, ensuring continued representation and voice for the Inuk community in the council’s decisions and actions.

      • Posted by The Diversity Delusion on

        This comment really shows the rot of entitlement we see permeating other levels of our government, where the less than qualified or deserving are hustled into positions they are unprepared for to appease the delusion that representation will only make things better. I have yet to see that prove itself true.

      • Posted by Illiberal and anti-democratic on

        The turnout is whatever it is, you don’t get to slap an arbitrary rule on that suggests a certain turnout is not the will of the people, when those are the ONLY people who turned out to vote.

      • Posted by Devil’s Avocado on

        If MacKay fills the seat vacated by Anawak it’ll be 4 Inuit and 4 non-Inuit, and an Inuk mayor as the tie-breaker.

        That solution is consistent with democratic principles, and also happens to be reasonably representative of the community’s Inuit/non-Inuit demographics. No need for heavy-handed identity politics.

        Done and done.

      • Posted by Nunavut is not an Indian reserve on

        This isn’t a band council, this is a municipal government. Nunavut decided that it didn’t want to be like reserves down south, so anybody is allowed to run for office and your race has nothing to do with it.

  5. Posted by Putting this out there on

    Let him in… it has been so recent since the vote, atleast he put hi name forward… council can pick their friends in a few months when someone else leaves, and every few months after that as well till 4 years from now when only 3 or 4 of the elected will still be on council.

  6. Posted by By-election? on

    Let’s just ask the voters who they would want to fill the vacanct seat.

    Anyone who wants to be on council puts their name forward and the voters can pick there favorite candidates. If we ignore all the votes for the people already on council, then we’ll know exactly who the public wants to fill this empty seat.

    WAIT! we just did exactly that TWO WEEKS AGO.

  7. Posted by Gabriel Ross on

    He absolutely should be put on council, the people voted and he was next in line, this shouldn’t even be a discussion.

  8. Posted by Sorry kid you lost on

    I did not vote for him so as the majority of the voters didn’t, it is fair to ask folks to apply to council and let the council pick the most qualified candidate. The loser of an election for office is not entitled to any seat anywhere.

    • Posted by Where 50% come from? on

      Like someone mentioned above, Lewis’ 41% of the vote is more than 10 of the last 24 people put on the council.

      Many seats on council are filled by people who got less than 50% of the vote. Most recently Jack Anawak with 48%. In 2019 Nattaq was elected with 38% of the vote and Lucassie was elected with 32%. In 2017 two candiates were elected with less than 30% each. Plus the six appointments from the last four years: one had 28% another 16% and the rest didn’t even run.

      41% is lots.


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