Simeon Mikkungwak picked as Speaker of Nunavut’s legislative assembly

Vote triggered after passing of Joe Enook in March

Simeon Mikkungwak, Nunavut’s MLA for Baker Lake, grins shortly after being named Speaker of the territory’s legislative assembly on Tuesday, May 28. (Photo by John Thompson)

By Emma Tranter

Simeon Mikkungwak is the new Speaker of Nunavut’s legislative assembly.

The Baker Lake MLA and deputy speaker was elected this morning after a secret ballot vote. The election was triggered after former speaker Joe Enook passed away in March.

A close friend of Enook, Mikkungwak said he was “humbled” to have been elected.

“Having worked with the late Mr. Enook, he’s passed on the knowledge to me … whenever I travelled with him. It was an honour being his deputy Speaker,” he said.

After a short illness, Enook, 61, died on March 29 at an Ottawa hospital.

Enook was acclaimed as Speaker on Nov. 17, 2017, just before the opening of Nunavut’s fifth legislative assembly.

Along with Mikkungwak, three other nominations were put forward for Speaker: Paul Quassa, Pat Agnakak and Tony Akoak.

As per the rules of the assembly, the nominees for the position of Speaker do not deliver speeches and a question and answer period does not occur. All votes are made via secret ballot.

Mikkungwak was appointed to serve as deputy speaker and chair of committee of the whole during the first sitting of the fifth legislative assembly in November 2017.

He previously served as chair of the regular members’ caucus and deputy chair of committee of the whole during the assembly’s fourth sitting.

When asked what he will bring to the Speaker’s chair, Mikkungwak said his experience as chair of committee of the whole will help him in his new role. He also said he plans to “treat each and every member equally.”

Before his election, Mikkungwak worked as a lands inspector with the Kivalliq Inuit Association and previously held a number of positions in his community, including deputy mayor of Baker Lake.

The Speaker presides over all sittings of the legislative assembly and is in charge of enforcing the rules of the assembly.

Mikkungwak’s election will be made official when a motion is passed during this afternoon’s sitting of the legislative assembly.

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(4) Comments:

  1. Posted by The Dude of the North on

    Congratulations Mikkungwak, you’ll do great.

    Would of been nice to see Mr Quassa in too, same with Pat, she is great role model.

  2. Posted by Beulah Noolook on

    A great smile is always appreciated among the most important of us, those who sit in that high chamber. Congratulations Simeon, I know you will bring a resounding calm to the legislative assembly with your disarming personality and veritable charm.

  3. Posted by Silas on

    Congratulations Simeon.
    The problem I have with this is that Baker Lake now has no voice in the legislature.
    It would have been alright if there had been two members from Baker Lake.

  4. Posted by Agnes Turner on

    Congratulations Simon! I’m so happy for you but at the same time, concerned that Baker Lake will no longer have a voice. From the way they kept re-electing you, it showed that they trusted you to speak on their behalf. But I’m so proud that the grandson of such humble people have come such a long way!

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