Solomon Awa to stay on as Iqaluit mayor until next election

Decision comes after former mayor Kenny Bell’s resignation last week

Solomon Awa will be in the mayor’s seat until the next municipal election in October 2023. (File photo by Emma Tranter)

By Emma Tranter

Iqaluit’s city councillors voted unanimously Tuesday night to put Solomon Awa in the mayor’s seat until the next municipal election following Kenny Bell’s resignation last week.

Under the Nunavut Elections Act, council had the option to either appoint a councillor as mayor for the remainder of the term or hold a byelection to elect a new mayor.

Awa, who was deputy mayor, was designated to fill the mayor’s position the same day Bell resigned, on Oct. 18, but his role was not made official until voted on by council.

Council also voted Tuesday to temporarily make the mayor’s role a part-time one. Awa currently works at the Qikiqtani Inuit Association as an Inuit Qaujimanjatuqangit specialist.

Members also voted to appoint Coun. Kyle Sheppard as deputy mayor and Coun. Romeyn Stevenson as alternate deputy mayor.

Councillors Sheppard, Stevenson, Sam Tilley, Paul Quassa and Kimberly Smith voted on the motion to appoint Awa, who participated in the meeting remotely.

Councillors Simon Nattaq and Ookalik Curley were not present.

Bell, who was elected mayor for a four-year term in 2019, announced his resignation last week in a post on Twitter.

The resignation directly followed a trip Bell made to Iceland for the 2022 Arctic Circle assembly, where he was scheduled to speak on a panel. He did not show up to that engagement.

Bell has said he will pay back the nearly $9,500 he owes the city for the trip.

The next municipal election will take place in October 2023.

 

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(13) Comments:

  1. Posted by John K on

    Hold an election NOW!

    How many appointments are we supposed to tolerate in a representative body that is meant to be elected?

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  2. Posted by Finally Someone Worthy of the Position on

    While I would prefer to have an elected official, it makes no financial sense to run a Mayor’s race this late in the term.

    I am very glad Solomon is now Mayor. He is respected, listens to all concerns, runs a good meeting and will be able to build bridges with Federal, Territorial, and Municipal Governments and Staff. I have more faith in his style of leadership then the outgoing twitter tantrum we had. Thank you Solomon for agreeing to fill the role , I don’t envy the task of you ahead, but I have confidence you can repair the relationships the outgoing Mayor damaged.

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    • Posted by John K on

      If an election would reset the term then what does it matter?

      I actually have a lot of faith in him too. And as such I would love too see him elected. As someone in this position should be.

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      • Posted by John K Skipped Civics Class on

        Not how it works.

        A municipal council normally has eight councillors plus a mayor, all of whom are elected every four years. The next municipal General Election will be on October 23, 2023.

        If a by-election was held it would only fill the role until the current council term ends. Why waste all the money for an election when another will happen no matter what a year from now.

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        • Posted by John K on

          Fair enough. I misinterpreted that section of part VIII in the Elections Act.

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        • Posted by John K on

          And for the record.

          I grew up in Iqaluit so I had no civics class to skip period. Or much of anything to skip for that matter.

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          • Posted by Too young on

            Musta been too young for Ms.Pibus’ current affairs and civics classes at GREC .

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  3. Posted by Pain In The Groen on

    Congratulations Mayor Awa. I would like to thank you for taking on this enormous responsibility until next election. You are a person of integrity and respect. I know you will continue to serve Iqaluit well in this role.

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  4. Posted by Musical Chairs on

    All of them, I guess? I think Simon Nattaq is the only one remaining in the position he was actually voted into. Meanwhile, Tilley, Smith, Quassa, and Curley were not voted in at all.

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  5. Posted by Stable leadership on

    Good governance is boring. The city desperately needs some stable leadership. At least staff and residents can expect Mayor Awa not to be attacking everyone at a whim. The bully is gone.

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  6. Posted by Umingmak on

    This is nothing like the situation in Cambridge Bay last year. There’s less than a year until the next election, so it makes no sense to spend money on a by-election. While Cambridge Bay screwed up, Iqaluit made the right choice on this one.

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