They’re off and running
Premier hopeful Tagak Curley is acclaimed, but 18 other seats are up for grabs
Eighty-two people – a mix of ambitious newcomers, aging warhorses, a few incumbents, and some perennial losers – were lined up to seek jobs in Nunavut’s second, 19-seat legislative assembly at the close of nominations last Friday.
One of the warhorses, Tagak Curley, 59, won’t have to wait until election day on Feb. 16.
Curley won Rankin Inlet North by acclamation, when no one else was nominated for Jack Anawak’s former seat.
Curley, the first president of the organization now known as Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, says he will seek the premier’s job after the election.
Curley last served as a territorial MLA between 1979 and 1987, representing Rankin Inlet in the Northwest Territories constituency of Aivilik, or Keewatin South.
In 1984 he was appointed minister of economic development, but was removed in 1987 after allegations that he threatened to withhold funding from another MLA’s riding.
In the 1987 election, he lost Aivilik to Peter Irniq and until now has stayed out of public government politics, serving instead as a business advisor within NTI and as president of the Nunavut Construction Corporation.
Now, Curley appears ready to inject a new element into Nunavut government policy: “the supremacy of God.” Curley talked openly about this at an Oct. 24 prayer breakfast with members of Parliament on the same morning that he received his Order of Canada medal.
“His deepest prayer is that the Inuit collective voice might declare God’s truth in our land, and that it might be a voice that would call our nation of Canada back to the supremacy of God,” writes Roger Armbruster, a well-known missionary, in a web site devoted to the fundamentalist Christian revival in the eastern Arctic (www.canadaawakening.com).
Other ghosts from the past who have emerged to seek jobs in Nunavut’s second legislative assembly include:
* Pauloosie Paniloo, Iqaluit Centre: Paniloo, from Clyde River, represented the old Northwest Territories constituency of Baffin Central between 1983 and 1987, but has failed to win a territorial seat since. His last defeat was in 1999, when he lost to David Iqaqrialu in Uqqqummiut.
* John Amagoalik, Iqaluit East: a former president of the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada and chair of the Nunavut Implementation Commission, Amagoalik has contested a variety of elected positions within Inuit associations, but has never before made a bid for public office. In his last association try, he lost to Cathy Towtongie in Nunavut Tungavik’s December, 2001 byelection.
* John Ningark, Akulliq : Ningark represented the old Northwest Territories constituency of Natilikmeot between 1989 and 1999. He briefly sat in the Northwest Territories cabinet as minister of Renewable Resources, but resigned, saying it was too “stressful.”
* Levi Barnabas, Quttiktuq: Barnabas represented High Arctic in the NWT legislature between 1995 and 1999, and then was elected to a short-lived stint in the Nunavut assembly. While serving in the $120,000 a year Speaker’s job, he tried to rape an Iqaluit woman after a drunken party. He pleaded guilty to a charge or sexual assault in August 2000 and was forced to resign his seat, which Rebecca Williams picked up in a by-election.
* Louis Tarpardjuk, Ammituq: a former mayor of Igloolik and president of Arctic Co-operatives Limited and the Baffin Regional Inuit Association, Tapardjuk, an Igloolik resident, will take on Enoki Irqittuq of Hall Beach, and three other candidates.
In the Feb. 15, 1999 election, 71 candidates stood for election in Nunavut’s 19 constituencies.
This year, election day is Feb. 16, but voters may cast ballots in their local returning office between Feb. 2 and Feb. 12.
Who’s running where?
(Repulse Bay and Kuugaruk)
(Igloolik and Hall Beach)
Peter Two Aulatjut
David Toolooktook Sr.
Harry Ambrose M. Aknavigak
Moses Appaqaq Jr.
Mary Ellen Thomas
Edward Walter Picco
Joe Allen Evygotailak
Nanulik (Coral Harbour
and Chesterfield Inlet)
Bernard Putulik Sr.
(Gjoa Haven and Taloyoak)
Ruediger H.J. Rasch
(Arctic Bay, Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay)
Rebekah Uqi Williams
Rankin Inlet North
Tagak Curley (Acclaimed)
Rankin Inlet South/ Whale Cove
(Cape Dorset and Kimmirut)
Tunnuniq (Pond Inlet)
David Qajaakuttuk Qamaniq
(Clyde River and Qikiqtarjjuaq)
Phoebe Palluq Hainnu