Three-way race underway for Nunavut premier

P.J. Akeeagok, Lorne Kusugak and Joe Savikataaq all hope to lead government

P.J. Akeeagok and Lorne Kusugak are challenging Joe Savikataaq for the premier seat Wednesday in the legislative assembly. (File photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By Nunatsiaq News

A three-way race is underway for the premiership of Nunavut as MLAs meet Wednesday for the first time since the Oct. 25 election.

Joe Savikataaq, who was the territory’s premier in the previous legislative assembly, is seeking another term. He’s facing challenges from Health Minister Lorne Kusugak and newcomer MLA P.J. Akeeagok, who had been president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association until he resigned to run for a seat in the legislature.

Under Nunavut’s consensus government, where there are no political parties, voters do not determine who leads the government. MLAs pick those leadership positions after the election.

Each premier hopeful gets a chance to make a case for themselves as the best fit for the role. MLAs vote for their new premier by secret ballot after their speeches and a question period.

The day started with MLAs picking their new Speaker of the legislative assembly. Tony Akoak was given that role.

Once the premier is elected, MLAs will turn their attention to filling eight cabinet positions. Cabinet ministers, along with the premier, form the government to lead the territory until the next election.

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(28) Comments:

  1. Posted by Fresh mind on

    Let’s go PJ! So inspirational and gives us pride for Nunavut.

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    • Posted by No qallunaat special advisers as principal secretary please. on

      PJ has never done anything.
      He was at best a token Inuk surrounded by qallunaat “special advisers” at QIA.
      You’ll get more of the same with him as Premier.

      Personally, all three of these guys are depressing for their lack of any real world skills.
      The choice remains a rock or a hard place.
      Either way, the bureaucrats will continue to rule the roost unimpeded and sessions of the legislature will remain pure theatre.

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      • Posted by Rolling eyes on

        Obviously you don’t know PJ or what he has done, PJ has always put Inuit first and he works tirelessly to put Inuit first.
        Look at how Joe got on as Premier by the staff working to kick Quassa out. Who is the puppet there?
        The best choice out of the three is PJ, open to working in partnership with other organizations and the federal government, open to thinking outside the box instead of the status quo the other two bring.
        It’s a tough choice to run for public government, if you think you can do better put your name in next time.

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        • Posted by Inclusive on

          The new Premier not only has to support Inuit, he has to support Nunavut, and this means he has to be inclusive. Inuit, White, Black, Asian, Middle East, etc.

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  2. Posted by Upon Reflection on

    I’ll take Joe if those are my only options.

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  3. Posted by snapshot on

    A quitter can’t be Premier or leader. Leaders never quit when leading, NEVER!

    Of the three we know who the quitter is!

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  4. Posted by Nunavut’s voice in the leg on

    Lorne Kusugak for Premier. His speech reflects all of Nunavutmiut. A true consensus system.

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    • Posted by Take a vallium on

      He may speak nice but his way of leading is just total none sense. Nunavut needs fresh air and refreshing change. Go PJ Go!

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    • Posted by Beleaver on

      Nunavut has never been great! Being NWT was better because we had Dental Therapists at the schools and more resources, Nunavut became poor when it formed a Territorial Government.

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  5. Posted by Valentin Teresch on

    I thought all three spoke well. Kusugak had a number of specific policy ideas, while Joe and PJ were pretty much limited to general talking points. Joe does have the experience. PJ might be a little new to the game at this point; perhaps one more term as a regular member?

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  6. Posted by Confused on

    “politicians and diapers are the same, they need to change often and for the same reason.

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  7. Posted by Truestory on

    I hope a premiere that cares about the Nunavut’s economy. Keep Mary River up and running to hire more (Eskimos) Inuit.

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  8. Posted by Arctic Circle on

    Lets go Lorne! He would be a great Premier, very solid.

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  9. Posted by Toonik’s Granfather on

    NU needs Joe S for another few yrs. The end.

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  10. Posted by The one who cared for the elders. on

    PJ will do better job than the one we have now.. He is not new. He is always clear and he knows why he wants to be elected. I am thankful that he cared enough to give us support as elders. PJ, we are with you all the way. But, you have to make sure that we do not lose Mary River Minding. In Iqaluit Long ago when people start coming from every corner of the world. We thought we have lost everything and we are still standing up. We still have our hunting land and the ocean is enough and we always managed to live with our country food. Please do not kill Mary River. I would vote for you anytime. but sometimes things change when we want is not being looked after.

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  11. Posted by Kivalliq inuk on

    My vote is for Lorne kusugak, he has a strong firm voice for Nunavut Inuit. He understands the needs in Nunavut, I believe he will do great for Nunavut…

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  12. Posted by Let’s move forward to start afresh on

    We saw the bureaucrats rule under Savilataaq and Kusugak is known to belittle folks who disagree with him. Akeeagok has led a challenging organization and worked with the current federal government to make things move. Lets see a changeover already.

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  13. Posted by Nunavut Inuk on

    Let’s go PJ, you can bring everyone together instead of dividing Nunavut.

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