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Jack Anawak, seen in a CBC-TV interview in June, is appealing Elections Nunavut's decision to disqualify him as a candidate in the Oct. 27 territorial election. ((CBC))

Jack Anawak, a former member of Parliament in the eastern Arctic, launched a court challenge Friday to a decision to disqualify him from running in this month's territorial election.

Anawak, 58, who is also a former Nunavut cabinet minister, wanted to run in the Akulliq constituency, which includes the communities of Repulse Bay and Kugaaruk.

But his declaration papers were rejected by Elections Nunavut, which ruled that Anawak does not meet the 12-month residency requirement required under the territory's Elections Act.

Appearing in the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit Friday afternoon, a lawyer for the chief electoral office argued that Anawak's tax return for the period ending Dec. 31, 2007, was filed with an Ontario address.

Patrick Orr argued that under the Elections Act, a candidate must be a resident of Nunavut for the past 12 months prior to election day, Oct. 27.

But Steven Cooper, an Edmonton-based lawyer who represents Anawak, said Anawak has always been a resident of Nunavut — despite having to go to Ottawa for work and school — and is therefore eligible to be a candidate.

Cooper also argued that the court should allow Anawak's appeal to go ahead, even though Orr argued that the appeal was filed too late.

Anawak was a Liberal MP for what was then called the Nunatsiaq riding from 1988 to 1997, when he was appointed interim commissioner of Nunavut.

Anawak was then elected MLA for Rankin Inlet North from 1999 to 2004, when he was named Canada's ambassador of circumpolar affairs.

As an MLA in Nunavut's first legislative assembly, Anawak served as justice minister and minister of community government, housing and transportation.