Iqaluit Mayor John Graham resigns; Councillors react

Iqaluit city councillors passed a motion last night to accept the resignation of mayor John Graham, who said he’s leaving for ‘personal reasons.’ Councillors say they were shocked to hear news, but confirm their support for Deputy Mayor Mary Wilman.

'I think council is saddened to hear his resignation,' says Deputy Mayor Mary Wilman

Iqaluit city councillors passed a motion last night to accept the resignation of Mayor John Graham.

Graham resigned as Iqaluit's mayor in a letter delivered to city council yesterday afternoon.

The letter said Graham was resigning for personal reasons.

When Deputy Mayor Mary Wilman was asked if Graham's resignation was related to his long vacation, she replied, "No, not at all. I think it seems like he's been thinking about what's the best thing for him to do."

Wilman will continue to fill the mayoral role until council decides on a permanent solution. Councillors could decide to have Wilman become mayor until the term ends in 2015, or hold a by-election, at the next council meeting on July 8.

“I think council is saddened to hear his resignation,” Wilman says. “He was very hardworking and I would've liked to have finished the term with him. But it's his decision. I respect his decision.”

Councillors 'shocked and saddened'

Iqaluit City Councillors reacted to the news yesterday, which Romeyn Stevenson says was a shock.

"This was the first full-time mayor of the city of Iqaluit and he put more than full-time work into it when he was doing the job," says Stevenson. "I was very excited by the prospect of the future of the city of Iqaluit with him at the helm."

But, Stevenson says Wilman has been doing an excellent job filling while Graham has been away and he looks forward to seeing her continue in that role.

Councillor Stephen Mansell agrees, saying, "She's really stepped up to the plate in a time when we've had some big issues in the city including the [dump] fire and I have all the confidence in the world in her." 

Graham, a former manager of Iqaluit's airport, was elected in October 2012.

This is the third time this council has lost a member. Councillor Jimmy Kilabuk died six months after the election. Coun. Mark Morrissey resigned in January.