Nunavut senator nears retirement

When Nunavut Senator Willie Adams turns 75 in June, he will step down from the job he'll have held for more than 32 years.

When Nunavut Senator Willie Adams turns 75 in June, he will step down after more than 32 years in Parliament's upper chamber.

Appointed Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in April 1977, the former Rankin Inlet businessman and electrician is currently the Senate's longest-serving member.

Retirement is mandatory at 75 for senators.

An Inuk originally from northern Quebec, Adams recalled not being particularly excited when he was first asked to join the Senate by Warren Allmand, then minister of Indian and northern affairs.

"I asked him, 'What's the Senate?' " Adams said.

When Allmand told him it was easy work with an annual salary of about $60,000 — far more than the $7,500 he was making at the time — Adams said he'd take it.

He was appointed to the Northwest Territories seat, and was later named Nunavut senator when that territory got its own seat.

Once he's retired, Adams said said he hopes to have more time to visit the North and go hunting.

As for his replacement, he said he hopes the next Nunavut senator will also be an Inuk.