Nunavut election: Iqaluit-Manirajaq candidates

Three candidates are challenging cabinet minister Monica Ell.

Monica Ell won the former Iqaluit West seat by a large margin in a 2011 by-election. Eight months later, she was elected to cabinet where she was handed responsibility for the new department of Family Services, Homelessness, the Status of Women and the Qulliq Energy Corporation.

Mikidjuk Akavak

Mikidjuk Akavak, 47, grew up in Kimmirut, Pangnirtung and Iqaluit and has made his home in the capital since 2010.

Akavak is a certified journeyman electrician and has operated his own contracting business for many years. He’s a former mayor of Kimmirut and has served on several boards, including Canada Post Corporation and Atuqtuarvik Corporation. Akavak is also an avid hunter and carver.

If elected, Akavak wants to focus on setting higher standards in education, increasing economic opportunities for Nunavummiut, improving marine infrastructure, and creating government incentives to support hunters, carvers and seamstresses. Akavak also wants to develop “Made in Nunavut” programs to help offset the high cost of living.             

Monica Ell

Monica Ell, 58, grew up in Iqaluit and started her career in broadcasting, both with CBC and IBC. She owned and operated Arctic Creations, a sewing business, for seven years. She spent another eight years with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. as a director for economic development.

Ell was president of the Nunavut Economic Forum for several years and has been a vice-president of the Nunavut Chamber of Commerce, vice-president for Pauktuutit and vice-president of Atuqtuarvik Corp.

If re-elected, Ell wants to work on creating a hospice facility that offers palliative care in Iqaluit. She also wants to look at more supported living, for elders or people with other special needs and do more work on suicide prevention. She also hopes to work on marine infrastructure in the capital.


Lewis Lehman

Lewis Lehman, 39, was born in Toronto and has lived in several different countries. He moved to Iqaluit in June of 2012 to work as general manager of the Water’s Edge and Kicking Caribou pub in the Arctic Hotel.

Lehman says he’s running because he “wants to enact change in a positive way.”

In his campaign materials, Lehman promises to “provide more jobs and build more affordable housing; work with local and national leaders to protect our local environment and way of life; work with our youth to mentor and provide them with the skills and training that they will need for their future; work with small businesses to provide them with more funding and more opportunities for growth; and work to provide better access to health care across Nunavut.”


Paulie Sammurtok

Originally from Chesterfield Inlet, Paulie Sammurtok, 56, moved to Iqaluit about five years ago. He finished his high school equivalency at Nunavut Arctic College this year and is currently a stay-at-home grandpa looking after two young grandsons.

Sammurtok has worked as a special constable with the RCMP and was executive director of the Tungavik Federation of Nunavut and the director of the land selection project while the land claim was being negotiated. He also worked as a housing manager and senior administrative officer in Chesterfield inlet, and as a deputy public trustee with the Nunavut government. He’s currently chair of Maliganiik Tukisigiarvik Legal Aid Clinic.

If elected, Sammurtok would like to see more tutoring to help children in school work at grade level. He’s also interested in mental health, marine infrastructure, funding for small businesses and finding more creative ways to finance new housing. Lastly, he’d like to revisit the Integrity Act so that anyone can bring their concerns about an MLA to the Integrity Commissioner.



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