Nunavut election: Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu candidate profiles

With six candidates from all walks of life, voters here will have a tough decision to make.

The constituency that takes in Apex, Tundra Ridge and Tundra Valley sees the biggest slate of election candidates. Read on for a brief profile of each.

Jack Anawak

Originally from Repulse Bay, 63-year-old Jack Anawak is well-known to most Nunavummiut. He served as Liberal MP for Nunatsiaq from 1988 to 1997, as a cabinet minister in the first Nunavut legislature (though he was removed from cabinet in 2003 for breaking cabinet solidarity), and as Canada’s Circumpolar Ambassador. His latest position was as a vice-president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., but Anawak describes this post as “basically a part-time position with little to no authority.”

Anawak says he’d like to get back to work on social issues, such as suicide prevention, poverty reduction and his top priority: mental health. “That’s the key to making Nunavut a better place to be,” he says. He’d also like to tackle some local issues, like fixing the road to Apex and beautifying the city as a whole.

Anawak also wants to repeal the amendment to the Integrity Act which prevents senior government staff from going directly to the Integrity Commissioner with concerns. “People should have trust in their MLAs and this implies that they have something to hide.”

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Pat Angnakak

​Pat Angnakak, 50, says she knows what voters in her constituency are going through. A high-school drop-out, she went back to school, and college as a mature student, leaving the rent and childcare expenses to her husband’s single salary, and finding there was little left to live on. She later went on to work for Kakivak Association and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.

If elected, Angnakak says she’ll focus on education, reducing poverty, providing affordable childcare and housing, increasing support for students at college and university, and addressing health and mental health issues.

She also says she’ll work to design programs to meet the needs of elders, because all of these issues are intertwined. “All of the issues mentioned are just as important as the next and when one area is not supported, it impacts the others.”

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Anne Crawford

Anne Crawford, 55, has run a legal practice in Iqaluit since 1986. She served as Conflicts of Interest Commissioner for the Government of the Northwest Territories and as a Commissioner for Inquiries into Women’s Corrections, Health Care and Custodial Suicide. In 1998, she helped the Tungavik Federation of Nunavut negotiate the Nunavut Act.

Crawford has a long history as a civil servant in the Nunavut government, serving in several senior positions including Secretary to Cabinet. She later served as CEO of Qulliq Energy Corporation. She also worked with the Akitsiraq Law School Society.

Crawford has been involved in the Apex District Education Authority since 1988. She taught at Nanook School in the 1990s and at Nunavut Arctic College for 10 years. She says her campaign will focus on education and community.

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Duncan Cunningham

Duncan Cunningham, 57, spent most of his life in the North and at least 20 years in Iqaluit. Originally a teacher, he’s since branched out into several different areas, including work with the Baffin Regional Inuit Association, the Nunavut Impact Review Board and the Nunavut government and co-founding several businesses.

Most recently, he’s been working with his daughter, who is a vet, to start Iqaluit’s first animal clinic. Between 2005 and 2011, he was the editor of Hansard, the daily transcripts from the Legislative Assembly, through his wife’s company, Innirvik Support Services.

Cunningham also worked as the director of sustainable development for the Nunavut government and says that is the key to Nunavut’s future. “I really believe helping people find jobs is going to alleviate some social problems. It’s not a panacea, but I really think people need to make more money.”

Sytukie Joamie

SytukieJoamie, 55, says he regrets that he never finished high school, “like a whole bunch of Nunavummiut,” but he still believes he has an important role to play in governing Nunavut. “When the vast majority of Nunavummiut start graduating from high school, college and university, they are the ones who will take a firm hold of Nunavut. We are just part of the building blocks. We are building the house right now.”

Joamie spent most of his life in Apex and has been involved in the Amarok Hunters and Trappers Association, education councils and doing research on Inuit history. Outside of a short stint on Iqaluit town council, Joamie says he’s never run for office, and he says his low profile is one reason he’ll be a good voice for people in his constituency.

“I’m just an ordinary guy, just that guy who has no political ambition to hold a high profile job,” he says. “I’m just a guy off the street who wants to be involved in Nunavut. I’ve got no political axe to grind or ego to attain a certain office.”

Methusalah Kunuk

​Methusalah Kunuk, 63, grew up in Igloolik but moved to Iqaluit in 1981. There, he worked for the Government of Nunavut for 29 years, retiring last July as assistant deputy minister for the department of economic development and transportation. He says that experience gave him a good idea of how government works, and what he can do to be an effective MLA.

If elected, Kunuk says his main concerns are tackling poverty and suicide. He also sees the need for more local infrastructure, such as a breakwater in Iqaluit and Apex. And he wants to look into what government can do to hire and train more Inuit so they can take higher positions in government.

Kunuk is also very involved in the Anglican church. He was a lay reader for many years before becoming an ordained minister in 2000.



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