Nunavut election: Iqaluit-Tasiluk candidate profiles
This will be one of the most hotly contested races, pitting Premier Eva Aariak against former cabinet minister Patterk Netser. But both of those candidates will also find some serious challengers: the young new politicians in this constituency are all highly ambitious.
Her first action item as premier was to order a Government of Nunavut report card, which produced a blunt assessment of the government to date. Her administration subsequently focused on education and health, including a public campaign on school attendance, work on a suicide prevention strategy and work on a poverty reduction strategy.
After five years as premier, Aariak announced she wouldn’t seek another term in the top job. However, she does hope to remain in the legislature, continuing to work on her top three priorities: early childhood education, mental health and infrastructure.
His motto is “Family First” and his priorities are creating a higher standard of education, and working to create long-term, multi-year funding arrangements with non-governmental organizations. According to him, education and strong families are the foundation of any successful society.
Cooper also has strong views on the justice system. He’d like to see support for victims of violent crimes and tough sentences for offenders. But he’d also like to see programs in jails to help inmates get an education, and ultimately make the transition back into society.
“I’m at the point now that I feel I can justifiably contribute.”
Hickes grew up in Churchill and small-town Manitoba, moving to Iqaluit in 2004. He began his career in finance, then worked in education policy for the Nunavut government and and later in communications with Qulliq Energy Corporation. He also worked as an executive assistant to his cousin, Hunter Tootoo, where he says he got some good insight into the legislative process.
Hickes wants to focus on affordable housing and better education, because he says that’s how Nunavut will work towards greater economic development. Hickes regrets that he lost his Inuktitut as a child, but says he plans to work on it if he’s elected.
“It’s my home community and we haven’t had a lot of original Iqalummiut represent us in the legislature.”
For example, Joamie says the recent decision to liberalize beer and wine sales was the turning point that made him want to get into territorial politics.
“Having lived here all my life, having heard the horror stories of the past, I was disappointed.”
Not that he’s against the idea, he says, but Joamie feels that opening a beer store before establishing an addictions treatment centre is irresponsible.
If elected, Joamie says he’ll look for creative solutions to the exorbitant cost of housing in the capital, and the huge monthly bills that keep working families in public housing. He also wants to see Nunavut get a bigger share of its offshore turbot fishery, and he supports the Arctic Fibre link that could bring faster Internet to the territory.
Netser says he’s running now to help improve people’s lives in his new home town.
“We have to restore hope back into the people,” he said. “We really haven’t had much from this current assembly in terms of leadership.”
He’s also worried about education in Nunavut.
“If you want to get into Nunavut Arctic College programs, you have to do a foundation year. Why can’t our education system do that for them? It’s a waste of money. It frustrates me, and that’s why I’m running.”