Incumbent Joe Enook won this seat by a huge margin in a 2011 by-election, taking 63% of the vote. David Qamaniq won second place in that election, but has come close to winning this seat before. In 2004, he lost Tununiq to Jobie Nutarak by just four votes.
Joe Enook, now in his 50s, spent the first 15 years of his working life with the Pond Inlet Co-op. He spent six years as assistant to Josie Kusugak when he was president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. He later spent 10 years as vice-president with Nunasi Corporation in Iqaluit before returning to his home town to run in the 2011 by-election.
Enook says his brief, two-year term in the legislature was just the beginning of his political career—an opportunity to learn the ropes and gain the confidence of the people of Pond Inlet.
As an MLA, Enook was vocal in his support for more marine infrastructure, and for making Pond Inlet a hub for the High Arctic. He says his other chief concern is education. “We have great opportunities for employment, especially in mining, especially up here around Pond Inlet with Mary River, and we must, we must immediately, be looking at how to allow the system to work for the benefit of students.”
But Enook says no issue is a small issue. “For me, every issue is a big issue if it affects people.”
David Qamaniq, 52, moved to Pond Inlet from an outpost camp when he was four years old. After finishing Grade 10, he went to work for Panarctic Oils, moving up to become an operator there. He worked for the hamlet office and drove a sewage truck before joining the Qikiqtani Inuit Association as a community liaison officer.
Qamaniq also served as mayor of Pond Inlet and was on the local education council for 15 years. He says he’s running this time because people have been asking him about it and encouraging him.
He also says his number one campaign issue is housing. “Especially in the communities where they never allocated any public housing in last year’s budget,” he says.