Qikiqtarjuaq hopes to send first politician to Iqaluit

Qikiqtarjuaq, pop. 500, is one of a handful of Nunavut communities that's never sent someone to the legislative assembly

Members of the Legislative Assembly are supposed to represent their constituents, but what happens when your community has never sent someone to the legislature?

That’s the case in Qikiqtarjuaq (population 527), which lies in the Uqqummiut constituency, and shares its MLA with Clyde River (population 983).

David Iqraqrialu won this seat in 1999, followed by James Arreak who served for two terms. Both were from Clyde River.

But Arreak’s win in 2008 was a narrow one, that may have been helped by the fact that two runners up both came from Qikiqtarjuaq. Samuel Nuqingaq was one of them; he came in third, just behind LoasieAudlakiak.

This time Nuqingaq is the sole candidate from Qikiqtarjuaq. He’s still careful not to make too many election promises.

"For me if I get elected, I'll ask both organizations in both communities what is the first thing they want to see and at that time I'll work with them… I don't want to lie to voters."

If we had our own MLA for Qikiqtarjuaq, things would improve for us- former Qikiqtarjuaq candidate Stevie Audlakiak

Nuqingaq has high hopes, but says Clyde River can seem pretty far away to someone on the campaign trail.

"Where we live people know us,” he says, “but when we try to go to another community, the cost is so high. Sometimes we can't even go to the other community because the airfare is too much."

Stevie Audlakiak of Qikiqtarjuaq ran for MLA in 2004, but came in third. He says it’s time for a change.

“If we had our own MLA for Qikiqtarjuaq, things would improve for us because we... it's like when we were ignored when we were in the NWT."

Qikiqtarjuaq mayor Mary Killiktee knows the community has its own needs,

"It's our community's dream to see a harbour here,” she says, and she wants her future MLA to help them get one.

Historically, voter turnout in Uqqummiut has been high.

Other communities also not represented, yet

Whale Cove is another community that has never sent an MLA to the legislature. Until this year, that community (population 427) shared an MLA with Rankin Inlet South, whose candidates have dominated the field.

This year, for the first time, Whale Cove will share an MLA in Arviat North-Whale Cove. David Kritterdlik is the only candidate from Whale Cove in that race, facing four candidates in Arviat.

Chesterfield Inlet has also never sent someone to the legislature, however, three candidates with roots there are running in this election. Tom Sammurtok hopes to represent Rankin Inlet North-Chesterfield Inlet, Paulie Sammurtok hopes to represent Iqaluit-Manirajaq and Alexander Sammurtok is running in Rankin Inlet South.

It's the same situation with Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay. They have also never sent someone to the Nunavut legislature. Quttiqtuk (Arctic Bay, Grise Fiord, Resolute Bay) has been dominated by candidates from Arctic Bay.


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