The Baker Lake electoral constituency is the only completely inland riding in Nunavut, sprawling across the Kivalliq region's Barren Lands to the border with the Northwest Territories. The land is mostly undulating Precambrian shield, strewn with lakes and cut through by famous rivers such as the Back, Kazan and Thelon.
The constituency's only organized community, Baker Lake (pop. 1,728), is the fourth largest in Nunavut, with a population that is about 90 per cent Inuit.
Baker Lake is considered one of the success stories in the effort to decentralize Nunavut government jobs: most of the administrative functions of the Nunavut Power Corp. have been relocated to Baker Lake.
Residents not working for the territorial government may someday benefit from Agnico-Eagle Mines' proposed Meadowbank gold mine, 70 kilometres north of the hamlet. It is currently slated to begin initial production in January 2010.
A four-way race to replace outgoing MLA Glenn McLean in 2004 was won by David Simailak, a former mayor of Baker Lake and a local businessman who has founded several Inuit development corporations. Simailak handily won the constituency with 48 per cent of the popular vote — 20 per cent more than his closest opponent, David Aksawnee (currently the hamlet's mayor).
Simailak was named to cabinet shortly after the 2004 election, becoming minister of finance and economic development.
He stepped down from cabinet in December 2007, after it was revealed that he had failed to disclose one of his business interests, which is required under Nunavut's Integrity Act.
Simailak apologized to the legislative assembly in February 2008, after then-integrity commissioner Robert Stanbury ruled that Simailak had breached the Integrity Act.
McLean was Baker Lake's first MLA, representing the constituency from 1999 to 2004.
Prior to 1999, Baker Lake was part of the Northwest Territories' Kivallivik constituency, which included the community of Arviat.
Voter turnout here tends to be high; in 2004, it was around 90 per cent. Enumeration problems in 1999 led to the voter turnout being calculated to be a whopping 103 per cent.
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