Paul Okalik: premier; justice minister; minister of executive and intergovernmental affairs; minister responsible for aboriginal affairs; minister responsible for the Utility Rates Review Council; minister responsible for the Labour Standards Board; minister responsible for the Human Rights Tribunal; minister responsible for the Liquor Licensing Board
This constituency is essential Iqaluit (population 6,184): a jostling mixture of old and new, rich and poor, Inuit and non-Inuit.
Government infrastructure is everywhere: the Nunavut assembly building, the new federal building, city hall, the headquarters of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.
The West 40 area is the industrial heart of the city, the airport and the sealift beach are transportation hubs, and downtown — around what's called the Four Corners intersection — new shops and restaurants are springing up.
Many voters in this constituency live in the neighbourhood called Lower Base, a name that recalls Iqaluit's days as a U.S. military air station.
Iqaluit's other roots are apparent in the neighbourhood centred around the Frobisher Bay waterfront, where hunting shacks and sealing boats bespeak residents' continued link to nature.
Paul Okalik has evolved from a political newcomer to a government veteran over the past nine years. The Inuk lawyer was only 34 years old when he made his political debut in 1999 as both the MLA for Iqaluit West and as the first premier of Nunavut, then a new territory formed out of the Northwest Territories.
Voters chose to stick with Okalik in 2004. He defeated Doug Workman in Iqaluit West, taking 77 per cent of the vote. Okalik's fellow MLAs handed him a second mandate as premier shortly afterwards.
Prior to 1999, Iqaluit West was part of the Iqaluit electoral constituency in what was then the N.W.T. Ed Picco reigned in the constituency from 1995 to 1999 and then, when Nunavut was created, was elected in the Iqaluit East constituency.
As with the other Iqaluit constituencies, enumeration problems in 2004 led to voter turnout being more than 100 per cent. In 1999, turnout was around 82 per cent.
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