Rankin Inlet North

Current MLA:

Tagak Curley

Curley, Tagak - Acclaimed

Constituency Profile:

Unlike most hamlets in Nunavut, which were founded around trading posts or church missions, Rankin Inlet (population 2,358) has its roots in mining.

The community arose in 1955, as Inuit from throughout the eastern Arctic's Kivalliq region came to dig and process ore for the Rankin Inlet Nickel Mine. Though the operation was short-lived, the community endured and eventually became the area's transportation and administrative hub.

In the mid-1990s, Rankin lobbied hard to become the new capital of a new territory to be named Nunavut. It had to settle for "second city" status after Iqaluit was named capital.

Still, the community is growing, thanks to civil service jobs that are based there as part of the territorial government's decentralization policy.

Rankin residents could someday see a gold mine at Comaplex Minerals Corp.'s Meliadine West property just north of the hamlet. In August, Comaplex said it was pleased with the results so far from its drilling and exploration at the property.

Despite their names, the hamlet's two electoral constituencies largely divide the community east to west. Rankin Inlet North takes in the eastern half of town, along the Hudson Bay waterfront. Much of the community's downtown is here, including the post office, a restaurant and the Siniktarvik Hotel.

Constituency Map:
(Elections Nunavut)

Political History:

No one contested Tagak Curley's return to territorial politics in 2004 — the longtime Inuit politician captured the Rankin Inlet North constituency by acclamation, making him the only MLA to win without contest that year.

Curley, who was a cabinet minister in the Northwest Territories legislative assembly from 1979 to 1987, failed to be chosen after he put his name forward for the position of premier following the 2004 election; his fellow MLAs gave the job back to Paul Okalik.

Instead, Curley sat among the regular, or non-cabinet, MLAs during his term.

Curley's re-entry into politics filled the void left by MLA Jack Anawak, who is also a former Liberal MP but who left politics in 2004 to become Canada's ambassador for circumpolar affairs.

MLAs also snubbed Anawak as a contender for premier, although he was widely touted as being a possible premier when he was elected. After holding various ministerial portfolios, Anawak was booted to the backbenches for condemning the cabinet's plan to transfer government jobs from Rankin Inlet.

Voter turnout here has been low to moderate.

2004 Tagak Curley (acclaimed)
1999 Jack Anawak


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