Hunter Tootoo says he'll 'wait and see' on cabinet position

Nunavut's Liberal MP-elect Hunter Tootoo, who unseated incumbent environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, may be in the running for a cabinet position himself in Justin Trudeau's new government.

Nunavut's Liberal MP-elect unseated Conservative cabinet minister Leona Aglukkaq in Monday's election

Nunavut's Liberal MP-elect Hunter Tootoo says his lucky socks helped to clench his victory on election night. There is speculation he may be in the running for a seat in cabinet. (Sima Sahar Zerehi/CBC)

Nunavut's Liberal MP-elect Hunter Tootoo, who unseated incumbent environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, may be in the running for a cabinet position himself in Justin Trudeau's new government.

"Trudeau is committed to having his cabinet representative, jurisdictionally and gender-wise, and everything," said Tootoo.

"It's not my call. Just have to wait and see what happens."

Trudeau has promised to slim down his cabinet from the 40 people in Stephen Harper's government to 25 ministers, while committing to gender parity, geographic representation, cultural diversity, and linguistic representation.

Traditionally prime ministers also reward outstanding candidates including those who shine in tough races. As an MP from an underrepresented region, who is Inuk, with a long political history and a win against a cabinet minister, Tootoo may meet the criteria.

N.W.T.'s Liberal MP-elect Michael McLeod has also said he thinks Trudeau will choose a cabinet minister from the northern territories and that he would like to be the one.

If appointed, Tootoo would be the second MP from Nunavut and the second Inuk ever to be named to the cabinet. Aglukkaq, who spent the past seven years as Nunavut's MP, was the first.

Aglukkaq spoke to CBC while she was at the Iqaluit airport Tuesday.

Leona Aglukkaq said she is looking forward to spending time with her son when CBC caught up with her today at the Iqaluit airport before she left the territory with senator Denis Patterson. (Sima Sahar Zerehi/CBC)

"People voted and that's the result, and I respect that," she said. "I wish Hunter all the best."

Aglukkaq added that she is looking forward to spending time with her young son and husband.

Delivering on election promises

The Liberals made a lot of promises during this historically long campaign, and many Iqaluit residents are hoping they deliver.

"Hopefully they'll be able to effect the changes that were talked about and reverse the damage that was done by the previous party," said Patricia Pearson.

Melissa Alexander said housing and lower food prices were election issues for her.

"I'm really happy with the change that we have," she said. "It's about time that we got a new government."

Arnab Mandal was also concerned with food prices.

"I hope that they will take care of the Nutrition North program," he said.

Nunavut's voice in Ottawa?

For his part, Tootoo said he intends to be true to his promise of being Nunavut's voice in Ottawa rather than Ottawa's voice in Nunavut.

"That was something I discussed early on with Mr. Trudeau and he did make the public commitment that he will allow his MPs to voice the concerns of their constituents," said Tootoo.

"That was a huge factor in my decision to run, to be able to work with someone and have the ability to speak and raise concerns of the people who put their trust in you to do that for them."

Trudeau is expected to announce his cabinet posts in the next few days.


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