New faces, and a record number of women, will make up Nunavut's next legislature

MLAs in ​Nunavut's fifth Legislative Assembly will be an even split between newcomers and returning faces.

6 women, an automatic recount and some surprise upsets in Iqaluit marked Monday's vote

Elisapee Sheutiapik won Iqaluit-Sinaa, becoming one of many new faces to join the Nunavut legislature. (Nick Murray/CBC)

MLAs in ​Nunavut's fifth Legislative Assembly will be an even split between newcomers and returning faces.

Of the territory's 22 constituencies, 11 elected the incumbent, while 11 opted for something new — though two newcomers have previously served as MLAs. 

One of those new MLAs has yet to be determined. The results in Cambridge Bay, which saw Jeannie Hakongak Ehaloak beat Pamela Gross by just nine votes, have triggered an automatic recount. 

A judicial recount is automatically required when the margin is less than two per cent.

Jeannie Ehaloak, left, and Pamela Gross, right, came within nine votes of each other, a result that triggers an automatic recount. (CBC)

Regardless of which of those two women ultimately represent Cambridge Bay, Nunavut will have elected a record amount of women to the legislature, doubling the three women who were elected in 2013. 

Pat Angnakak, third from right, poses with supporters in Iqaluit on election night. She'll return to her seat representing Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu. (Nick Murray/CBC)

Familiar faces

  • Paul Quassa won in Aggu with 106 votes, 36 per cent of the vote;
  • George Hickes returned to Iqaluit-Tasiluk with 350 votes, 82 per cent of the vote;
  • Joe Savikataaq won Arviat South with 280 votes, 54 per cent of the vote;
  • Simeon Mikkungwak won Baker Lake with 389 votes, 58 per cent of the vote;
  • Allan Rumbolt will continue to represent Hudson Bay, with 131 votes, 32 per cent of the vote;
  • Pauloosie Keyootak won Uqqummiut with 235 votes, 43 per cent of the vote;
  • In Tununiq, Joe Enook kept his seat with 258 votes, 51 per cent of the vote;
  • Pat Angnakak will represent Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu again, winning with 231 votes, 41 per cent of the vote;
  • Emiliano Qirngnuq returned to Netsilik with 310 votes, 69 per cent of the vote;
  • Tony Akoak won in Gjoa Haven with 171 votes, 39 per cent of the vote; and
  • David Joanasie returned to South Baffin, after winning 318 votes. 61 per cent of the vote.

Newcomers to the legislature

Several brand new members will take their seats in the legislature this fall. They include:

  • Joelie Kaernerk took Amittuq with 115 votes, 28 per cent of the vote;
  • Margaret Nakashuk won in Pangnirtung with 266 votes, 51 per cent of the vote;
  • Adam Arreak Lightstone won in Iqaluit-Manirajak with 253 votes, 40 per cent of the vote;
  • Cathy Towtongie won in Rankin Inlet North-Chesterfield Inlet with 171 votes, 36 per cent of the vote;
  • Mila Kamingoak was acclaimed in Kugluktuk​;
  • John Main won Arviat North-Whale Cove with 408 votes, 78 per cent of the vote;
  • David Akeeagok won Quttiktuq with 189 votes, 46 per cent of the vote; and
  • Elisapee Sheutiapik won Iqaluit-Sinaa with 237 votes, 45 per cent of the vote.
Joelie Kaernek told CBC News he was "surprised" by his win in Amittuq. (Joelie Kaernerk/Facebook)

Kaernerk told CBC News he was so surprised by the win that he was at a loss for words. 

Patterk Netser (Aivilik) and Lorne Kusugak (Rankin Inlet South) will both return to the house, having served previously.

Kusugak's was the first win on election night. He beat out incumbent Alexander Sammurtok.

"I've been on all different sides of these elections over the years. I've lost, I've won, I've even tied before," Kusugak told CBC North. "It feels really, really good."

Iqaluit upsets

Former minister Monica Ell-Kanayuk was unseated by first-time candidate Adam Arreak Lightstone, who said he credits his win with face-to-face conversations with his constituents and two rounds of knocking on doors.

"A lot of people were actually surprised to see me that second time around."

Adam Arreak Lightstone spoke with the CBC's Jordan Konek. (CBC)

Elisapee Sheutiapik won Iqaluit-Sinaa, unseating former premier Paul Okalik. This is the first Legislative Assembly Paul Okalik has not been elected to since Nunavut was created.

Sheutiapik attributes constituents voting for change to her consistent presence in the area. "I care about the people in Sinaa, I'm from here," she said.

She won't say yet if she's planning to run for premier, as she hasn't seen who else will be around the table.

MLAs who lost their seat

Eight former MLAs, including four cabinet ministers, lost their seats Monday. They are:

  • Johnny Mike in Pangnirtung
  • Paul Okalik in Iqaluit-Sinaa
  • Monica Ell-Kanayuk in Iqaluit-Manirajak
  • Alexander Sammurtok in Rankin Inlet South
  • Tom Sammurtok in Rankin Inlet North Chesterfield Inlet
  • Isaac Shooyook in Quttiktuq
  • George Kuksuk in Arviat North Whale Cove
  • George Qulaut in Ammittuq

What happens next

Because the territory is run by a consensus-style government — one without political parties — the Speaker, premier and cabinet are selected by secret ballot by the elected members as a whole.

During the Nunavut leadership forum, which will take place on Nov. 17, members are nominated for cabinet positions and MLAs are given a chance to question them before they vote.

Once the premier is selected, it is up to him or her to assign portfolios to members of cabinet.

On the Monday after the leadership forum, the fifth Legislative Assembly will sit for the first time.

On the eve of Nunavut's 5th election, CBC North's Jane Sponagle explains how government without political parties works. 1:57
On the eve of Nunavut's 5th election, CBC's Madeleine Allakariallak explains, in Inuktitut, how government without parties works. 2:48

With files from Sara Minogue