In Iqaluit-Manirajak, the voters get four choices
Incumbent Monica Ell faces Mikidjuk Akavak, Lewis Lehman, Paulie Sammurtok
Four people with different backgrounds and campaign platforms are vying to represent Iqaluit-Manirajak in the next Nunavut legislative assembly.
Manirajak — or “flat area” — covers all of Lower Base below Queen Elizabeth Way, the residential areas on each side of Federal and Airport Road, and the Plateau subdivision.
Here are short summaries of the four Iqaluit-Manirajak candidates running in the Oct. 28 territorial election, in alphabetical order:
A former mayor of Kimmirut and business owner, Mikidjuk Akavak, 47, says he has the experience dealing with government to serve as Manirajak’s new MLA.
“I have served on different national and territorial boards such as Canada Post Corp. and Atuqtuarvik Corp. I am no stranger to government legislation as a former mayor and electrician,” Akavak said.
“I feel my experience travelling to different parts of Canada and the Nunavut territory have given me a perspective that will serve well for the constituents of Manirajak in the Nunavut legislature,” he said.
Akavak lists eight issues he wants to focus on, if elected.
That includes “improving the educational system with higher standards” and “increasing opportunities for our residents in an emerging economy.”
Akavak said he wants to streamline programs set out by the three levels of government to better Nunavut families, and he also wants a review of the benefits Nunavut government employees receive in comparison with the two other territories.
Improving marine infrastructure, creating incentive programs, and developing “made-in-Nunavut” programs are priorities Akavak hopes will help families, hunters, sealift operators and seamstresses.
The last priority: to “ensure constituents are informed on the decisions of the territorial government which may have adverse negative impacts to families and homeowners.”
Akavak also maintains a Facebook page for his campaign.
The long-time Iqaluit resident Monica Ell, 58, who has just finished her first stint as a cabinet minister, has put an extensive list of priorities into her platform, which she says comes from the concerns of her constituents.
These include the construction of a new not-for-profit performing arts centre.
Ell also wants to see the Government of Nunavut prioritize Article 23 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement so that local residents are hired for public service jobs.
Ell stresses the disabled also need more support — she’s a member of the Nunavut Disabilities Makinnasuaqtiit Society.
To assist the disabled, Ell wants to see new social housing designs that emphasize accessibility.
On education, she wants to see support for both “gifted and mentally-challenged students.”
And Iqaluit also needs a new hospice facility managed by elders to provide palliative care, she said.
“I am just warming up,” Ell says in her campaign brochure. “With your vote, I will continue working to better government services for you, your family, for businesses and our community.” For the 2013 campaign, Ell has created a campaign website.
Ell has looked after five cabinet portfolios since May 2012.
Ell previously worked as Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.’s director of business and economic development, as a director with the Inuit Broadcast Corp. in Iqaluit, and as an announcer with CBC North. She also owned Arctic Creations, a clothing and fabric store.
The general manager of Waters’ Edge Seafood and Steakhouse and the Kickin’ Caribou Cocktail Lounge, Lewis Lehman is a relative newcomer to Iqaluit, having arrived in 2012.
But Lehman has many ideas for the territory that he wants to focus on, if elected.
“Iqaluit is experiencing tremendous growth and expansion and there are several pressures from many sources, to its way of life and the direction of its growth,” Lehman said.
Lehman, 39, said that because of his experience in managing social and business enterprises, he can put the needs of Iqalummiut first.
Lehman’s priorties include the delivery of more jobs and affordable housing, protecting the environment, working closely with youth and small businesses, and providing better access to health care.
Lehman said many “challenges and rewards” have led him to running in the election.
“I have become concerned as a business operator and resident of Iqaluit with the territorial and social systems of Nunavut and after being encouraged by my friends and family, have joined the race to become a member of the territorial legislature,” he said.
Toronto-born Lehman has lived “across the Americas and Europe” and speaks English, French and Swedish, he said.
Lehman has also worked in film and television as a director, writer and producer.
This is Lewis Lehman’s campaign website.
Born and raised in Chesterfield Inlet, Sammurtok, who has lived in Iqaluit since 2009, is the chairperson of the Maliiganik Tukisiiniakvik board of directors.
Sammurtok says he has worked as a special constable for the RCMP in Rankin Inlet, director of the Kivalliq Regional Council and manager of the Nunavut Planning Commission office in the Kivalliq region.
Sammurtok outlines six issues in his election campaign: education, health, business support, infrastructure, housing and integrity.
“The Nunavut education system needs to be fixed. It must produce the best of the best to support a strong Nunavut,” Sammurtok said. “This can not be done through social promotion.”
Sammurtok said he will make sure proper revenue is available to develop tutorial services to assist students.
For health, Sammurtok wants to focus on mental health because of the high number of suicides in Nunavut.
Also, people “processed through the criminal justice system because of mental illness shows that the current system in Nunavut is not effective.”
Supporting Inuit and long-term non-Inuit-owned business is a priority for him, and Sammurtok wants to change business incentive policies to help businesses.
A proper docking and marshaling facility for Iqaluit, along with more social housing units, are important to Sammurtok, and he wants a review of the Integrity Act as well.