Incumbent Fred Schell faces four contenders in South Baffin
Kimmirut, Cape Dorset candidates stress jobs, education, culture
In Nunavut’s South Baffin constituency, which comprises Cape Dorset and Kimmirut, five candidates are campaigning to become MLA on Oct. 28.
Three of these hopefuls are over the age of 60, and one candidate, at age 30, is one of the youngest in this year’s territorial election.
Born in Kimmirut, Akavak, 52, has worked as a government liaison officer, income support worker and as manager of the Katannilik territorial park in Kimmirut.
Akavak said he has also worked as an assistant senior administrative officer and municipal foreman for the Hamlet of Kimmirut.
Akavak’s platform includes: working towards healthy communities, boosting the market for arts and crafts, improving tourism, reviving culture, securing children’s futures, caring for elders, and supporting wildlife harvesters.
“Mining brings good meaningful jobs and I strongly support that. Our environment is just as important because it is our homeland. It is not somebody’s wasteland,” Akavak said.
More attention should be paid to the marketing of arts and crafts to worldwide markets, he said.
As well, there is also a potential for “new money” from tourism.
Akavak is also keen on protecting culture because “we can only be proud of ourselves if we have a strong cultural identity.”
Akavak said education is the “foundation of things to come in their future” but also that “it is our duty to take care of our precious elders in this new era.”
High food prices are also a concern — Akavak suggests giving wildlife harvesters more support “so that they can provide good nutritious food for the communities.”
“We have the community freezers and we should utilize them better by working with the HTOs,” he said.
Ikkidluak, 68, has been “a board member to various organizations” and a chairperson for the Qikiqtani Wildlife Board.
He has also served as a hamlet councillor in Kimmirut, a carver and custodian — and he’s a husband with 10 kids and “quite a few grandkids.”
Originally born in Ammaajuk — a camp between Kimmirut and Cape Dorset — Ikkidluak moved to Kimmirut in the 1960s, and “has been a hunter throughout his life in Kimmirut.”
Oct. 28’s election marks the second time Ikkidluak has run for MLA in South Baffin. In a 2008 by-election, Ikkidluak finished in third place, losing out to Fred Schell by 87 votes.
Bringing infrastructure and “capital planning dollars to the communities” is a priority for Ikkidluak.
In Ikkidluak’s campaign brochure, he lists swimming pools, helping Inuit, building a breakwater and “bringing up safety issues with regards to get a new runway” as priorities.
The brochure also says Ikkidluak “will work hard to bring up issues with the government and communicate with constituencies.”
Ikkidluak said he is “motivated and believes that all organizations and residents should follow all the rules that are regulated.”
This is Joanasie’s first foray into politics after holding positions with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Government of Nunavut, and most recently, at the Qikiqtani Inuit Association in communications.
Joanasie, 30, is a graduate of Nunavut Sivuniksavut — an Ottawa-based college program for Inuit youth.
He was one of four interviewers who helped make the documentary, ’Staking the Claim: Dreams, Democracy and Canadian Inuit’.
In his campaign platform, Joanasie wants to focus on language and culture, families, integrity, future investment and education.
Joanasie said he is a “strong believer in Inuit societal values” and said passing Inuktitut down through the generations via stories, teachings and lessons is important.
As a father of three, Joanasie said he wants to strengthen family kinships and access to support systems.
“This means respecting and honouring our elders and tapping into their knowledge and advice on family matters and relations.”
Joanasie said he wants to provide quality childcare and early childhood education to South Baffin. “This also means vast investments put towards education and training opportunities,” he said.
And on education, he said Nunavut needs “quality learning opportunities” with eager students “to take advantage of formal and informal learning experience.”
“I would make a strong voice for Kinngarmiut and Kimmirummiut in the Nunavut Legislative Assembly,” Joanasie said in his election brochure.
Mathew Saveakjuk Jaw
A former mayor of Cape Dorset from between 2000 and 2006, Jaw, 63, ran for the South Baffin MLA position in the 1999 territorial election, finishing last with 92 of a possible 692 votes.
Jaw is also a carver and a hunter. He thinks that more should be done to help with elders’ care, and that youth should be involved in learning from elders.
“They should invite younger people to go talk to them. [It’s] very important in the past, honouring their elders,” he said.
Jaw has several issues he wants addressed.
He thinks there’s not enough educational opportunities, which makes it hard for those seeking jobs.
Talking to elders is also a good form of education and should be encouraged “not just in the school, but activities like hunting.”
Jaw said he wants to address ongoing issues like overcrowding in houses, the garbage dump in Cape Dorset, and he wants a new health centre and a dock or breakwater in Dorset, too.
“We really need that, because some of the hunters have lost boats because of high winds. This year is a bad year,” Jaw said.
“We’ve talked about this for many years now. I’m not going to give up on that.”
Jaw said Kimmirut also needs a better airstrip, and that Nunavut needs a university.
Fred Schell, 61, is the incumbent South Baffin MLA, having won the seat for in a special by-election held Nov. 3, 2008, one week after the regular territorial election on Oct. 27 that year.
That 2008 by-election was scheduled after no candidates emerged prior to the regular deadline and nominations were re-opened for an seven days, adding an extra week to the election process in South Baffin.
In 2011, MLAs voted Schell into cabinet, where he served as minister responsible for the Nunavut Housing Corp., the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission, homelessness, as well as minister without portfolio before being removed after an integrity act review in 2012.
Prior to the 2008 election, Schell made his living as owner of Polar Supplies Ltd., a general contracting firm in Cape Dorset. He put his business interests into a blind trust on Jan. 1, 2010.
In a campaign brochure, Schell stresses education, housing, health, transportation and justice in his platform.
Schell said he will “get new schools for Cape Dorset and Kimmirut” and will also get funding for trades, mining and heavy equipment training.
Schell also thinks social promotion is a “serious problem.”
Reopening boarded-up homes and getting Cape Dorset and Kimmirut on the housing list “in the next round of public housing funding” is also a priority for Schell.
A new health centre and airport is on the books for Schell, as well as a new breakwater in Dorset “within the next four years.”
Schell said he will donate “a percentage” of his salary to help finance the women’s shelters in Kimmirut and Cape Dorset too.
“I am the only experienced candidate running in my constituency. I will not be sitting around thinking about what needs to be done. I will already be doing it,” Schell said.