Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavik January 20, 2017 - 1:10 pm

Nunavik Inuit re-elect incumbent treasurer to new term

But only a quarter of eligible voters cast ballots in Jan. 19 election

SARAH ROGERS
A voter casts a ballot at the Kuujjuaq Forum Jan. 19 in Makivik Corp's election for treasurer. Incumbent Andy Pirti was re-elected to a a new term by 68 per cent of voters. (PHOTO BY TRISTAN BRAND)
A voter casts a ballot at the Kuujjuaq Forum Jan. 19 in Makivik Corp's election for treasurer. Incumbent Andy Pirti was re-elected to a a new term by 68 per cent of voters. (PHOTO BY TRISTAN BRAND)

Nunavik Inuit have decided to return Makivik Corp’s incumbent treasurer Andy Pirti to another three-year term in the executive role.

Sixty-eight per cent of voters in Nunavik, Montreal and Chisasibi cast ballots for Pirti in Makivik’s Jan. 19 election.

Pirti finished well ahead of contender and the only other candidate in the race, David Dupuis, who took 37 per cent of the vote.

Dupuis saw strong support from his hometown of Kuujjuaq, where he drew the largest number of votes. But Pirti, originally from Akulivik, attracted heavy voter support all along Nunavik’s Hudson coast.

Overall, voter turnout was meager with just a 26.3 per cent turnout, or 2,063 voters. You can see a breakdown of votes by community here.

Pirti is no stranger to Nunavik’s Inuit birthright organization; the Montreal-based investment accountant started working for Makivik in 2005. He served as assistant to former treasurer Anthony Ittoshat until 2014, when he was elected as treasurer.

Pirti has said his biggest success in his first term as treasurer was improving transparency in how Makivik reports its financial information to its board of directors and to beneficiaries in general.

Heading into a new term as treasurer, Pirti has committed to:

• developing a Nunavik procurement policy that will help local regional businesses obtain government contracts: The policy would work by awarding Nunavik businesses additional points because of the higher cost of living requirements. Currently, the bidding process favours southern bidders, Pirti said, because those businesses can usually provide a service more cheaply;

• growing Makivik’s equity and sustainability: since he was elected as treasurer in early 2014, Pirti said he’s helped the organization grow from $347 million in its value of shares and ownership interests, to $424 million in 2016. “The cost of living keeps growing, so its important to generate more revenue,” he said;

•  expanding on Makivik’s employment training and retention program which offers support to the roughly 1,500 Nunavik Inuit who are employed with the birthright organization or its subsidiary companies: The program is designed to help entry-level employees move into more senior roles and a succession plan to fill the positions of senior employees approaching retirement, he said; and,

• fostering strong language and culture skills: Pirti said he will advocate for an investment of $200,000 a year over five years towards the preservation of Inuit culture.

Makivik staggers the elections of its five executive positions. Two were up for election in 2017, although incumbent vice president of resource development, Adamie Delisle Alaku, was the only to declare his candidacy, and was acclaimed to another term in the role in December.

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