NEWS: Nunavik January 20, 2012 - 9:57 pm

A new man in charge at Makivik Corp: Jobie Tukkiapik

First new president in 14 years defeats Pita Aatami by 13 votes

SARAH ROGERS

(Updated Jan. 20 at 10:00 p.m.)

Nunavimmiut have voted for change, by a narrow margin.

On Jan. 19, Nunavik beneficiaries elected Jobie Tukkiapik as Makivik Corp.’s first new president in 14 years, unseating long-time president Pita Aatami.

But it was a squeaker, with Aatami finishing close behind in second place.

Initial results put Tukkiapik ahead with 1,297 votes, beating Aatami by only 23 votes.

But early Jan. 20, Makivik election officials began a recount of all its polls and proxy ballots.

After 9:00 p.m., Makivik’s corporate secretary Andy Moorhouse confirmed that Tukkiapik had in fact won the Jan. 19 election, yet by an even smaller margin. The recount showed Tukkiapik’s victory was only by 13 votes - 1,281 votes to Aatami’s 1,268.

Third-place candidate Charlie Watt finished with 985 while fourth-place Harry Tulugak took 264.

The high-profile election attracted 3,835 voters for a 50 per cent turnout rate.

See a full breakdown of election results for each community here.

Kuujjuaq native Jobie Tukkiapik has served as director general at the Kativik Regional Government for the past six years.

Before that, he studied commerce at John Abbott College in Montreal and later started his career at the KRG’s employment and training department, which he also headed before accepting his current position at the KRG.

Tukkiapik has also worked as a pilot at Air Inuit.

And Tukkiapik is hardly new to Nunavik’s birthright organization – the father of three has served as the Kuujjuaq representative on Makivik’s board of directors for the last 12 years.

This was Tukkiapik’s first campaign for Makivik’s presidency.

In an interview with Nunatsiaq News last month, Tukkiapik said he thought Makivik needed to respond better to the people it represents.

He says he plans to give a greater voice to Nunavimmiut.

“After all, Makivik belongs to us,” Tukkiapik said.

After election polls closed Jan. 19, Nunavik voters took to Facebook to await final election results – a venue hundreds of Nunavimmiut frequented throughout the campaign.

Many expressed congratulations to Tukkiapik, while others thanked Aatami for his 14 years of service at the helm of Nunavik’s birthright organization.

“Mr. Adamie, thank you very much for doing a very nice job and without your help, we wouldn’t be where we want to be,” said Lucassie Uitangie.