- On Wednesday, P.J. Akeeagok was elected as Nunavut’s next premier during the Nunavut Leadership Forum in the territory’s Legislative Assembly.
- There was also recognition that Nunavut’s elders should be returned north for care.
Akeeagok was elected by a vote of his 22 peers in the assembly. He defeated former premier Joe Savikataaq and long-time MLA and minister Lorne Kusugak to become Nunavut’s sixth premier since its creation in 1999.
“I am humbled in front of you all,” Akeeagok told the MLAs after his election, thanking his family. “I’m looking ahead to the next four years, and we’ll have a huge load. I will be turning to elders constantly and to you.” Nunavut’s consensus government has no parties. Instead, newly elected MLAs choose the premier, Speaker, and executive council members (cabinet) by secret ballot during a one-day forum.
The election of Akeeagok came after more than five hours of questioning by MLAs in the chamber, presided over by the new Speaker-elect, Gjoa Haven MLA Tony Akoak. Akeeagok was first elected to the Nunavut assembly in October to represent the Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu constituency.
“It is time for a different tract of government,” Akeeagok said to MLAs, emphasizing that Nunavut is ready for new leadership.
His Nunavut would be depends on collaboration and the Nunavummiuts’ “shared passion for language, culture, and religion,” he said in the assembly. After delivering self-introductions and facing questions from peers on healthcare delivery, education, housing, infrastructure, food insecurity, child sexual abuse, suicide prevention, and management style, Akeeagok defeated Kusugak and Savikataaq.
In response to Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.’s announcement this week that the organization intends to seek some form of Inuit self-government outside of the public territorial government, all three candidates stated that they would seek closer collaboration with Inuit organizations.
Most issues, such as housing, were agreed upon by all three candidates. All three agreed that the territorial government must collaborate with Inuit organizations and mining companies to address Nunavut’s housing deficit of over 3,000 units.
The candidates also agreed upon suicide prevention. With the kind of response to deal with COVID-19, Akeeagok believes there is an opportunity to mobilize around prevention.
Source: CBC News
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