Nunavut general election, 2008: Wikis


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The Third Nunavut General Election took place on October 27, 2008 to return members to the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut. The election was contested across 15 of Nunavut's 19 electoral districts under the first past the post system of voting. Due to local circumstances, the election was delayed in two districts, and two districts did not hold elections as their incumbent MLAs faced no opposition and were acclaimed back into office.

Ten of the 15 seats for which there were elections on October 27 went to first-time MLAs. Four of the ten new MLAs defeated incumbents who were running for re-election, while six succeeded former MLAs who retired from the legislature. Premier Paul Okalik and Finance Minister Louis Tapardjuk were the only two cabinet ministers to keep their seats.[1]

The political system in Nunavut is not organized along political party lines, but instead uses a consensus government model in which the Executive Council of Nunavut is selected by the members of the Legislative Assembly at the Nunavut Leadership Forum. At the 2008 forum, held on November 14, 2008, Eva Aariak was selected as the new Premier of Nunavut.



The election was proposed by Premier Paul Okalik on March 14, 2008. The writ period under Nunavut law may last as long as thirty five days, so the earliest date the election could have begun was September 22, 2008.[2] Prior to the official announcement the election had been widely speculated going back to late 2007, as the Premier had been openly talking about going to the polls.[3]


Federal election

A portion of the writ period occurred during the 2008 Canadian federal election. This is a rare occurrence as elections on the federal and provincial, territorial level in Canada are usually timed to avoid such occurrences.

The last example of a concurrent federal and provincial election was the 1940 Alberta general election and the 1940 Canadian federal election. The voting date for those two elections was only five days apart.

Election infrastructure

Sandy Kusugak, the chief electoral officer for Elections Nunavut, announced at a press conference on June 4, 2008 that Nunavut will begin voting on October 13, 2008 with special ballots being made available at returning officers. Provisions are also being established to allow paperless voting by radio and satellite phone from very remote locations. On October 20, 2008 Elections Nunavut will conduct mobile polling visiting the homes of elders and people confined to their homes by disability or house arrest. Absentee ballots for students and inmates living or incarcerated outside of the territory will be made available by registration beginning on September 22, 2008. Official advanced polling will take place on October 20, 2008.[4]


Prior to the election in the last sitting of the Assembly, members debated tightening up eligibility requirements for preventing persons convicted of criminal offences. The MLAs decided not to change any of the election regulations.[5]

A big pre-election issue in the capital city of Iqaluit developed over Inuksuk High School. The government has been debating whether to build a new high school or do a complete renovation on the existing building.[6]

Election summary

Election summary # of candidates Popular vote
Incumbent New # %
Elected candidates 5 10 4,183 51.9%
Acclaimed candidates 2 -
Defeated candidates 4 25 3,825 47.4%
Vacancies at dissolution 2 -
Totals 46 8,067 100%
Voter Turnout 71.2% Rejected Votes 59 (0.7%)

Election results

Nominations for candidates to file closed on September 26, 2008. There were two candidates acclaimed among the initial 46 candidates running. Both candidates acclaimed were seasoned incumbents. Tagak Curley was acclaimed to the riding of Rankin Inlet North for the second straight election. Incumbent Keith Peterson won his second term in office after his acclamation in the Cambridge Bay electoral district.

Results by district[7][8]
District Winner Second Third Fourth Rejected ballots Turnout Incumbent
Amittuq Louis Tapardjuk
399, 63.5%
Joanna Quassa
213, 33.9%
16, 2.5% 628, 59.2% Louis Tapardjuk
Akulliq see below
Arviat Daniel Shewchuk
310, 48.0%
Sheila Napayok
169, 26.2%
Peter Kritaqliluk
162, 25.1%
5, 0.8% 646, 59.2% David Alagalak
Baker Lake Moses Aupaluktuq
266, 41.0%
David Simailak
236, 36.4%
Elijah Amarook
144, 22.2%
3, 0.5% 6449, 67.1% David Simailak
Cambridge Bay Keith Peterson
Keith Peterson
Hudson Bay Allan Rumbolt
152, 45.0%
Johnny Manning
121, 35.8%
Bill Fraser
65, 19.2%
0, 0.0% 338, 81.6% Peter Kattuk3
Iqaluit Centre Hunter Tootoo
356, 61.8%
Madeleine Redfern
160, 27.8%
Joe Sageaktook
57, 9.9%
Okalik Eegeesiak4 3, 0.5% 576, 69.7% Hunter Tootoo
Iqaluit East Eva Aariak
439, 62.5%
Glenn Williams
221, 31.5%
Kakki Peter
39, 5.6%
3, 0.4% 702, 73.3% Ed Picco3
Iqaluit West Paul Okalik
340, 53.0%
Elisapee Sheutiapik
296, 46.1%
6, 0.9 642, 90.3 Paul Okalik
Kugluktuk Peter Taptuna
264, 59.5%
Donald Havioyak
178, 40.1%
2, 0.5% 444, 68.2% Vacant1
Nanulik Johnny Ningeongan
214, 46.5%
Patterk Netser
182, 39.6%
Harry Tootoo
63, 13.7%
1, 0.2% 460, 86.3% Patterk Netser
Nattilik Enuk Pauloosie
229, 34.3%
Jeannie Ugyuk
197, 29.5%
Louie Kamookak
192, 28.8%
Paul Ikuallaq
45, 6.7%
4, 0.6% 667, 83.7% Vacant2
Pangnirtung Adamee Komoartok
245, 62.0%
Looee Arreak
147, 37.2%
3, 0.8% 395, 54.8% Peter Kilabuk3
Quttiktuq Ron Elliot
183, 51.0%
Levi Barnabas
174, 48.5%
2, 0.6% 356, 63.9% Levi Barnabas
Rankin Inlet North Tagak Curley
Tagak Curley
Rankin Inlet South/Whale Cove Lorne Kusugak
329, 61.0%
Levinia Brown
203, 37.7%
7, 1.3% 539, 63.9% Levinia Brown
South Baffin see below
Tunnuniq James Arvaluk
239, 49.7%
Simon Merkosak
171, 35.6%
Elizirie Peterloosie
68, 14.1%
3, 0.6% 481, 70.8% James Arvaluk
Uqqummiut James Arreak
218, 40.3%
Loasie Audlakiak
212, 39.2%
Igah Hainnu
110, 20.3%
1, 0.2% 541, 84.9% James Arreak


Due to local circumstances, the election was delayed in two districts.

South Baffin

In the district of South Baffin, there were no candidates who filed by nomination day. The original writs were returned to the Commissioner and reissued for a new election to be held on November 3, 2008. The lack of candidates on election day surprised the constituency, causing former incumbent Olayuk Akesuk to muse about coming out of retirement for another term if no one else wanted to step forward. Four new candidates came forward to file nomination papers by the new nomination deadline on October 3, 2008.

Results by district[7][9][10]
District Candidates Rejected ballots Turnout Incumbent
South Baffin
November 3, 2008[11]
Fred Schell
203, 39.6%
Adamie Nuna
118, 23.0%
Joannie Ikkidluak
116, 22.7%
Zeke Ejesiak
72, 14.1%
3, 0.6% 512, 58.7% Olayuk Akesuk3


Former Member of Parliament and Nunavut MLA Jack Anawak attempted to file nomination papers to run for election in the electoral district of Akulliq. Chief Electoral Officer Sandy Kusugak ruled that Anawak was not eligible to run for office as he had a mailing address outside of Nunavut. Anawak took Elections Nunavut to court. The judge however ruled in favour of the decision by Kusugak that Anawak had not met the twelve month resident requirement, but under the Elections Act Kusugak was required to cancel the election.[12][13][14]

Although the judge ruled in favour of Kusugak's disqualification under the residency rule, Anawak's constitutional challenge was allowed to go ahead. Anawak had argued that the one year residency rule was in violation of his charter rights. However, judge Johnson ruled that the rule did not discriminate against Anawak as an Inuk. The election was rescheduled for December 15, with nominations being open until November 14.[15][16]

All of the original candidates, with the exception of Anawak, refiled for the by-election, as did one new candidate, Helena Malliki.

In the initial results, former MLA John Ningark defeated incumbent MLA Steve Mapsalak by a margin of just two votes.[17] A judicial recount was conducted, but resulted in Ningark and Mapsalak each receiving exactly 157 votes, thus forcing a second by-election.[18] The revote was held on March 2, 2009, and Ningark won by a margin of 193 to 179 for Mapsalak.

December 15, 2008 by-election[19]
District Candidates Incumbent
Akulliq John Ningark
Steve Mapsalak
155 initial
157 recount
Helena Malliki
Marius Tungilik
Steve Mapsalak
March 2, 2009 by-election[20]
District Candidates Rejected ballots Turnout Incumbent
Akulliq John Ningark
193, 37.04%
Steve Mapsalak
179, 34.36%
Ovide Alakannuark
83, 15.93%
Helena Malliki
66, 12.67%
0 521, 77.53% Steve Mapsalak



  1. ^ Lee, Donna (2008-10-28). "Fresh faces unseat cabinet ministers in Nunavut election". CBC News. Retrieved 2008-10-28.  
  2. ^ "Nunavut General Election Date Proposed". Government of Nunavut. March 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-01.  
  3. ^ "Nunavut election likely in 2008: premier". CBC News. December 28, 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-01.  
  4. ^ Chris Winderyer (June 13, 2008). "Elections chief in overdrive as Oct. 27 looms". Nunatsiaq News.  
  5. ^ "In the Legislative Assembly". Nunatsiaq News. June 6, 2008.  
  6. ^ John Thompson (June 27, 2008). "GN struggles with Inuksuk High School renovation". Nunatsiaq News.  
  7. ^ a b "Official Candidates List". Elections Nunavut. Retrieved 2008-09-26.  
  8. ^ Election Results 2008 GEneral Election
  9. ^ Schell wins South Baffin byelection
  10. ^ Official Election Results - South Baffin
  11. ^ "News Release". Elections Nunavut. October 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-03.  
  12. ^ "Akulliq election CANCELLED". Elections Nunavut. October 7, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-07.  
  13. ^ Akulliq election cancelled
  14. ^ Nunavut Court of Justice - Anawak v. Nunavut (Chief Electorial Officer)
  15. ^ Nunavut judge throws out Anawak election challenge
  16. ^ Akulliq byelection scheduled for Dec. 15
  17. ^ "Recount underway after close Akulliq byelection",, December 16, 2008.
  18. ^ "Akulliq by-election recount leads to tie",, January 8, 2009.
  19. ^ "Four Candidates contest Akulliq By-election". Elections Nunavut. Retrieved 2008-11-19.  
  20. ^ "March 2, 2009 election results". Elections Nunavut. Retrieved 2009-03-13.  
  21. ^ MLA for Kugluktuk resigns from the Legislative Assembly
  22. ^ Nunavut MLA Evyagotailak resigns to seek KIA leadership
  23. ^ Nunavut health minister Aglukkaq running for Tories/Iqaluit mayor sets sights on premier's seat
  24. ^ Eegeesiak pulled from ballot in Iqaluit Centre
  25. ^ Title: Josie Okalik Eegeesiak removed from Iqaluit Centre Ballot
  26. ^ Title: FInal Cease and Desist Order issued against Josie Okalik Eegeesiak

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