By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
A former Nunavut premier is among seven Iqalummiut who have put their names forward for a seat on Iqaluit city council.
Paul Quassa, who left his post as Aggu MLA in August to join Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. as a senior adviser, has applied for one of two empty seats, along with Lili Weemen, Noah Papatsie, Ookalik Curley, Samuel Tilley, Kimberly Smith, and Swany Amarapala.
Papatsie is a former Iqaluit city councillor who ran for mayor in 2019, and lost to current Mayor Kenny Bell. He went on to run for MLA in the Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu riding last year, and lost to P.J. Akeeagok, who went on to become the territory’s premier.
Weemen and Amarapala were also council candidates in the 2019 election.
City spokesperson Aleksey Cameron provided the list of contenders Tuesday morning after the deadline to apply closed at the end of the day Monday.
Each applicant will receive two questions from city councillors, prepare answers and share them at the March 8 council meeting, Cameron said. There won’t be any follow-up questions.
Then, there will be a ranked-ballot vote and a motion to instate two of the applicants as councillors.
Iqaluit residents had the month of February to send in their applications to city hall for the vacant seats.
Residents had to meet requirements, such as not being in debt to the city for $500 for more than 90 days and having paid their property taxes.
One of the two seats opened when former deputy mayor Janet Pitsiulaaq Brewster took a leave of absence in September to run for the Iqaluit-Sinaa seat in Nunavut’s legislature. She later won that seat and resigned from council.
The other opened when former councillor John Fawcett left at the end of last year for personal reasons.
Council passed two motions after Brewster left to put out a call for applicants and to give consideration to Inuit women, as, since this council formed in 2019, two Inuit women have resigned from council.
Malaiya Lucassie resigned in 2020 after making a comment on social media that breached council’s code of conduct.
Coun. Sheila Flaherty has said in an interview that she wants Inuit women’s perspectives to be heard, and for representation to match what the public had voted in in 2019.
David Venn is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the NUNATSIAQ NEWS. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.