Olayuk Akesuk holds onto QIA presidency

By David Venn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

NUNATSIAQ NEWS

Olayuk Akesuk will remain as the Qikiqtani Inuit Association’s president after defeating Paul Okalik with 61.2 per cent of the vote in Monday’s election, according to a QIA news statement.

Akesuk has been with QIA for 13 years in different capacities and has served as president since the fall of 2021, when he took over from P.J. Akeeagok.

Akeeagok resigned as president of QIA to run for a seat in the legislative assembly. He won that seat and is now the territory’s premier.

“I’m looking forward to the next four years. It’s something that is not easy, but I’ll do my very best to represent our region,” Akesuk said in an interview with Nunatsiaq News.

He has also served as QIA’s vice-president, MLA for South Baffin, and territorial minister of sustainable development, then economic development.

Akesuk said he’s looking forward to developing QIA’s plans for a marine-based economy, continuing work through the Qikiqtani Truth Commission, and holding community tours with staff to hear directly from residents about what kind of cultural programs they’d like to see implemented.

As well, he said he’s excited to work closely with the board members, many of whom were elected Monday evening as well.

“I will do my very best to represent all beneficiaries and work very closely with their community directors, along with their communities,” Akesuk said.

QIA released the results of the election, which included seven community director races, on its social media pages early Tuesday.

This year’s election had a 20.6 per cent voter turnout, according to QIA’s statement issued by chief returning officers Monica Ell-Kanayuk and Nadia Ciccone.

Tommy Akavak was acclaimed as Kimmirut community director, Mike Jaypoody won the community director position in Clyde River, Peter Ivalu won in Igloolik, Steven Polee Lucassie was victorious in Iqaluit, Martha Jaw won in Kinngait, Joshua Katsak won in Pond Inlet, Solomon Allurut was the victor in Sanirajak, and Davidee Qavvik won in Sanikiluaq.

Everyone has a four-year term ahead of them except for Jaw, because Kinngait’s community director race was a midterm byelection.

David Venn is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with THUNDER BAY SOURCE. The LJI is a federally funded program.

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