Sunday, November 16, 2008

Political Inspiration

Nunavut has its first woman premier, Eva Aariak, a newly-elected member of the Legislature whose riding is actually mine: Iqaluit East. The other candidates were Paul Okalik, the incumbent, and Tagak Curley, who was acclaimed to his riding in Rankin. As one of my friends noted, I guess if you are only going to elect one woman to the Legislature, ya might as well make her the premier!

Nunavut works on a consensus political system, so we have no political parties--at least at the Territorial level. The Legislative Assembly selects its premier and cabinet after the new ministers take office during a leadership forum. There are usually nineteen MLAs but because we're waiting for a by-election, eighteen were at the forum. It's all explained in Nunavut's Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act (, in case any of you want some light reading.

The news made us news papers from the Brockville Recorder to the Prince George Citizen to the Globe and Mail. It's understandable, as she is the only woman currently serving as a provincial or territorial premier in Canada, and only the fifth woman — after Rita Johnston (B.C. 1991-92), Nellie Cournoyea (NWT, 1991-1995), Catherine Callbeck (PEI, 1993-1996), and Pat Duncan (Yukon, 2000-2002) ever to hold a premiership. With a federal MP a woman too, it seems Nunavut has made the news more than once this year. Rightly so.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Year in Review

October 29th marked the anniversary of my first year in Nunavut. The days are shorter now and the time passes quickly with work, gym and the usual routine of life. I broke out my snow pants and parka this week. They provide the best protection from the cold wind. I've also renewed my love of moisturizer. Last year, I forgot to bring any with me and spent weeks suffering dry skin while I waited for my cargo to arrive on First Air.

A year in Iqaluit still makes me an Arctic novice, but I am happy to look back on lots of exciting firsts: my first blizzard day, my first sighting of aurora borealis, my first taste of raw seal and raw caribou, learning 5 words of Inuktitut (ok, maybe 6), breaking open the band on my sealift container...not to mention coming to possess a seaworthy crate stamped with my name and address.... I continue to study the view from my window, marvelling at the haunting beauty of the place I call home. Moreover, I have been lucky to share all these moments with good friends whose generosity, spirit, and goodwill have made life here so much better.

So, the adventure continues.