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 (http://www.canlii.org/nu/laws/sta/l-5/20070904/whole.html), 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.

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