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Arviat North/Whale Cove election winner proves he's the Main event

John Main captured the seat in the Arviat North/Whale Cove riding in convincing fashion, receiving 408 votes to incumbent George Kuksuk's 115.

Rev. Mike Gibbons, left, congratulates John Main on his victory in the riding of Arviat North/Whale Cove in Arviat on Nov. 3. photo courtesy of Gord Billard

Main, 37, will be going to Iqaluit to represent his riding for the first time, and he said he likes what he sees in the people who will govern the territory for the next four years.

Main said with two young children at home, he and his wife (Lynn) had to think long and hard about what it would mean to their family if he ran in the election and won his riding. He said, in the end, he had the full support of his family.

“I had a lot of people encouraging me to run during the past year and I want to make positive changes and help people, so it's a good job for me to be able to do and I'll try not to let the people down who believed in me,” said Main.

“It also appeals to me because it's challenging, and I'm confident I have the skills to do the job.

“ One of the big things to bring to the table is being able to work with different groups and organizations and I have experience within the Government of Nunavut and municipal government, and I've also worked for an Inuit organization.”

Main believes he can take an idea and make it happen, which he sees as a real strength heading to territorial government.

He said he prioritized the three big issues of of health care, jobs and education during his campaign.

“Health care is definitely at the top of my priority list,” Main said, “because it comes from the voters – the people I spoke with during the campaign – so I will definitely be trying to work on that as soon as possible to understand the issues we're facing in Arviat and Whale Cove, and find ways to make things better.”

“It's an urgent issue that's not going to wait, because people get sick every day, so that's where my motivation comes from with health care.”

Main will be resigning from his position as president of the Kivalliq Chamber of Commerce now that he's an MLA. He's also the treasurer on the Nunavut Development Corp. board and played a large role in organizing the Arviat Inummariit Music Festival in August.

Main said any MLA would want to be premier, given the chance. But, he said, he sees his skill set being best suited for the role of a regular MLA, which he's quite satisfied with at this point in time.

“MLAs play a very important role in holding the government accountable,” he said.

“It's something I hope to do well, in terms of asking the hard questions, focusing on the issues and trying to help make things better.

“I also heard voters voice their frustration over the dynamic that comes with being represented by a cabinet minister. It wasn't something that was being overwhelmingly talked about, but, those who understood it, encouraged me to stay away from cabinet and focus on bringing attention to their issues.”

Main said the election results have produced a great group of people in terms of experience and diversity.

He said he was very happy to see more women elected this time around.

“I don't know if I saw any pattern in the results of this election,” Main said, “because I was so focused on what was going on within my own particular riding during the past month.”

“We worked very hard to get our message out to the voters and I'm very proud of how our team came together, with the number of volunteers coming out of the woodwork being just incredible in both Arviat and Whale Cove.

“The icing on the cake, no matter who won, was the voter turnout coming in so high. It was just great to see so many people getting engaged this time.”

This is the first on a series of feature articles on each of the six Kivalliq MLAs.