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‘Great honour to be able to keep our seat orange,’ says Idlout

Final polls stretch into Tuesday
People applaud Lori Idlout’s victory while gathered at the Qajuqturvik Food Centre on election night, Sept. 20. Trevor Wright/NNSL photo

Lori Idlout’s campaign volunteers and supporters were brimming with excitement on election night, as poll results slowly came in and showed the NDP candidate holding a steady lead.

As of Tuesday morning, 68 out of 69 polls were counted and Idlout was elected with 3,277 total votes thus far, ahead of Liberal candidate Pat Angnakak’s 2,413 votes and far ahead of Conservative candidate Laura Mackenzie at 1,129, according to Elections Canada.

“It’s a great honour to be able to keep our seat orange. We have a great team to make sure we could keep our seat as NDP,” Idlout said at the Qajuqturvik Food Centre, where she and dozens of others gathered.

Angnakak conceded the election around midnight. In terms of the campaign, she was happy to see all the spots filled by women.

“You have to humble yourself, I think we’ve all done that,” she said of the election outcome. “But three women, I’m really happy to see us three women to try and get as many votes as we can. I also know in our hearts, we all want the same thing for Nunavut. We want it to be a better place to live,” Angnakak said earlier on election night.

Idlout has been elected to the Iqaluit District Education Authority twice, is a lawyer and has represented the Nuluujaat Land Guardians, the protesters at Mary River Mine earlier this year. She’s also a business owner. She’s the only candidate who’s an Inuit land claims beneficiary and now she is the next MP for Nunavut.

Outgoing Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq posted a congratulatory message to Idlout on social media, saying she’s “looking forward to the continuation of awareness of Nunavut and what a new voice will bring to the House.”

Qaqqaq’s victory is what inspired Idlout to run in the first place, with Idlout saying that a single seat in Parliament has more of an impact than what she initially thought prior to the 2019 election.

“She’s the one who inspired me to run, before her I wasn’t sure how much strength the seat can actually have with the one seat in Nunavut, but based on her strength and her passion, she really inspired me to see it can have a huge influence on the rest of Canada,” said Idlout.

In terms of her next steps, she said, “First of all, I’m going to have to thank everyone who has supported me, but also to make sure I remind everyone when they vote me in, I’m not just being voted in as someone who will sit in the Ottawa office but I’ll be a voice for Nunavummiut. I’ll work very hard for Nunavummiut,” she said.