Jeff Ungalaq Maurice
Family Status: Married with three children
Career: Director of policy and planning at Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI)
Volunteer or board experience?
Former chair of the Nunavut Fisheries and Marine Training Consortium; Former chair of the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board Fisheries Allocation Committee; Board member for the National Indigenous Fisheries Institute
Why are you running for MLA? I am running because I want to use my decades of experience in policy and governance to serve Nunavummiut. I want to see a Government of Nunavut that better represents its young population and I want to help Nunavut achieve real change.
How much influence should NTI have in territorial governance? I believe that Nunavut’s best chance for success is to work across all levels of government, including partnering with Inuit organizations. As we move closer to devolution, we will need stronger alliances and partnerships to tackle longstanding systemic issues such as poverty, housing, mental health, inter-generational trauma, education and infrastructure gaps, to name a few.
How urgent is combating climate change in Nunavut? Climate change impacts the entire world. In Nunavut, our connection to our land and water is more intimate than in many other regions. As such, for Nunavummiut climate change impacts our health and well-being. Every time we get on the sea ice to harvest or travel, we are impacted by the unpredictability of weather conditions caused by climate change. Food sovereignty is affected by the changes in the migration of animals due to climate change. But there’s also opportunities connected with climate change — Nunavummiut can tap into sustainable industries to gain access to better jobs and economic opportunities.
How do you envision economic development in your riding? Economic development is connected to education, training and sustainable industries. I think Nunavut is ideally situated to leverage the economic opportunities associated with the growing blue economy. We need to better develop our inshore fisheries, and invest in training, development and infrastructure to support marine-related industries. The port in Iqaluit will open many doors for new jobs and we need to provide the necessary training to ensure Nunavummiut can access these opportunities. Access to post-secondary education in Nunavut will allow more young Nunavummiut to get the education needed to get stable jobs. I’m calling for establishing an Nunavut University and improving Financial Assistance for Nunavut Students.
Are you for or against mandatory vaccinations? I am in favour of any reasonable measure championed by public health officials, designed to ensure community safety, in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Nunavut has done a good job to date to protect our vulnerable population. We need to continue to be vigilant as we face new strains of the virus.