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MLA candidates on the issues: Jonathan Park, Iqaluit-Tasiluk

Increasing financial literacy for Nunavummiut key to creating more business in Nunavut, says Park
Jonathan Park, a candidate in the Iqaluit-Tasiluk riding. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Park ᔮᓇᑕᓐ ᐹᒃ, ᓂᕈᐊᒐᒃᓴᐅᔪᖅ ᐃᖃᓗᐃᑦ-ᑕᓯᓗᖕᒧᑦ ᓂᕈᐊᕐᕕᐅᕙᒃᑐᒧᑦ ᑭᒡᓕᖓᓄᑦ.

Jonathan Park

Community: Iqaluit

Age: 35

Family Status: Single

Career: Lawyer

Volunteer or board experience?

Treasurer for Iqaluit Taekwondo Society (2021-2022); Financial agent for Mumilaaq Qaqqaq (2019); Committee work with the Law Society of Nunavut (2013-2020)

Why are you running for MLA?

I believe that government exists to help people. Unfortunately, many people have lost faith in the government and its ability to help. Many even question whether the government really exists to help them because of the quality of services that they receive. During my time as a criminal defence lawyer, I too often heard about the devastating effects on someone’s life when they slip through the bureaucratic cracks and get left behind by the system. As MLA for Iqaluit-Tasiluk, I will use my years of experience standing up for the rights of Nunavummiut in the courtroom to advocate for the needs of our community and for positive changes that restore people’s faith in the government’s mandate to serve the people.

How much influence should NTI have in territorial governance?

Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) has an essential role to play in territorial governance. I believe that the Government of Nunavut should constantly be doing its best to work together with NTI and all the regional Inuit organizations in order to ensure that all government decisions are in line with the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement that created the territory and the governmental system that we use. I advocate for an approach that respects inuuqatigiitsiarniq (respecting others, relationships, and caring for people), aajiqatigiinniq (decision-making through discussion and consensus), and piliriqatigiinniq or ikajuqtigiinniq (working together for a common cause).

How urgent is combating climate change in Nunavut?

Very. Although the world has been consumed with the Covid-19 pandemic, the climate crisis is still a serious threat to Nunavut’s communities. This is particularly so because of how many Nunavut communities are coastal. We must take immediate action to ensure that a climate emergency does not create a crisis of homelessness and devastation beyond what we already face. If we look to the future and plan our governmental decisions appropriately, we can face any crisis, but we can only do it if we are ready. I believe that we must take action now to ensure that Nunavut is ready.

How do you envision economic development in your riding?

Economic development in Iqaluit must focus on empowering local businesses and resources. If elected, I would advocate for more financial literacy in public school curriculums to ensure that young people are graduating school equipped with the skills to become an entrepreneur. I would also advocate for more economic development programs that help young people learn how to start and run a business. In this way, we can encourage our young people to take control of their own destinies and build their dreams.

Are you for or against mandatory vaccinations?

I believe in duty to our community. So long as there are vulnerable populations for whom Covid-19 is a serious and deadly illness that could take their lives at any time, I believe that we must all do our part to protect Elders and infants. I think that a vaccine mandate would be one of the best ways for us to protect our Elders and our infants. In the meantime, I ask everyone to please stay home if you are sick, wear a mask in high-risk areas to reduce the spread of infections, and wash your hands regularly.

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