Pamela Hakongak Gross
Community: Cambridge Bay
Family status: In a committed relationship
Career: Mayor, on leave of absence
Volunteer or board experience:
Kitikmeot Heritage Society, volunteer interviewing Elders and community members on climate change; Carleton University, volunteer; Umingmak Frolics and Christmas Planning Committee, volunteer; Victims Assistance Committee, Kitikmeot member; INAC/CHARS Art Integration Committee, community committee member; Circle for Indigenous Philanthropy, governing circle; Municipality of Cambridge Bay, councillor; Nunavut Sivuniksavut, board of directors; Canadian Museums Association Reconciliation Council, board of directors; Inuit Heritage Trust, president, secretary/treasurer and trustee; Advisory Council on Jobs and the Visitor Economy (Minster Melanie Joly/Government of Canada); Amautiit Nunavut Inuit Woman’s Association, vice-president, secretary/treasurer and founding member; Municipality of Cambridge Bay, mayor
Why are you running for MLA?
I am running to give back to our community, territory and people. I strive to make a difference as I went to school to bring my post-secondary education back home for our people and work for the greater good. I have always known that education is key and have worked hard to complete what I set out to achieve. I would like to work to continue on projects that improve our community and work to lobby for funds for infrastructure projects. Also to serve the constituents in the legislative assembly and in the community.
How much influence should NTI have in territorial governance?
Partnership is important. It’s important to work together for the common good as set out in our IQ principles. We need to work together and not in silos — ensuring that this is done for the best interest of us all is important. I hope to be elected to work towards the common good with other members of the legislative assembly and our other forms of government: institutional public governments, municipal and federal.
How urgent is combating climate change in Nunavut?
I have spoken at events such as COP 15 in Copenhagen and at museums in New York and Washington, D.C. on the changes that our Elders are seeing. We know that our traditional knowledge is as valid as scientific. However, we need to work with researchers on projects that are important to Northerners. We need to research how our whole Northern ecosystem is being affected. I’m aware of some great initiatives, such as a thermal oxidization system to incinerate garbage in Cambridge Bay. We need projects like this and creating community greenhouses to aid in food security, among others. We also need to ensure that our lands, water and animals stay safe from contaminants.
How do you envision economic development in your riding?
Economic development is the wheel to our community. We’re fortunate to have many people who have started business and this has helped our community thrive. Living in the North, we have challenges – many stem from the high cost of living. When businesses are affected, this trickles down to our community. We need to work closely with programs like Nutrition North for our people to see lower costs of food. I have always been a proud supporter of local. We also need to elevate our artists and work more closely with businesses that need improvement, like the tourism industry. We need to ensure there are no barriers to accessing funding, and ensure that all businesses thrive.
Are you for or against mandatory vaccinations?
I think vaccinations are important to keeping our people safe. As a great grand-daughter and relative to people who have passed from various epidemics such as the flu and tuberculosis, I’ve learned how loss of life can affect family. Growing up, we have received many vaccinations that have kept us safe from various diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella or polio. I think it’s important to honour and thank those that work hard to keep us safe by creating these vaccines to keep ourselves, loved ones and community safe. I say thank you to all those who are able to get the vaccine and keep us all safe as well.