Whale Cove may have few more than 400 residents, but there is clearly a lot of political enthusiasm, as the slate is full for mayor and council candidates in the fall municipal election.
Oliver Shipton and Gerard Maktar are competing for the mayorship, while 11 candidates have signed up for council. They include Elizabeth Kabloona, Sam Arualak, Eva Voisey, Joefrey Okalik, Manu Nattar, Michael Angutetuar, Mariah Okalik, Terri Rose Teenar, Megan Angootealuk, Molly Okalik and Guy Enapik.
Despite being relatively new to the community, Shipton wasn’t surprised with the large interest in joining council.
“Everyone in Whale Cove really wants to make a difference and add to the community, each in their own individual way,” said Shipton, who’s from Ontario and moved to Whale Cove as a conservation officer in 2020.
“There are a lot of active members in this community that contribute a lot to the community and it’s no surprise to me that we have a lot of members that are trying for these positions.”
Also a search and rescue officer and chair of Whale Cove’s housing board, Shipton admits he doesn’t have formal political experience but thinks he has what it takes to be mayor.
“Whale Cove has been really great to me,” he said. “I really love this community and the Whale Cove-miuts. I feel I would excel in this mayor position. It would be a great way for me to give back to the community.”
Shipton said he wants to see more housing built, more mental health supports, more facilities development and more jobs in the community. He’d also like to see more resources for educational support.
He’s running against Maktar, a resident of Whale Cove for 30-plus years but originally from Chesterfield Inlet. Maktar has been serving as deputy mayor for almost three years.
“The reason I’m running for mayor is I think I can do the job,” he told Kivalliq News. “There are a lot of things that Whale Cove needs.”
He didn’t want to specify his priorities, but he did say he wants to involve the younger generation more as they are very important to the community.
Across the Kivalliq are a mix of returning faces and new competitors.
Joe Savikataaq Jr. is slated to return as mayor of Arviat with no one running against him, while Coun. Megan Pizzo-Lyall will be challenging incumbent mayor Harry Towtongie for the mayor’s chair in Rankin Inlet.
In Baker Lake, James Taipana and Kevin Iksiktaaryuk will vie for mayor, while three compete in Chesterfield Inlet: Tony Amauyak, Mary Ann Issaluk and Simionie Sammurtok.
Kupapik Ningeocheak was the only candidate for mayor in Coral Harbour and will assume the title, while Alan Robinson, Kevin Tegumiar and joseph Sivanertok will compete for mayor of Naujaat.
The municipal election will be held Oct. 23.
Stewart Burnett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kivalliq News