Working for Nunavut
Two Baker Lake residents on centre stage of new legislative assembly

Marty Brown
Northern News Services

RANKIN INLET (Nov 25/98) - Nancy Tupik and Rhonda Perkison are admitted political animals.

They love the excitement, the deals and the drama of the political arena. So when the stage is set for the very first Nunavut government, both women will be front and centre.

"We're going to be right there," Tupik said. "Not everyone gets an opportunity to be there for the first election, the first everything. We're going to be there right at the beginning."

Tupik will serve as clerk of committees when the new Nunavut legislature opens up in Iqaluit April 1.

Perkison will be the deputy clerk.

Both women are from Baker Lake and got a taste of politics at the legislature in Yellowknife. Tupik left her home town where she worked as a secretary, to act as executive assistant to then MLA Gordon Wray who represented Baker Lake and Arviat at the time.

Perkison is a former teacher from Baker Lake. After moving to Yellowknife in 1978, she took on a job as a translator for the legislative assembly. That's where she got hooked. By 1988 she was the clerk's assistant.

Right now Tupik is in Yellowknife working on lots of new policies for Nunavut. She'll be "providing procedural advice and administrative support to committees once in Iqaluit,"

Perkison is in Iqaluit preparing material for new MLA's handbooks and parliamentary rules. She's working with John Quirke, clerk of the Nunavut legislative assembly.

"I've always enjoyed working in the legislative assembly in Yellowknife. Working in Iqaluit will even be better," Perkison said.

To get this job of a lifetime, Tupik answered an advertisement in the newspaper and submitted her resume.

They were both involved in the NURDS program, Nunavut Unified Human Resources Development Strategy. There were 15 people in the program that started in August '97 for the new government's policy managers, Workers' Compensation employees, mortgage specialists, administration and deputy register of land use. Everyone's been busy.

What do you wear when you are a clerk of the session for the new Nunavut government? Perkison thought for a moment, maybe a different kind of robe, a Baker Lake-style coat maybe, she said.