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Heading for a bigger arena

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Dec 10/03) - The career of one of Nunavut's best-known politicians has reached a bend in the trail.

Rankin North MLA Jack Anawak has been involved with elected politics for more than 25 years.

NNSL Photo
Jack Anawak

His career took a turn in a different direction this past week when he was named as Canada's new ambassador for circumpolar affairs.

Anawak will finish out his term as MLA before replacing former ambassador Mary Simon.

The Rankin North MLA is also a former cabinet minister, Nunatsiaq MP and interim commissioner of Nunavut.

Anawak says his intimate knowledge of the North will serve him well in his new role.

"My experience, and knowing the issues at both the territorial and national levels, will help me a great deal in assuming my new position," says Anawak.

"My time spent with regional Inuit associations will also help a great deal."

Anawak doesn't foresee any difficulties in making the switch from politician to diplomat.

He says it's really a matter of saying the same things in different ways.

"This is a great opportunity for me to use my knowledge to address issues that affect the North, such as global warming and pollution.

"I look forward to working on those issues on a wider scale, with representatives from the centre circumpolar world."

As Anawak prepares to bid farewell to territorial politics, he says the Nunavut government needs to focus more on issues that affect people's daily lives.

"There's not enough being done in the areas of health and social issues.

"There's too much focus on issues that, while may be important to the North, don't affect every day life."

Anawak says he expects a number of new faces in the Nunavut government after the 2004 election.

He says many interested people have sat back and observed how the first government worked.

"You'll see more interest from people, male and female, who may have the drive and energy to combat issues affecting daily life in the North."

"I owe a great deal of thanks to the people of Nunavut/Nunatsiaq for all their support over the years.

"And, I have confidence they'll continue to elect people who will represent them well in the government."