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New jobs in Nunavut government

Kathleen Lippa
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (Mar 15/04) - Three Inuit now hold top civil service jobs in the government of Nunavut.

Simon Awa was named deputy minister of the newly formed department of environment after serving as assistant deputy of sustainable development; former assistant deputy minister of finance David Akeeagok was named deputy minister of culture, language, elders and youth (CLEY); and former assistant deputy minister of education, Kathy Okpik has been appointed deputy minister of human resources.

Two new Inuit assistant deputy ministers also join the government: Pauloosie Suvega with the department of finance and Phoebe Hainnu with the department of education.

The appointments were announced March 10.

Premier Paul Okalik said increasing Inuit representation in the GN is a positive step that will allow the government to "design programs and services that meet the needs of all Nunavummiut."

People in communities are talking about the Inuit in big jobs in the GN with pride in their voices.

"That's really good news," said Taloyoak mayor Jayko Neeveacheak. "There are people out there who need the recognition, and should be promoted," he said. "As long as they are good role models, they should be there."

Billy Akavak in Kimmirut follows politics "a little bit" and was pleased when he learned Inuit were being placed high in the government.

"It is good to see or hear about Inuit being promoted," said Akavak, who works at the school in Kimmirut.

"It makes me feel proud to be Inuk. It encourages me to work harder and achieve."

Terry McCallum, mayor of Cambridge Bay, said the promotions are "a positive sign the GN is committed to getting people from the territory trained for the top jobs," he said. "Every step is a step closer to reaching that goal."

Three deputy ministers were also moved to new jobs: Tom Rich is now deputy minister of the new department of community and government services.

Bobby Gunn was named president of Qulliq Energy Corporation.

Alex Campbell will head the newly created department of economic development and transportation.

Who landed where...

Three assistant deputy ministers were given new jobs:

Naullaq Arnaquq -- joins CLEY.

Tom Thompson -- moves to human resources.

Anthony Saez -- moves to the department of justice.

Four assistant deputy ministers are being transferred to newly created departments:

David Akoak -- joins the department of community and government services.

Shawn Maley -- community government and services.

Rosemary Keenainak -- economic development and transportation.

Methusalah Kunuk -- department of economic development and transportation.