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Liberal, NDP candidates announced for Nunavut
Paul Okalik, Jack Hicks to run against incumbent Leona Aglukkaq

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, April 7, 2011

IQALUIT - With a little over three weeks left until the federal election May 2, two candidates have finally come forward to run against incumbent Conservative Health minister Leona Aglukkaq.

Jack Hicks, Paul Okalik and Scott MacCallum are Nunavut's NDP, Liberal and Green Party candidates respectively.

Iqaluit resident Jack Hicks will be the NDP candidate for the Nunavut riding, the party announced April 4.

A resident of the territorial capital since 1984, with the exception of several years in Ottawa working for Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, he has been primarily working on suicide prevention for the last seven years.

"If elected as MP for Nunavut, I would do whatever it takes to make sure that Nunavummiut get the resources and the support they need to build a better future for themselves and their children," he stated in a press release. "A majority (Stephen) Harper government would be dangerous for Nunavut - it would allocate little or no money for housing or to address Nunavut's very serious social problems."

And on April 6, the Liberal Party announced former Nunavut premier Paul Okalik would be its candidate for the Nunavut riding.

The 46-year-old resigned his seat as speaker of the territory's legislative assembly to run in the federal election.

Okalik said he made the decision after looking at the other party platforms.

"I believe the people in Nunavut deserve an alternative and a choice," he said. "I was rather disappointed the platform for the Conservative party did not reflect our expectations here in Nunavut. I was quite pleased to see aboriginal issues being addressed by the Liberal Party. I feel that is something we can work with and make work for our territory."

He added he looks forward to the challenge and does not believe being named the Liberal candidate in the second week of the election campaign is a disadvantage as Okalik said people know him and recognize his name.

Jack Hicks issued a press release following Okalik's announcement.

"I am delighted that Paul Okalik has decided to run for the Liberals," the release stated. "I hope he is planning to run on his record as premier."

And on Thursday, the Green Party of Canada announced Scott MacCallum will run in the Nunavut riding.

The airline passenger agent recently moved to Iqaluit after spending two years in Rankin Inlet. His main focus will be to bring Nunavut residents' concerns to Ottawa, he stated in a press release.

"I will work with other ministers to solve these issues - from paying more for essential baby items, like formula and diapers, to the growing concerns of extreme climate change and the exploitation of natural resources in the territory," stated MacCallum.

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