After a moment of silence for late Speaker Joe Enook, and one ballot, Baker Lake MLA Simeon Mikkungwak moved on from his role as deputy Speaker to Speaker the morning of May 28.

Enook died in late March.

The members of Nunavut’s legislative assembly took a moment of silence to honour the late Speaker Joe Enook before proceeding to select a new Speaker.
Michele LeTourneau/NNSL photo

Former Premier Paul Quassa, former cabinet minister Pat Angnakak and Gjoa Haven MLA Tony Akoak were also in play.

Mikkungwak himself said he expected the voting to go a second round.

Deputy Speaker and Baker Lake MLA Simeon Mikkungwak, after being voted in from a field of four, will assume his duties as the Nunavut legislative assembly’s new Speaker May 28, stepping into the Speaker’s chair after the passing of Joe Enook in late March.
Michele LeTourneau/NNSL photo

“Having been deputy Speaker to the late Speaker, I’m very humbled,” said Mikkungwak after the vote.

“I’ll try my best as the Speaker of the legislative assembly and the territory. Having worked with the late Speaker, Mr. Enook … he’s passed on the knowledge.”

Mikkungwak and Enook often travelled together to fulfill their duties, and while the assembly was in session they would speak together about maintaining order and decorum.

Mikkungwak sees his new job as involving reminding members that they are representing their constituents and the people of Nunavut. He also hopes to foster open communication with members, who are elected by the people, he said.

“It was an honour being his deputy Speaker,” he said about Enook.

Mikkungwak also said Enook’s passing was very hard to take.

The new Speaker chaired the committee of the whole, experience which will serve him well in his new duties.

“Having (that) knowledge, and trying to treat each and every member equally, I guess that was taken into consideration,” said Mikkungwak.

After the vote, the new Speaker was headed off for a briefing on his new duties, which he was set to take on at the opening of the spring session that afternoon.

Michele LeTourneau

Michele LeTourneau first arrived at NNSL's headquarters in Yellowknife in1998, with a BA honours in Theatre. For four years she documented the arts across the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Following...

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