Interim commissioner named
Jack Anawak resigns his seat as Nunatsiaq MP

by Jeff Colbourne
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 21/97) - Nunavut finally has an interim commissioner to oversee creation of the new territory's government.

Jack Anawak resigned his seat as Nunatsiaq MP last week to accept the new post.

Although the appointment is four months late - Indian and Northern Minister Ron Irwin had promised the position would be filled by the end of 1996 - Anawak insists he knew "some time ago" that we would get the job.

The Prime Minister's Office offered no reason for the delay, which may have hurt Nunavut Liberals. Party organizers are now scrambling to find a successor candidate for a federal election widely expected this June.

Anawak, who has served as a member of Parliament since 1988, said he had mixed feelings about leaving Ottawa, but is excited about his new appointment in Nunavut.

When asked if he's moving on to a better position, Anawak replied,

"I don't measure it as being bigger or better," he said. "This opportunity gives me the perfect dream of setting up a government that's much more open and user-friendly."

Anawak said being interim commissioner won't be any different from being a MP, except now he'll be working on his own land and he can spend more time with his family.

His parliamentary experience has prepared him for the job at hand, he said. Particularly useful will be his political contacts at the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, the territorial government and the various Nunavut bodies, such as Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.

He added, however, that residents should not expect a carbon copy of the GNWT in Nunavut.

"They have to expect some changes, he said. "There's going to be a philosophical shift in the way government operates."

Premier Don Morin, who heard of the appointment while visiting Henge Kong last week, said the announcement marks a milestone in the creation of Nunavut, as it will help focus and advance both the constitutional development process and division implementation plans.

Morin said he looks forward to working with Anawak as they prepare for 1999.

Goo Arlooktoo, deputy premier, said he is also pleased with the choice because of Anawak's understanding of Nunavut and its people.

"I believe he has exactly the background needed to represent the best interest of all the people in Nunavut," said Arlooktoo.