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Commissioner of Nunavut Edna Elias shows Nunavut's three new MLAs and their families the procedure for the swearing-in to office. - Casey Lessard/NNSL photo

New MLAs sworn in

Northern News Services
Published Monday, September 26, 2011

Thursday's swearing-in of Nunavut's three new MLAs brought back memories for Nunavut Commissioner Edna Elias. At the ceremony, Elias swore in new Tununiq MLA Joe Enook, an old friend and colleague.

"Joe and I worked together in the early days of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.," she said, "and here I am swearing him in. It's really nice to see people you used to work with moving up to bigger and better things."

It was a day for friends and family to support the new Members of the Legislative Assembly, and family members shared centre stage during the ceremony.

"Happy, proud, and humbled," were the words Enook's wife Mary Kilabuk used to describe her feelings after the ceremony was over. "Too excited."

It was a shared feeling for Tapea Kunilusie, the wife of Hezekiah Oshutapik, the new MLA for Pangnirtung.

"I'm proud of him," she said through Oshutapik's translation.

For Elias, she was also happy to see the ceremony happen so the legislature's work could resume after the seats were vacated earlier this year.

Former premier Paul Okalik vacated his Iqaluit-West seat to run unsuccessfully against Canada's Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq as the Liberal candidate for Nunavut in the federal election.

Pangnirtung MLA Adamee Komoartok resigned to face criminal assault charges that were later withdrawn. Tununiq MLA James Arvaluk left the legislature for health reasons in May.

"It's important to get us back to full strength in the legislature," Elias said. "Especially when they're all major ridings with large constituencies."

Oshutapik shared her sentiments. "Swearing in is over," he said. "Now I'm ready to go to work."

The fall session starts Oct. 18.

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