Results across Canada’s North were headed in the same direction late Monday as in the last federal election in 2019.
NDP candidate Lori Idlout was leading in Nunavut, where she was surrounded by friends and family at a viewing party at Iqaluit’s Qajuqturvik Community Food Centre. She has been projected to win the riding.
“We’re going to make sure that we’re going do the best we can for Nunavummiut,” Idlout told The Canadian Press.
The Inuk lawyer was hoping to hold on to Mumilaaq Qaqqaq’s seat for the NDP after Qaqqaq decided not to run again.
Idlout held a strong lead all evening. However, some mail-in ballots across the North were still to be counted.
Her daughters were throat singing and supporters cheered as the numbers came in.
“It still doesn’t feel real,” she said.
“I have so much faith in Nunavummiut. I only want to do my best to make sure that what they’ve shared with me becomes a reality.”
Liberal candidate and former Nunavut cabinet minister Pat Angnakak was behind, with Conservative candidate Laura MacKenzie trailing in third place.
Before Qaqqaq was elected in 2019, the seat tossed between the Liberals and Conservatives. Hunter Tootoo won it for the Liberals in 2015 and Conservative Leona Aglukkaq held on to the riding in 2008 and 2011. Before that, Liberal Nancy Karetak-Lindell represented the territory for more than a decade.
Liberal incumbent Michael McLeod was leading in the results in the Northwest Territories, which has been experiencing its worst outbreak of COVID-19 during the pandemic.
Yukon Liberal candidate and the territory’s former chief medical health officer, Brendan Hanley, was also ahead of Conservative Barbara Dunlop and is projected to win.
Hanley took leave from his job as the territory’s top doctor last month to run for the federal Liberals, a decision he said has paid off.
“It’s kind of a relief and a bit of an exhilarating feeling,” Hanley said.
He said he rarely had to introduce himself to people at the doors while campaigning, having become a household name as chief medical health officer.
“I think more importantly people knew me as someone trusted. I’m someone that’s known to give them the straight goods, as it were, when talking about where we were during the pandemic.”
Hanley said he wants to take his work for the territory to the federal level, especially when it comes to fighting COVID-19.
“I know we have some real challenges in the North, but also some incredible possibilities,” he said.