‘Can I be acclaimed?’

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If you aren’t a Twitter user, you will have missed a comment posted by TootooGoggles, a satirical account based on Liberal MP Hunter Tootoo’s follies. The account was launched soon after the 2015 election and has provided comic relief even after Tootoo was booted from Justin Trudeau’s cabinet.
Early this month, TootooGoggles quipped, “can i be acclaimed,” alluding to the recent run of acclamations at other levels of government.
For example, MLA Mila Kamingoak was acclaimed to replace outgoing Premier Peter Taptuna last year. Patterk Netser was the only MLA to put his name forward for the cabinet seat recently vacated by Pat Angnakak. And this month, Qikiqtani Inuit Association president PJ Akeeagok was acclaimed ahead of the Dec. 10 election, as were many community directors. We’ve seen many mayors and councillors across Nunavut put into power the same way.
What’s interesting about TootooGoggles’ ‘can i be acclaimed’ quip is that it is on point.
We imagine the idea of maintaining his role in Ottawa by acclamation in the 2019 federal election holds a certain appeal for Tootoo. His fall from grace happened in his first year as an MP and federal minister, a prime power position in Ottawa that, without the scandal, would have provided a comfortable spot at the cabinet table for years.
After all, Tootoo is a long-time politician from a public family – which includes former NHLer Jordin Tootoo, businessman Victor Tootoo and Health Minister George Hickes – that continues to exercise influence across Nunavut.
Nunavummiut sent Tootoo to Ottawa in hopes he would be sitting at the cabinet table, as Conservative MP Leona Aglukkaq did for most of her time in the Stephen Harper government. Nunavut gets one MP. Prime ministers see the value in having Inuit on cabinet, and Nunavummiut see the value, too, with increased chances of having federal money flow north.
As minister of fisheries and oceans, Tootoo could have been the face of shoreline infrastructure projects, and really any funding announcements in Nunavut.
Instead, Tootoo is on the sidelines, one of only two independent MPs. He says he has more chances to raise Nunavut’s concerns in the House of Commons than he would have had as a minister but we find that a little hard to swallow.
We look forward to the healthy debates to come over the next year, and are curious to see who will run against Tootoo. Perhaps he will be re-elected but we doubt he will be acclaimed. Sorry, TootooGoggles.
You can help our prediction come true.
To us, a politician has more power when chosen by the people, especially when a contest requires them to provide information about how they will represent our interests.
We call on Nunavummiut to step up and represent the needs of your neighbours at the local, regional, territorial and federal levels, to make Inuit voices heard, and to be the leaders we need right now.
We especially encourage young people and women to step forward. Your voices are not being heard the way they should be, and the only way to do so is for you to run.
If you have good ideas, the people will back you. And even if you mess up, you have a chance to redeem yourself.
We’re looking at you, Mr. Tootoo.