The unexpected death of Arviat Mayor Bob Leonard weighed on the minds and hearts of Kivalliq MLAs Joe Savikataaq and John Main Tuesday.

The late Bob Leonard, a longtime mayor of Arviat, was fondly remembered by MLAs Joe Savikataaq and John Main in the legislative assembly on Tuesday.
photo courtesy hamlet of Arviat

Both men expressed their regrets that they would be unable to attend Leonard’s funeral in their home community of Arviat.

“He was one of my friends, and we used to work together on several initiatives and I also worked for Bob, but it is when people seem to pass away without any hints, it is very
shocking to one’s ears to hear about their passing,” said Savikataaq. “I would like to also speak about Bob Leonard’s partner, Sandy Ranahan. Sandy, I know you’re going through a tough time. You are there to help the community all the time too. I know you and Bob were always helping the community. I know that this was thrust on you suddenly and you’re going through hard times, I know, but I know you’re a strong woman and that you will pull through.”

Main said Leonard could always be counted on to attend community gatherings — weddings, graduations, feasts, dancing contest — and he was often an eloquent guest speaker with “sage” words “full of wisdom.” He also gave Leonard credit for turning around Arviat’s “hardships and financial struggles” over his four terms as mayor — and Leonard was elected to his fifth term last October.

“Bob was a true Arviarmiutaq. Bob was truly invested in Arviat, as our past mayor now. And even in times of despair such as we will see today, memories will remain,” said Main. “I have personally learned from him and so I wanted to share that. Our hamlet seems to be operating at the best efficiency, so I have learned a lot.”

 

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Derek Neary

Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...