Lori Idlout, born on March 28, 1974, is a Canadian politician currently serving as a Member of Parliament for the riding of Nunavut in the House of Commons of Canada. She has been representing the New Democratic Party since 2021.
Before entering politics, Idlout had a successful career as a lawyer in Iqaluit, where she ran her own firm called Qusugaq Law. During this time, she became involved in various important causes, including representing a group protesting against the expansion of the Baffinland Iron Mine. She also served as a technical adviser for the Ikajutit Hunters and Trappers Organization during a public hearing on the issue.
Idlout’s journey into politics began with a tied nomination meeting vote against Inuit educational YouTuber Aliqa Illauq. In an unprecedented move, a coin toss determined that Idlout would secure the NDP nomination for the riding of Nunavut on August 10, 2021. This nomination paved the way for her successful election in the 2021 Canadian federal election, where she succeeded outgoing MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq.
Born and raised in the Northwest Territories, which is now part of Nunavut, Idlout grew up moving between the communities of Igloolik, Pond Inlet, Rankin Inlet, and Chesterfield Inlet. She spent most of her time in Igloolik and currently resides there. Idlout is the proud mother of two daughters named Mylena and Crystal, both of whom are familiar with katajjaq (Inuit throat singing) and even performed at their mother’s victory party.
Prior to her legal career, Idlout served as the executive director of the Nunavut Embrace Life Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to suicide prevention, from 2004 to 2011. During her tenure, she successfully expanded the organization’s services and secured funding to address mental health issues. Idlout also worked as a policy analyst for Nunavut’s Department of Health and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated. Furthermore, she played a significant role in advocating for educational services as a director of the Iqaluit District Education Authority and founded the Coalition of Nunavut DEAs.
Idlout obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Lakehead University in 1997 and later earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Ottawa in 2018.
In terms of policy positions, Idlout has emphasized the need to rebalance the relationship between the federal government and the people of Nunavut. She aims to assert Nunavummiut’s negotiating power when it comes to the acquisition of the territory’s resources. She has also advocated for the fair distribution of benefits from mining and exploration activities in the region.
Throughout her campaign, Idlout focused on engaging youth in the electoral process and promoting their empowerment. Additionally, she has made addressing the housing crisis in the North a top priority, including improving housing quality, renovating existing structures, and tackling the mold issue that plagues many homes. She has raised concerns about the adverse health effects of poor living conditions, particularly on the elderly.
Infrastructure upgrades, such as rural broadband expansion and improvements to airports, are also on Idlout’s agenda. Furthermore, she has voiced her opposition to the proposed expansion of the Baffinland Mary River Mine, emphasizing the importance of local community consultation and the need for responsible resource management.
Another area of focus for Idlout is elder care. She has expressed concerns about the relocation of community elders to distant cities due to inadequate facilities in Nunavut. Idlout supports the creation of proper care facilities within the territory to allow elders to remain in their communities, which would also generate employment opportunities. Additionally, she has highlighted the need to increase financial support for elders in the northern communities.
Lori Idlout’s political career is driven by her dedication to addressing the unique challenges faced by Nunavut and advocating for the well-being and empowerment of its residents, particularly the youth, elders, and vulnerable populations.
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