Low key campaigning in Nunavut
No balloons or painted campaign buses, and barely any door-to-door soliciting. Unlike the noisy campaigns to the south, the first election in Nunavut was informal and low-key. Residents in small communities already knew the candidates running — and their families. When people went to the polls in 1999, they did it on their own terms, electing a consensus government and making special provisions for voting in a vast territory. They were looking for candidates to tackle the region's toughest obstacles: poor access to health care and high suicide and unemployment rates.
In this CBC Radio clip a candidate in Iqaluit, the territory's soon-to-be capital, visits some of her constituents -- but she doesn't need to knock before entering.
Many of the candidates don't have previous political experience. But they definitely know the issues: improving access to health care and education and lowering the territory's high unemployment and suicide rates.
• The employment backgrounds of the MLAs hopefuls included: businessmen, councillors, hunters, carvers, fishermen, government officers and a fuel truck driver.
• Some of the candidates recorded their occupation as "unemployed."
• Iqaluit is Nunavut's largest community with a population of 5,236. Bathurst Inlet and Umingmaktok are tied as the smallest communities, both with a population of 5. (2001 Census.)
• Between 1996 and 2001 Iqaluit was the second fastest-growing Canadian city. It increased in size by 24.1 per cent; Barrie, Ont. was first with 25 per cent.
• In 1995, voters chose Nunavut's capital city as Iqaluit (60 per cent) over Rankin Inlet (40 per cent).
• In 1999, Nunavut's per capita income was $11,000.
• In 2001, 10 per cent of Nunavut's population had a high school education.
• In 2001, Nunavut's unemployment rate was 17.4 per cent. The new government provided 2,200 jobs, becoming the region's largest employer.
• The government had 10 departments in three communities, with branches in nearly all of Nunavut's communities.
• In 2001, 43 per cent of government jobs were filled by Inuit.
• The federal government funded 90 per cent of Nunavut's first budget of $600 million.
• In 2001, Nunavut asked the federal government for an additional $12 million. A reason cited was the costly expense of hiring southerners to fill government jobs. Few residents had the skills for public jobs.
• In 2003, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien set aside an extra $60 million to help Nunavut and the Northwest Territories improve their health care systems.
Program: The World At Six
Broadcast Date: Feb. 12, 1999
Guest(s): Natsiq Kango, Ed Picco
Host: Bernie McNamee
Reporter: Curt Petrovich
Last updated: January 30, 2012
Page consulted on September 10, 2014
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