Territorial election races begin in Nunavut
Potential candidates have until Friday to declare their intentions to run
Nunavummiut who are thinking of running in Nunavut's territorial election have from Monday until Friday to declare their intentions.
Chief electoral officer Sandy Kusugak told CBC News that everyone has until 2 p.m. local time Friday to file their papers. The list of candidates will be made public later that afternoon.
"The declarations have to be complete by that time and submitted," Kusugak said.
"We really encourage people that are thinking of running to go over the documents with the returning officer, assistant returning officer, just to make sure they've done it right."
Kusugak added there is a three-hour period after the 2 p.m. deadline, for anyone who has a change of mind and wants to withdraw.
Incumbents, challengers announcing intentions
A number of people — including incumbent MLAs and those who wish to challenge them — are expected to announce their intentions publicly through the course of this week.
On Monday, Tagak Curley said he will go for another term as MLA for Rankin Inlet North.
Making the announcement on a local radio station, Curley said his talks with constituents and local elders have led him to conclude his job as MLA was not finished yet.
"Having considered all these [factors], including my health — my mind is still good — I feel that 4½ years was not enough. We can do still a lot more for the town, for this community," Curley said Monday.
"My family was 100 per cent behind me, so I feel that I'm ready to go again."
Some MLAs already announced their plans to seek re-election last week in the legislative assembly, including:
- Premier Paul Okalik — Iqaluit West.
- Hunter Tootoo — Iqaluit Centre.
- Keith Peterson — Cambridge Bay.
- Steve Mapsalak — Akulliq.
- Levinia Brown — Rankin Inlet South - Whale Cove.
- James Arreak — Uqqummiut.
Iqaluit Mayor Elisapee Sheutiapik declared earlier this month that she plans to run against Okalik in Iqaluit West.
Rankin Inlet Mayor Lorne Kusugak said he plans to run against Brown in Rankin Inlet South - Whale Cove.
Meanwhile, a number of seats will be up for grabs, as some incumbents have said they will not be running again.
They include Environment Minister and South Baffin MLA Olayuk Akesuk, Hudson Bay MLA Peter Kattuk and Speaker Peter Kilabuk, who represented the Pangnirtung constituency.
Two seats were already vacant when the assembly dissolved last week:
- Kugluktuk MLA Joe Allen Evygotailak resigned his seat in August to seek the presidency of the Kitikmeot Inuit Association.
- Nattilik MLA and Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq stepped down earlier this month to run for the Conservatives in the federal election.
Iqaluit councillor to vie for outgoing MLA's seat
Iqaluit East MLA Ed Picco said Monday that he would not seek another term, ending 13 years in territorial politics.
In a statement, Picco described his decision not to run as one of the most difficult he has had to make, but said it was time to move on to a new chapter in his life.
That same day, Iqaluit city Coun. Glen Williams announced he will run in Picco's constituency.
Williams, who has lived in the North for more than 35 years, has served on city council since 2000. He said he will step away from his municipal duties during the territorial campaign.
"One of the things I'm looking forward to is stimulating debate amongst the candidates on public policy," Williams said.
"I'm hoping that over this next 35 days or so, that the electorate will have an opportunity to ... make an informed choice, and that they'll have a choice amongst the candidates that are going to run. And I hope that it's much more than just a popularity contest."
Williams cited education, health, accountable government and having trustworthy leaders as the four major issues in his campaign.