Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Quiet Election

Those of you from outside the territory (which I suspect may be quite a few readers, or at least I hope) could be forgiven for not knowing of tomorrow's election. On Monday Nunavummiut will cast their vote to help select members for the 3rd Legislative Assembly. For the most part, its been a rather muted affair, almost to the point of being comatose. Here in town you would see little of the evidence usually associated with a five-week-long campaign. No door-to-door canvassers, negative campaign ads or election signs, other than my own little sign of course. We have no political parties here so there's none of the hysteria of a carbon tax or being crushed under the jackboots of a Harper majority. Instead, for the most part, real issues are focused on - education, housing, employment, health care, the way it should be.

This is not to say there have not been a few glitches. In Iqaluit Centre there was controversy over whether one of the candidates met the residency requirements under the Election Act. At the moment, her name is off the ballot. In Akulliq riding (the communities of Repulse Bay and Kugaaruk) the race there has been postponed due to a court challenge by a candidate, also over the issue of residency. And in South Baffin (Cape Dorset and Kimmirut) there will be a byelection on November 3 since nobody had announced their candidacy before the deadline date. In two other ridings, candidates were acclaimed. So, tomorrow only 15 of our 19 seats will be decided. Eventually though, once the dust has settled, those elected will meet in Iqaluit to vote on a Premier who will then select a Cabinet of 7-8 ministers. The remaining MLA's function as an opposition. For the most part though all MLA's do their best to work together for the betterment of the territory (federal politicians take note). Of course, the speculation over who will be Nunavut's next Premier has long begun. I have a few ideas myself. Tagak Curley, Iqaluit mayor Elisappe Sheutiapik and current Premier Paul Okalik are names I've heard bandied about through the grapevine.

Much was made over the fact that only 49% of the voting public here actually voted in last week's federal election. The numbers are much better when looking at territorial elections. In the last election in 2004, the voting turnout was something like 93.7%. Here in my own riding the figure was 81%. Two factors likely account for this discrepancy between federal and territorial turn-out, which go hand in hand. There are no political parties so people often end up voting for who they know and since populations are very small up here, the chances of knowing your riding's candidates are excellent. (I'm pleasantly surprised by how many candidate names I know throughout the territory either through meeting them in person or by name.) What are the odds of walking into a Subway restaurant and bumping into an MLA? Or walking down the main thoroughfare of your community while in conversation with, say your principal and the Minister of Education? Both of these have happened to me.

I'll leave the debate over whether the territory should continue with the consensus model or abandon it for the party system for now. I'll cast my vote on my way home from work tomorrow and then tune into the radio later in the evening to catch the results. Finding out the results for my own riding is actually quite simple. I just need to make a phone call.

5 comments:

Megan said...

It's still very close! Your buddy is ahead by nine votes. This is exciting.

Megan said...

Whooooooeeee!

Way Way Up said...

Whooooeeee indeed!

Anonymous said...
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Way Way Up said...

Kindly don't use my blog to push your political agenda. This is my blog. Please, use your own blog.