Waiting for candidates
Parties slow to get on Northern election bandwagon

by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 07/97) - The prospect of a spring federal election has so far been met with a collective yawn from the North.

And the main parties appear as interested in us as we are in them.

The Progressive Conservatives, NDP and Reform parties have yet to name candidates for either Nunavut or the Western Arctic. That's good news for both Liberal incumbents Ethel Blondin-Andrew and Jack Anawak.

Whether Anawak will run in the new Nunavut riding remains to be seen. He has been touted as the frontrunner for the job of interim commissioner of Nunavut. The appointment of the commissioner, the responsibility of DIAND Minister Ron Irwin, has been "imminent" for the last six months.

Last week the Progressive Conservatives tried to select a candidate to oppose the Liberals in Nunavut, but a nomination meeting in Iqaluit reportedly attracted only five people.

But in the west, Blondin-Andrew will have at least one opponent, political veteran and former CBC Radio host Wally Firth.

The Fort McPherson resident is the last member to represent the entire NWT. During his term in Ottawa, from 1972-79, he successful lobbying for a second seat for the NWT.

At that time Firth was a member of the NDP. The party asked him to run this election, he said last week, but he has decided to campaign as an independent.

If successful, Firth said he will focus much of his energy in bringing party politics to the western NWT in time for division.