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Four candidates vie for Inuvik Boot Lake
Robert C. McLeod acclaimed in Inuvik Twin Lakes

Samantha Stokell
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, September 15, 2011

For the first time in eight years, residents of Inuvik Boot Lake will get to vote for an MLA, while Inuvik Twin Lakes residents can take a rest from the democratic process.

Inuvik Twin Lakes incumbent Robert C. McLeod has been acclaimed to his seat in the legislative assembly, the first time that has happened since the riding was created in 1999. Inuvik Boot Lake has four candidates running for Premier Floyd Roland's former seat: Grant Gowans, Chris Larocque, Alfred Moses and Paul Voudrach. Back in May the premier announced he would not seek relection.

McLeod is only the second MLA for Inuvik Twin Lakes and won the seat following the past two elections in 2003 and 2007. After fierce election campaigns where took won 24 and 53 per cent of the vote, he's excited about taking a break while his colleagues campaign.

"It feels pretty good and now I'm able to relax until we're back into the assembly," said McLeod, the current cabinet minister of Municipal and Community Affairs and the Housing Corporation. "If I'm fortunate enough and the premier chooses me (to continue those portfolios), I'd like to work on some of those projects and see them to the end."

In alphabetical order, the Inuvik Boot Lake candidates are as follows.

Grant Gowans moved to Inuvik at the age of seven and lived there until 2004. He has lived in Yellowknife for the past five years, working as a negotiator for the GNWT Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations. Gowans is married with a two-year old daughter.

The issues he is concerned with include territorial ones such as devolution and the Mackenzie Valley Gas Pipeline; regional issues such as the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway, Mackenzie Valley Highway and the fibre optic link; local issues such as youth, housing, health services, domestic violence, substance abuse, homelessness and education.

"I have a strong foundation and can be a strong and aggressive voice for the residents in the (legislative assembly)," Gowans said. "You can't give up, no matter what."

Chris Larocque also grew up in Inuvik and currently sits on Inuvik Town Council as Deputy Mayor. He has managed Mackenzie Range Supply for the past 10 years and also managed Dowland Contracting. Territorial politics have always been on his agenda. Larocque is a single father with two children.

His issues include health care, social services and infrastructure. He also wants to work on the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway, the satellite fibre optic link, Mackenzie Valley highway and pipeline.

"The issues that will be issues are the same from election to election," Larocque said. "They are general issues that are problems across Canada."

Alfred Moses was born in Fort McPherson and went to high school in Inuvik. After university he worked as a community health representative with the Beaufort Delta Regional Health Board, the Department of Health, Diavik and currently is with Municipal and Community Affairs in Inuvik. He has worked on numerous committees and boards, including Inuvik town council.

Moses has numerous concerns such as homelessness, addictions and mental health, early childhood development, the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway and Mackenzie Valley highway, youth programming and more mental health and addictions facilities.

"A community is only as healthy as its people are," Moses said. "With social services, we have to create healthy families in the community."

Paul Voudrach is originally from Aklavik and Tuktoyaktuk and moved to Inuvik in 2007. He's worked for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for more than 30 years and was director and chair of a hunter and trapper committee. Voudrach is married, has 11 children, 22 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Housing issues are one of Voudrach's top concerns, as well as road building, especially the highway between Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik, education, the high cost of living, alcohol abuse and social issues.

"My goal is not to say that I can do this, but that we can do this together, as a family structure," Voudrach said. "As MLAs, we're so far away. I will not move. This is my community an I will always ensure I keep in continuous contact if elected."

The territorial election will take place on Oct. 3. Eligible voters can vote before that date, however, at the office on Mackenzie Road starting Sept. 22, with proper identification.

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