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When to hit the polls

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Monday, December 12, 2011

Following comments made by Rankin Inlet North MLA Tagak Curley earlier this month, Nunavut News/North asked every Nunavut MLA when they think the next election should be held.

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Tagak Curley: MLA told media election should be held in 2012.

Earlier this month, Curley told media he thought an election should be held in the fall of 2012.

At a full caucus meeting this fall, MLAs decided to hold the next territorial election in the fall of 2013 and that has not changed, stated Emily Woods, a spokesperson for Premier Eva Aariak, via e-mail.

This sentiment was echoed by Tununiq MLA Joe Enook and Rankin Inlet South-Whale Cove MLA Lorne Kusugak, also the government house leader.

As the speaker of the legislative assembly, Iqaluit Centre MLA Hunter Tootoo stated it's up to all the members of the assembly to decide when to hold an election.

Hudson Bay MLA Allan Rumbolt stated they decided not to change the current leadership when it was reviewed last year.

"If a leadership review is called, or a motion of confidence is raised in the house, I will listen to what all members have to say on the issue and vote accordingly," he stated via e-mail.

Iqaluit Centre MLA Monica Ell also agrees with the 2013 election date, noting the extra year is needed to renovate the legislative assembly to accommodate three extra MLAs.

The assembly voted in favour of the recommendation from the Nunavut Electoral Boundaries Commission to increase the number of constituencies to 22. Ell, one of three MLAs elected in the September byelection, also noted if elections were held next year, she would have only participated in three legislative sittings.

Lastly, Quttiktuq MLA Ron Elliott stated the next territorial election should only occur after a number of major pieces of legislation have passed so they can live up to the Tamapta mandate commitments.

"A lot of time, energy and money has been spent on seeking residents' views and input on such important initiatives as the Child and Family Services Act, the Liquor Act and the Poverty Reduction Strategy," he stated via e-mail. "Currently, we are on the correct path and need to be even more focused on getting work completed."

Amittuq MLA Louis Tapardjuk said he would not comment until the full caucus meeting in January.

A staff member of Nattilik MLA Jeannie Ugyuk said she could not comment as she was stuck outside the community because of the weather.

Arviat MLA Daniel Shewchuk, Cambridge Bay MLA Keith Peterson, South Baffin MLA Fred Schell, Akulliq MLA John Ningark, Pangnirtung MLA Hezakiah Oshutapik, Nanulik MLA Johnny Ningeongan and Baker Lake MLA Moses Aupaluktuq could not be reached for comment.

The spokespersons for economic development and transportation, as well as environment, said Kugluktuk MLA Peter Taptuna and Uqqummiut MLA James Arreak - who are the ministers for those departments, respectively - would not comment as the premier's office already had.

In another interview, shortly after his resignation as territorial minister of health, Curley was critical of Aariak and others on cabinet.

"It ended up being quite frustrating - maybe a difference in leadership styles," Curley told Nunavut News/North on Dec. 1. "The ministers, in my view, are not 100 per cent in charge of their department, in terms of addressing all the key Tamapta mandate."

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