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Party rejects NDP hopeful for online posts
Natanine passed over for Facebook comments on Israel-Palestinian conflict

Stewart Burnett
Northern News Services
Monday, August 24, 2015

The New Democratic Party axed Clyde River Mayor Jerry Natanine's bid to represent the party in the upcoming federal election because of controversial comments he made on social media.

"They didn't like my stand on the Israel-Palestinian conflict," Natanine told Nunavut News/North.

He said he felt bad about not getting the nomination.

"My stance on the Palestinian and Israel conflict was not the only thing," he said, adding that there were "other things that would incriminate me, that would give the other candidates bullets to shoot at me."

On Natanine's public Facebook page, he shared a number of pictures taking an anti-Israel side in the conflict, such as advocating a boycott of Israeli goods. One photo with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu implies that Israel has poisoned the Palestinian water supply, killed the Palestinian people and then pretended to be the good guy.

Aaron Watson, the president of the Nunavut NDP Electoral District Association, said searching social media and undertaking background checks are part of the party's vetting process.

Asked if losing out on the nomination changed his view of the party, Natanine said, "It turned me off a little."

He said he will be monitoring the campaign as it progresses and added that Nunavut is not a place that sticks to party politics.

"There are not too many people who say, 'I'm NDP and I'm never going to be anything else,'" said Natanine. "I'm not that way either."

Watson said there are other applicants who are being considered now and that the party will be able to differentiate itself from the Liberals and Conservatives.

"The NDP is always different than the other parties every election," he said.

"Taking a stand on Bill C-51, minimum wage, child care and many other issues is the strength of the platform. In fact, Nutrition North is something that Romeo Saganash and Dennis Bevington have been working on notably, so Northern sustainability and strategy is an important part of the platform along with indigenous issues nationwide. We will see what really differentiates the party from the competition when we form a federal government for the first time."

Watson said Aug. 21 the NDP will nominate its candidate for Nunavut on Aug. 23, after press deadline.

The three other major parties in Nunavut are all settled, with Leona Aglukkaq representing the Conservatives, Hunter Tootoo the Liberals and Spencer Rocchi the Greens.

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