So how did things go in the North? Well, other than freezing cold (it was about 45 yesterday once you threw in the wind), there was one small change. Instead of three Liberals, there are now two Liberals and one New Democrat. The NDP beat the Liberal junior minister in Western Arctic (the Northwest Territories).
The race was closer in Nunavut than it was last time, but the Liberal still won fairly easily. A few scares early in the evening when the Conservative was ahead, but Nancy Karetak-Lindell eventually pulled away. Results were painfully slow coming in, though. When I went to bed at 12:20 EST I think about 15 polls were in for Nunavut. The polls had been closed almost three hours at that point. I have no idea why, other than to say “It’s the north.” Which is generally what you say when things happen that appear to make little sense.
A favourite moment was when a fluke of what polls were being counted, and their speed (or lack thereof) had the Marijuana Party candidate in third place for about an hour, only 12 votes or so behind the front runner. That was a bit weird. Granted, the vote totals were something like 25 Conservative, 18 Liberal, 13 Marijuana Party.
Actually, the marijuana guy finished ahead of the Green Party. It’s been suggested that what with climate change, Nunavut would be a prime place for the Green Party to make a breakthrough (yes, there is a decided lack of Green up here. Perhaps they might want to rethink that name).
I’m not going into it too much, because it cuts a bit close to my job, but until the party changes its stand on sealing, I don’t see it happening. The candidate up here had to publicly distance himself from the Green’s anti-sealing stand. Guess it didn’t work.
As for the turnout, 53.3% voted in Nunavut. Not great, but still about 10 points higher than last time. So that’s good.
As for what it means for the North, I don’t know yet, but it will be worth watching. It’s the first time in decades the North hasn’t had a representative in government. And arctic sovereignty was a significant plank in the Conservative’s election strategy. More search and rescue, more troops, a naval base near Iqaluit, etc.
Harper has promised a lot, with a limited window to get it all done. With no one in the government caucus to push for Northern issues, it’ll be interesting to see how much of this gets done in a short period of time.