Sunday, October 11, 2009

Iqaluit City Council Election - Mat Knickelbein

Well I'll be damned, someone took me up on my offer. Mat sent me a copy of his poster along with a longer discussion on some of the things he wants to do. I'm posting both here. He also sent his picture, but which I can't get to post here. Mat, if you want to send me just the photo, not embedded in anything, I'll still put it up here.

For other candidates to Iqaluit's City Council, go here to read how you can get your campaign information put up on this blog.

Without further adieu, Mat Knickelbein on why you should vote for him.


Vote Mat Knickelbein for Iqaluit City Council

For those that might not know me, here is a little about myself.

I moved to Iqaluit over 20 years ago. I have, since then, been directly involved with Iqaluit's youth and education issues. After graduating from Inuksuk High School and working for a couple of years as classroom support at Joamie School, I went on to complete the Nunavut Teacher Education Program and earn a Bachelor of Education degree from McGill University. I am in my 11th year as a teacher here in Iqaluit and I care deeply about the future we are leaving for our children. I have also been actively involved with youth soccer programs for many years, coaching, fund-raising and travelling to various locations and tournaments. As an avid outdoors person, I spend most of any free time and holidays down at our family cabin about 20 miles south of Iqaluit. Hunting and fishing are year-round passions of mine.

I have two wonderful children; Malaya aged 7 & Simeonie aged 12. My wife Allasua and I recently got married this past summer out on the land at our cabin. We own a home in Apex and enjoy the peace, quiet and sense of community that Niaqunngu(Apex) offers.

A respect for those that came before:

We need to reflect and recognize those that founded and built this city. Those that have always lived here and those that have made a long-term commitment to making Iqaluit their home.

To accomplish this I propose the following:

1. Major upgrades to both the local Breakwater/Marina and the Causeway.
2. Improvements to all other smaller breakwaters and marine infrastructure – including Apex.
3. Expansion, improvement and respect of designated snowmachine trails to allow easy access to core areas of the city.
4. Maintenance of Hunter/Community access via traditional routes through town when planning future development.
5. Diligent efforts to re-involve and re-engage long-time/original Iqalummiut when planning for the future.

Recognition of those that are here now:

We must meet the needs of a varied and diverse current population. By working together as a community, I believe that we can make Iqaluit more inclusive, comfortable, and fair while retaining our strong northern values, traditions and culture.

To accomplish this I propose the following:

1. Working together, openly and creatively, to ease the inevitable growing pains that we will continue to face.
2. Providing healthy and varied recreational activities for all our citizens.
3. Creating a cleaner Iqaluit that values and encourages environmental stuardship.
4. Commitment and support for recycling and composting programs.
5. Action on creating a safer city for all.
6. Get the community involved with municipal decisions and direction. Televise and/or webcast council meetings. Create an updated and interactive municipal website that allows for participation via questions and/or comments/polls/eBulletins.
7. Create youth initiatives that get our children involved with the city. There are many volunteer/citizenship programs that engage youth and work towards empowering our young population.

A vision towards the future:

The decisions and direction the municipal council takes Iqaluit, eventually end up in the laps of our children. We need to ensure that we evolve in a sustainable and environmentally sound direction. We need to leave something that we can all be proud of, making Iqaluit a world-class example of a small city with global ideals.

To accomplish this I propose the following:

1. Continue to push towards the completion of a Deep Water Port.
2. Deal with our waste in an effective and sustainable manner.
3. Lead by example in matters concerning energy reduction and sustainable construction.
4. Support economic diversity.
5. Build and encourage healthy lifestyles for our population.
6. Land development with a respect for traditional use and culture.

Please plan on getting out and voting on Monday October 19th, 2009! Every vote counts!

As for specifics... here we go.

1. Major upgrades and improvements to our small harbour infrastructure. Our boats/trailers/trucks are getting trashed because of poor maintenance and years of neglect.

2. Finally create and maintain proper skidoo trails around town... especially in the spring (ie: dropping off snow at major skidoo crossing points and at the gas station... making sure that when the road crew clear snow they do not destroy major, identified skidoo trails - causing unsafe conditions)

3. Through liaising with community organizations I plan on working diligently to re-engage long-time/original Iqalummiut to get involved with our municipal decision making process. I have heard many stories about how this section of our population feels as if they have been neglected and left out of the planning and growth directions our City has taken. I plan on trying to involve everyone.

4. I will support a comprehensive recycling and compost program for our city.

5. I support the idea of a new multi-use recreation centre... but I'm not sure if I, or the voters/ratepayers, have the confidence that the city, at this point, has the ability to pull off such a major project without is being a complete disaster/screw-up! There have been a series of major blunders that I feel has eroded the reputation of the City to pull off major projects (ie: sewage treatment plant, AWG arena, chip-seal road “experiment” gone wrong, administrative in-fighing, new cematery fiasco, local landfill and waste management short-sightedness, road side posts/rocks, streetlights/traffic problems, etc...) It is my belief that the new council should work towards regaining the confidence of our electorate by making some successful smaller decisions first.

6. I would be interested in looking into installing more lighting and even closed circuit television cameras around town to cut down on violence and vandalism.

7. A major endeavour of mine would be to get the municipality up to date with modern technology that would assist it in reaching and involving more Iqalummiut. The City of Iqaluit website is a joke. Redo it and include a discussion/bulletin board, include online polls to gain insight into common issues. Video stream all council chamber proceedings.

8. Years ago our municipality was indirectly involved with a program called The Duke of Edinburgh Awards... it engaged our youth (through a partnership with Inuksuk High School) to spend time volunteering, beautifying and improving our City. It is an international program that encourages volunteerism and healthy living. Youth, for school credit and program hours, painted/made garbage cans/did small project/maintained sports fields/etc... I plan on getting this off the ground again.

9. I believe in continuing the pursuit of a Deep Water Port for Iqaluit. Imagine the cost saving and business economic opportunities if large vessels could moor and offload cargo on a 24hour a day schedule, without waiting for tides.

10. Our waste needs to be separated/recycled/reclaimed to the greatest extend possible. I believe, once this has happened, that there exists the possibility of burning (through a proper, high-heat incinerator) most of our remaining non-toxic waste – and the by-product of HEAT be used for further municipal projects.

11. I would like to see the City be leaders in the use of green/renewable energy sources... there are many, diverse options that are currently available to us... but are not being used.

Well then, that about covers my main ideas/goals. Please feel free to message me your comments/questions/concerns. You may also be interested in visiting my Facebook “Group”... check it out. While it is correct that I have not been knocking on doors (yet), I have been quite actively campaigning. I have spent at least an hour each evening calling people, at random, from our phone book. This has led to some very excellent conversations. Apart from my facebook group, I also have a blog and “group” on I can be reached at Thanks for your time and I hope this helps to clairify my position on a few of our local concerns. No matter who it is you choose to support... on October 19th please make sure you get out and vote! Get involved! Your voice and opinion counts!


Mat Knickelbein

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