Monday, October 21, 2013

Nunavut elections

I haven't written anything about it, but Nunavut is in the middle of a territorial election. Old habits die hard, I guess. This is the second one we've been in Nunavut for. The last one was in 2008 and I was an employee of the Government of Nunavut, which meant I didn't feel comfortable writing about it.

Why? Well, I have a long-standing rule about blogging which is never write about work. It's begging, absolutely begging, for trouble. Now, I should be able to write about an election and the people running for the office when an employee for the GN. Reality was a little different. Social media, like blogger, Twitter or Facebook was something the GN was struggling to deal with. So, when in doubt with a new media, organizations like that tend to react in a hostile manner. I'm sure if I dug through the archives, I can find blog posts writing about bloggers being told to delete posts, or their blogs, if they wanted to keep their jobs.

You can debate if that's right. It was the reality. I understand the GN has a social media policy in place these days. I haven't read it, but hopefully it's a touch more...enlightened.

I don't work for the GN anymore, so I'm feeling a touch more liberated talking about the election. I'm not endorsing anyone because we're not sure who we're voting for yet. But I do love that it's going on. I'm a political animal. I was paying attention to the municipal elections in Newfoundland, so watching the territorial ones is fun stuff for me.

First, Nunavut elections are different. There are no political parties, which I find refreshing. I could explain how Nunavut's political system works, but I doubt I could do it better than Jim Bell did last month in the pages of Nunatsiaq News. Go here to read his explanation.

As for us, we're in the riding of Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu. Here's CBC's riding profile. Nunatsiaq has a bunch of stories about different candidates running in our riding, but I honestly don't have it in me to go and link to each one of them.  It's a bit weird as at six candidates I think we have the most running of any one riding in the territory. Also, none of the candidates ran in the last territorial election, which makes us unique in the ridings in town. There's no incumbent to bump off.

I've had a rule about the election, which has baffled a few people when I tell it to them. It's a simple one: if the candidate does not knock on my door he or she is automatically excluded from being in the running for our vote. I don't have to be here. If I'm out, well, they can't be blame for that (although I could make the case that a professional campaign would note that and make the effort to come back before election day).

For me, this is simple. It's a small riding. I'm going to use some simple, and not 100 per cent accurate math, but it'll be close enough for our purposes. If there are approximately 8,000 people in town, and we divide that by four, that means there are 2,000 people in each riding. And let's say at four people per residence (total guesswork) that means about 500 residences per riding. If you can't visit that many households in a month, you're not trying. It means you're making a minimal effort to convince me, or anyone else, to vote for you. And if you're doing that in an election, what kind of MLA are you going to be?

So far, four of the six candidates have been to our door. Sytukie Joamie has already said he's not going door-to-door, so he's out. Nor has Jack Anawak. Given that advance polls are now open, he's pushing his luck, but he still has a few more days to be in the running. Methusalak Kunuk came to the house Saturday morning, but we were out. He did leave a brochure.

That leaves three we've spoken to: Anne Crawford, Duncan Cunningham and Pat Angnakak. Cathy and I are still discussing where we're leaning. We like to try and vote as a block whenever possible, rather than vote split. Cathy's interested in educational issues, I tend to focus on infrastructure. That's not to say there aren't other important issues in the election: mental health, food security, housing, economic development and among others.

The thing I like to ask is "how?" Honestly, if you ever want to see a candidates eyes go momentarily wide, after they talk about what they want to do, ask how they're going to be able to accomplish that. I mean, I think a mental health/addictions rehabilitation facility in Nunavut is absolutely necessary. The question is where is the money going to come from to build it, staff it and run it each year. It's not as easy as waving your magic wand. People have wanted this for years. I note we still don't have one.

I will give one indication in which way we're leaning; unless we hear something extraordinary from one of the men, which hasn't happened yet, I'd like to see a woman get elected from our riding. I think there are going to be plenty of middle-age men from other ridings in Nunavut. It'd be nice to have a woman represent us. And both Crawford and Angnakak seem like intelligent women with ideas of what they want to once elected.

There's been some talk of a debate. Actually, for awhile today there had them scheduled for Thursday and Friday, but that seems to have been put on hold. I hope it happens. I'd like to go and see how they do in a public setting. There's still a week. Not much time, but I can always hope...

Last Five
1. My old man - Ron Hynes
2. Baby got going - Liz Phair
3. Bangs - They Might Be Giants
4. A good idea at the time - OK Go*
5. Instant crush - Daft Punk

1 comment:

John, Canberra AU said...

I had to look up "riding". The term has an interesting history. It's related to the word "farthing" in the Tolkien sense, with Viking roots, also seen in the Icelandic "thing", such as the "Althing" for their parliament.

I liked how that "Integrity Act" was described in Nunatsiaq Online. An almost Orwellian opposite meaning, like the Ministry of Peace. No wonder you couldn't blog about the government while you worked for it. It's not safe.