3,000 eligible voters to choose from field of nine candidates

Beneficiaries to pick new KIA president Sept. 22



Beneficiaries of the Nunavut land claims agreement who live in the Kitikmeot region will choose a new president for the Kitikmeot Inuit Association on Monday, Sept. 22.

Nine candidates, many with past experience within the KIA, are in the running: Joseph Aglukkaq (Gjoa Haven), Stanley Anablak (Kugluktuk), Charlie Evalik (Cambridge Bay), Joe Allen Evyagotailak (Kugluktuk), Paul Ikaullaq (Gjoa Haven), Jason Ross Koblogina (Cambridge Bay), Joe Otokiak (Cambridge Bay), Noah Siutinnuaq (Gjoa Haven) and Peter Taptuna (Kugluktuk).

Voters in Kugluktuk will also select a new KIA board member from among four candidates: Margo Kadlun-Jones, Jack Kaniak, Angele Kuliktana and Catherine Kunelok.

Evyagotailak, a member of the legislative assembly for Kugluktuk since 2004, resigned his seat Aug. 21 to run for the KIA presidency.

"After close consultation with family, constituents and colleagues, I have determined that I can best focus my efforts on behalf of the residents of my community and region by standing for the presidency of the Kitikmeot Inuit Association," Evyagotailak, a former vice-president and president of the KIA, said in the news release.

A by-election to fill the vacated seat will not take place because Oct. 27 has already been set as the date for Nunavut's territorial election.

Fred Pedersen, the KIA's chief returning officer, said there are about 3,000 eligible voters over 16 in the Kitikmeot.

Polling stations will be open Sept. 22 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in every Kitikmeot community. The locations of the polling stations will be posted well in advance, Pedersen said.

Eligible voters may also cast ballots at advance polls on Sept. 15, which will be open between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., or by proxy, with forms available from the KIA.

This will be the second time this year that Kitikmoet beneficiaries vote for a new president.

Joe Otokiak was elected as president March 18, but resigned from his three-year term May 5 due to ongoing controversy surrounding a 12-month suspended sentence he was serving for assault.

Bylaws passed by the KIA in 2005 state that only beneficiaries who have committed indictable offences are forbidden to hold office at the KIA.

This posed no problem for Otokiak, because he was convicted of a less-serious, summary offence.

However, the KIA had not informed the Government of Nunavut's registrar's office of the changes made to their bylaws. To avoid legal wrangling and more controversy, Otokiak resigned.

The changes to the bylaws have since been sent to the registrar, Pedersen confirmed.

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