Four experienced candidates seek Cambridge Bay mayor’s job

Contenders spell out their platforms, priorities

By JANE GEORGE

When people in Cambridge Bay vote for a new mayor on Dec. 14, they’ll chose among four candidates who all have previously served on the hamlet council:

• Vicki Aitaok, manager of the Arctic Closet shop and the Cambridge Bay Visitors Centre;

• Stephanie Autut, the executive director of the Nunavut Impact Review Board;

• Syd Glawson, a long-time councillor and deputy mayor who was Cambridge Bay’s acting mayor after the resignation of Michelle Gillis; and,

• Joe Otokiak, a translator and interpreter.

Nunatsiaq News asked the four candidates to say why they would make the best mayor and, if elected, what they planned to do and whether they would support another liquor plebiscite in 2011.

Here is how the candidates responded— in their own words, edited for length and clarity:

Vicki Aitaok

My professional life here in Cambridge Bay has allowed me to cross paths with almost everyone at one point or another over the past 15 years. In each job I’ve had I worked hard to make a difference and to leave it in better shape than I found it.

I want to put Cambridge Bay back in the spotlight and in a position to move forward in a healthy and positive way…we are a sophisticated, forward-thinking community of people that are willing to work together, given the right leadership.

I believe I am the leader Cambridge Bay needs and I am prepared to lead a team who will serve the community openly and transparently.

If elected I will:

• improve social conditions for children and elders;

• support law enforcement in the community by highlighting security and safety with a citizens patrol group;

• expand recreational activities and facilities with an all-season outdoor park for children;

• communicate to the residents through continuing to support the community newsletter, Cambridge Bay Connections;

• beautify Cambridge Bay; and,

• work to reduce garbage and upgrade the dumps.

I am waiting patiently for another liquor plebiscite. I was one of the driving forces behind the 2008 plebiscite…at that time, I was on hamlet council and I clearly remember receiving very little support from the mayor and my fellow councillors on this issue.

I would definitely work with my team to educate everyone on what a liquor plebiscite and an alcohol education committee will and will not do for the residents of Cambridge Bay.

Stephanie Autut

I care deeply about our community and for that reason I have made it my home for 11 years. I have an appreciation for the diversity of our town: differences in lifestyle, race, gender preference, age and political opinions. I would commit to serve all residents and celebrate the diversity and continue to support the ideals that have made Cambridge Bay a strong and vibrant community.

Through my experience as hamlet councillor and deputy mayor I have seen how local government, territorial government, federal government and Inuit organizations can effectively work together for the good of the community.

I would make it a priority to:

• provide for quality recreation and wellness programs;

• create a comprehensive plan for our waste management facilities;

• provide for high quality community services;

• ensure that Cambridge Bay stays fiscally sound and that community appearance and safety is maintained by the enforcement of our bylaws;

• develop long-range capital plans for our community infrastructure; and,

• be a visible and accessible mayor.

I support another liquor plebiscite in 2011. Looking at our neighbor to the west, Kugluktuk, the results of an alcohol education committee have been very positive… less drunkenness and fewer bootleggers.

Syd Glawson

“I believe I am the right person to be mayor of Cambridge Bay at this time because of my many years experience with council of this hamlet, of the years I have been a citizen of Cambridge, and because of my desire to see Cambridge Bay take its proper place in Nunavut.

Not only [does Cambridge need to] take its proper place
but to prosper and grow to heights it is capable of. Cambridge bears a reputation it does not deserve. We have to change this.

If the residents wish a new [liquor] plebiscite in the future, we will have one. Whether it is in 2011, sooner or later their wishes are what is important.”

Joe Otokiak

“I’ve seen our community go from just a few buildings to what it is today, a thriving community with growing pains. Looking after people’s needs is a first priority in order to build a healthy community. Things such as dumps, sunken ships, parks etc… can be looked after later on.
Bottom line is, people need to get healthy in order for us to set a solid foundation for our children and grandchildren to build on.

As a community, we need to dig deep. We need to look at our roots and get more of our Inuit elders involved in all aspects of our lives if we are to survive as a distinct people who want to govern themselves.

Elders and youth need more activities where they can interact to pass on culture, language and life skills to survive. We need to nurture this; to build respect for one another as humans.

Everyone has good in them to offer to others; we need not focus on all the bad things in life, it’s too short! People who have a sense of being useful, as we can all do, enjoy life more.

My thoughts have always been [that] people who are less burdened with laws and regulations, are happier. Inuit have for many generations lived freely on the land that provided all their needs. People respected each other and cared for one another.

There is too much focus is on the individual these days, as to what is in it for me and how can I get ahead? (People may go through very tough times before things get better; we need to provide opportunities to help people begin to stand on their own).

Nine candidates running for the hamlet council in Cambridge Bay: Stephen Crane, Marg Epp, Amanda Hanson, Sarah “Olayok” Jancke, Keith Lear Sr., Jessie “Nologiak” Lyall, Tara Rutherford, Wayne Solomon and Wilf Wilcox.

Crane, Epp, Solomon and Wilcox currently sit on the council.

The terms of two councillors on the current hamlet council, Shane Sather and Sharon Ehaloak, do not end until Dec. 31, 2010.

The municipal vote takes place Dec. 14 at the Luke Novoligak community centre from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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