Caouette vows to push for separate Nunavik riding

But Liberal contender hasn’t visited area during election campaign



Nunavik should have its own electoral riding, according to the Liberal candidate for the region.

That’s a popular dream shared by many Nunavimmiut – although it may be difficult to turn into political reality, given the region’s small population of about 10,000.

Still, Armand Caouette says he’d work towards breaking up the huge Abitibi-James Bay-Nunavik-Eeyou riding, if he wins the seat in this federal election.

From Val D’or, his campaign spokesperson, Gaston Marlow, said Caouette has three other election promises that will appeal to Nunavik residents.

Like the incumbent member of parliament Yvan Lévesque of the Bloc Québecois, Caouette says he wants to see contaminated mine sites cleaned up in Nunavik, and the number of affordable housing units boosted.

He also wants to increase the number of police officers in communities. “In many areas, there’s no police force,” Marlow said.

Caouette hasn’t visited Nunavik before, and he won’t during this election campaign. That’s because the cost of visiting its communities is prohibitively expensive, said Marlow. Incumbent Lévesque spent $68,000 to charter a plane to tour the region during his year in office.

Caouette is an experienced politician who represented the provincial Créditiste party as an MLA during the 1970s and ran unsuccessfully for the federal Conservative Party in 1997.

He also comes from a well-connected family: he’s the nephew of well-known Quebec leader Réal Caouette, and he’s the cousin of Roger Caouette, the mayor of Rouyn-Noranda.

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