Iqaluit city council candidates discuss priorities at all-candidates forum

Out of 29 contenders, 13 were able to attend

There are 29 candidates running for nine positions (eight councillors, one mayor) on Iqaluit city council. Thirteen attended an all-candidates forum held by the Iqaluit Chamber of Commerce at Inuksuk High School on Oct. 10. (Photo by Dustin Patar)

By Emma Tranter

Iqalungmiut vying for a seat on city council had the chance to pitch their platforms at an all-candidates forum held by the Iqaluit Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, Oct. 10.

Both candidates for mayor, Kenneth Bell and Noah Papatsie, attended the forum. The event was moderated by Terry Dobbin and Catherine Martin.

Eleven out of 27 candidates competing for eight seats on city council attended the forum, which took place at Inuksuk High School.

Candidates presented their ideas to an audience that filled about half the seats in the high school’s auditorium.

The first question of the evening asked candidates to explain their top priorities for city council.

On this, most candidates seemed to agree the city’s water supply was most important.

Others cited quality of life, infrastructure and housing as the city’s top issues.

Candidates were also asked to explain how they would make sure the city is financially stable. Many cited the 2014 dump fire in Iqaluit and the debt the city took on for years to follow.

When asked about their plans for waste management in the city, candidates discussed the possibility of compost and recycling systems.

Candidates did not explain how they would implement such initiatives.

Read a quote from each candidate who attended the forum below.

  • At the forum on Oct. 10, all candidates in attendance were asked to introduce themselves and explain why they chose to run for a seat on city council. The next slides contain quotes from each candidate's answer. (Photos by Dustin Patar)

Although the audience did not get a chance to ask questions during the forum itself, residents were invited to submit questions to the Chamber of Commerce before the event.

Karen Petkau, an Iqaluit resident of seven years, said the forum was helpful to see what each candidate had to say, but she would have liked to see more discussion about the role of city councillors.

“It was good to get an overview of all the candidates. My question to the potential councillors would have been, what do they see as their job?” Petkau said.

“What actually stood out for me is how few Inuit are on stage,” she added.

Thuliani Antoni, an Iqaluit resident of four years, said the forum helped him decide on at least three candidates he now plans to vote for.

“Everybody agreed there was a water problem. I can see a lot of collaboration among them once they’re elected,” Antoni said.

“It’s a really hard decision.”

Municipal elections will be held in Iqaluit and across the territory on Oct. 28.

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(13) Comments:

  1. Posted by Noah for mayor on

    Noah for Mayor!

    • Posted by Go for it! on

      That’s just the disaster Iqaluit needs right now. I look forward to the moaning and gnashing of teeth.

  2. Posted by Sade on

    All Candidates spoke well at that forum, but I wonder how many were telling the audience what they wanted to hear?

  3. Posted by Code of Conduct on

    “As you can imagine I’ve got a million issues with this [code of conduct policy]” Bell told fellow councillors.

    A few examples of “principles” councillors must abide by, according to the new code of conduct, include:

    • respecting each other’s right to hold different views and debate strongly on matters of difference while being united in representing council decisions;

    • respecting the right of each councillor to speak and represent their views on the needs of citizens;

    • always speaking well of each other and council in public;

    • always being punctual to council meetings and civic events; and,

    • always behaving with the appropriate level of decorum at council meetings and in public.

    But few were respecting those principles Tuesday night.

    Tensions rose after Bell stated he was “absolutely not” in favour of supporting the first reading of the by-law.

    “In the last year I’ve been taken aback by some of the unprofessional behaviour, and particularly just the way that, particularly councillor Bell, feels is appropriate to speak to people,” Mansell said.

    “And this council doesn’t have the tools to deal with those sorts of things. In addition councillor Bell has raised a number of issues that again, we don’t have the tools to address,” he said.

    “I think this gives the next council the ability to address situations when they come up, so they don’t become as heated and difficult as some of the issues that we’ve seen at council,” Mansell said.

    “I don’t appreciate your tone,” Wilman said. “If you could say what you need to say with respect, please … please do so.”

    “Absolutely not in favour,” Bell repeated again when it was his turn to vote.

  4. Posted by Extremely concerned on

    “Bell said if elected he would secure funding through council motions to bring federal ministers to city council. He also said he wants to have large corporations, such as Nunastar or Northview Property REIT, lobby the government on behalf of the city.”

    Bell demonstrates he has no clue how politics works. Its not due to a lack of Federal Government or Ministerial budget why Federal Ministers don’t come to Iqaluit. If he thinks he can convince council to pass a motion to summon Federal Ministers to come before council, he is both ignorant and arrogant.

    When Bell suggests that big business, like the largest landlords should lobby on behalf of the city, again he is bizarrely out of touch. They lobby for themselves. Does Bell want to pay these big landlords to lobby instead of doing the job himself as Mayor?

    Bell says “”I don’t particularly like politicians, I don’t particularly like politics.” but wants voters to elect him as Mayor?! Does he not realize that he will have to work closely with 8 politicians in city chambers, work closely with territorial politicians, work closely with federal politicians and others? Why elect a Mayor who doesn’t particularly like politics.

    Bell says that city staff “complete magic with zero help from their council and their mayor” he wants to change that by giving them the “support they actually need.” but doesn’t explain what the support staff actually need. Mayor and council aren’t supposed to get involved in day to day operations. Bell blames Mayor and council for the city not running properly. It’ll be interesting if Bell becomes Mayor how he plans to fix all the problems, since according to him the Mayor and council are the ones who are responsible for all the problems and the fixes.

    Lastly, Bell says the way to increase Inuit employment is by creating a city daycare. Does Bell not realize that this would lead to probably the most expensive daycare in Iqaluit with union wages. Unless he expects the city to provide huge subsidies to help cover off the massive cost difference.

  5. Posted by wake up on

    “Code of Conduct” have you read the code of conduct? there is no teeth to it, I completely understand why Bell was against it, just another make work project for the city.

    Bell did vote in favour on 3rd reading because they added more teeth.

    if you’re going to try and use his words against him at the very least use the whole story!

  6. Posted by Let the judger be judged on

    Bell has blamed all of the city’s issues on previous major and council. If elected, he needs to be taken task. He thinks he can fix everything… let’s see it!

    • Posted by wake up on


      Take him to task. as a homeowner I already found out the hard way when poop was shot into every inch of my house from the main sewage main that he was right about the city’s infrastructure dying.

  7. Posted by Stephen Leyden on

    It is important to note ; MAYOR AND COUNCIL.

    A mayor should neither take all the credit nor take all the criticism. Mayor only has a vote if there is a tie. Council will share in all the successes and all the failures, all need to be held to task.

    So choose carefully, research your options and most importantly vote.

    • Posted by Iqaluit Voter on

      It is important to note: Thanks. Nobody is asking for a lesson in Roberts rules of order here. The mayor is the only person on city council that has a direct relationship with the staff of the city. That’s why its important to have a level headed intelligent mayor. If you loose the staff it doesn’t matter how much heat the council is willing to take for it’s decisions or on behalf of the mayor.
      If you asked me Janet Brewster was the strongest candidate by a long shot.
      She was articulate, funny, and stuck to her vision. She will be an important addition to the council and should be the deputy mayor. From what I heard Janet definitly has the experience and seems to have the fortitude to hold mayor Bell and the other middle aged men that unfortunately might get elected (ugh can we not??) to a hihg standard.
      When I think about it why she didn’t run for mayor??? Too bad she didn’t. She would’ve had my vote.

      • Posted by Agreed on


  8. Posted by No Good Choices on

    Iqaluit is really screwed, I mean really… sad times coming for you.

  9. Posted by Jean-Luc Nevin on

    Thanks nunatsiaq for a very unbiased report. And good luck to all the candidates running!! Side note to all the keyboard warriors who are so clearly passionate please go out and vote becuase it is absolutely imperative to have people who are representative of issues that matter and align with your perspective.

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