Iqaluit mayor invites residents to ‘a chat’

Kenny Bell to field questions during ‘outreach event’ Wednesday

Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell, seen in this October 2020 file photo — before he shaved his head to raise money for charity — has invited Iqaluit residents to “a chat” on Wednesday afternoon at Iqaluit Square. The mayor is holding the outreach event to give people an opportunity to ask him questions or give him comments about city business. (File photo by Dustin Patar)

By Nunatsiaq News

Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell says he won’t have any scripted answers Wednesday when he gives city residents the chance to “say what they’re going to say.”

Bell is scheduled to hold court at Iqaluit Square in what the city is calling a public outreach event.

“Come have a chat,” Bell wrote on Twitter, where he posted the notice for the session.

He will spend three hours at Iqaluit Square meeting residents between noon and 3 p.m., an announcement issued by the city states. Meetings will be arranged “by walk-in only,” according to the city’s public service announcement.

Bell is in his second year as mayor, after winning the city’s top job in October 2019.

“When I ran, one of the big things I wanted to do was bring the mayor and council back into the community,” he said in an interview. “I wanted to bring back the human side of politics.”

It’s one more way for people to get in touch with their local government, Bell said.

A few more outreach events will be scheduled in the coming weeks, then they will occur on a more regular basis in the fall.

Social media users can communicate easily with council members, but some people prefer the face-to-face approach, Bell said.

While residents can share their views about city business at a council meeting, many people are reluctant to speak in a public forum with people watching and that is recorded.

An outreach event gives them a chance to tell the mayor what they think in an informal setting “so people can really say what they feel,” the mayor said.

Bell said he doesn’t know what to expect to hear from people at Wednesday’s session, but insists they’re free to say what’s on their minds.

“Whatever it is, I want to hear from the public.”

The mayor isn’t sure if other council members will join him because they have day jobs and other responsibilities. But there will be more opportunities for the public to interact with council members in the future, including a “lunch with the mayor” program.

“That will be coming down the line in the new year,” he said.

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(14) Comments:

  1. Posted by Community Clean-up on

    Why doesn’t the mayor keep his personal property clean of garbage? There is tons of garbage in the ditch in front of his yard. He is a example of Iqaluit homeowners. Community clean up was this month and we need our leaders to support community clean up.

    • Posted by Public meeting on

      I suggest going to the public chat and ask him.

      • Posted by Community clean-up on

        There are too many trolls for a public “chat”.

  2. Posted by Pain In The Groen on

    Will there be simultaneous translation for Inuktitut speakers?

    • Posted by Raven on

      What about the listeners?

  3. Posted by No Access on

    Most of Iqaluit’s residents are on Facebook and use it to keep on top of community events and link to the City’s page as well as maintaining a two way dialog on community goings on.
    The Mayor however has shut down his Facebook account without explanation.
    Clearly, this isn’t about being accessible to the public.

    • Posted by Observation Post on

      The Mayor doesn’t need to be on Facebook if he doesn’t want to, that’s a strange expectation to have.

    • Posted by Twitter on

      Mayor prefers his Twitter echo chamber where he gets praised for his edgy tweets by other town councilors from down south.

      That being said, I wouldn’t touch facebook with a 10-foot pole if I were a public official. This town has gone bananas.

  4. Posted by Maybe on

    Good stuff… open forum. Fb FYI is an empire built on your personal likes/dislikes, etc. You are the product, Fb is reaping vast sums of money on, and it does not end there. Political influence is a by-product.

  5. Posted by Can’t wait on

    I’m sure the conversations will be riveting. I suspect they’ll be a lot of ‘ I’m the best’ , ‘it’s everyone else’s fault’, ‘stop asking questions or ill tax you more’ , ‘the previous mayor did nothing ‘

  6. Posted by Attention on

    I suspect the media will be there , front line and centre. Any paparazzi?

  7. Posted by tax on

    when will you work to get the monies owed to the city? needed tax money.

    will it take all to withhold tax to make a point? what do you need?

    call other territories to ask how they do it.

  8. Posted by SJW on

    Judging by the response it looks like the turnout was the same as every other ‘in person’ meeting in the last few years. I doubt any of those 4 people are the ones who are so vocal on Twitter and FB. They like to hide behind their screens, for the false sense of safety it gives them.

  9. Posted by Kyle Sheppard on

    A live stream would have achieved more and cost next to nothing compared to this effort.

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