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Kivalliq candidates dominate federal election

Feliks Kappi, 26, to run for Green Party



Twenty-six-year-old Feliks Kappi of Rankin Inlet announced his candidacy for the Green Party of Canada last week, becoming the fourth person from the Kivalliq to join the race to become Nunavut’s member of Parliament on Jan. 23.

New Democratic Party candidate Amanda-Ford Rogers is originally from Whale Cove. The incumbent, Nancy Karetak-Lindell, is from Arviat, as is the Conservative challenger, David Aglukark Sr.

Only the Marijuana Party candidate, Ed deVries, has no ties to the Kivalliq region.

“Historically a lot of politicians have come from the Kivalliq,” Kappi said, citing Jose Kusugak, Jack Anawak, Tagak Curley, Peter Irniq and Nunavut’s first MP, Peter Ittinuar.

As for his chances of joining that list, Kappi said he is hopeful: “In politics, anything is possible.”

Kappi is a third-year Earth sciences student at the University of Western Ontario. He plans to return to Rankin Inlet for the Christmas holiday this weekend, but says he won’t begin campaigning until the New Year.

In an interview this past Tuesday, Kappi said he wouldn’t have considered entering politics if not for people like Sheila Watt-Cloutier — a woman he says has had “international influence” for her work on climate change.

When Kappi noticed that the Green Party still didn’t have a candidate in Nunavut, he talked it over with his dad, Bill Gawor of Rankin Inlet. Gawor contacted the party’s recruiter to sign up his son, and agreed to become his campaign manager.

“My campaign is to do with the environment,” Kappi said.

Canada committed to Kyoto, Kappi said. That means the country should have dropped its greenhouse gas emissions to 6 per cent below 1990 levels. Instead, greenhouse gas emissions have actually risen to 24 per cent since Kyoto was signed, according to documents collected by the United Nations.

“That is a big concern, especially for Nunavummiut,” Kappi said.

Energy use in the North also needs to be addressed. Kappi wants Nunavut to move away from burning diesel fuel for energy. “The price of oil is only going to go up.”

Kappi has other issues to address, including the high suicide rate. He also wants to know why Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. has to ask for more money from the Nunavut Trust every year. “There should be a 10-year plan, perhaps.”

Kappi does not consider his three-years at University in the South a hindrance to his campaign. He says his ties to Nunavut remain strong.

“You don’t know what you have until you miss it,” he said, adding that one thing he misses most is speaking Inuktitut.

The campaign will be tough. Kappi has no budget for traveling to communities. He hopes instead to use local radio to communicate with voters in English and Inuktitut.

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