Nanulik candidates have 10 days to declare

Nomination period closes July 29 for Sept. 2 by-election


Candidates in the Nanulik by-election have 10 days to prepare and file their nomination papers.

The writ of election, issued this week by Commissioner Peter Irniq, says the nomination period will begin July 19 and end at 2 p.m. on July 29.

As expected, the date of the Nanulik by-election has been set for Sept. 2, the day after Labour Day. Elections are normally held on Mondays, but because Sept. 1 is a holiday, the next best day is Sept. 2.

Although Nunavut’s election law was amended last year, the old election act, inherited from the Northwest Territories, will apply to the Nanulik vote.

“The whole election calendar for this is 45 days, whereas it will be 35 for the next general election,” said Sandy Kusugak, Nunavut’s chief electoral officer.

Kusugak said Dorothy Ningeocheak of Coral Harbour has been appointed returning officer for the by-election, and may be reached through the Coral Harbour hamlet council office.

Candidates must submit their nomination papers to Ningeocheak, or to Sandra Simik, the assistant returning officer in Chesterfield Inlet.

To be eligible to run, candidates must be at least 18, a resident of Nunavut for at least one year, and a Canadian citizen. Nomination papers must include the signatures of 15 eligible voters and be accompanied by a $200 deposit that will be returned after candidates file their election spending disclosures.

The successful candidate in the Nanulik by-election will sit as an MLA only until January, when the campaign period will begin again for the Feb. 16 election.

The former MLA for Nanulik, James Arvaluk, resigned his seat on June 20, a few days after a judge found him guilty of assault causing bodily harm. In August 2000, Arvaluk beat up his former girlfriend after a drinking and card-playing party in Coral Harbour.

Candidates will campaign in August, usually a peak camping season for Nunavut residents.

But Kusugak doesn’t think this will pose any problems for the administration of the election. She says the Nanulik vote will likely turn out to be a useful trial run to help prepare for the Feb. 16 general election.

Voters lists will be posted in Coral Harbour and Chesterfield Inlet before Aug. 1, and voters can ask for changes to the list between Aug. 1 and Aug. 5.

“This is something that is not allowed under the new legislation, but is required by the old,” Kusugak said.

She explained that Nunavut’s new election law forbids the posting of voters’ lists containing the names and addresses of voters, for reasons of confidentiality and security.

For the general election, Nunavut will develop an electronic register of voters.

An advance poll for the Nanulik by-election will be held Aug. 22. On voting day, Sept. 2, polls will open at 9 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

In 1999, the seat was contested by five candidates, four from Coral Harbour and one from Chesterfield Inlet. Arvaluk won with 156 votes, followed by Johnny Ningeongan, the former mayor of Coral Harbour, with 125 votes. Anthyme Kadjuk, the chair of Chesterfield Inlet’s District Education Authority, came in last with 52 votes.

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