NTI postpones Nunavut-wide presidential election until Feb. 8

But QIA regional vote will go ahead Dec. 14

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., postponed its presidential election until Feb. 8 President Aluki Kotierk, left, is seeking a second term but is facing a challenge from Andrew Nakashuk, right. (File photos)

By Jim Bell

Nunavut’s territorial-wide Inuit representative organization, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., will postpone its presidential election until Feb. 8, the organization said Friday in a late-night news release.

That election, to be held among all eligible Nunavut Inuit voters, had been previously set for Dec. 14.

But because of COVID-19 outbreaks in the Kivalliq region and Sanikiluaq, NTI’s board of directors passed a resolution Monday to postpone the vote.

That decision, and other amendments to the organization’s election rules, were approved in what NTI describes as a “special meeting of members” on Friday.

They did this because a territory-wide lockdown imposed by Nunavut’s chief public health officer between Nov. 18 and Dec. 2 made it difficult for the chief returning officer Kathleen Sigurdson to find polling stations and hire staff.

They also made the decision for public health reasons, an NTI background document said.

“Inuit in communities with active cases are facing an enormous level of stress,” the backgrounder said.

Incumbent Aluki Kotierk and challenger Andrew Nakashuk are the only nominated candidates for the president’s position.

However, NTI says that — for now — it doesn’t plan to re-open nominations.

But the organization’s new election rules do allow them to re-open nominations “if necessary,” they said in the backgrounder.

For example, they said that if all nominated candidates were to drop out because of the postponement, the board would re-open nominations.

Also, all campaign activities were suspended as of Dec. 4, and won’t be allowed to resume until Jan. 4.

The NTI president, who’s deemed to represent all the Inuit of Nunavut, occupies an influential position and is one of the four board members who control the national Inuit organization, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.

It’s also a well-paid job, and commands annual six-figure pay packets comparable to those earned by territorial premiers and cabinet ministers.

NTI does not publish the president’s exact salary, but does provide the salary range.

NTI’s annual report for 2018-19 says the organization’s six executive officers, including the president, received between $152,667 and $212,067 that fiscal year.

On top of that, the president gets other benefits, such as northern allowance payments and vacation travel assistance.

Kotierk won NTI’s presidency on Dec. 13, 2016, when she took 32.1 per cent of ballots cast, slightly less than one-third of the total, to defeat incumbent Cathie Towtongie and four other candidates.

Only 31.9 per cent of eligible Nunavut Inuit voters cast ballots that year.

Meanwhile, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association will go ahead with its own regional elections on Dec. 14, the organization said Friday.

Paul Okalik, the chief returning officer, said polling stations in the 13 Qikiqtani communities will be equipped with masks, shields and hand sanitizers to protect staff and ensure safe voting.

QIA’s vice-president and secretary treasurer positions are up for grabs in that election, as well as five community director positions.

Backgrounder NTI election p… by NunatsiaqNews

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(20) Comments:

  1. Posted by eskimo joe on

    sent out voting ballots, nti appears to have names, addresses of every nunavummiut. it’s just a delay tactic like d trump, big time. then again, there’s a danger to that idea from the loser; massive fraud would be claim….looks like trump has set what appears and will become routine in the future. under j trudeau, inuit leaders appeared to have done very well for themselves, rich become richer, not much by nunavut standards and again for nunavut standards; that’s a lot, poor and elite standard of living becoming wider than ever was.

  2. Posted by Where is the accountability? on

    They couldn’t get poll workers and yet elections continue for over half of Nunavut’s communities with QIA? You double the risk for Baffin Inuit by making them attend public polls twice and offer no mail-in options? You make this decision in house (on a Friday night no less) without public consultation? Without talking to the CPHO?

    NTI has been flooded with millions from the federal government and those in control act in fear of losing their growing power. They’ve known all year this election was coming and did nothing to prepare instead choosing to wait until the final seconds to postpone. Shameful.

    • Posted by Seen it coming for miles on

      So true eh! It’s not like this problem couldn’t be seen coming for many months and months. Goes to show how dysfunctional NTI has become under its current leadership.

  3. Posted by What! on

    This is Illeagle!!! What a way to debunk the importance of voting! Friggin communist tactic. Space out, wait outside, or mail the ballots. This is crazy!

    • Posted by Yes but on

      Yes it should be illegal (probably isn’t) but it’s not just communists who manipulate elections. The far right are doing that right before our eyes in the states and is a more topical comparison. I think you’re using the C-word because of Trump’s propaganda efforts.

    • Posted by Observer on

      It isn’t “illegal”. An organization can set its own rules for internal elections, and it can change them as per its own by-laws.

  4. Posted by Nunavutmiut on

    NTI hasn’t done anything in the last few years. Only things they bring up are issues on Social Media. They don’t work with the Feds or the GN. How do you expect to serve Nunavutmiut if you dont work with other governing bodies?

    • Posted by never seen her lead on

      I have never seen her lead. She doesn’t have leadership abilities, just bad analytics and announcing through social media. Never seen her is our town or any of the close town I live in.

      Andrew Nakashuk you will get my vote!

  5. Posted by Where have i seen this playbook before? on

    This is what Americans feared Trump would do with the elections, postpone them. Luckily, there’s a system of checks and balances that prevented Trump from pushing the date (albeit those checks and balances are being pushed to their limit).
    This is why no one can take NTI too seriously. A last second special meeting is seedy as hell when they’ve had 9 months to prepare for this predictable scenario.

    • Posted by Monty sling on

      Nti knew all along this covid-19 would be a problem. They had almost a year to come up with eventuality but choose not to do so. Nti high level ppl decided on the delaying the election. A notion of absolute power is corrupting absolutely. I guess top level salary is just to good. As the good book say: money is a root of all evil….ahhh fairmont hotels…

      • Posted by snapshot on

        Actually it is ‘the love of money’ is the root of all evil

  6. Posted by More coverage please on

    I’m looking forward to more campaign coverage in this publication in the near future. I think like some others here that NTI hasn’t done much over the last few years except complain on social media. I want to know what they have accomplished and I am sure I am not alone in that. Please don’t let them off the hook Nunatsiaq.

  7. Posted by Quick Question… on

    What has NTI done for you lately? Sitting on a pile of federal dollars and not distributing them to Inuit in a time of need, should be near the top…

  8. Posted by trapper on

    What is NTI I never seeing her or herd her ever I think they nothing just wasting nunavut money I guess.

  9. Posted by Mocha on

    Yikes, looks like a lot of people aren’t happy with our current NTI president. Hope they put their money where their mouth is and vote..

    • Posted by Bemused on

      Given that just about all the NTI presidents over the last 20 years or so have been elected with the votes of less than 15% of eligible voters, that would be something new.

    • Posted by monty sling on

      Nunavut just want to be treated like humans and dignity. Any nti ppl ain’t got it anymore. This org has gone to the dumps in the last 10 yrs. Maybe a new blood is needed?

  10. Posted by Jeff on

    The last thing I recall NTO doing is mismanaging MITC. They

  11. Posted by Keep going Aluki on

    Thank you for standing up to all governments to make sure our dreams for our language to be strengthened is realized. Thank you for making sure Inuit get $ from government to be provided with country food during this harsh covid filled year. I doubt the current challenger can ever come close to doing any of the work you have provided for us which these cry babies choose to ignore. You have our vote and we look forward to a stronger voice for us during your second term

    • Posted by Radio Free Nunavut on

      It’s important we recognize the difference between making noise over an issue and putting your money and your time into doing something serious about an issue. And by doing something serious I don’t mean making noise over an issue.

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