Nunavut voting patterns no different than anywhere else


The Dec. 14 editorial entitled “NTI: By Apathy Indicted” presented a distorted picture of NTI’s Dec. 10 presidential election. It contended that because only 45 per cent of the beneficiaries eligible to vote in the election actually did so, even those who won the races for NTI president and vice-president of finance have no political legitimacy.

That is nonsense. Political systems all over the world have electoral systems that result in people assuming office who received quite a small percentage of the total vote. Italy and Israel are just two examples. No one questions their legitimacy.

The editorial then observed that back in the 1980s, “Nunavut was renowned for voting turnouts that ranged past 80 per cent in most elections.” But here again, you find exactly the same pattern around the world — during periods of intense political activism such as what occurred in Nunavut during the years of struggle by Inuit leading up to the Land Claims Agreement — of course voter interest is strongest. Such periods are often then followed by what’s been called voter exhaustion. We’ve seen the same cycle many times in southern Canada, especially Quebec.

NTI’s legitimacy is built on the rock-solid foundation of the constitutionally protected Land Claims Agreement. Whether or not they all go to the polls, beneficiaries know that NTI is their representative in securing their rights and benefits under the claim. And they know that NTI is working hard negotiating with the GN and federal government to ensure their claim obligations are fulfilled.

NTI’s last AGM approved an expenditure of $1.6 million per year that will see the hiring of a Community Liaison Officer (CLO) in every community in Nunavut. Managed by the RIAs in partnership with NTI, these CLOs will improve the delivery of services to beneficiaries at the community level and improve two-way communications — including the conduct of future elections.

Finally, your editorial’s proposal that there should be a single professional elections agency in Nunavut is an idea the NTI Board endorsed several months ago, and on which the GN and NTI have already held discussions together and with Elections Canada.

James Eetoolook
First Vice President
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated

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