Some Kivalliq beneficiaries ineligible to vote in upcoming KIA election

Premier of Nunavut does not meet eligibility requirements

Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq is one of the Kivalliq residents ineligible to vote in the upcoming Kivalliq Inuit Association elections due to the association’s election eligibility rules. (File photo)

By Emma Tranter

Kivalliq beneficiaries voting in the upcoming Kivalliq Inuit Association elections will only be eligible to vote if they have resided in the region for 12 consecutive months, according to the KIA’s voting rules.

Section 3.1 (c) of the KIA’s election policy states that a person is eligible to vote in a KIA election if the person “has been physically and actually resident in the Kivalliq region for at least 12 consecutive months immediately preceding Election Day.”

That policy was last updated in Oct. 2017, according to the KIA’s website.

Nancy Karetak-Lindell, the election’s chief returning officer, confirmed that a number of people are ineligible to vote, including cabinet ministers and students studying outside the region.

Karetak-Lindell said after reading through the KIA’s voter eligibility requirements, she asked the association for clarification on the rules, but has since confirmed that the 12-month rule of residing in the Kivalliq will apply.

“They have to physically and actually be a resident from December 9, 2018 to December 9, 2019,” she said.

“So if someone leaves the region, they lose that 12 consecutive months requirement.”

Among the list of Kivalliq residents ineligible to vote is Nunavut Premier, and Arviat resident, Joe Savikataaq.

Savikataaq said he will be in Yellowknife on election day. His wife, who would also not be home to vote, called Karetak-Lindell to see if they could vote through a proxy instead, he said.

“That’s when we were told that we would not be able to vote and nobody in cabinet for the Government of Nunavut would be able to vote because they have not been in the Kivalliq for 12 continuous months before the election date,” Savikataaq said.

“I just found that pretty odd. That means any student going to school down south or in Iqaluit would not be able to vote either.”

Although cabinet ministers from the Kivalliq will not be able to vote, regular MLAs will be, Karetak-Lindell said.

“MLAs can still vote because they go back to their communities.… They don’t have a secondary residence,” she said.

In an email to Nunatsiaq News, the KIA said “until the elections are done and the board of director’s vacancies are filled, no changes can be made to the existing KIA election policy.”

“If there are complaints, these should be provided in writing to the executive director to be presented at the next board of directors meeting in the New Year.”

Karetak-Lindell said the voters lists were put up in all seven Kivalliq communities and anyone with changes should contact their community liaison officer.

“Each regional Inuit association has their own election policy,” Karetak-Lindell said.

For example, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, which represents Inuit in the Baffin region, requires beneficiaries voting in its elections to have “for at least 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the day nominations close been a resident of the electoral community,” according to its election regulations.

The QIA’s regulations defines someone’s residence as “the place of the home or dwelling of the person to which, when the person is absent, the person intends to return.”

The KIA’s eligibility requirements for voting are outlined on its website and are included in the proxy certificate for the election.

Kivalliq beneficiaries will cast their ballots for the KIA president and community directors on Dec. 9, with advance polling on Dec. 2.

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(12) Comments:

  1. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    Hmmm, seems that the KIA (and other groups) have not done enough thinking on this type of issue.
    It’s absurd that someone elected to territorial office would not be able to vote in their home community.
    It’s also absurd that a student would not be able to vote in their home community if they are elsewhere pursuing post secondary education.
    Yes there is a chance that these people will never return to their home community, although I do believe that most at least intend to return.
    Certainly the KIA and other organizations can look at this and propose changes to their beneficiaries.

  2. Posted by kivallirmiutaq on

    How can they enforce that? I mean their (KIA) voter’s list in communities are listing all beneficiaries as long as they are of legal age. They are not up to date. Even many deceased people are on list. Each community has no returning officers, & some nomination papers were accepted due to no proper direction. Lindell has said, CLOs are ‘not her’ workers.

  3. Posted by Putumiraqtuq Niruati on

    How can they enforce that? I mean their (KIA) voter’s list in communities are listing all beneficiaries as long as they are of legal age. They are not up to date. Even many deceased people are on list. Each community has no returning officers, & some nomination papers were NOT accepted due to no proper direction. Lindell has said, CLOs are ‘not her’ workers, who shud have assisted & properly completed forms

  4. Posted by Name withheld on

    Was this by-law done by the KIA BOD or was it first implemented by the current sitting President? So that future incumbents weren’t able to run against him ?

    Reminds me of Trump heheheh

  5. Posted by Lifelong Nunavut Resident on

    The current President has quietly been implementing by-laws and policies that have essentially eliminated potential competitors to the President’s seat. You can’t run for KIA positions if:
    1. You are a business person doing work for AEM
    2. You are on Hamlet Council
    3. If you leave home for School or a political office such as Minister (You must move to Iqaluit for the time you are a minister) but you are an MLA first from your home riding.

    The Board of Directors would never question or challenge him so they have basically been rubber stamping everything he wants/proposes. I would hope that the voters in the Kivalliq want change and inclusive leadership. We are all beneficiaries that should be supported and represented.

    • Posted by Name withheld on

      So how is it a Mayor be allowed to run for KIA President, according to the 2019 Municipal Election results , I believe Mr Adjuk still holds office until the new year. But an existing council cannot run nor a staff member from the same body of KIA cannot? Go figure!!!

      I tell you something is not right and someone is changing things that weren’t suppose to be change until the beneficiaries were properly notified before the approval of the by-laws ..You know I often hear of the MLA’s being crooked but how are any other Inuit organizations like KIA different?

      I know for a fact two other who would have been successful candidates if they were allowed to run “ could have easily beaten the three guys running. As it is time for a change!!!

  6. Posted by Apiqsurti Maligarmik on

    Question to Lifelong NU Resident. Regards to #1, You are a business person doing work for AEM. For number of years we had had a KIA rep that works for an AEM big contractor. So actually he’s in conflict? Even his wife was angry , “My spouse helped for Amaruq proposal & now they don’t even invite him for celebration (once the project has been approved) I thought our reps for for the beneficiaries’ interests?

  7. Posted by Tommy on

    Does that mean KIA beneficiaries can cancel their for life memberships to NLCA if they don’t have a voice? This policy is biased in every sense of the word.

  8. Posted by Yaii Lukki on

    Nauk-kun? Naung ullimaun?!!

  9. Posted by Rankin Hockey on

    Many times theres news stories in rest of Nunavut, but in Kivalliq we hear nothing. People are scared, so its all big news but in tim hortons gossip circles only.

    We know the weakness of the Kivalliq news reporting which so far this President has escaped scrutiny on his change of elections rules.

    Bigtime rude meetings including screaming, temper tantrums and more. How much more would we learn if they publish financial statements or give a copy to each of the Kivalliq miuts. They are also to blame and need to stand up for themselves.

    Call them a bully when you see it happens

  10. Posted by Manapik on

    Need more literate hardline Inuks on the president seat and directors. The organization has digressed from defending Inuit rights and protection of the land.

  11. Posted by Inuk on

    The big question is under what authority did KIA change the eligibility requirements?

    Do the have the power and authority granted by a higher power change their own election rules.

    Physically is very vague honestly and everyone’s eligibility is now put into question including the candidates themselves.

    Gone away for any reason. Medical business vacation educational training work ie fishing boats and sealift vessels puts your eligibility to stand as a candidate or vote in the up coming election.

    Crazy times.

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