Nunavut gears up for general election

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Elections Nunavut has been hard at work, with the final of five rounds of training completed for 22 returning officers and 31 assistant returning officers across the territory.

The Nunavut general election, with a price tag of approximately $1.2 million, takes place Oct. 30.

“On September 25th, I will be issuing writs to all of the returning officers in Nunavut, 22 constituencies. At that time all individuals who are interested to become a candidate can commence with filling out their declaration of candidacy,” said chief electoral officer Dustin Fredlund.

Each community with a returning officer will have an actual office location.

“There are some communities without an office, but there are assistant returning officers who will be able to assist with the prospective candidate,” said Fredlund.

For example, the constituency of Netsilik, which covers Kugaaruk and Taloyoak, will only have an office in Taloyoak.

Fredlund said the campaign to get information out to the public begins this week.

Candidates can declare their candidacy starting Sept. 25. The deadline to declare is 2 p.m. local time on Sept. 29, and the deadline to withdraw is 5 p.m. that day. If candidates don’t officially withdraw and don’t run, they lose their $200 deposit.

“In order for a candidate to be eligible, the same rules apply to be an eligible voter. They have to be a Canadian citizen, 18 years or older on election day, a Nunavut resident for at least one year, and not disqualified,” said Fredlund.

Individuals who would be disqualified include candidates or financial agents who ran in the last general election in 2013 but did not submit a financial return within the prescribed 60 days.

There are rules for public servants, either territorial or federal.

“They are required to take leave. If they want more information on that, they can speak to their employer,” said Fredlund.

Leave has to be sorted out prior to becoming a candidate.

Members of Parliament, Senators, judges, and prisoners, as well anyone convicted of an election offence anywhere in Canada in the last five years, can’t run.

Candidates must have a financial agent and can choose to have a campaign manager. A financial agent records and does all of the finances for the campaign and for the candidate.

“They aren’t required to have a campaign manager but we have rules in place for a campaign manager if a candidate does want (one),” said Fredlund.

Also of interest, a candidate can run in any jurisdiction.

“If you are an eligible voter, which makes you an eligible candidate, you can run in any constituency within Nunavut. You can live in Iqaluit and run in a constituency anywhere else in Nunavut if you so desire. You can’t vote in that constituency. You can only vote in the constituency that you live in,” Fredlund said.

Elections Nunavut hires approximately 160 people to work during the election.