September 12, 2008

66 people lose right to run for office on Oct. 27

40 per cent of 2004 candidates didn’t submit financial returns

JIM BELL

Sixty-six Nunavut residents have lost their right to run for the Nunavut Legislative Assembly in the Oct. 27 territorial election for failing to submit legally-required financial return documents from the Feb. 16, 2004 election.

That list, published last week by Elections Nunavut, contains the names of 32 candidates and 34 financial agents for candidates.

Two candidates from 2004, Kevin MacCormack and Pauloosie Paniloo, who each ran in Iqaluit Centre, have died and do not appear on the list. But the two financial agents who worked for them are listed as being ineligible.

All this means that about 40 per cent of the 82 people who ran for the legislative assembly in 2004 failed to comply with Nunavut's Elections Act and are barred from running in this year's vote.

The ban lasts for five years, starting from the deadline for submission of financial returns.

Sandy Kusugak, Nunavut's chief electoral officer, said each of the ineligible people have already received a registered letter informing them that they can't run for office.

She also said that soon after the 2004 election, her staff called all candidates to remind them of their obligation to submit a financial return within 60 days.

To encourage better compliance in the Oct. 27 election, Kusugak said Elections Nunavut has produced a set of plain-language manuals for candidates and financial agents.

And since the new "declarations of candidacy" don't require that candidates gather signatures, she hopes candidates will pay more attention to who they choose for the all-important job of financial agent.

To help territorial election candidates and financial agents better understand their obligations, Elections Nunavut has produced a series of simple-language guide books. There will also be information posted on the Elections Nunavut website at: www.elections.nu.ca. Right now, however, that site is still under development.


The 2004 vote was the first to be run by Elections Nunavut under a made-in-Nunavut election law.

"I do believe that what we required of them was less cumbersome than what we required in the past," Kusugak said.

In some constituencies nearly every candidate failed to submit a return.

In Ammituq, for example, only the 2004 winner, Louis Tapardjuk, appears to have filed a financial return.

The four people who ran against him, Solomon Allurut, Paul Haulli, Enoki Irqittuq, and Levi Kaunak, did not submit financial returns and may not run this year, along with their four financial agents.

And in Hudson Bay, four Sanikiluaq residents are ineligible to run: Moses Appaqaq Jr., Joe Arragutainaq, Kupapik Ningeocheak, and Johnny Tookalook. The 2004 winner there, Peter Kattuk, is the only Sanikiluaq candidate from the last election to file a return.

Kusugak points, however, to other constituencies where there was "a great spread between young people and older people," such as Baker Lake, where all candidates met their obligations.

The list also includes the names of four former MLAs: Enoki Irquittuq, Kevin O'Brien, David Iqaqrialu, and Rebekah Uqi Williams.

Financial agents are responsible for receiving all financial contributions that a candidate might receive in a campaign and for paying any bills incurred by the campaign.

A "financial return" is a written declaration that must be submitted to the Chief Electoral Officer within 60 days of a territorial election.

In it, the financial agent must list all moneys they received during the election period, including the names and addresses of people who contributed more than $100. They must also provide receipts and bills to back up the information.

And even if a candidate dies, the financial agent must still submit a financial return.

The legislative assembly will dissolve Sept. 21, and the Commissioner of Nunavut will issue the writ of election Sept. 22.

The deadline for submitting a declaration of candidacy - the new form used to register candidates - is 2 p.m. Sept. 26.