November 17, 2000
IQALUIT A late plane has left the Canadian Alliance without a candidate in Nunavut.
Agnes Poksiak-Turner, the Alliances nominee for the Nunavut riding in the federal election, arrived at the territorial elections office in Rankin Inlet 35 minutes after the Nov. 6 filing deadline.
Because her paperwork wasnt signed on time, Elections Canada says she cant run.
Poksiak-Turner, of Whale Cove, found out a day before the deadline that her papers had to be signed before an official witness. With no justice of the peace available in her community, Poksiak-Turner booked a flight for the next day to Rankin Inlet.
The filing deadline was 2 p.m. The flight was scheduled to arrive in Rankin Inlet at 1 p.m. But it was late off the ground from Whale Cove, and then the taxi at the airport in Rankin didnt come on time.
When Poksiak-Turner finally walked into the elections office, she was a half-hour late.
Calls were quickly made to the Elections Canada office in Ottawa, but officials there held firm to the deadline.
"I was pretty upset," Poksiak-Turner said.
According to Morten Paulsen, a spokesman for the Alliance, the party later appealed on behalf of Poksiak-Tuner, asking that she be permitted to run.
But the appeal was rejected, Paulsen said. "Elections Canada has final jurisdiction over those decisions. As a result, were not going to be able to run a candidate in Nunavut."
Paulsen was critical of the verdict, given Poksiak-Turners special circumstances in the Arctic.
"We asked Elections Canada for a little bit of leeway, which we thought was reasonable given the distances in the North and the difficulty in getting to places. But unfortunately Elections Canada was not willing to provide that leeway."
The Canadian Alliance had spent nearly two weeks and several thousand dollars finding a candidate to run in Nunavut, a riding where they have only about 30 registered party members.
Though the Alliance had aimed to run 301 candidates nationwide, the exclusion of Poksiak-Tuner and two other nominees has dropped their candidate count to 298.
Poksiak-Turner would have been the first Canadian Alliance candidate ever to run in Nunavut. She is married to John Turner, who ran for the Reform Party in Nunavut in 1997.
Though frustrated, Poksiak-Turner vowed to run for the Alliance again.
"Ill run next time, for sure," she said. "Because I received an awful lot of support. It seemed like everywhere I turned there was somebody supporting me."
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