Facebook crime prevention page founder Travis Cooper to contest Iqaluit-Tasiluk
Education to be focus of his campaign
The batch of 12 Nunavummiut who filed their declarations of candidacy Sept. 25 to run in October’s territorial election includes Travis Cooper, who will run in the new Iqaluit riding of Tasiluk, which encompasses Happy Valley and the Road to Nowhere.
Cooper, 34, the son of Scott and Rosemary Cooper, was born and raised in Iqaluit and graduated from Inuksuk High School in 1997.
Cooper said he has lived most of his life within the riding that he hopes to represent in the next territorial legislative assembly.
Cooper, now on leave from his job as a policy advisor for economic development at Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., said in a Sept. 25 news release that he can offer voters “an ingrained sense of both social responsibility and a strong ethical background.”
Cooper said his volunteer activities include helping out at his daughter’s daycare centre, working alongside Habitat for Humanity and assisting with the proposed Nakasuk Elementary School parent-teacher association.
Cooper said his main campaign issue will be education: he wants to ensure more youth become better educated, by creating a “family first” atmosphere.
“Education and proper familial relationships are the foundations of any successful society, ensuring that the youth and adults seeking further education is a necessary step in preparation for the inevitable sweeping changes that are looming Nunavut’s way, such as the mining industry and the proposed devolution plan,” he said Sept. 25.
“As Nunavummiut, we need to ensure that we are ready and capable of taking on added responsibilities, roles and stewardship of major economic shifts. Without proper training and education, we risk being left on the wayside to important socio-economic benefits.”
Cooper also said he believes more work and assistance should be provided to victims of violent crimes and that offenders found guilty of crimes “should be held accountable for their actions to the extent that the law permits.”
He’d also like to see high school equivalency courses offered to any inmates who lack a high school education and more transitional housing available to them when they come out of jail.
This summer, Cooper started a Facebook group to tackle crime in Iqaluit by using social media — the kind of “rational and logical,” as well as low-cost, solution to a problem which he told Nunatsiaq News he would like to see more of.
The Facebook page for a group called “Iqaluit Crime Prevention and Information,” which went online July 29, now has 539 members whose discussions focus mainly how to avoid being a victim of crime in the city.
In July, Cooper came home from vacation to find that his house had been burgled and that thieves had walked away from his home with two rifles, two televisions, two PlayStation 3 game consoles, and a Macbook Pro laptop.
Cooper said he wanted the Facebook group to become a resource for others to learn how they could protect their homes and more effectively interact with neighbours and the RCMP.
Social media will continue to be part of Cooper’s campaign, but he said he plans to do a lot of face-to-face campaigning before the Oct. 28 vote.
On his Facebook page Sept. 25, he talked about how “the big day” had finally arrived, saying “I am taking the leap into territorial politics.”
Cooper praised his parents, wife and child for their encouragement.
“My wife challenges me on a daily basis to learn new philosophies, techniques and solutions, I grow stronger with her support as each day passes and [she] is always my rock when I feel weak. When we went on our first date, as she is a non-drinker, I quit that night as well. I knew that the moment that we went on the first date that I was willing to commit to her and sacrifice certain aspects of my livelihood and did so without remorse, five years later, we celebrated our third year of marriage,” Cooper said.
“My daughter is my moral compass and all actions in my life are done to ensure that she has the best possible future as she grows into adulthood, I wish to share this same vision with all of you, my neighbours, friends and confidants.”
Three other people plan to run in Iqaluit-Tasiluk: Patterk Netser, Gideonie Joamie and Premier Eva Aariak, who until dissolution represented the old seat of Iqaluit East.