Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut June 23, 2017 - 4:00 pm

Former Nunavut Inuit leader plans run in Oct. 30 territorial election

"Yes, I will run," says Cathy Towtongie

JANE GEORGE
Cathy Towtongie, shown here in a photo used during her 2016 bid for re-election as Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. President, says in October's territorial election she plans to run for MLA in the Rankin Inlet-North riding. (FILE PHOTO)
Cathy Towtongie, shown here in a photo used during her 2016 bid for re-election as Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. President, says in October's territorial election she plans to run for MLA in the Rankin Inlet-North riding. (FILE PHOTO)

With only four months to go until Nunavut’s territorial election, many wonder who will step forward as a candidate in their riding.

At least one potential candidate has already made up her mind to put her name forward as MLA.

Asked whether she plans to run in the Oct. 30 election, Cathy Towtongie of Rankin Inlet, who lost her re-election bid for the presidency of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. last December, had a simple answer: “Yes, I will run.”

Towtongie said she had been pressured to run for MLA “since day one” after she lost the NTI presidency.

Towtongie said she plans to run in the Rankin North-Chesterfield Inlet riding now held by Tom Sammurtok, who lost his cabinet portfolio as Community and Government Services Minister in April 2015 after he was charged with impaired driving and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

Towtongie, NTI president from 2001 until 2004, and then again from 2010 to 2016, describes herself as a “hardened politician,” who has seen a lot over the years. 

During an online exchange, it was clear that Towtongie has already thought out aspects of her campaign message, which include closing the gap between Inuit and non-Inuit in Nunavut.

“Nunavut is catering to the minority instead of dealing with the majority of Inuit who are getting marginalized each year. There is a gap developing,” she said.

As well, if elected, she would encourage Nunavut to develop “big-picture thinking” on issues such as its five-year capital plan, homelessness and suicide reduction.

“We can look at other circumpolar countries,” which have successful programs for guidance and inspiration, she suggested.

Towtongie, who said she recently misread the sea ice and went though the ice on her new all-terrain vehicle, would also look at Nunavut and the impact of climate change.

“I am fortunate to be alive,” she said. “Now no one in Nunavut, not the North West Company, has a warranty or insurance for climate change. Just a week earlier an experienced couple went though lake ice. It [climate change] is affecting us, but the policies are not changing.”

If you are planning on running in the Oct. 30 election, you can find information on the Elections Nunavut website.

This includes filling out the Declaration of Candidacy and handing it in 35 to 31 days before election day, along with a $200 deposit.

You can find more information here.

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