Iqaluit candidates line up for Oct. 26 election forum
Voters invited to submit questions, not clear if candidates can debate each other
Iqaluit residents will get a chance to see and hear their territorial election candidates in a public forum to be held Saturday Oct. 26.
Organized by three Iqaluit residents, the forum will take place all afternoon at the francophone centre, starting at noon.
Candidates will present themselves riding-by-riding, starting with Iqaluit-Manirajak, and answer questions submitted by the public via email, in person at the event, and to CFRT 107.3, Iqaluit’s francophone community radio station.
CFRT will also broadcast the event live, organizers said, so residents who can’t be there can tune in.
Originally planned for week day evenings, organizers worked with CFRT to lump the forum into a single Saturday afternoon, which allows the radio station to broadcast all exchanges.
“We’re hoping that we have a good turnout,” said co-organizer Riita Strickland, adding that the number of questions voters submit will be the best measure of success.
Organized in a simple question and answer format, Strickland could not confirm whether candidates would get a chance to comment on the answers of other candidates, or engage in debate with one another.
Interpretation will be provided between English and Inuktitut.
Interpretation could not be offered in French, Strickland said, and organizers hope to cover the gap with a French-speaking moderator to help the lead moderator, Abraham Tagalik.
“That’s one of the things we’re waiting to confirm,” she said.
Rules call for each candidate to get three minutes to introduce themselves, followed by a straight question and answer period in which the moderator poses questions collected from voters.
Candidates will have two minutes to answer each question. The number of questions may vary, since some constituencies have more candidates than others.
Candidates from each constituency will line up to speak at the following times:
• Iqaluit-Manirajak: 12:00 p.m.— 1:15 p.m.
• Iqaluit-Sinaa: 1:30 p.m.— 2:45 p.m.
• Iqaluit-Tasiluk: 3:00 p.m.— 4:15 p.m.
• Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu: 4:30 p.m. — 5:45 p.m.
“We’re asking the public to email questions to our general email account,” Strickland said. “We’ll also have a phone line available for the CFRT, so people can call in to ask questions.”
All questions will be selected at random. Only questions from the public will be put to the candidates, though the moderator.
Of the 19 candidates who are running for office, 14 confirmed their attendance by Thursday night, Oct. 24, Strickland said.
Among them were outgoing premier Eva Aariak and former premier Paul Okalik, as well as former MLAs Jack Anawak and Patterk Netser.
All six candidates of Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu, the most crowded race in all of Nunavut for the Oct. 28 election, have confirmed.
Jack Anawak, who is in the running for that seat, put out a public call for a debate with his fellow candidates on Oct. 17.
Other constituencies did not confirm full attendance before Oct. 25.
Strickland and two fellow residents are organizing the event on their own time, as independent citizens, she said.
Forum organizers are in need of volunteers for various tasks, Strickland said, including the filing and screening of questions, audience monitors and security helpers at the francophone centre.