Upcoming Ottawa Inuit feast to feature pre-election pitch
Tungasuvvingat Inuit inviting Vanier candidates to encourage Inuit voting
OTTAWA — When Oct. 19 comes around, there might be a buzz in some Nunavut communities — at the office, at the co-op, at the school — because it’s voting day for the federal election.
But in urban centres, that same community buzz might not exist. So staff at Tungasuvvingat Inuit in Ottawa are hoping to answer some questions and make it easier for Inuit to mark their ballot in three week’s time.
Tungasuvvingat Inuit, which runs many community programs for urban Inuit in the nation’s capital, holds a community feast in Vanier on the third Thursday of every month and the October installment just happens to be right before the election.
Organizers have invited Elections Canada officials to make a presentation at the Oct. 15 feast held in the basement of Our Lady of Assumption church, off Cody Avenue in Vanier, an area of town which is home to, and frequented by, many members of Ottawa’s Inuit community.
Organizers also plan to invite Ottawa-Vanier riding candidates from the four major parties: Liberal incumbent Mauril Bélanger, Nira Dookeran of the Green Party, Conservative candidate David Piccini and Emilie Taman with the NDP.
Elections Canada will make their presentation first, at noon, then, any candidates who attend will be invited to make an appeal to Inuit voters from 12:30 to 1:30, when the feast concludes.
The feast is one of TI’s most popular community events, regularly attracting 80 to 130 people each month.
Staff and volunteers try to offer as much country foods as they can round up — usually a meat stew such as caribou or seal, and, if possible, Arctic char and maktaaq.
They also serve southern foods such as vegetables and dip, cheese and crackers, desserts, juice, coffee and tea. The feast is free to anyone who shows up.
The Vanier riding comprises a huge egg-shaped swath of northeast Ottawa bisected by Montreal Road. It runs from Colonel By Drive in the East to Greens Creek in the West and from the Ottawa River in the North to the Queensway. It also includes a little neighbourhood south of the highway called Pineview.