Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Education Common Issue as Nunavut Voters Head to Polls in Territorial Election

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Education Common Issue as Nunavut Voters Head to Polls in Territorial Election

Article excerpt

Nunavut voters head to polls in election

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IQALUIT, Nunavut - A world away from the high-tech, high-stakes political campaigns the rest of Canada has grown used to, Ron Elliott looks out the window of his home in Arctic Bay and sees no indication that voters are heading to the polls Monday.

"Here, it's very low-key," said the candidate for the constituency of High Arctic.

"I think people like that. It's not so much in your face."

Elliott is hoping voters give him the nod for the second time to assume one of the 22 seats in the territorial legislature in Iqaluit. His constituency -- which includes the communities of Grise Fiord, Resolute and his home town of Arctic Bay -- is the most isolated political jurisdiction in Canada and perhaps the world.

Not so much as a vote-for-me sign clutters the quiet streets of this hamlet high atop Baffin Island. No mailboxes groan with campaign bumpf.

In a place like Arctic Bay, population 823, why bother?

"People know you, so why create a button that says 'Vote for Ron' when your name is already there?" Elliott asked.

"I spend a lot of time hanging at the Northern Store, meeting with people and talking with them and inviting people over for coffee at the house."

He estimates his total campaign expenses at about $60. In communities where everyone knows someone who might be going hungry that day, political spending seems questionable.

"The smaller communities have zero expenses," Elliott said. "They try to keep the expenses down and not go that way because it seems a wrong way of spending money."

Those attitudes are gone in Iqaluit, where the familiar trappings of political campaigns are becoming increasingly slick.

"The campaigns are getting a little more sophisticated," said Jim Bell, the editor of Iqaluit's Nunatsiaq News.

There are campaign signs at Four Corners, site of the territory's only four-way stop. …

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