Nunavut general election, 2008
The Third Nunavut General Election took place on October 27, 2008, to return members to the 3rd Legislative Assembly of Nunavut. The election was contested across 15 of Nunavut's 19 electoral districts under the first past the post system of voting. Due to local circumstances, the election was delayed in two districts, and two districts did not hold elections as their incumbent MLAs faced no opposition and were acclaimed back into office.
The political system in Nunavut is not organized along political party lines, but instead uses a consensus government model in which the Executive Council of Nunavut is selected by the members of the Legislative Assembly at the Nunavut Leadership Forum. At the 2008 forum, held on November 14, 2008, Eva Aariak was selected as the new Premier of Nunavut.
The election was proposed by Premier Paul Okalik on March 14, 2008. The writ period under Nunavut law may last as long as thirty five days, so the earliest date the election could have begun was September 22, 2008. Prior to the official announcement the election had been widely speculated going back to late 2007, as the Premier had been openly talking about going to the polls.
A portion of the writ period occurred during the 2008 Canadian federal election. This is a rare occurrence as elections on the federal and provincial, territorial level in Canada are usually timed to avoid such occurrences.
Sandy Kusugak, the chief electoral officer for Elections Nunavut, announced at a press conference on June 4, 2008 that Nunavut will begin voting on October 13, 2008 with special ballots being made available at returning officers. Provisions are also being established to allow paperless voting by radio and satellite phone from very remote locations. On October 20, 2008 Elections Nunavut will conduct mobile polling visiting the homes of elders and people confined to their homes by disability or house arrest. Absentee ballots for students and inmates living or incarcerated outside of the territory will be made available by registration beginning on September 22, 2008. Official advanced polling will take place on October 20, 2008.
Prior to the election in the last sitting of the Assembly, members debated tightening up eligibility requirements for preventing persons convicted of criminal offences. The MLAs decided not to change any of the election regulations.
A big pre-election issue in the capital city of Iqaluit developed over Inuksuk High School. The government has been debating whether to build a new high school or do a complete renovation on the existing building.
|Election summary||# of candidates||Popular vote|
|Vacancies at dissolution||2||-|
|Voter Turnout 71.2%||Rejected Votes 59 (0.7%)|
Nominations for candidates to file closed on September 26, 2008. There were two candidates acclaimed among the initial 46 candidates running. Both candidates acclaimed were seasoned incumbents. Tagak Curley was acclaimed to the riding of Rankin Inlet North for the second straight election. Incumbent Keith Peterson won his second term in office after his acclamation in the Cambridge Bay electoral district.
|Results by district|
|16, 2.5%||628, 59.2%||Louis Tapardjuk|
|5, 0.8%||646, 59.2%||David Alagalak|
|Baker Lake||Moses Aupaluktuq
|3, 0.5%||649, 67.1%||David Simailak|
|Cambridge Bay||Keith Peterson
|Hudson Bay||Allan Rumbolt
|0, 0.0%||338, 81.6%||Peter Kattuk3|
|Iqaluit Centre||Hunter Tootoo
|3, 0.5%||576, 69.7%||Hunter Tootoo|
|Iqaluit East||Eva Aariak
|3, 0.4%||702, 73.3%||Ed Picco3|
|Iqaluit West||Paul Okalik
|6, 0.9||642, 90.3||Paul Okalik|
|2, 0.5%||444, 68.2%||Vacant1|
|1, 0.2%||460, 86.3%||Patterk Netser|
|4, 0.6%||667, 83.7%||Vacant2|
|3, 0.8%||395, 54.8%||Peter Kilabuk3|
|2, 0.6%||356, 63.9%||Levi Barnabas|
|Rankin Inlet North||Tagak Curley
|Rankin Inlet South/Whale Cove||Lorne Kusugak
|7, 1.3%||539, 63.9%||Levinia Brown|
|South Baffin||see below|
|3, 0.6%||481, 70.8%||James Arvaluk|
|1, 0.2%||541, 84.9%||James Arreak|
Due to local circumstances, the election was delayed in two districts.
In the district of South Baffin, there were no candidates who filed by nomination day. The original writs were returned to the Commissioner and reissued for a new election to be held on November 3, 2008. The lack of candidates on election day surprised the constituency, causing former incumbent Olayuk Akesuk to muse about coming out of retirement for another term if no one else wanted to step forward. Four new candidates came forward to file nomination papers by the new nomination deadline on October 3, 2008.
|Results by district|
November 3, 2008
|3, 0.6%||512, 58.7%||Olayuk Akesuk3|
Former Member of Parliament and Nunavut MLA Jack Anawak attempted to file nomination papers to run for election in the electoral district of Akulliq. Chief Electoral Officer Sandy Kusugak ruled that Anawak was not eligible to run for office as he had a mailing address outside of Nunavut. Anawak took Elections Nunavut to court. The judge however ruled in favour of the decision by Kusugak that Anawak had not met the twelve month resident requirement, but under the Elections Act Kusugak was required to cancel the election.
Although the judge ruled in favour of Kusugak's disqualification under the residency rule, Anawak's constitutional challenge was allowed to go ahead. Anawak had argued that the one-year residency rule was in violation of his charter rights. However, judge Johnson ruled that the rule did not discriminate against Anawak as an Inuk. The election was rescheduled for December 15, with nominations being open until November 14.
All of the original candidates, with the exception of Anawak, refiled for the by-election, as did one new candidate, Helena Malliki.
In the initial results, former MLA John Ningark defeated incumbent MLA Steve Mapsalak by a margin of just two votes. A judicial recount was conducted, but resulted in Ningark and Mapsalak each receiving exactly 157 votes, thus forcing a second by-election. The revote was held on March 2, 2009, and Ningark won by a margin of 193 to 179 for Mapsalak.
|December 15, 2008 by-election|
|March 2, 2009 by-election|
|0||521, 77.53%||Steve Mapsalak|
- ^1 The member for Kugluktuk, Joe Allen Evyagotailak, stepped down August 20, 2008, stating that he wanted to run for the presidency of the Kitikmeot Inuit Association (KIA).
- ^2 On October 10, 2008, CBC North reported that Leona Aglukkaq was stepping down to run in the 2008 Canadian federal election for the Conservative Party of Canada.
- ^3 Incumbent not running.
- ^4 Eegeesiak's campaign was temporarily suspended by Kusugak after a Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigation found that she did not meet the residency requirements. A final cease and desist order was issued by Kusugak on October 23, 2008, removing Eegeesiak from the ballot. The order replaced the temporary order issued October 17.
- Lee, Donna (October 28, 2008). "Fresh faces unseat cabinet ministers in Nunavut election". CBC News. Retrieved October 28, 2008.
- "Nunavut General Election Date Proposed" (PDF). Government of Nunavut. March 14, 2008. Retrieved July 1, 2008.[dead link]
- "Nunavut election likely in 2008: premier". CBC News. December 28, 2007. Retrieved July 1, 2008.
- Chris Winderyer (June 13, 2008). "Elections chief in overdrive as Oct. 27 looms". Nunatsiaq News.
- "In the Legislative Assembly". Nunatsiaq News. June 6, 2008.
- John Thompson (June 27, 2008). "GN struggles with Inuksuk High School renovation". Nunatsiaq News.
- "Official Candidates List" (PDF). Elections Nunavut. Retrieved September 26, 2008.
- Election Results 2008 GEneral Election
- Schell wins South Baffin byelection
- Official Election Results - South Baffin
- "News Release" (PDF). Elections Nunavut. October 3, 2008. Retrieved October 3, 2008.
- "Akulliq election CANCELLED". Elections Nunavut. October 7, 2008. Retrieved October 7, 2008.
- Akulliq election cancelled
- Nunavut Court of Justice - Anawak v. Nunavut (Chief Electoral Officer)
- Nunavut judge throws out Anawak election challenge
- Akulliq byelection scheduled for Dec. 15
- "Recount underway after close Akulliq byelection", cbc.ca, December 16, 2008.
- "Akulliq by-election recount leads to tie", cbc.ca, January 8, 2009.
- "Four Candidates contest Akulliq By-election". Elections Nunavut. Retrieved November 19, 2008.
- "March 2, 2009 election results" (PDF). Elections Nunavut. Retrieved March 13, 2009.
- MLA for Kugluktuk resigns from the Legislative Assembly
- Nunavut MLA Evyagotailak resigns to seek KIA leadership
- Nunavut health minister Aglukkaq running for Tories/Iqaluit mayor sets sights on premier's seat
- Eegeesiak pulled from ballot in Iqaluit Centre
- Title: Josie Okalik Eegeesiak removed from Iqaluit Centre Ballot
- Title: FInal Cease and Desist Order issued against Josie Okalik Eegeesiak