Apparently there is an election going on. Or two. Who knew? I have to confess that I'm not much of a political animal. I find it all off-putting. Party politics that is. I've long believed that the political party system is the biggest impediment to democracy that exists. Party politics have devolved into this apparatus that cares only about power and getting re-elected. If party x says "this", party y has to say "that", and it matters not whether "this" is an idea with merit. And the best person to represent my constituency might not get elected because his/her constituency doesn't want her party leader to be the prime minister? How does that best serve the electorate?
I have no doubt that very few politicians start out by seeking nothing but power. I'm sure most enter politics with the best intentions only to get caught up in that nine headed hydra that is the federal (and most provincial) system. I'm sure that most think "I can't do the good I want to do unless I'm in (or keep) power" but that they are so busy try to gain or keep that power that the original goals are never looked after. I've never held membership in any political party, nor will I. And I've voted for members of all major parties (at least in their earlier incantations).
Nunavut has a "consensus" style of government. There are no political parties, at least on the surface. Everyone runs, in essence, as an independent. You vote for the person that you feel is best for your constituency. Those elected get together to nominate and vote for the Premier. A cabinet is then chosen. Imperfect as it is, it at least better reflects true democracy than what the party system does, on its best day.
I'm not going to get into the current territorial election, I can talk to both candidates pretty much anytime I want, tell them what from the government and find out where they stand on the issues that matter to me. Its not going to happen federally.
I mean there is a chance that all of the candidates will visit Arctic Bay, but I doubt it. Lets face it this is a huge constituency, and we're a pretty small voting block inside it. Even if they all ended up here, with the party system being what it is, the people in their organization who really make the priorities, and who I should speak to are not going to come. Although one of them has ridden in my truck once, and I know that at least one of the other party leaders actually read one of my posts. Hey I'm a pundit.
So, what is important to me? How can you (those of you running federally) do some good for Nunavumiut? Lets face it, why would you care, there are less than 30,000 of us, not much of a voting block? Well we have some unique issues, and part of your role should be to ensure that all Canadians enjoy a similar quality of life.
First the broader issues.
Let's talk sovereignty. Stop playing to the south on this issue. The naval icebreakers are redundant, and the vast majority of the $7 Billion is going to directly benefit the south, not the north. Spend part of that money on upgrading the Canadian Goast Guard's arctic fleet (the new Icebreaker is a good step).
Sovereignty is not based on three ships plying the arctic waters for a very limited season. It is built on people's lives. The people who live up here. Use some of the $7 Billion to improve the lives of the people who live up here. Do you really need more of a military presence up here? Then base a squadron or two of search and rescue / surveillance airplanes in the High Arctic/Western Arctic.
Forget Hans Island, foster some good will with a fellow Arctic country by telling Denmark "Look, we believe Hans Island is part of Canada, but we will relinquish our claim in exchange for your support that the Northwest Passage is an internal waterway and part of a Sovereign Canada"
Deal with the sovereignty issue where it will be ultimately be decided, the world courts and regulatory bodies. Our sovereignty over the Northwest Passage isn't a slam dunk. It depends on the Northwest Passage being an internal waterway. Put your best case forward (and it's a very good case), include the fact that it is constantly used (while frozen) by Inuit hunters and travellers) and accept the outcome. Its likely to be in our favour.
And lets face it, in our favour or not, one of our friends might show up with a destroyer to enforce their view of Northwest Passage sovereignty. We aren't going to have the will to fire on our friends, but if the world bodies back up our claim we can at least turn the rest of the world against them. And if our "enemies" show up with their destroyer, well the world is more likely to stand with us if the world bodies have said it is ours.
To be continued....