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Inuvik leaders split over election resultsNon-conservative government shows rejection of current GNWT, says president
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, May 5, 2011
Richard Nerysoo said he views Bevington's win over Lee by 2,139 votes for the Western Arctic during the May 2 election as clear indication of what people of the NWT think of the territorial government.
"The reality is that the larger centres of Yellowknife and Inuvik didn't support the Conservative candidate and do not support how the GNWT is doing business," Nerysoo said. "It does represent that they don't want a government that unilaterally makes decisions without consulting people. People want all levels of government engaged to find answers and it shouldn't be at the expense of any people."
Nerysoo pointed to the lack of consultation regarding devolution in recent months, and the role Lee played, as a cabinet minister in the legislative assembly, in supporting it.
Other leaders in Inuvik are disappointed with the re-election of Bevington. Nellie Cournoyea, CEO of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and Denny Rodgers, mayor of Inuvik, both wanted a Conservative MP for the NWT.
"It would have been far better if we were on the inside and part of the team," Cournoyea said. "We've been working with the Conservative government and we've been doing fairly well in agreeing on the agenda so we're hoping we'll still have that strength."
Rodgers, a member of the Conservative Party, agrees and hopes that the Conservative government will continue showing an interest in the North, especially with the last budget promising money for the all-weather road to Tuktoyaktuk. He thinks Bevington will have difficulty accomplishing things for the NWT while working as an MP that's not part of the majority.
"That being said, now that he's a member of the official opposition he could probably open more doors," Rodgers said. "We'll do the best that we can. I have nothing but respect for anyone who puts their name on a ballot. This is how democracy works."
Nerysoo thinks that because NDP leader Jack Layton, now the official opposition, listened and supported the issues important to the North; specifically the devolution agreement, quality of education, improving health services for seniors and implementation of land claims.
"People have quite clearly spoken and while some might suggest that it would be good to be Conservative blue, other people are progressive," Nerysoo said. "For now, we have to look at the message sent to Prime Minister Harper that we need to work together and need to do these things."
Bevington won the Western Arctic with 7,140 votes, or 45.8 per cent of the vote. Lee came in second with 5,001 and 32.1 per cent. Liberal Joe Handley received 2,872 votes, Green Party Eli Purchase 477 and Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada candidate Bonnie Dawson had 87 votes.
As of press time, the number of voters in Inuvik was not available, but workers at the Midnight Sun Recreation Complex poll suggested the numbers had increased from 600 in 2008 to somewhere around 1,000 at this election.