Hamlet council in Cambridge Bay has rejected a petition calling for a mayoral byelection, deeming the petition invalid, and is asking the community to accept the decision and “allow council to move forward with their work as an elected body.”
Residents Peter Ohokak and Patti Bligh presented the list of signatures at a council meeting on Dec. 6, asking council to reverse its decision to appoint deputy mayor Angulalik Pedersen as mayor.
Ohokak said the appointment was “not transparent and democratic,” according to a Thursday morning news release from the Municipality of Cambridge Bay.
Council subsequently met on Dec. 10 to review the complaint. Councillors determined that they were within their rights under the Nunavut Elections Act to make the appointment and that Pedersen meets the criteria to serve as mayor, seeing as he was acting mayor in the past, in addition to being deputy mayor and being familiar with municipal operations.
“The council has followed due process by first making the decision to appoint the mayor internally. The council then exercised a democratic process by having an election when two council members put their names forward for mayor. The candidate with the highest number of ballots was appointed as mayor for the remainder of the term,” reads the news release from the Municipality of Cambridge Bay. “The council was elected in a democratic process to represent the people of Cambridge Bay and make decisions within the authority of the legislation of Nunavut.”
Council also found that the petition lacked required “statutory requirements,” although those details were not specified in the news release.
There were reportedly close to 300 names on the petition from the community of approximately 1,750 people.
Council also committed to update its bylaw process to include the selection of a councillor to be appointed as mayor, as permitted under section 224.10(1)(a) of the Nunavut Elections Act. As well, council stated that it will strengthen its communication policy and improve the information flow to residents.