4 Young Nunavummiut React to the 2015 Federal Election Results


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Nunavut saw an increase in voter turnout on Monday, which no doubt played a factor in the 2015 Federal Election results. To get a sense of what this means for Nunavummiut, I spoke to four young voters who hail from all three regions of Nunavut. Each person was asked four questions. The answers fluctuate from happy to frustrated to angry to hopeful - and that's just for one person. I can honestly say I wasn't expecting this level of candidness, and for that, I thank all four participants. Read what they have to say about the 2015 Federal Election results, why they voted, what they hope the Liberal Government will do for Nunavut, and what they think of the surge in Aboriginal voters.

Christine Tootoo

Hometown: Rankin Inlet
Age: 20
Occupation: Student, artist

On the election results:

I'm sad that the NDP didn't form government, but I'm excited to see what good changes Trudeau and the Liberals will bring!

On why she voted:

It was my first time voting in the federal elections. I've been interested and involved in politics since I went to Nunavut Sivuniksavut, so I guess my motivation was to make a difference.

On the "real change" she hopes to see from the Liberals:

I know I want to see the Government of Canada really involved in the smaller communities where (I think) the biggest changes will happen. If the Liberals keep their word and get input from each community, then they will help make a change according to each community's needs. Even if it's something small like, a program community members take interest in, or something big, like infrastructure (i.e drop in centres, arenas, or an Elders centre), it will show Nunavummiut that the government actually cares and wants to make changes for the better.

On the increase in voter turnout, especially amongst Aboriginal groups:

I think Aboriginals saw that they weren't being treated correctly by the past government and realized that if we wanted to be recognized and have our voices heard, that we had to vote to kick the Conservatives out.

Andrew Morrison

Hometown: Iqaluit
Age: 28
Occupation: Musician

On the election results:

I am so-so on the results. I was very openly sharing that I was voting NDP and although I anticipated a Liberal government, I would've liked to see a minority situation. I think a minority government would require the Liberals to work more closely with the NDP. That would keep them more accountable to their progressive promises. I think there were a lot of voters out there like myself who wanted Harper out and were looking for a progressive choice. Justin - with his dashing good looks - won that race.

On why he voted:

I don't always vote. I went through a non-voting stage where I felt that since I didn't believe fully in any party I wouldn't vote at all. Then I started to think about voting as only one small piece of the political/activist puzzle. So I decided to vote for the party that I disagreed with the least.

On the "real change" he hopes to see from the Liberals:

I think a lot of people - including myself - were made to feel pretty good about JT's speeches, his promises, and commitments to policies (MMIW, election reform, etc.), but I am very cautious about all this. The party is a lot more than its leader. I see a lot of people talking about "giving the party a chance," but the "politicians not keeping promises" idea doesn't come out of nowhere. I am hopeful that JT pursues change, but I will believe it when I see it. There is nothing wrong with cautious optimism.

I really hope to see more good faith between the Feds and Nunavut. The Conservatives were seriously awful and I think they acted in a way that went against lots of core values in Nunavut. We like open community feasts; JT and Tom got that. I hope the Liberals speak with Nunavut. JT spoke about a nation-to-nation relationship with Aboriginal people and I think that is an important thing to keep in mind in how the Feds work with Nunavut. The Feds should strengthen Inuit organizations. I also wish we could see a national Aboriginal housing strategy. And day care. The pot issue will play out funny in Nunavut; not sure how that will go...

On the increase in voter turnout, especially amongst Aboriginal groups:

Now that we are through the "dark ages" as I like to call them, we can really start to think about the impact of Harper's fucked up time in government. He did some really messed up stuff, but in doing so I think he really ruffled a lot of feathers, he really pissed a lot of people off in a personal and political way, especially Aboriginal communities. It wasn't even like overt screwing people over. It was blatant. Valcourt not standing up for MMIW, Harper talking about "social phenomenon."

The Aboriginal vote is huge. I think it is a part of the rising tide of Aboriginal people and communities in Canada. We see it in everything, music, art politics. Now that it is has arrived it will be a force from now on. That is important, and all the parties need to understand that working with Aboriginal communities is not just an option, it's an obligation.

Kelly Fraser

Hometown: Sanikiluaq
Age: 22
Occupation: Musician, student

On the election results:

I expected it. It was my first time voting for MPs, and I think Nunavut did a great job voting and we should have a high voter turnout all the time to bring power to the people.

Oh yeah and I thank Leona for her service. I'm grateful we had an Inuit Minister of Environment. As Aboriginal people, that is huge that we take part in something as huge as that.

She made history. She gets a lot of flack, even from her own people, but no doubt she moved us up politically. We have proven we can be on both sides, Nunavut government and federal. I'm glad we have so many accomplished inuit politicians. It's amazing.

On why she voted:

I voted because I want to see changes. I'm glad Trudeau won - I voted for him. I hope he sticks to his promises. He seemed to really care about Inuit. And he looked good in that parka!

On the "real change" she hopes to see from the Liberals:

I want to see Nutrition North scrapped and I want to see a new, better way to afford food in Nunavut. I hope seismic testing will be a no-go. I want better education with a new curriculum - Trudeau promised more funds for Aboriginal education. I am so very happy there will be a inquiry on missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

As someone who worked as a recreation coordinator, I experienced that young people are thirsty for more sports, cultural outings, and workshops to learn about Inuit culture. We need to cater to them. I hope the government focuses on funding for housing, mental health and rehab programs, education, affordable groceries, and activities for youth.

On the increase in voter turnout, especially amongst Aboriginal groups:

I think we Aboriginal people are changing, we know we aren't being treated right. Money is being withheld from us for so long. I hope Trudeau respects our land claim and I hope to see a healthier relationship between Inuit, First Nations, and Metis with the new Liberal government.

Stacey Aglok

Hometown: Kugluktuk
Age: 32
Occupation: Filmmaker, TV producer

On the election results:

I'm very happy with the election results. I didn't know if I was going to vote NDP or Liberal until I actually got to the polls. I sat behind the little cardboard shield and had an "oh shit" moment. I thought once I got there I would immediately know whose name or party I would support, but I didn't. I sat there for minutes until I finally made my decision.

Had I known the Liberals would win a majority vote, I probably would have went with the NDP. My politics are very left-winged, but I was so worried about splitting the vote and having the Conservatives maintain their power that I decided to vote more strategically.

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My main goal this election was get the conservatives out - and so I feel very satisfied. I'm very excited about the Liberal win. I also like that Justin is fresh, young, and energetic. I feel like our young population in Nunavut and Canada are stepping up in the political sense and that our communities are really supporting that.

On why she voted:

Since turning the legal voting age I haven't had that many opportunities to vote on the federal level, but I definitely voted in the last election (but probably not in the one before that). I also voted in the last election with the goal of getting the Conservatives out, which didn't work - but we also had very low voter turn out here in Nunavut in the last federal election.

On the "real change" she hopes to see from the Liberals:

A few specific things I'd like to see include better access to health care and mental health care, poverty reduction, and a really big investment in education, including more support for Inuit language for children and for all Inuit and Nunavummiut. I think the Federal government has to recognize aboriginal language in our country in a huge way; the official languages of French and English are so colonizing and as a country we have to acknowledge the importance of our aboriginal culture and languages.

As an artist and filmmaker I'm also excited for the Liberal government. Trudeau and his wife also have a background in the arts, both studied and worked in creative fields - so I'm feeling really optimistic that this will impact federal support for arts, culture, and hopefully language.

On the increase in voter turnout, especially amongst Aboriginal groups:

I'm so excited that this "surge" of voters included Aboriginal peoples. I read a meme on Facebook, something about how the Sleeping Giant has been awoken - and it was referring to Aboriginal people and Harpers resignation. I was like, fuck yeah! Not to say that I think we've necessarily been sleeping - but we've been so oppressed and isolated from the politics of Canada for a long time. Now we're moving in a much more united way to take control of our lives and the politics that affect us. Next up we'll have a Native Prime Minister. Canada will never have their equal of Obama until this happens!