Campaign kicks off for Western Arctic candidates

The campaigns are underway for the upcoming federal election, and candidates have only a short time to make their platforms known.
Joe Handley has kicked off his campaign, running as the Liberal candidate for the Western Arctic riding.
Handley believes that Canadians are not in favour of having another election, but he thinks they realize it is necessary given the reasoning behind the dismissal of the Conservative government.


“I think that Canadians generally don’t feel like it,” he said. “But at the same time when the prime minister is found with contempt of parliament we don’t really have a choice.”
“You just can’t allow that to happen,” he said.
“We aren’t some third world country.”
Handley is running again this year to prevent untrustworthy people from having power over the country .
“I’ll do my little part to make sure that he doesn’t get back in power, and if he does at least not with a majority,” he said of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
“He’s dangerous for Canada, and dangerous for the North.”
Handley believes there will be several big ticket issues for Northerners with this election, apart from electing a trustworthy government.
He feels that the Northern economy will be a big issue, as the Conservatives were handing money over to larger corporations.
“The backboard of our Northern economy is small businesses,” he said. “Not large corporations.”
He also believes the Mackenzie Gas Pipeline and the Mackenzie Valley Highway will also be big items of discussion for Northerners.
Green Party candidate Eli Purchase said that the call for a federal election was a surprise to him.
“I personally wasn’t expecting an election,” he said.
He said that he believed that the parties would come together and find a solution to the key issues.
“I am disappointed that didn’t happen,” he said.
But because there is an election, Purchase is being given the opportunity to run for the first time, which he is excited about.
NDP incumbent Dennis Bevington is running for the seat again, hoping that Northerners will vote him back in to the House of Commons.
He said he was fine with the call for an election because the current minority government was falling apart.
“For the sake of our democratic institution, we needed an election,” he said.
This will be Bevington’s fifth election, and he said he would be more than happy to continue serving in the sole NWT seat.
“I’m very happy to continue doing this if I am voted in on May 2,” he said.
Bevington said that he feels that the existing land claims will become an item of discussion for Northerners during this election, as well as the environment.
He also listed the need to build a stronger, more responsible territorial government, which would only happen through parliament.
As of Monday evening, Bevington had already visited six communities, including Hay River and plans to continue to visit communities across the NWT.
“(The campaign is) only five weeks long, and it goes by very quickly,” said Bevington.
Attempts to reach Conservative candidate Sandy Lee were unsuccessful as of The Hub’s print deadline.