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Delta - Warning to Liberals: be responsive

Andrew Raven
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (July 05/04) - Last week's nail-biting federal election win should serve as a warning to Western Arctic MP Ethel Blondin-Andrew say leaders in the MacKenzie-Delta.

"I think a lot of people wanted to punish the Liberals for the sponsorship scandal and they did, big time," said Chief Peter Ross of the Tsiigehtchic Gwich'in Band.

Monday's federal election was the closest in the NWT since 1980 when Conservative Dave Nickerson won by 19 votes, and by far the narrowest of Blondin-Andrew's five election wins.

"I think it will force the federal government to be more attentive to issues across the country," said Inuvik mayor Peter Clarkson.

One Beaufort-Delta area chief said Blondin-Andrew was fortunate to pull out the win, especially after the firearms registry controversy.

"I think she needs to be more vocal about that," said the chief.

The chief asked not to be identified for fear of drawing Blondin-Andrew's ire after the MP criticized four members of the territorial assembly for nearly costing her the election.

"She needs to remember that she represents the people, not the federal Liberal Party.

"I know she's busy, but she needs to have more of a presence here," said the chief.

"And if not her, then at least some of her staff."

Other Delta leaders are looking forward to seeing how the Liberals adjust to their minority government status.