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Party versus personality

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (July 07/04) - The federal election may be over, but the war of words is continuing between political rivals Nancy Karetak-Lindell and Manitok Thompson.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Manitok Thompson: Looking forward to a vacation with her family before making any decisions on her future political career. -

Karetak-Lindell was elected for a third term as Nunavut's Liberal MP in the June 28 election, while Thompson, an independent candidate, finished second.

Thompson said it was difficult campaigning without the same resources the main party candidates enjoyed.

She said that was especially true with the Liberal Party.

"The Liberal machine is very well established in Nunavut," said Thompson

"A Liberal candidate here really doesn't have to do much to be elected with the money, resources and community contacts the party has behind it.

"Pretty much any candidate would win right now with the Liberal nomination."

Karetak-Lindell said Thompson's contentions are an insult to many Nunavummiut who voted for her in the past election.

"I had many people who came up to me and said they don't usually vote Liberal, but they voted for me in this election," said Karetak-Lindell.

"Thompson's comments are unfair to my supporters and do nothing more than insult their intelligence."

Thompson said the people who gave their support to her were adamant Nunavut needed a stronger voice in Ottawa.

She said she received her votes on the merits of her strengths and abilities, not because she was affiliated with any particular party.

"It was a little frustrating, because my supporters knew as well as I did that we were competing against something that was well established in Nunavut," said Thompson.

"But it's impressive that 1,173 Nunavummiut took the time to vote for me.

"That's a lot of people saying it's time for a change."

Karetak-Lindell said she's not about to make any apologies for how dedicated the Liberal Party is to winning an election.

She said as far as she's concerned, Thompson is singing a different tune now that she lost the election.

"All the candidates were asked back in May why they were considering running in this election.

"I remember Thompson saying people in Nunavut vote for the person, not the party, but now she says the party defeated her, not me.

"Some of her attacks on me during the campaign were pretty personal.

"But the fact I even won in her home community speaks for itself on who defeated her."

Thompson said the defeat in the federal election has done nothing to dampen her enthusiasm for returning to the political ring.

And, she said, the change in voter opinions bodes well for her in future elections.

"You still have to be careful campaigning in Nunavut because an attack on a candidate's platform can be seen as an attack on the candidate herself," said Thompson.

"In that light, it can come back on you if you're perceived as too aggressive, but that's starting to change with our younger voters."

Thompson said she will continue to keep her options open and her ears to the ground to keep up to date with current issues.

She said she's looking forward to a vacation with her family before making any decisions on her future political career.

"I'm a useful machine and I still have quite a few batteries in me.

"I never give up and Nunavummiut haven't seen the last of me yet.

"I love politics and I will keep coming back and keep coming back and grow with the people."

Youth support

Karetak-Lindell said she's focused on returning to Ottawa, being sworn in and doing her best for the people of Nunavut.

She said she's comfortable with the level of support she has in Nunavut.

"One thing that made a big impact on me during the election was the number of young people who took the time to talk to me.

"Teenagers and youth in their early 20s are not always the easiest to reach and receiving so much support from them is one of the highest endorsements I can get."

When pressed on the prospect of someday being beaten by Thompson in a federal election, Karetak-Lindell would volunteer one simple answer.

"That, I believe, is wishful thinking on her part."