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Election Notebook
Candidates enter home stretch

John McFadden
Northern News Services
Monday, October 12, 2015

With only a week to go before voters head to the polls, candidates are expected to be very busy with final week campaigning.

NDP candidate Dennis Bevington was to be in Yellowknife on Oct. 12. He is then scheduled to be in Whati on Oct. 13 during the day. Bevington will attend an all candidates meeting in Yellowknife Oct. 13. He will be in Lutsel K'e on Oct. 14 and Behchoko the next day. Bevington will be in his hometown of Fort Smith Oct. 16, Hay River on Oct. 17 and back in Yellowknife on Oct. 18. He will be canvassing door-to-door in Yellowknife in the evenings all week, according to his campaign team.

Michael McLeod, the Liberal candidate, is expected to ride the wave of support he is hoping for after Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau's campaign stop in Yellowknife on Oct. 9. That is according to his campaign manager Kieron Testart. McLeod will remain in Yellowknife knocking on doors and visiting coffee shops. He has also been invited to speak at both Yellowknife high schools but the details on when that will happen were still being worked out, said Testart. He will attend an all candidates forum in Yellowknife on Oct. 13.

Green Party candidate John Moore expects to spend the week in Yellowknife. He will be meeting with students at Sir John Franklin School in Yellowknife on Tuesday at 10 a.m. He'll be at an all candidates meeting in Yellowknife on Tuesday night. Moore said that he would also be holding private meetings with voters.

Conservative candidate Floyd Roland had not provided his campaign itinerary for this week to News/North as of press time.

Candidates call out Roland

NWT candidates spent much of last week ganging up on Floyd Roland but they all said the Conservative candidate opened the door to the criticism all by himself.

Michael McLeod, Dennis Bevington and John Moore chastised Roland for snubbing an all candidates meeting on Oct. 7 in Yellowknife hosted by Alternatives North. Moore specifically called out Roland for not attending and failing to answer questions on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

"His complete lack of response to Truth and Reconciliation, an issue affecting more than half of our northern population, makes it clear he is a politician only interested in his image, and not in his constituents," Moore said.

Roland's campaign team said that he was unable to attend because he was busy meeting with voters and knocking on doors. He did attend an all candidates forum the following night. Roland was also roundly criticized by all three candidates for writing a sarcastic open letter to Justin Trudeau in which he welcomed the Liberal leader to Yellowknife but added "better late than never." The letter was written one day before Trudeau made a campaign stop in Yellowknife. Roland's leader Stephen Harper stopped in Hay River early in the campaign. Neither NDP leader Tom Mulcair nor Elizabeth May, the Green Party leader, have made campaign stops in the NWT.

Elections Canada issues last minute voting advice

The federal election takes place one week from today and some voters in the NWT are concerned that they have yet to receive an Elections Canada voter information card in the mail. They may still be coming from Canada Post but not to worry said Elections Canada spokesperson Diane Benson.

"They should contact the returning office and then can also go on to the Elections Canada website and type in their postal code. That will show them where to vote," Benson said. "What they can do at the returning office is check to see that they are registered to vote or they can do that on the Elections Canada website."

If residents are not yet registered to vote then they have until Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. to do so, according to Benson. People who want to vote would have to bring proper identification to the returning office to become registered, Benson said. Valid pieces of identification are listed on the Elections Canada website.

Benson admits it is a little more tricky if you do not have a permanent address or are homeless.

"What we say to people is to take the steps ahead of time. Don't wait until you are going to the polls. We have had community outreach workers or the returning officers reaching out to places that serve homeless electors like shelters and we alert the administrators of those residences that they can provide a letter on confirmation of residences," Benson said. "Then all you need is one other piece of ID that has your name on it. That could be a prescription pill bottle or a hospital card or a health card."

Benson wanted to make it completely clear, people wanting to vote can go to a polling station on elections day with proper identification and proof of residency and they will be allowed to vote. She cautions, however, that it takes time to register voters on election day and it can only be done at the voter's assigned polling station. She advises people to register to vote ahead of election day if possible.

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