As the campaign period progresses and as I learn more from you at your doors, these priorities are likely to evolve. I look forward to hearing your ideas, comments and concerns as we move toward election day on October 1st.
Economy, Environment and Climate Change
The sustainability and growth of the NWT economy requires strategic investment, diversification, and modernization. We also need investment in innovation and technology if we are to work toward a carbon free future.
Mining and exploration will continue to play a significant role in the NWT’s economy. But in addition we need to support economic diversification through investment in entrepreneurship and small business, green energy, tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, fisheries and arts & film.
Economic development must be supported by improved and strengthened skills development for the labour market, so that residents can take advantage of current and future job opportunities and build lasting careers.
I believe in a responsible, sustainable and balanced approach to land use. With devolved responsibility for lands and resources, now is the time to work collaboratively with Canada, Indigenous governments, industry and environmental partners to evolve and improve our regulatory system.
We need to work together to create the conditions for economic investment while preserving the values of sustainability. This also means having a strategic response to climate change that recognizes territorial and national emissions targets, while recognizing the realities of our geography and cold climate which drive energy consumption and the cost of living in the north.
1. Make strategic investments in infrastructure: Taltson Hydro expansion, Mackenzie Valley Highway and Slave Geological Province transportation and energy corridor.
2. Commit to the new Climate Change Strategic Framework – Action Plan and continue to mitigate and adapt to climate change in collaboration with other governments, industry, businesses and NGOs.
3. Negotiate the transfer of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (MVRMA) to the GNWT away from the federal government.
4. Make strategic investments in resource development, entrepreneur’s and small business growth, and support workforce development.
5. Invest in renewable resources and green energy, agriculture, arts & film, fisheries, forestry, manufacturing, tourism, and traditional harvesting.
Education, Training and Youth
Improving education outcomes requires a multi-faceted approach. We need to continue investing in early childhood development. We must support the JK-12 school system. We need to continue building capacity for our youth.
We need to develop new post-secondary education opportunities. We must continue to support skills and trades training programs. And we need to strengthen Indigenous culture and language programs. This is why we now have a need for an NWT polytechnic university.
I believe strengthening our education system is the key to a healthy and prosperous future. It is important that learning opportunities be accessible, affordable, and sustainable for all residents.
1. Support quality early childhood development in collaboration with existing organizations.
2. Increase JK-12 support systems to improve educational outcomes, including after school programs.
3. Expanding opportunities for post-secondary education by committing to a polytechnic university in Yellowknife.
4. Support trades and technology oriented learning, and support existing educational institutions such as Aurora College, Dechinta and College Nordique Francophone.
5. Increasing cultural programming in education and revitalizing Indigenous languages.
6. Make certain the voices of young people are heard in government decisions by establishing a Youth Council made up of youth appointed from every region of the NWT.
Cost of Living
Lowering the cost of living is essential. A reasonable cost of living is important to improving quality of life, allowing young adults to get a start in life, attracting more people to make their home here, and expanding economic opportunities.
Long term investments in transportation are required for the movement of goods into communities and to move our resources to other markets. Expanding hydroelectric capacity at the Taltson River, and new green energy production with solar, wind, biomass and biodiesel sources will help lower our costs.
Improving the security and affordability of housing requires attention to the full range of housing options, including partnering on homelessness solutions, addressing market demand with creative thinking, smart growth planning and energy efficient building.
We must focus our attention on the cost drivers that directly affect families. At the same time we must expand and modernize energy, transportation, and housing infrastructure across the territory.
1. Continue to support investments in critical infrastructure that lowers the cost of living.
2. Increase investment in safe, affordable housing and create effective solutions for addressing homelessness.
3. Improve food security by supporting community gardens and markets, traditional harvesting, country foods programs, and effective co-management of caribou herds and other wildlife.
4. Support the use of green energy technologies in residential, commercial, and public buildings.
5. Expand access to broadband by bringing fibre optic line into all the communities that the new fibre optic line passes through or near.
6. Increase support for seniors and elders so they can safely remain in their homes longer and more affordably
7. Invest in childcare facilities and support NGO,’s parents and communities to make childcare more affordable.
Community Wellness and Self-determination
Many of the social challenges in our territory are the product of historical factors including colonization, residential schools, rapid cultural change, and the removal of indigenous people’s power to make decisions about their own lives.
Community wellness and safety begins with supports to encourage individuals and families to be healthy and stay healthy. We need to continue to focus on prevention, encouraging healthy lifestyles and strong families, making sure sustainable and responsive systems are in place when they are needed, and planning for individual well-being from birth to old age.
We must be mindful of our history and culture, and confident that our residents have strength and resiliency that we can build upon towards a better future.
1. Focus on mental health and addictions recovery by ensuring that services are delivered locally with culturally appropriate methods by certified and trained professionals.
2. Provide better healthcare and wellness for vulnerable people in Yellowknife by investing in community infrastructure essential to ensuring residents have access to modern reliable services that improve their quality of life.
3. Create the position of Child and Youth Advocate providing a voice for the decisions affecting children and giving direction in the best interest of children.
4. Increase access to long term care and taking action so that seniors and elders can age in place.
5. Take action on the crisis of family and community violence and building an effective restorative justice system.
6. Support and foster healthy families by focusing on wellness, prevention, and improved nutrition.
7. Create opportunities for healthy lifestyles and community leadership for our youth.
8. Continue to take action on the recommendations outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report and work to support the Calls to Action of the Inquiry on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.
9. Advance Indigenous education, employment and community development through support of Indigenous investment and business ownership opportunities.
Improved Governance and Government to Government Relations
The government must work closely with residents, businesses and other stakeholders to define needs, find workable solutions and determine the direction of government. We need to make it easier for indigenous governments, municipal governments, individuals and organizations to engage with our territorial government if we are to promote collaboration. Strong public participation is needed to develop programs and policies that will produce a strong, vibrant and economically successful territory now and into the future.
1. Work toward completion of the remaining Land Rights Agreements and Self-Government Agreements
Ensure a City Charter process is mutually developed between the City of Yellowknife and the Territorial government that will give the City the tools and authority to build the services Yellowknife residents need and expect.
2. Modernize the Public Service Act to support public service employees
3. Provide increased funding to lessen the gap on capital transfers to community governments.
4. Work to promote whistleblower legislation to protect private and public sector workers from retaliation if they disclose illegal or unsound practices or conditions in their workplace.
5. Work to develop an open and transparent process for the selection and appointment of members to boards, committees and agencies.
6. Modernize Affirmative Action Policies to be fair and and more effective.
7. Conduct a comprehensive review of NWT liquor regulation with a full public consultation so all stakeholders can have input.
8. Open the Legislative Assembly’s budget planning to the public by scrapping the secretive business planning process and conducting all financial reviews in public meetings or in formal session, and release a draft citizen’s budget in plain language to the public before budget discussions begin.
9. Conduct comprehensive review of GNWT procurement policies and processes and build an independent advisory panel of business stakeholders to assist the GNWT in making improvements to government procurement with the intention of benefiting northerners.
Arts & Culture
Through art we tell our stories, display our rich cultural history and create legacies that shape our future. Celebrating the arts and our cultural heritage improves our quality of life and adds to our sense of community and belonging. Arts and culture also have the potential to generate significant economic diversification. As a territory we need to see more people comfortably and confidently pursuing careers in the arts.
1. Develop the Producers Incentive Program so that full cycle film and media production can remain in the north.
2. Support partnerships for the establishment of a Yellowknife arts and cultural facility, including studio and gallery space.
3. Work to promote education in the arts for youth from JK to Grade 12.
4. Continue to support NWT Arts Council with adequate funding to sustain community arts facilities, festivals, jamborees and special projects.
Seniors & Elders
I believe seniors have a pivotal place in shaping our future. Seniors are engaged in their communities like never before, yet too often their voices are not heard when it comes to shaping government policy. I believe that the government must tap into the wisdom, experience and know-how of our territory’s elder citizens. I am committed to supporting seniors and encouraging them to contribute their energy and spirit to the vibrancy of our territory.
1. Work to ensure that the Extended Health Care Benefits remain and that appropriate reviews are made so inflationary costs for medical services are adjusted for accordingly.
2. Work to support seniors of all abilities to live safe, vibrant and dignified lives in their communities.
3. Work to provide quality home care support that recognizes the full range of services that seniors need in order to stay in their own homes.
4. Prioritize development of quality, affordable long-term care facilities which allow couples to stay together when they require a higher level of care.
5. Work to provide seniors activity centres with stable long term funding to help address rising operating and maintenance costs.
6. Work to develop a “seniors specific” home renovation and financing program that will allow seniors to live longer in their own homes, putting less burden on the need for more independent living units and long-term care living facilities.