I’d like to take this opportunity to commend the City of Yellowknife and city council for doing the right thing and keeping emergency dispatching services in-house.
I would also like to commend Frame Lake MLA Kevin O’Reilly and the regular members of legislative assembly for calling on the government to support the Northern Frontier Visitors Centre.
I would like the MLAs to go a bit further on their proposed actions and see the Northern Frontier Visitors Association brought into the public service.

For years, the Union of Northern Workers has been fighting to keep important public services in the hands of the Northern public.

We have seen the territorial government contract out dietary services and maintenance workers at Stanton Territorial Hospital and enter into private-public partnerships for roads, long-term housing, Internet fibre links, and again, Stanton hospital.

So why do we keep fighting?

Cynics have a lot to say about the motivations of unions. But the truth is, there are compelling reasons for keeping jobs in the public service – socially and economically.

For one thing, private corporations have one fundamental priority: profit. Governments – territorial, municipal and otherwise – need to balance their budget, not make money. Publicly run organizations and facilities have a service priority.

Then ask yourself – who are private corporations accountable to? Shareholders, owners and investors, which takes you back to profits.

Who are governments accountable to? The public, the taxpayers.

In short, if people are the priority, quality of service and safety are less likely to be jeopardized by private profit motive and we will all be less open to financial risk. Public delivery of services is smarter financially and more accountable to all of us.

Once again, thank you to the City of Yellowknife for putting people first and making the decision to protect public services and public jobs. Such actions ought to be an example to other levels of government.