Our editorial board has put together three questions for all MLA candidates and acclaimed members seeking public office as part of our coverage of the 2019 territorial election.

Over the remainder of the campaign, we will publish responses on our website.

The three questions are:

  1. What is your position on the carbon tax and would you repeal it if the Liberal government is defeated in the federal election? How should the NWT play a part in combating climate change?
  2. How do you as an MLA intend to improve the economy?
  3. Would you support an Indigenous-based addictions treatment centre in the Northwest Territories?

1. What is your position on the carbon tax and would you repeal it if the Liberal government is defeated in the federal election? How should the NWT play a part in combating climate change?

Gaeleen Macpherson, MLA candidate for Yellowknife South

The purpose of the carbon tax is to drive changed behaviours that result in decisions that reduce our overall carbon footprint.

It is ill-conceived to have the carbon tax implemented in this part of the country where alternative energy sources are not readily available that would reduce reliance on diesel for energy.

At the moment, if we repeal, the Federal government will put in place their own backstop plan, which would be more costly than the GNWT’s carbon pricing scheme.  If the Liberal government is defeated though and the Conservatives indeed overturn the carbon pricing scheme across the country, then I would support repealing it here in the NWT.

I would ensure, however, that as a government we look at funding important alternative energy projects such as Talston, but also community-specific initiatives and projects undertaken by the private sector that work at achieving carbon reduction and green energy growth across the territory.

2. How do you as an MLA intend to improve the economy?

The greatest thing that we can do as MLAs in the next government is to take action. A great number of candidates agree that we need to stimulate the economy, so we need to ensure that we start quickly once the new government is formed.

Continued support for mining and making changes that improve investor confidence in this industry is critical. Further diversification of our tourism industry and ensuring we are seeing the benefits of tourism throughout the entire year, rather than just during the Aurora season, must also be a focus and this can be done by incentivizing private sector development of tourism products and experiences.

Further supporting this would be investment in airport infrastructure, including the lengthening of the runway and the building of a nearby hotel.

And finally, establishing the Polytechnic University will be integral to economic diversification, which will have other benefits including population growth and growth of expertise in areas such as remediation and permafrost.

This can lead to additional economic benefits by way of business development and our ability to retain dollars here in the North stemming from work happening in our backyard.

3. Would you support an Indigenous-based addictions treatment centre in the Northwest Territories?

I am in full support of a bricks and mortar treatment facility here in the Northwest Territories.

We have had facilities in the past and need to learn from what did not work, causing them to shutdown, and make the necessary changes. We must ensure that the facility provides services in a way that acknowledges the unique necessary mental health services that focus on addressing issues, such as the impacts of residential school experiences, that are contributing to dependency issues and necessary aftercare supports to ensure the continued success of treatment.

The facility must provide services in a manner than meets the unique culture and traditions of the people of the North, including on-the-land programming and Elder-led programming.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa.. Simon can be reached at (867)...

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