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:
- 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?
- How do you as an MLA intend to improve the economy?
- 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?
If the carbon tax is repealed at the federal level, it follows that the GNWT would likely repeal the one for the NWT. However, I would need to look at this issue in greater depth at that time to see what would make the most sense. Regardless if it’s repealed, I feel the GNWT needs to continue to explore ways to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and diesel dependency.
To combat climate change, we need to explore greener energy options such as community-specific, hybrid energy installations; district heating systems; and the possible expansion of Talston.
We need to expand our all-weather road system to ensure that our transportation system can withstand future climate uncertainty, otherwise communities risk becoming stranded as the reliability of ice roads decreases.
We should explore expanding the territorial Capital Asset Retrofit Fund to a community level so that communities can take on their own green initiatives to reduce their environmental impact and save on power costs, savings that could be reinvested back into the fund.
We should also increase funding to organizations such as Arctic Energy Alliance to aid homeowners in operating their homes more efficiently and reducing the amount of heating fuel being consumed.
2. How do you as an MLA intend to improve the economy?
We must stimulate our exploration sector through key infrastructure projects such as the Slave Geologic Road, and the Talston expansion.
We should leverage Giant Mine to build Indigenous businesses in the emerging reclamation and remediation fields, providing transferrable skills to northerners, and ensuring this money remains in the north while the exploration sector rebounds.
Expansion of our all-weather road system and the implementation of green energy projects would inject money into the construction sector as well as reduce the cost of doing business and fuel consumption.
A Polytechnic University would attract new people to the territory. We have amazing talent and could become a leader in climate change and permafrost research. Upon graduation, many of these students would stay and continue with their research and work, increasing the number of transfer payments we receive. Students from the University could work lower paying, service sector jobs that are currently understaffed.
Simultaneously, we must build a parallel, sustainable economy for the future. We must improve the efficiency with how we operate and solicit feedback from end-users and experts when making decisions affecting their lives and work. We need to increase investor certainty by settling land claims and increasing the cohesiveness of our government.
3. Would you support an Indigenous-based addictions treatment centre in the Northwest Territories?
We are one of the only jurisdictions in this country that sends some of our most vulnerable citizens, who are struggling with mental health and addictions, to other parts of Canada. The Northwest Territories has no comprehensive relapse prevention program. If elected, I will advocate for a review of current practices and work towards change for the better. We need to engage front line workers and those administering policies for their input as to how to serve our vulnerable citizens better.
Ultimately, I would like to see a treatment center in the NWT if it is determined in consultation with Indigenous groups and governments that this is the best route forward.
We also need to implement aftercare and trauma counselling programs in order to deal with the root issues causing addictions. It appears that we currently just detox people, sending them back to the same set of circumstances that lead them to abuse alcohol or drugs in the first place.
We can’t expect people to remain sober if we don’t address the trauma they have endured.
We also need to ensure there are sober activities and programs offered to give people an alternative way to socialize rather than getting high or drunk