Skip to content

Who’s winning the election sign war?


Well, safe to say we’re in the home stretch of this territorial election campaign.

Some people spent last weekend enjoying the last bit of warm weather barbecuing or mowing the lawn. I traversed the city in my truck, kids in the backseat bribed with McDonald’s, counting lawn signs.

Of course, election signs don’t mean much of anything when parked on the side of the road. All they show is a candidate with money burning a hole in their pocket. No, the real prize for candidates are the lawn signs. These tells voters something.

If people are willing to put a candidate’s sign on their lawn (or on their fence, inside their front window, or whatever the case may be) then presumably they’ll vote for them too. The more lawn signs, the more votes. Or so we presume -- and it’s big presumption. Because if anything was made clear to me over the weekend, it’s that there are far more homes without signs on them than those with.

But, we got an election going so we might as well have a little fun before the crying begins.

First my criteria: I only surveyed Yellowknife’s seven electoral districts, minus the Ingraham Trail. If NNSL had a news jet, I’d visit all of the NWT’s 19 districts but we don’t so I didn’t.

I only counted signs at homes and only one sign per home. Some homes are literally festooned in campaign signs. I didn’t count them if they supported more than one candidate and I didn’t count signs outside the electoral district candidates are running in.

Now I’m sure some candidates will be unhappy with my results. I don’t claim scientific certainty. But I spent seven hours scouring the city last weekend as safely as I could.

I manoeuvred through apartment parking lots in Yk Centre, past junked cars in Kam Lake, through potholed side lanes in Great Slave. I saw more of Yellowknife than I knew even existed. If I didn’t see your sign it’s because I couldn’t see it.

Now on to the results.

There are six candidates running in Kam Lake. Incumbent Kieron Testart, newcomer Caitlin Cleveland and city Councillor Rommel Silverio lead the sign count. Mike W. Bryant/NNSL photo

Kam Lake                         Signs counted
Abdullah Al-Mahamud             17

Caitlin Cleveland                    33

Robert Hawkins                      15

Rommel Silverio                     25

Kieron Testart                        34

Cherish Winsor                      4

This one is a squeaker. Caitlin Cleveland dominated the sign count through Grace Lake and Kam Lake industrial park but incumbent Kieron Testart and city councillor Rommel Silverio began catching up as we made our way through the townhouse area on Bigelow Crescent. I wouldn’t place bets on this race.

Yk North                            Signs counted

Rylund Johnson                     2

Jan Vallillee                          1

Cory Vanthyne                     11

Someone wake up Yellowknife North voters and tell them there’s an election going on. Old Town, Latham Island, Peace River Flats, Trail’s End – I saw Green Party signs but that’s a story for another time. There are some signs of life around Niven Lake, mostly for incumbent Cory Vanthyne, but I can’t say there’s a whole lot of interest in this race. Voter turnout was 45 per cent in 2015. I wonder how many voters will come out this time around?

Katrina Nokleby amd Patrick Scott are the two candidates facing off for Great Slave. Scott carries the edge in the sign count so far. Mike W. Bryant/NNSL photo

Great Slave                   Signs counted

Katrina Nokleby                 19

Patrick Scott                      35

Two times the charm might be all that’s needed for long-time Yellowknife resident Patrick Scott. He lost to Glen Abernethy in 2011 but he’s clearly ahead in the sign count for this race.

Yellowknife Centre          Signs counted

Julie Green                        25

Arlene Hache                     1

Thom Jarvis                       6

Niels Konge                       13

Outspoken city councillor Niels Konge made a big splash with his last-minute entry into this race but incumbent Julie Green holds the edge on the sign count.

Frame Lake                    Signs counted

Kevin O’Reilly                    40

Dave Ramsay                    60

A lot of people are interested in this race. There’s just no middle ground. You have the pro-business, former cabinet minister in Dave Ramsay on one side of the ballot and Kevin O'Reilly, the environmentalist thorn in cabinet’s side on the other. Frame Lake has a ghastly history of poor voter turnouts. Twenty-eight per cent last election. Is that about to change? Sign count is fairly even around Forrest Drive but Ramsay is pulling ahead in his old Kam Lake stomping grounds of Bromley Drive and Knutsen Avenue.

Range Lake                    Signs counted

Caroline Cochrane              31

Hughie Graham                  25

High-profile cabinet minister Caroline Cochrane appears to have a fight on her hands if the sign count in her district is any indication. She eked out a victory against incumbent Daryl Dolynny last election, winning by only five votes. Her bid for a second term against newcomer Hughie Graham seems to be shaping up to be another nail-biter.

Yellowknife South           Signs counted

Gaeleen MacPherson          29

Caroline Wawzonek            43

I was a bit surprised driving around Yk South. I live on the same street as Caroline Wawzonek and looking at all her signs, just assumed she had this race in the bag. But Gaeleen MacPherson isn’t taking this one lying down. She was actually ahead in the sign count before we got closer to home.

There you have it. How close will my sign count reflect the actual voting results? No idea. I’m not 338Canada but I must admit it was fun having a look around. Don’t forget to vote!