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