Closing remarks of a comedy routine may not be the first place you would think of to announce your intentions to run for Mayor.
But Inuvik Town Councillor Dez Loreen is dead serious.
“I sat two terms as a youth councillor in high school. I loved it,” said Loreen. “When it came time to graduate, the Inuvik Drum reporter at the time asked all of us for the Street Beat that week ‘Where do you see yourself in 10 years?’
“It was June 2002. I still have the clippings. That was me in 2002 saying I wanted to be the mayor. I even got pens made and I started the campaign 10 years early.”
Nearly 20 years later, Loreen announced he intended to run for mayor March 20 following an edgy stand-up comedy routine where he quipped about getting drunk in Edmonton, being conceived at a high school graduation party, navigating his sexuality and closed with onanism advice.
It was the closing act to a variety night Loreen organized to fundraise for Arctic Paws Spay and Neuter Association after the organization experienced verbal abuse when an error in a bingo game led to outrage among the players.
The following morning, he confirmed his ambitions on his twitter account.
He notes he hasn’t filed the paperwork, but intends to do so as soon as it became available.
“Inuvik is doing a lot of things really awesome as a community,” he said. “As a community we’re strong. There’s a lot of really great people here and there’s a lot of creativity, we’re seeing a real boom in the arts here.
“I want to bridge that gap that we’ve seen between the arts community and how our community is represented.”
Loreen said his off-the-cuff style might not appeal to the conventional voter, but said there was enough voter apathy in town currently that he could bring an entire new voting bloc to the polls.
“There’s going to be a cookie-cutter politician that’s going to step forward in this race,” he said. “If you look at the numbers, the people who could vote in this community but don’t could sway an election easily. Landslide.
“So everybody who has been traditionally voting through the years and has their cookie-cutter politicians in mind about who should be representing this community — is that a true representation of this community?”
With a term as town councillor under his belt, Loreen said he’s seen enough of how the municipal system works to hold the top job.
Top of mind for him is finding better ways to get more community involvement in the town’s decisions, noting he felt council could have done better with projects such as the new Gateway Sign.
“As a councillor, I think we really dropped the ball with the whole Inuvik sign and the lack of community consultations,” he said. “I should have just said, ‘Hey, can we stop? Is there a way of more vocalized effectiveness?
“Fort Good Hope has the world’s largest drum now in their community, and that cost them $75 grand or something?”
Acknowledging he’s not a conventional politician, Loreen pointed out he had significant experience in communications and governance, touting his four years on the board of directors for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, two years as youth rep on town council and his last four years as councillor, which included a stint as assistant deputy mayor, on top of his involvement in the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation.
He said what makes him the right man for the job is his ability to draw attention to Inuvik, which he added he has done repeatedly.
“I’m not perfect, I’m far from it. I’ve got so many flaws but I’m working on myself,” he said. “But I have got a voice. I’m known globally and I’m making connections through my wrestling, through my comedy and through my entertainment and podcasting. I’ve got leads all throughout.
“People ask where Inuvik is and what Inuvik’s about. I want to be the person to say on a global level, ‘Hey, I’m the mayor of this community and look at all the awesome stuff we have here in the Arctic.'”
With the announcement, Loreen is the first to set his intent for the upcoming municipal elections, with voting day set for Oct. 18 across the territory.