In an interview with Yellowknifer, Ben Hendriksen, who has a background in policy and governance, shares his thoughts on the importance of having a diverse council.
Could you introduce yourself for anyone who may not know who you are?
“I’ve been a Yellowknifer since April 2011 originally and left in early 2017 so my partner, now wife, could get the education to become a teacher… I’ve worked for different public sector organizations in Yellowknife. When I was over in Dublin (Ireland), I was working as a lobbyist and an advocate in adult learning and education.”
What do you hope to change if you’re elected?
“Way too often I hear from my friends and co-workers that they really don’t understand why decisions are being made on council. I think the recent 50/50 lot decisions and conversations are a really good example of that. It’s really important that council and administration are accountable for their actions and for people to understand what’s happening. Communication really shouldn’t be as challenging as it seems to be.
The second big reason I’m running is for a diversity of views on council. My goal over the next month is to show people that I do have a different viewpoint than a lot of other candidates. I have those governance and policy skills that I think are really important to be an effective and competent councillor. There are challenges, but you need to explain to people what’s going on so that you’re leading and bringing people with you, rather than just expecting people to accept what you’re telling them.”
Why have you decided to run now?
“It’s something that I’ve always had in back of my head, and now is election year. I have the skill-set that I think is needed, and I am lucky enough to have the capacity and the time to contribute to this, and not everyone does. If people like me don’t step up, then who will?”
What are your must haves?
“Honestly, there is no ‘must have.’ I’m not running off of the belief that if I run, I absolutely need to have this one thing happen in order for me to feel that I’ve been a success because, quite frankly, if you run a one-issue platform, you’re going to potentially have that checkbox ticked, and then what else are you there for? For me, it’s about long-term thinking and electing people to council who are invested in the work and invested in an idea of what they want to achieve.”
Are there any other comments you would like to add?
“I just really hope people are engaged in the election, make sure that they registered to vote, and get out to vote.”