Northern reactions to the Conservative Parties parachute candidate Lea Mollison haven’t been the kindest.
Entering the election race for the NWT riding on Aug. 24, Mollison hails from Thunder Bay, Ont. and operates on a platform of (according to her biography) having a “fiscally responsible government that must be held accountable for its spending” and that “governments should not only be self-aware and conscious of their decisions, but they should also be answerable to the people when problems arise.”
Folks such as Dwayne Simmons of Yellowknife, felt Mollison wasn’t a candidate he could get behind despite her Conservative standing.
“I will be putting my support behind Jane Groenewegen,” said Simmons. “I have always been a devoted PC (Progressive Conservative) follower but in this case … for our situation in the North, Jane is an experienced politician with PC values but simply didn’t fully agree with the PC platform.”
As well, Amanda Chaulk-Parrott of Inuvik was frustrated by Mollison lack of response to Northerners who are looking to the candidates relation to issues in the NWT.
“I think It really shows that a party (or at the least, this candidate) doesn’t care about the NWT,” said Chaulk-Parrott. “I understand the Conservative Party likely couldn’t find a local candidate in time, but the current candidate isn’t even responding to local media or showing up to virtual all-candidates forums. She can literally log in from her home in Thunder Bay, but couldn’t be bothered to do that.”
“How does a party say ‘We don’t really care about you’ without actually saying ‘we don’t really care about you’?” she continued. “A parachute candidate whose never even been to the NWT, has no connection and who couldn’t even be bothered to show up to a virtual all-candidates forum and respond to repeated local media requests.”
Mollison skipped a candidate forum staged by Yellowknife’s Cabin Radio earlier this month, and the NWT Chamber of Commerce’s business-themed Zoom debate, held Sept. 9. She has not responded to repeated requests for an interview.
Kenzie MacDonald, another resident of Inuvik, brought a lot to the table in terms of his thoughts on Mollison, having issue with her lack of effort to connect with the North.
“While this is a snap election, I have no issue with parachute candidates coming into ridings that they do not live in,” said Kenzie MacDonald of Inuvik. “My issue with Mrs. Mollinson is that she doesn’t seem to be making any effort at all to connect with people, the media or anyone for that matter.”
“Her party has stated that they did this so that the North was represented and that she holds Northern values as her own,” he continued. “They have also claimed that she will be working hard, if elected, to move the North forward. Yet when anyone tries to contact her they get nothing.”
MacDonald, who was a registered Conservative Party until about three weeks ago, also wondered about Mollison’s commitment to people she hasn’t responded too.
“How is she connecting to the North or the people here if she doesn’t actually speak to anyone?” said MacDonald. “How is she going to move the North forward if she doesn’t understand the issues that we currently have. I’ve heard that she is from Thunder Bay, which for folks in Ontario is considered “North” but it actually isn’t. The issues between Thunder Bay and Inuvik, Yellowknife, Fort Smith etc. are not the same, not even close.”
“The Conservative Party stated that she is running so that they don’t look like they don’t care about the North,” said he continued. “Her actions to date have made me wonder if running nobody would have been better.”
Yellowknifer Trevor Norris, who’s only voted non-Conservative in 2011, plans on spoiling his ballot during this election.
“I’m 30 years old. The only time I’ve voted in an election and not voted Conservative was in 2011 … that will change in this election. Parachute candidates are a disgrace, and the CPC would’ve looked better to not run a candidate at all than to pull this embarrassing stunt.”
Via a statement provided on Sept. 9, Mollison and her team have provided an update where they are currently;
“We are working on our end to provide everyone a platform which demonstrates our Party’s focus in the North and for all of Canada. This will be provided to all of you and on our social media platforms shortly.”
“Our team is dedicated to reaching out to regions in the Northwest Territories to understand their concerns and what is important to them. We will be releasing more information on how our outreach is going as well.”