Small business and the economy are the hot topics for the four of the territory’s five federal-election candidates in a special debate.

The Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce and NNSL Media are set to co-host the event which will be broadcast by NNSL Media on Facebook Live starting at 7 p.m. this Thursday, Sept. 9.

The candidates will debate issues concerning small businesses and the territory’s economy.

Four out of the five candidates have confirmed their participation: Liberal MP Michael McLeod; Kelvin Kochilea, NDP; Roland Laufer, Green Party; and independent Jane Groewegen.

The Conservative’s as-yet absent parachute candidate, Lea Mollison, will not attend.

The Chamber’s executive director, Renée Comeau, says they’re hosting the special debate because the federal government needs to focus on the NWT’s unique economic circumstances.

Renée Comeau is the executive director of the Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce. NNSL file photo

She says NWT Chamber members have the same concerns they did during the last federal election.

“We are seeing identical questions from 2019 thus meaning no real time has been spent addressing the short coming that the NWT is facing,” she said.

Sliding GDP

These issues include the NWT’s declining GDP — largely due to slowing mining operations — and transitioning to a low-carbon economy; neither of which are currently addressed at the federal level.

“We can no longer use the excuse of remoteness as our neighbours on either side, Yukon and Nunavut, are out-pacing us,” Comeau said.

She says our Northern neighbours’ settled land claims, proper infrastructure and private-sector support are some of the biggest the reasons behind their relative economic successes.

“The federal government needs to starting viewing our infrastructure asks as country-building, not payback,” Comeau said.

Follow NNSL Media on Facebook and tune in at 7 p.m. on Sept. 7 for the debate.

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  1. I can’t start up a business where i live due to the probate laws. This November 5th will mark 15 years since my dad past on. Probate is a Territorial issue or policy but i wonder if the feds can step in. I asked the Territorial government if i could use the old day care building before they tore it down, but i was told it has run its course of life, that it was too old and needed asbestos to be removed, the electrical and furnace needs work, etc. This would have been for a not for profit factory. I also asked if i could use the old visitors center, they said it was condemned, they tore that one down too. I bought 2 building about 15 -16 years ago i was going connect them together and have one kinda big building, but i had no where to put the other one. My dad past on and never finished taking the other building down, and i lost that one, because i only had a certain amount of time. Can the Federal Government help me, i still have money however renting is far too expensive here. It will take a few months to set up and so on. I would put my name in here but what’s the point, i’ve talked to most of the politicians already, and now the pandemic. None of the business owners going through the pandemic have experienced anything like this.