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.
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.
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.