Norman Wells

Positions to fill: Six councillors, one mayor

Returning officer: Margrit Minder

Note: The Town of Norman Wells  mayor and council were dissolved by the GNWT department of Municipal and Community Affairs. Since Nov. 1, 2017, the community has been under the direction of  Allen Stanzell, municipal administrator since that time.


Harry Cassie

Status: Running for Mayor

Age: 49

Time in the area: 3 years

Harry Cassie

Family Status: Married

Experience: My experience includes 14 years in Oil & Gas and 14 years in Accounting & Finance working in various sectors; Education, Construction, Wholesale, Staffing (Canada & US), Financial Services, Consulting and Not-for-Profit organizations.

Volunteer: Member of the Sahtu Social Assistance Appeal Committee, member of the Territorial Board of Revision, President of Athletics NWT and active athletic coach.

Why Running: An innovative, inclusive and empathetic leader is needed to take our community into the future, we need a no non-sense Mayor who is willing to bring the collective voices of our people together and represent the needs of our community. I am determined to work with local council, the territorial government, businesses, stakeholders and community groups to meet the needs of residents and foster economic growth and development of the community. With my experience and exposure, I sincerely believe that I can be the Mayor that the Town of Norman Wells needs.

What differentiates you from other candidates: I bring vision and an opportunity to break from the past failures that have plagued the local community government. I also bring to the table honesty, excellent communications skills, the ability to make hard decisions, solid financial leadership and management expertise that is required of a Mayor, that none of my fellow candidates possess. These are leadership characteristics which I believe will allow me to work with council and the community to embrace the challenges that lie ahead and to carry out the much-needed work to improve the services, infrastructure and programs for our youth, elders and residents of Norman Wells.

Top election issue: Economy. We have key decisions to make regarding infrastructure, land restoration, quarry and contaminated sites which can have a significant impact on our economy, along with the declining oil field production that might last 5-10 years, which will also impact the future investment and the economic growth of Norman Wells. We cannot sit and wait while raising taxes and water rates to offset these deficiencies in revenues. As Mayor I will develop a 10 Year Strategic and Fiscal Plan for Norman Wells with the assistance of council, the community, the territorial government and business stakeholders to improve the lives of residents in this already high cost of living community.

What does a healthy community look like to you: A healthy community is where everyone, residents, business community, territorial government and stakeholders are collaborating in harmony to influence the health and economic well-being of all residents. This means strong economic growth and employment opportunities within the community which fosters and promotes, equitable and broad community participation and engagement, low unemployment, housing for all, reduced cost of living, strong community health facilities and services with active living opportunities, sustainable environmental policies and protection, a safe, secure and healthy community.


Frank Pope

Status: Running for Mayor

Age: Retired

Time in area: Came north in 1962, moved to the Sahtu in 1969 and settled in Norman Wells in 1983.

Frank Pope

Family Status: Have been married 42 years to my wife, Cathy Pope.

Experience: Served 25 years on Council as the community evolved from Hamlet and Village status to current Town status, served one term as Mayor.

Why running: Norman Wells is home, most of my family live here. I have always felt that our community is a good place to live, work and raise a family. Norman Wells has been rather disjointed for a few years and I feel that with my previous experience, I can help work in a team endeavouring to revitalize our community.

What differentiates you from other candidates: My previous Council experience and desire to work in a team concept, being fiscally sound, transparent and open to public scrutiny, I have the time to dedicate to the job and my community.

Top election issue: Having everyone understand their roles as a member of Council, to go through in house Council training once elected, understanding our current fiscal situation and start the process of recruiting a Senior Administrative Officer. Early agenda in this first year will be to catch up on the ten months the community was without a Council.

What does a healthy community look like to you: A community where negative issues are few, where adults, youth and children can live in a safe active community with healthy life choices, available diverse recreational opportunities are a must. Sound, well delivered educational and health care programs add to the positive vibes of a community. A healthy community also needs to have employment opportunities for residents.


Tim Melnyk

Status: Running for Mayor

Age: 50

Time in area: I moved to Norman Wells in 1984 when I was 16. Grew up in Inuvik.

Tim Melnyk

Family status: Single

Experience: I was first elected in 1993 and i have served on every council since then but i did lose two elections.

Occupation:  Runs warehouse for wildfire operations for GNWT Environment and Natural Resources

Why running: The town needs a experienced person in the mayors chair in the next three years or we could get the same result as the past three years.

What differentiates you from other candidates: My love for the town, i have been here since i was a teenager, i will retire here and i will be buried here – i have no exit strategy, what happens in the next three years, the next three decades will impact me, will impact us all and I have served under enough mayors to know the good parts to take from that and know the bad parts that i will leave out.

Top election issue: The biggest election issue is moving on from the MACA dissolution and giving people a voice again by elected members. I don’t believe one issue defines this election, it is the sum of all of what impacts our town; from dogs, ditches, dumps to the next SAO – it is everything.

What does a healthy community look like to you? A healthy community is where you walk the street at anytime of day or night, not afraid of anything except a bear or two and if there is a vehicle on the road then they stop and ask if you need a ride. That is community, that is a healthy community.


Fort Simpson

Positions to fill: One mayor, eight councillors  

Returning officer: Tammy Cazon

Candidates running for council: Celine Antoine, A.J. Augier, Troy Bellefontaine, Kirby Groat

Muaz Hassan, Marie Lafferty, Liza McPherson, Clayton Moreau, Randal (Randy) Sibbeston, Michael Rowe Michael Rowe.


Patrick Rowe – unavailable until Sept. 30 because he is hunting and is off-grid.


Sean Whelly

Status: Running for mayor

Age: 57

Time in Area: 35 years in Fort Simpson (Liidlii Kue) and 56 in the NWT (Fort Smith, Hay River and Yellowknife).

Sean Whelly

Family status: Separated with two childrenBorn: Edmonton, but spent life in the North after one-year-old.

Experience: Whelly has been elected to village council four times, including as councillor between 2001 to 2003 and 2016 to 2018. Between 2009 and 2015, he served as mayor.  In the latest term, he was acclaimed in a byelection.

Why Running: To make Fort Simpson a better place to live.

What differentiates you from other candidates: I care about the people, not the money or the politics. I have 30 years of business experience, an MBA, 6 years as Village Mayor and an additional 4 years as Village Councillor to bring to the service of the community.

Top election issue: Ensuring the completion of village office transition to the Liidlii Kue First Nation band office building and the construction of the fitness centre

What does a healthy community look like to you: A community based on sharing and family values, fair treatment and lots of good open communication and cooperation helps to keep a community healthy. Having happy, healthy people is the goal. and Having better services and recreational facilities also supports that goal.


Fort Smith

Positions to fill: One mayor, eight councillors

Returning officer – Margo Harney


Lynn Napier-Buckley

Status: running for second term as mayor

Age: 45

Time in area: around 30 years, Indigenous to the community

Lynn Napier-Buckley

Family status: Married

Experience: 2012-2015 town of Fort Smith town councillor, 2015-2018 town of Fort Smith mayor. I am also a board member for the Fort Smith Metis council, sat on the Aurora College Board of Governors and am currently the community advisor for the South Slave Region for the NWT On The Land Collaborative. During my term as mayor, we have worked on many of the issues identified in my campaign: the erosion of our riverbank, moving low level radioactive waste materials out of our landfill and our region, keeping recreation accessible and affordable, implementing the Community Wellness Plan and representing our community. We have faced barriers to situations that have been worked through with partnerships, like the funding for Arctic Winter Games and increased base funding for communities. We are still fighting against the GNWT attempts at recentralization – taking from small communities and moving those services to Yellowknife.

Why running: I care about Fort Smith, our people, our economy, our land. I’m ready to continue to fight and lobby for our community, to grow our economy, to work with our partners, locally and across the North.

What differentiates you from other candidates: I am a strong advocate for our community and work to build relationships to strengthen and grow Fort Smith. I have a great appreciation for our local and territory-wide Indigenous governments and see Fort Smith as a partner to them. I believe in preparing our community for projects like the remediation of the landslide zones so that we can access federal funding as it becomes available. I have an open door policy and welcome residents and community leaders alike.

Top election issue: Recentralization – the fight to keep Fort Smith strong and sustainable.

What does a healthy community look like to you: A healthy community is when we have our local governments working toward the same goal, where residents can access health care and health services, where youth and elders have a voice, where we work and partner to address common issues.


Don MatthewsNews/North wasn’t able to reach Don Matthews prior to press time.

Brad Brake

Status: Running for mayor

Age: 50

Time in Area: 20 Years

Family Status: Married with Children

Brad Blake

Experience: 3 years as Mayor of Fort Smith, Alumnus of Governor Generals Canadian Leadership Conference, several years Supervisory Experience, six years as a National Table Officer for UNW, Husband and Father, Northern Male Representative on PSAC National Indigenous Peoples Committee.

Occupation: Correctional Supervisor

Why running: Community members encouraged me to run as our town needs strong accessible leadership at this time. They think I am the person who can help the most and I am confident I am up to the task.

What differentiates you from other candidates: Communication, consultation and collaboration! I want to make my community a better place to live and I’m not afraid to tackle serious issues. I consult, take feedback from groups in the community and through communication and collaboration turn it into action. If elected I will work hard for my community and its people. I am accessible and accountable to my constituents.

Top election issue: Aurora College it’s Future in Fort Smith and in the North as a whole.

What does a healthy community look like to you? It looks a lot like Fort Smith does right now! Fort Smith is a great town with lots of untapped and unseen potential. We are healthy and can be even healthier! We are resilient and stand together as one when we need to.

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