Mary Beckett, an Inuvik-based businesswoman and devoted New Democrat, has officially joined the federal race.
The NWT NDP hosted an official acclamation party on Wednesday evening at the North Star Building of the Union of Northern Workers on 53 Street in Yellowknife. About 15 local party supporters attended the event and heard about Beckett’s background as a business person, her community volunteer and advocacy work in the North and her vision as the new candidate for the party.
“I’m not the nine-to-five, got a paycheque every two weeks kind of girl,” she said. “I’m used to working hard for what I get and I’m hoping that will serve me well.”
Beckett thanked supporters in Yellowknife and gave an overview of her commitment to the party’s platform including combating affordability issues, building a greener and more inclusive economy and providing a progressive option for Northerners.
“For me the NDP is the conscience and the voice in Parliament to make sure that people do what they say they are going to do and hold their feet to the fire when they don’t,” she said. “We need somebody from the North who knows what our concerns and issues are because too many programs, policies and initiatives are thought up in Ottawa and presented to us as a fait accompli and we can’t do anything with them because they don’t fit.”
Earlier this week, Beckett told Northern News Services that she is looking forward to the campaign and is running to win.
She reiterated the point on Wednesday evening to much applause.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced at Rideau Hall in Ottawa that the 43rd federal election will take place on Oct. 21.
Nominees in other major parties were named months ago to challenge the territory’s Liberal MP Michael McLeod and it has been a lingering question as to who the New Democratic Party would name.
The party has had a strong recent history with former representative Dennis Bevington holding the seat between 2006 and 2015.
In May, Yanik D’Aigle, a Yellowknife-based banker was acclaimed as the Conservative Party challenger. Also in May, Luke Quinlan was named People’s Party of Canada candidate.
In July, Paul Falvo won a contest with Ecology North engineer William Gagnon for the Green Party candidacy.
The event’s opening prayer and land honour ceremony by Felix Lockhart was especially moving for party members as he noted the June 11 passing of his wife and longtime social advocate Sandra Lockhart.
Shane Pike, a co-chair of the party’s campaign, said more details will emerge on the party’s platform during the course of the campaign.
“This will be a plan for the North made by Northerners,” he said. “Our campaign is going to be a progressive one and we are campaigning from the left. There will be a lot of competition from the left, but I believe the NDP is the only true left-wing party.”