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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Schumann running again for Hay River South

Dear editor,
Wally Schumann, MLA for Hay River South from 2015 to 2019, announced this week that he is planning to run for the seat again in October 2023. NNSL file photo

Dear editor,

As someone who cares deeply for our community — and the entire Northwest Territories, for that matter — I’m concerned over what the future holds for our territory.

The world is very volatile place right now and there are still difficult times ahead, as our post-pandemic economic recovery is being rocked by a war on the other side of the world. The future is far from certain but in this uncertainty is opportunity for those who are willing to do the hard work necessary to seize it.

This is why I am writing this letter now.

I am a lifelong Northerner and intend to live out my days right here in Hay River. And in my four years working in the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories, I learned a lot about how things can get done — you just need a determined push to do it. Also, after listening to people and some heartfelt reflection, I know I could have done better to assure my constituents — and all residents of Hay River — that I had their backs.

The future of Hay River and the South Slave is very promising with the prospect of a mine at Pine Point and the expanding transloading and other potential economic activities at Aurora Industries Corp’s site at Enterprise.

We need to make sure the territorial government is doing what it can to skillfully support the economy and not get in the way!

These are but two examples of our future we need to embrace.

That is why I will be putting my name forward as candidate for MLA for Hay River South in the next territorial election in October 2023. If I were MLA for Hay River South right now, I would be promoting the town and surrounding area as a place for the private sector to invest in and support the significant business investment that is already here. I would also encourage more GNWT investment in housing, including seniors housing. Designing, building and repairing houses will put people to work, provide a great opportunity for apprentices to learn trades and bolster local companies and supply chains.

Given the current state of affairs and the rising cost of everything, it is making it hard for many to get by. We are just coming out of a pandemic that crushed our tourism industry. To help that sector — and everyone who needs to travel by vehicle — the NWT should drop its excise tax on all fuel products, including gasoline, motive diesel fuel and aviation fuel for the summer at least.

How to pay for it? Wouldn’t this be an appropriate time to stop leaving millions of dollars of gas, oil and critical minerals in the ground while the world is desperate for it? Let’s do responsible extraction and put that revenue into new homes, education and training for our youth to build a better future for all of us. We can all be part of the solution — all levels of government, community and residents of the NWT. Together we are strong and resilient.

Wally Schumann,

Hay River