Well, what do you know. CBC has reported that court documents show that Rick Edjericon owes the territorial government $113,000, yet he was able to run for and get elected as MLA for Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh. Whoa!
And guess what, Dettah and Ndilo are in that riding. And if Rick owed money to the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, he would not be eligible to run for chief or council. Eschia (take it easy, eh)!
And if Rick lived in any other community and he owed money to the community, he would not be able to run for mayor or municipal council either.
The Local Authority Elections Act governs this area, and it says people are ineligible to run for office if they owe money to the community.
But guess what? The Government of the NWT does not have any rules to stop someone who owes them money from running for MLA.
That’s why Rocky Simpson was also allowed to run for MLA for Hay River North while he owed close to $2 million smackeroos to the Northwest Territories Business Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC).
This bill is now $1.6 million after a lot of Simpson’s assets were sold for close to a million bucks. Canada Revenue Agency got first dibs and BDIC got the remainder.
So, the big question is why are people being allowed to run for MLA while they owe money to the territorial government? After all, you can’t run for office in a municipal election if you owe money to the community. Weird, man.
Apparently, the Chief Electoral Officer recommended changing this after the last territorial election but there were questions as to whether it could be a violation of charter rights, and whether that kind of violation could be justified.
So, the MLAs did… nothing. Well, ain’t that cute!!!
Get on the ball, GNWT. If the communities can take a chance, so can you. Change the act now so people cannot run for MLA if they owe money to the territorial government.
Did Edjericon’s default affect you?
Maybe you’re thinking, “So what if Rick Edjericon owes money to GNWT? It doesn’t affect me.” Well, maybe it does and maybe it doesn’t.
It affects you if you’re one of the hundreds of people who would like to build a house in your community and can’t because you can’t get a mortgage. Say what? Yup, it affects you for sure.
How can that be? Well, back in the day, many community people wanted to build a home and had the money to pay for a mortgage. But the banks wouldn’t give them a mortgage unless they had a lease or owned the property, like in the larger communities.
The problem is most communities only had federal land and people could not purchase or lease the land. So, people could not get mortgages.
The GNWT wanted to help people buy or build their own homes, so they approved the NWT Housing Corporation to guarantee people’s mortgages on federal land. This was in Dettah, Ndilo and every other NWT community.
So, a lot of people got mortgages because the Housing Corporation guaranteed their mortgages. Yayyyy.
All was good until some people decided they wouldn’t pay for their mortgage because the government guaranteed their loan. That meant the government had to make the payment if they didn’t.
So, they stopped making payments. And they got away with it. Not cool.
And they stayed in their houses. Holy moly, what a shemozzle.
Of course, word got around! And more and more people started to not pay for their mortgages … including Rick Edjericon. The current MLA for Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh. Definitely not cool.
Finally, the CIBC bank had enough, and it gave Rick’s mortgage to the Housing Corporation in April 2010. Why did Rick stop paying his mortgage? Your guess is as good as mine.
He could certainly afford to make the payments. Records indicate that in April 2008 Rick Edjericon was appointed as chairman of the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board (MVEIRB) for three years. He was re-appointed in 2011.
That’s a federal appointment and the feds pay good money.
CBC says court documents say the initial mortgage in 1998 was for $140,500 and that he still owed $113,800 in December 2019. Hmmm, only $27,000 paid off in 21 years. To boot, it seems that no payments have been recorded since 2019.
So how does that affect us? Well, around the time Rick stopped paying his mortgage, the Housing Corporation stopped guaranteeing mortgages for people.
So it wasn’t only because of Rick, but no more guaranteed mortgages for people meant very few people were building homes for themselves in the communities. Oh man.
I know a couple from Ndilo who had to buy a house in Yellowknife because they could not get a mortgage in Ndilo. How does that affect them and their children when they cannot see their Dene friends and relatives every day when they look out the window or leave their house?
Is it affecting their culture and mental health? Possibly.
So, ya, it affected a lot of people when Rick and other people like him stopped paying their mortgages that the Housing Corporation had guaranteed.
The Housing Corporation changed its rules. It’s time for the MLAs to change their rules so people cannot run for MLA if they owe money to the territorial government or one of its agencies.