Jerald Sibbeston running as ‘anti-corruption’ candidate

by Sidney Cohen - September 4, 2018

Jerald Sibbeston wants to end what he considers brazen abuses of power by those in the city’s upper ranks.

“I’m not saying anyone is getting – as far as I know – little brown envelopes full of cash from anyone,” the self-described entrepreneur told Yellowknifer on Tuesday.

Jerald Sibbeston is the latest candidate to throw a hat in the ring for mayor. Sidney Cohen/NNSL photo

“I’m talking about the type of corruption that comes when you’re so unafraid of the public that you know you’ll never lose your job.”

Pitching himself as the “anti-corruption” candidate, Sibbeston announced his bid for mayor on Facebook last week.

Sibbeston says that if elected, he will fix what he calls the “toxic culture of corruption and animosity towards the public” by the city’s upper management, primarily by installing an elected ombudsperson to field complaints from the public against city staff.

“This will be an elected position that can terminate anyone at city hall with cause,” he wrote in an Aug. 29 Facebook post.

Sibbeston was motivated to run for office after coming to an impasse with the city over management’s decision to ban him from the Fieldhouse.

Last March, Sibbeston was temporarily barred from using the recreation facility after he threatened a staff member, according to the city.

Sibbeston, who did not have running water at his home and had been showering at the facility without paying, refutes the claim he acted indecorously.

“Once senior staff has made a decision, it’s permanent and final and irrevocable,” he said on Tuesday, adding that he is still banned from the Fieldhouse.

“There’s no recourse whatsoever.”

The candidate has been a fiery critic of the municipal government online, voicing displeasure over the city’s handling of the inquiry into workplace misconduct at the Municipal Enforcement Division, and rebuking the “political class” in comments on Facebook and CBC.

He said allegations of bad behaviour at the bylaw enforcement division constitute “a hallmark of corruption at City Hall, at least in that one division.”

Running for mayor gives him a platform from which to trumpet his anti-establishment, anti-status-quo message.

A born and raised Yellowknifer, Sibbeston wants to clean up the city’s “derelict back streets” and improve the city’s “failing” sewer system.

He also proposes supporting houseboaters by building a wharf with power, sewer and water services and garbage pick-up.

“The war is over houseboaters!” he proclaims on his Facebook page.

The son of former premier and senator Nick Sibbeston, Sibbeston said he has never thought of himself as a member of upper society.

He readily admits that he doesn’t “roll in the dough.”

“I drive a 2002 Honda that I keep together with my own two hands,” he said.

But he says does have a degree in political science from Carleton University and subscribes to a political philosophy he calls “libertarian utilitarianism,” which he describes as the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people with as little government intrusion as possible.

“I am John Q. Public,” he said.

“I’m not your typical candidate.”