Only two out of five candidates seeking election for the NWT seat later this month showed up to a debate in Yellowknife on Oct. 3 called 100 Debates on the Environment.
The event, sponsored by GreenPAC – a non-government organization based in Ottawa – was part of a nationwide effort to hold debates in 100 ridings across the country on Oct. 3.
Paul Falvo of the Greens and Mary Becket of the NDP were the lone candidates taking a range of questions that included how they would meet international obligations on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to plans on protecting wilderness to protecting Canadians from toxic substances with the strengthening of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and the Pest Control Products Act.
Incumbent Liberal MP Michael McLeod, who was also absent from an all candidates meeting on Wednesday, was wrapping up tours of the Deh Cho and South Slave this week, with plans for visits to Katlodeeche and Enterprise on Friday.
City of Yellowknife councillor Shauna Morgan was the moderator throughout the evening.
About 50 people were in attendance.
D’Aigle was in Tsiighetchic , Fort McPherson and Inuvik for the remainder of last week.
David Bob, president of the Northern Territories Federation of Labour said it was a good opportunity for his organization to partner with other like-minded groups to learn how to run a debate as well as to share resources in putting an event together.
“I thought it went pretty good,” Bob said. “It was unfortunate that two candidates cancelled last minute and one was a no-show.
“We offered to bring them in by Zoom Video Communications but they declined.”
Bob had asked how candidates would they would address a rising crisis in northern housing where northern workers are paying a greater percentage of their incomes for shelter.
Other organizers were critical, too.
Craig Scott, executive director of Ecology North echoed the same sentiment.
“Overall I was happy with the audience and turnout,” he said. “It went really well and I was disappointed with turnout of candidates obviously.”
Scott, who asked the two candidates what they would do to ensure a healthy environment for future generations of Northerners.
Falvo took a shot at D’Aigle, who had attended the first public debate in the city on Oct. 2 and who had criticized McLeod for not attending that one. D’Aigle however was out of town for the environment debate.
“Thanks Mary for being here,” Falvo said. “I know Yanik was lamenting last night Michael’s absence and now we are down to two.”
Later Falvo said he was disappointed that few candidates showed up.
“The turnout was disappointing and I took shot at Yanik because he complained at Michael,” Falvo said. “They all had an opportunity to participate.”