Cost of living driving people away

On the campaign trail today, I spoke with two families who are starting to think they will have to leave Yellowknife because it’s increasingly unaffordable. The cost of living is simply too high. What’s interesting to me is how different these families are in age and circumstance and yet the cost of living is a … Read more

Up for debate

This is what forum preparation looks like for me. Hours of reading distilled into a few points on an index card. It’s a little old school to write things down, but it’s easy to manage the cards, give them a quick read and answer the question. Questions! Dene Nahjo, hosts of last night’s forum, provided … Read more

Getting to know me!

Let’s count the ways to get to know me before November 23. As of 5 pm today, I have twelve questionnaires. They range from requiring answers to yes/no questions to providing paragraph answers. The NWT Seniors Society, the Union of Northern Workers, Yellowknife Day Care, the YWCA, Council of Canadians, to name a few: they … Read more

More seniors are staying in the north than ever before

Avens Cottages – Territorial Dementia Facility The front page of yesterday’s News/North announced 47 per cent of seniors plan to leave. Did anyone else say, “is that all?” There was a time when seniors left in droves looking for warmer winters and better access to their families. The City of Yellowknife Community Survey for last … Read more

What it takes to start a business

November 1 is a special day in our home. It’s the anniversary of Janice opening McKenna Funeral Services in 2008 and McKenna Funeral Home in 2010. She started with a pen. No, really. She took the funeral directing course from Mount Royal College (now University) in Calgary in the winter of 2008. Together we worked … Read more

Creating a plan to end homelessness

Last night, while I was canvassing on Franklin Ave, two women headed into the Centre For Northern Families for a night in the emergency shelter. We’re fortunate to have the dedicated staff at CNF provide this service. Instead of staying short-term, many women live in the shelter for years on end, unable to find suitable … Read more

A welcome opportunity to learn

A proud moment for me yesterday. A big cardboard envelope arrived in the mail. It contained my certificate in fundraising management from Ryerson University in Toronto. I earned the certificate online, one course at a time, over three years. What I learned I’ve already been using for years, literally. I found distance learning challenging. It … Read more

Does consensus government provide enough accountability?

This interesting question came up at one of the doors tonight. The voter was unhappy with the low standard of accountability required of the government during the 17th Assembly. And she’d like to have a say in who becomes premier, rather than leaving that decision up to the MLAs. She wondered if parties would answer some of these questions.

The fact is, they would. Parties would provide structure. They would group like-minded candidates together around a common set of values to pursue public policy priorities. They could provide resources to candidates to help them organize and finance their campaigns. This help would be especially useful for women trying to get elected. Having parties would allow all voters to have a say on who would be premier and what the government’s priorities should be, rather than leaving that decision up to the 19 MLAs. Parties would also provide discipline and influence among a disparate group of regular MLAs and improve government accountability. And maybe best of all, parties would attempt to field a candidate in every riding and thus bring the sorry practice of acclaiming candidates to an end.

The last time parties were tried at the territorial level – the NDP fielded candidates in 2003 – none of the candidates were elected.Since then, the cabinet has become increasingly remote, operating as executive decision makers. There have been numerous complaints from regular MLAs that they hear about decisions in the media like the rest of us. Regular MLAs have had trouble exercising their influence – and power – because they don’t act as a cohesive group most of the time. Maybe it’s time to talk about parties again.

Let me recommend a thorough summary of consensus government as it exists now, warts and all:

Lots to think about when the dust settles on this campaign.

Welcome neighbors from Great Slave riding

The boundaries have changed for Yellowknife Centre, a domino effect that started with taking the communities of Dettah and N’dilo out of Weledeh and adding them to Tu Nedhe. The end result is that Yellowknife Centre now includes 75 houses that used to be in the Great Slave riding. Take a look at the map … Read more