'I'm a born leader': Meet 2 more candidates for mayor in Yellowknife

Bob Stewart and Jerald Sibbeston have no council experience, but each point to their life experience and university educations in politics as giving them the tools they need to be mayor.

Bob Stewart, Jerald Sibbeston don't have council experience but say they're in it to win it

Bob Stewart, left, and Jerald Sibbeston are the latest to put their names forward for the mayoral race in Yellowknife. (Katie Toth/CBC)

Two anti-establishment candidates with connections to beverages are making their mark in Yellowknife's mayoral race.

Bob Stewart, owner of the Kilt and Castle bar, and Jerald Sibbeston, who bills himself the "Tim Hortons candidate" for his campaign's focus on coffee shop meetings, are the latest to enter the race. 

They don't have city council experience like their competitors — councillors Rebecca Alty and Adrian Bell —but both Sibbeston and Stewart say they're in it to win it.

Homelessness priority for Stewart

Stewart identifies as a libertarian — a political philosophy that focuses on individual liberty — on a "federal level." Although he says "the issues of Yellowknife would require a different viewpoint than a federal perspective, which is where my libertarian leanings would apply."

He says he wants to "take back downtown for the city of Yellowknife" and that the city is "overrun" with homelessness and addiction.

I'm a born leader- Bob Stewart

"It's almost unusable," he said. "The city needs to do something about it."

Yellowknife already has a 10-year plan to end homelessness in Yellowknife. But Stewart says funding for the plan needs to be restructured so the city gets more cash earlier in the process, and that he would push the federal government to make that happen.

Stewart points to his experience as an auditor and accountant in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, his analyst work as a government employee for the territory, and his ownership of the bar as examples that he knows how to handle budgets and major projects.

"I'm a born leader," he said. "The next step is to...fix my own town."

Bob Stewart reads the local paper in his bar, the Kilt and Castle. He says as a small business owner he's seen Yellowknife change. (Katie Toth/CBC)

For Sibbeston, conflict with city led to mayoral race

CBC met with Sibbeston as he was putting the finishing touches on his first large handmade campaign sign, which looms over a chain link fence across from the Tim Hortons drive-thru on Range Lake Road.

Sibbeston said he chose to run on an anti-corruption platform after he claims he was turned away from the Fieldhouse. The mayoral candidate lives "off the grid" and had been using the facilities at the gym because he doesn't have running water, he explained. 

I kind of want to end the war with houseboaters.- Jerald Sibbeston

"They banned me from the facility and said I was aggressive and violent," he said. "They don't have any video evidence or audio evidence and it never happened."

Sibbeston, who is working on a website for his parents' hospitality business, claimed that in trying to regain access to the Fieldhouse he found himself in an "unresolvable situation with the city." He said he's not satisfied with conversations he had with higher-level city officials.

Sibbeston also said now that the Ruth Inch Memorial Pool is closed for maintenance he has nowhere to fulfil his water needs. 

Jerald Sibbeston has a coffee at the Tim Horton's on Range Lake Road. He says he wants the city to have a panel where residents can present complaints. (Katie Toth/CBC)

CBC emailed the City of Yellowknife's communications department about Sibbeston's claims but did not receive an immediate response.

Now, Sibbeston is advocating for a panel of ombudsmen that could review complaints about city policies and employees.

"I intend to put them above the mayor's office, above HR," he said. 

Everybody's welcome to have a different platform.- Rebecca Alty

Sibbeston also wants to hold a roundtable meeting with First Nations communities in the region, build infrastructure for tiny homes, and create a wharf for houseboaters. He says the city should offer houseboaters services on the wharf, and charge property taxes to those who use them.  

"I kind of want to end the war with houseboaters," he said. "We have a lot more in common with Tokyo than we do with Calgary."

Respectful dialogue

City councillors Rebecca Alty and Adrian Bell are also running for mayor.

When asked about the additional candidates without council experience, Alty said, the more the merrier. 

"We all have different views and ideas," she said. "I think it's great that the two have stepped forward." 

Alty said she does not think city hall has a corruption problem but "everybody's welcome to have a different platform."


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