North·NWT Votes 2019

The candidates: Great Slave

Patrick Scott and Katrina Nokleby are facing off in the Great Slave riding, previously held by outgoing Health Minister Glen Abernethy. Compare and contrast their platforms in their own words.

Patrick Scott, Katrina Nokleby face off for seat vacated by former minister Glen Abernethy

Two candidates are seeking the vacant seat in the Great Slave riding in Yellowknife. (CBC)

Election day in the Northwest Territories is Oct. 1, and CBC North is working to bring you all the information you need to cast your ballot. As candidates were announced, CBC provided each an opportunity to answer a questionnaire tackling a wide range of subjects, from their own qualifications to themes impacting their riding and the territory as a whole.

Read their responses below, presented in the order they were received by CBC.

Some answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.


Patrick Scott

(Submitted)

Why did you decide to run for office?  

Frustration on the performance of the last Assembly. There was little progress on social issues, a collapse of economic activity, and little movement on environmental concerns, except for a tax.

What previous experience would you bring to the role of MLA?  

I have negotiation and community development experience, as well as media and advocacy work for injured workers with WSCC. I have raised eight children in YK and I am a small business owner.

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of?  

Birchwood Coffee Ko (Scott is a co-owner).

What do you think is the biggest issue facing the territory?  

It's a split between economic renewal through diversification, and resolving social issues such as universal daycare, homelessness, and seniors' housing..

What is the biggest issue in your riding? 

From speaking with constituents at their door — homelessness, downtown violence, and the cost of living.

If you could accomplish only one thing while in office, what would that be? 

Building appropriate homes for homeless support, with programs, and getting the polytechnic university developed as an independent institution from the GNWT with northern-focused faculties, including a fine arts department.

What would you like to see the territory do to address the impacts of climate change?  

More renewable energy, and to get fly-in mine workers living in the N.W.T. and making a contribution to the northern economy while reducing the carbon footprint.

What would you change about how the government currently operates? 

If you mean the Legislative Assembly, I believe we need to look at our political system and vision and design what will be the best structure for the future.

What do you think the GNWT must do to improve and protect the territory's economy? 

Diversify, encourage e-commerce developments, improve tourism infrastructure, and build a world-class university.

What would you do as MLA to improve the GNWT's relationship with Indigenous people? 

Settle outstanding claims, work directly with GNWT.

If elected, will you be seeking a cabinet position?

Haven't decided. It will depend on who all is elected.

Would you like to be premier?

Not ready for that at the moment.


Katrina Nokleby

(Submitted)

Why did you decide to run for office?

Yellowknife is my home and I love the North. I want to ensure that the N.W.T. is on a path toward a sustainable economy while addressing the social issues we are facing. With a strong background in sciences, experience working across the N.W.T., and my social advocacy background, I will bring a unique skill set to the Legislative Assembly. Through the sciences, I have learned critical thinking, problem solving, the analyzing of data, and attention to detail.

What previous experience would you bring to the role of MLA?

I've been heavily involved with a variety of organizations during my time in Yellowknife including NAPEG (the regulatory body for Engineering and Geoscience), the YWCA-NWT, Girl Guides, the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies, and others.

Being on boards and councils has provided me with valuable tools such as the ability to work well in a collaborative, group setting; fiscal and budgeting knowledge; and strategic planning. My work as an environmental consultant has provided me with experience working across the territory on a variety of project sites and in the communities. I've worked closely with Indigenous people throughout my career which has given me a deep appreciation and respect for them as I see the struggles the communities are facing and the want for change.

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of?

I'm most proud of the volunteering I do in our community, such as the time I spend with the Girl Guides. I believe in the adage you can't be what you can't see, and it's important to me that I be a role model to interest young people in STEM.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing the territory?

Our economy. Without a robust economy, the N.W.T. will not be able to pay to solve the wide range of social issues facing our territory. The Conference Board of Canada has reported we are on the edge of an economic downturn in the N.W.T. while the Yukon and Nunavut are growing. We need to be active participants in the development of the Arctic in order to safeguard it for future generations and to ensure the people of the Northwest Territories benefit.

What is the biggest issue in your riding?

As Great Slave borders Yellowknife Centre, I believe the situation in the downtown is one of the biggest issues for residents in my riding. Many have expressed concern for what they believe is a worsening problem and want the 19th Assembly to effect real change in this area.

If you could accomplish only one thing while in office, what would that be?

We are one of the only jurisdictions in this country that ships some of our most vulnerable citizens, who are struggling with mental health and addictions, to other parts of Canada. The Northwest Territories has no comprehensive relapse prevention program.

If elected, I will advocate for a review of current practices and work toward change for the better. We need to engage front-line workers and those administering policies for their input as to how to serve our vulnerable citizens better.

Ultimately, I would like to see a treatment centre in the N.W.T. that includes aftercare programs and family trauma counselling.

What would you like to see the territory do to address the impacts of climate change?

In order to reduce the territory's diesel dependency, I believe we need to explore more green energy options such as community-specific, hybrid energy systems and the possible expansion of Taltson. We also need to expand our all-weather road system and ensure that our transportation system can withstand future climate uncertainty.

Each year, our ice roads are becoming more unpredictable, and without ice roads our communities become stranded with the cost of airfare prohibitive for most residents.

What would you change about how the government currently operates? 

I believe the government needs to work harder on the collection of data and statistics regarding programming and policy and then use that data to make better informed decisions. We need to look at improving the efficiency with how we operate the territory and we need to solicit feedback from end-users and experts when making decisions that affect their lives and work. It appears that communication between departments could be improved to streamline processes and reduce costs.

What do you think the GNWT must do to improve and protect the territory's economy?

Mining is over 30 per cent of our GDP and with the diamond mines set to close within the decade, we need to act now to stimulate exploration. When speaking with exploration companies, I hear mining companies are not interested in the N.W.T. because they have sustainability mandates for their mines to be powered with cleaner energy. When all we have to offer is diesel operations, exploration companies can't sell their finds.

We must remember we are competing for mining dollars in a global economy and must make investment here enticing. This could be done by investing in infrastructure such as all-weather roads to reduce shipping costs and green energy sources.

What would you do as MLA to improve the GNWT's relationship with Indigenous people?

I would make sure I listened more than I spoke. There seems to be a real disconnect between the government and the Indigenous people of this territory. We need to move away from a colonial mentality when dealing with the First Peoples of this land.

I have often been told when working in the communities that people don't feel that they are heard. I would work hard to be a bridge builder and advocate for the Indigenous people of this territory, rather than speak for them.

If elected, will you be seeking a cabinet position?

I think it's premature to decide this now. If elected, I would look at everyone's qualifications and decide at that time.

Would you like to be premier?

I wouldn't rule it out one day if I were fortunate enough to be elected to more than one term. It is not something I would be seeking for my first term in office.