North·NWT Votes 2019

The candidates: Kam Lake

Robert Hawkins, Caitlin Cleveland, Cherish Winsor, Abdullah Al-Mahamud, and Rommel Silverio are all challenging incumbent Kieron Testart in a crowded Kam Lake field. Compare and contrast their platforms in their own words.

Six challengers creates crowded race for Yellowknife seat

Six candidates are contesting the Kam Lake riding in the 2019 election. (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.


Kieron Testart

(Submitted)

Why did you decide to run for office?

I ran in 2015 because I wanted to give back to my community and make a real difference. At the time, I was a single father, and I was frustrated with the state of the economy in the territory, and its reflection on the job market. A lot of decisions didn't sit well with me or many of the people I spoke to, and I wanted a government that better reflects the values and aspirations of northerners.

I am running for a second term to continue working for everyday northerners and put the skills and experience I have gained from my first term to ensure a better government for the N.W.T.

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

Prior to being elected, I served as a sheriff's officer and policy analyst with the Department of Justice. I've been an active member of the board of the Canadian Parents for French. After serving this past term in office I've learned a lot from working for Kam Lakers and with my experience and skill set I believe I can deliver real results for Kam Lake.

I have strong working knowledge of how the legislature works and how government decisions are made. I believe this experience will allow me to hit the ground running with clear priorities and a comprehensive plan for the 19th Assembly.

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of?

Politically, my greatest accomplishment is keeping my 2015 election promises and never being afraid to stand up for northerners when they were looking for help or had concerns about the government. I ran for office to make a difference and helping northerners with their challenges was the most important part of my work and my proudest accomplishment.

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

Economic forecasts project negative economic growth over the next four years. For an economy that has not fully recovered since the 2007 global recession, northerners cannot afford the next government to sit idle and hope economic conditions improve. MLAs will need to take real action to move our economy forward.

What is the biggest issue in your riding?

Cost of living is easily the most often voiced concern of most of Yellowknife, and Kam Lake is no exception. Kam Lake is home to a large middle class with many young families and first-time homeowners. Despite years of politicians talking about lowering the cost of living, very little action has been taken to make a difference in lowering costs to families.

I've taken a new approach in campaigning on policies and programs that keep more money in the homes of middle-class families and help others join the middle class.

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

Complete comprehensive tax reform that will put more money in the pockets of northerners through new tax benefits paid directly to individuals, eliminating the small business tax, investing $2.4 million into the economy and creating a suite of competitive tax credits to incentivize growth, encourage innovation and foster a strong private sector in the N.W.T.

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

Climate change threatens the future of the territory significantly more than the response to date indicates. Coastal erosion in the north and the melting of permafrost are going to be two of the biggest impacts to our territory, and the effect on the economy will be significant. 

The GNWT's climate change leadership was reviewed by the Auditor General, who found problems with our government's response to climate change. Unfortunately, the subsequent action plans do not go far enough to address what's needed.

The GNWT needs to create the policies and procedures to provide for real climate change leadership, and examine ways to mitigate the damage to our infrastructure that will be caused by climate change. 

What would you change about how the government currently operates?

I believe there is a shortage of accountability to the public in our legislative system. Strengthening our governing institutions and lifting the veil of secrecy around many of the procedures of the legislature has been an important priority of mine throughout my first term in office.

I have explored different mechanisms to improve our democratic institutions, including formal rules for political associations and a caucus structure for regular members, and have supported changes to the Legislative Assembly's operations and procedures to support the priorities of all MLAs.

I advocate for a democratic reform initiative involving all MLAs that will work to changing the political incentives and procedural environment in our democratic institutions to build a stronger democracy with more balanced sharing of power between cabinet and regular members.

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

Investing in local economies is a key component of my economic strategy. Closing the municipal $40 million funding gap will create 200 new jobs and provide economic growth through new infrastructure development. This, combined with transferring uncontested land to municipalities, will create unprecedented economic growth opportunities and allow local economies to thrive.

The foundation of our economy depends on a healthy minerals industry. We need to ensure the right incentives (subsidies, tax credits) and regulatory environment are in place to create a robust cycle of mining development that has new mines coming on stream while old ones are winding down and moving toward reclamation. It is equally imperative that the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act is transferred to the GNWT.

In addition, expanding the Taltson grid to the North Slave will provide the N.W.T. with cheap, clean power that will lower the cost of living, make mineral exploration more affordable and create new revenues by selling excess power to Southern Canada.

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

Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and nations is one of my core values and something I strongly support. I believe the best way forward is to decolonize the structures of the GNWT by enshrining a nation-to-nation relationship as formal GNWT policy, new deals for all active land rights negotiations, supporting direct bilateral funding to Indigenous governments and opening up regulation making authority over land and resource regulations to Indigenous nations.

If elected, will you be seeking a cabinet position?

My priority is on Kam Lake and ensuring that voters in the riding are well represented and are given a clear plan for the priorities of the next government. After the election, I will serve in whatever role best meets the interests of Kam Lakers and gets real results for my constituents.


Robert Hawkins

(Submitted)

Why did you decide to run for office?

I've been concerned about the lack of effectiveness of the last assembly and the lack of cohesiveness in trying to get the already ambitious mandate addressed. Little has been done to address the cost of living or the economic future of the North in a post-devolution N.W.T.

I was asked by a number of people to consider running again and given this interest, and seeing I still had the passion to address issues, I concluded I would throw my hat in the ring.

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

I bring to the table a lot of experience. I was a member of the Legislative Assembly from 2003 to 2015. I am proud of my record of constituency work, which I will bring to the constituents of Kam Lake if I am elected.

I have been involved in any number of policy initiatives, such as my advocacy for a barrier-free building built downtown on 53 Street for persons with disabilities, as well as being part of a legacy that saw the establishment of N.W.T. devolution and the construction of the Deh Cho Bridge, to name two important accomplishments.

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of?

I am proudest to have, alongside my wife Sue, raised two sons in Yellowknife, one of which is now off to university.

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

It is no secret that the uncertain economic future of the North must be faced and addressed. There will be differing approaches to the issue, but that IS indeed the issue.

What is the biggest issue in your riding?

Securing a strong economic future of the North — while facing the climate change issues of our time — is the biggest issue for the Kam Lake riding. A strong and sustainable economy will help lead a strong North.

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

Well, an overall strategy that will stem the decline of the N.W.T. population — and see an increase — would immediately help reduce the cost of living in Yellowknife, while having net positive effects on the local and territorial economy. 

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

The N.W.T. regulatory boards are doing a good job making sure that developments mitigate any negative impacts on the environment. As for individuals, we need to put more work into education around what impacts we are having. Why can someone walk into the local grocery store and know how many calories are in a piece of cake, yet the everyday person has no idea what the carbon footprint is on an everyday purchase they are making?

The GNWT could create a program to help educate or even regulate carbon impact information, and this would have a meaningful impact on choices. People need to be armed with information and I believe they will make good choices in favour of positive change.

 What would you change about how the government currently operates?

The first big challenge is to reinvigorate the contributions of the regular MLAs in the law-making process. Reinvigorating the consensus model, which is intended to be a collaborative style of government, follows that. 

The challenge often is that the notion of "cabinet solidarity" ends up being an obstruction to regular business, including the input of regular MLAs. For day-to-day matters where the government would not fall if a bill didn't pass, it would be good to see them break from that role and allow members of cabinet to voice their positions and be part of the greater process.

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

An increase in the population will immediately help stimulate the economy. To get people to stay in the N.W.T. and to come here, there needs to be economic opportunity.

An economic plan that partners with industry to foster sustainable development and supports infrastructure projects as a foundation for future growth, while looking to the future in manufacturing, tech, and innovation as well as the renewable economic sector (eco-tourism, etc.) is the balance to be struck.

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

The GNWT must be a real partner with Indigenous groups and peoples. We must ensure the GNWT follows through on its treaty obligations. Respect the treaties.

The road to reconciliation is not just talking about Aboriginal rights and interests, it is also about incorporating these rights and interests into the intergovernmental relationship and into how public government works.

If elected, will you be seeking a cabinet position?

Yes, I would.

Would you like to be premier?

While that is not on the horizon, I have learned not to close doors prematurely. That said, whatever would happen, I would remain a champion for my constituents and ensure their voices are heard.


Rommel Silverio

(Submitted)

Why did you decide to run for office? 

I decided to run because I want to be a part of the change that I want to see. My priorities include the following: to give the community governments better support and empowerment by closing the funding gap, wellness and safety for all residents of the N.W.T., and economic development.

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

My experience as a sitting councillor at the City of Yellowknife gave me broader understanding of what the territorial government can do to enable to communities to serve the people. I want to be a part of unlocking that door and making it happen.

I am a health-care advocate and registered nurse providing care at the hospital. My personal interactions with residents from different walks of life helped me to understand their individual needs. I see commonalities of need and I want to bring these voices to the Legislative Assembly.

I have served as past president of the Registered Nurses Association of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, and am a former director (National Level) of the Canadian Nurses Association advocating the public interest and enhancing the role of nurses to strengthen the Canadian health system. In my younger years, I also served as a youth representative at the municipal and provincial level, promoting programs for youth in the community. 

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? 

I'm proud of the fruits of hard work, perseverance and never giving up. I recall being an immigrant to Canada was not easy, but I didn't give up. If you want to attain something you must work hard. Do not lose faith when there are road blocks. Just keep going until you get there.

Improving myself professionally by finishing a degree in nursing, landing a stable job and being in the public service are the biggest accomplishments I am proud of.

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

High cost of living and the foreseen economic slump due to mine closures are the biggest issues that I believe need to be addressed. If elected, I am committed to working collaboratively with colleagues in finding alternatives and solutions to what matters and important to the residents of the Northwest Territories.

What is the biggest issue in your riding? 

High cost of living is the major one and has always been the cry of many people. 

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

I would like to see the under funding gap close for municipal governments to better support their communities in delivering core services to the people.

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

The impact of climate change is a huge concern and the territories cannot solve this alone. We must collaborative with other governments in all scales, as well as organizations, businesses, and families.

We need to continue programs to reduce further greenhouse gas emissions and look into renewable energy and greener alternatives. Educating the people, including the younger ones, about the root causes, impacts of climate change, and actions to take is important. 

What would you change about how the government currently operates? 

We must give credit to the efforts and hard work of the government in delivering its mandate to the people. The government can improve with better collaboration, working together with partners, listening to what is important to the people they serve, and taking more speedy action.

The incremental changes during the process are oftentimes not felt by the people when actions take too long to happen. 

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

The GNWT must work on growing the population. The GNWT receives $35,000 per resident from the federal government through the territorial financing formula. The denser the population, the higher funding received, which can be used to advance programs and services for the people.

A polytechnic university will create more jobs and attract more people to live and stay here. The GNWT must continue to encourage mineral exploration by using the mining incentive policy, pursue more infrastructure investments like Slave Geologic Province and continue to support the Taltson Hydro-electric Expansion.

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

The GNWT must continue to be committed to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls for Action and continue to work with Indigenous people on many issues, including land claim settlements. Inclusivity and collaboration with the Indigenous people must continue.

If elected, will you be seeking a cabinet position? 

If there is an opportunity to lead a department, yes.

Would you like to be premier?

No. 


Cherish Winsor

(Submitted)

Why did you decide to run for office?

I am running because I believe I am the best candidate for the job.

I'm not a practised politician, but I am a social advocate. I'm also someone who understands government and politics and how to navigate those systems. I've been travelling to Ottawa for years to advocate for the North, cultivating relationships at the national level and seeing real results from this work. I've been doing this as a volunteer because of my passion and commitment to the North.

I understand the issues, I know the solutions and I have the relationships and knowledge to actually make a difference for the future of our territory. 

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

Through my work leading multiple organizations of all sizes, I bring a strategic lens to my work and will use this to ensure the GNWT focuses on the long-term economic prosperity of the territory. As a senior adviser within government, I also bring a knowledge of government administration and processes that are not always well understood. This understanding strengthens my ability to bridge the gap between the political and administrative sides of government and will be essential to creating more efficient and effective policies. 

As a public servant and through my previous work in mining, I understand the economic value of the resource sector for the future of our territory. My years of work in research and academia mean that I also make sure to approach every issue with thorough research and understanding. 

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? 

Personally, I'm most proud of my kids and their resiliency. Professionally, I am proud of my work to successfully advocate for federal housing money for women and children as part of the National Housing Strategy in 2017. 

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

Aside from the obvious social issues, our single biggest issue facing the territory is a lack of growth, both economically and in terms of population.

Mining is our economic driver, with thousands of workers employed directly or indirectly within the territory and numerous businesses that support the industry. To ensure mining remains in our future, while also using the skills and capacity already available in the North, the number one priority to grow our economy must be to invest in large-scale infrastructure projects.

With the current national and international focus on the North, we would be remiss to not capitalize on that interest and momentum through the development of a long-term economic strategy. This strategy would lay out our priorities and needs and allow us to advocate for federal investment dollars while they are available. The reality is that we cannot afford to pay for large infrastructure projects ourselves, but we can access funding if we are prepared.

Through a focus on increasing the population and having the infrastructure to support them, we can increase government revenues and grow the labour force. 

A higher population means higher revenues for the GNWT. The money we use to pay for government programs and services, investments and infrastructure is a direct result of the number of people who live here. Out of this year's $1.9 billion in revenues, $1.4 billion (about three-quarters) comes from federal transfer payments based on population. 

What is the biggest issue in your riding?

Kam Lake is a Yellowknife riding made up of multiple communities, but the issues are fairly universal and not specific to the riding. While knocking on doors, I've heard that social issues like the sobering centre, addictions treatment, employment and housing are top priorities. Kam Lake residents want to live in a community that is safe, that supports its most vulnerable and that allows them to lead prosperous lives. 

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

I would be proud to accomplish any of the solutions I've outlined as part of my platform, but if I could only focus on one thing, it would be to reshape the way our territorial government functions. Working together through collaboration and accountability and providing a strategic direction beyond the next four years will improve relationships with other governments and allow for better economic opportunities. When our government functions as it is meant to, we can build better policy and focus on real solutions. 

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

It's interesting that this question focuses on the impacts of climate change rather than climate action. Innovation and investment in climate research will allow us to understand what is happening and build our infrastructure to withstand the affects of climate change. It would also help us to address food security and protect traditional ways of life. 

What would you change about how the government currently operates? 

As above, our government must find ways to work together and truly collaborate to provide a strategic direction that allows for the future prosperity of our territory. I believe fully in the consensus system of government for the territory, but I believe that cabinet solidarity is impeding true collaboration and providing a divide between cabinet and regular MLAs. As a fully consensus caucus, all members should be able to vote as independents and truly represent the people of their ridings. 

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

The two biggest economic issues facing our territory today are slow population growth and the decline of the mining industry. Aside from what I outlined in the biggest issue question above, I'd like to see a long-term economic strategy for the territory. 

We still have a lot of potential for mining in the North, but we need to decide as a territory that mining is in our future and put our money where our mouth is. If we believe, and many of us do, that mining is an essential part of our future, then the first step is to settle land issues to allow for proper planning of infrastructure and development. With land settled and a clear economic strategy, we can pursue federal and industry investment to develop infrastructure projects and exploration. 

The North has an abundance of mineral potential to pursue but we need the infrastructure in place and an investment in exploration to see the economic benefits become a reality. 

I think for most people it's hard to really quantify the impact that mining has on our economy. With so many businesses and secondary industries that support mining, many of us are employed because of it and many of our businesses exist because of it. By taking action now, we can avoid the fall-out impact of losing our biggest industry.

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

As a mother of two Inuit children who do not know their culture and have no connection to it, I am thankful for the opportunity to raise them in a place that respects their identity. We have a long way to go to rights the wrongs of the past and achieve reconciliation, but a willingness to work together with Indigenous governments and bring all voices to the table is an important piece.

Working to settle land issues should be a priority for our government as well as reconciliation through the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry's Calls to Justice, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action, and language revitalization.

If elected, will you be seeking a cabinet position? 

If elected, I will make the decision about whether to put myself forward for a cabinet position at that time. My goal is to serve the people of the N.W.T., and depending on the makeup of the 19th Legislative Assembly, I may be better positioned to do that as an MLA or as a cabinet minister. 

Would you like to be premier? 

I will not seek to be premier of the N.W.T.. While I believe that we need a diverse representation of people as MLAs, I feel the position of premier should be held by someone who is from the N.W.T. and can bring that lens to the role.


Caitlin Cleveland

(Submitted)

 Why did you decide to run for office?

My husband and I were both raised in Yellowknife and are now raising our own children in the Kam Lake riding. I am passionate about the success of our territory and believe my experience as a public servant and business owner combined with my ability to think outside the box will make me a strong MLA.

I am excited about the future of the N.W.T. We have great opportunity to marry traditional knowledge and cultural resurgence with innovative technologies and infrastructures; but the only way to achieve this is together. 

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

I have owned and operated a local business for the last 15 years and also have six years of experience as a public servant, and can appreciate the perspectives of both the private and public sector. I have built a broad base of lasting relationships, people who respect and can call on each other, and would work with me to align themselves with the work of the Legislative Assembly. 

The constituents of Kam Lake know that they are not only voting for me, but opening the door for their own meaningful participation in public government.

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of?

I am most proud of the business I have created and the trust I have earned from my clients. Over the last 15 years I have created a strong presence and reputation, and have grown lasting connections with clients both in the North and abroad through intimate and emotional events.

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

Our territory is facing a crucial time in N.W.T. history. Our personal and community wellness is central to our ability to thrive as a healthy and caring society. The health of people, communities, culture and the economy fit within that and are measured by the quality of life we have and the degree to which we all can enjoy it equitably. 

Within that, you can isolate issues such as mental health and addictions, advocacy for our youth and elders, support for a skilled workforce of people ready for the information economy, the need for resilient transportation, energy and communication infrastructure, and a robust and diverse economy to fund our quality of life.

We will need the innovative capacity for adaptation and innovation to transform the coming challenges of climate change and globalization in our favour. This next government has a tremendous amount of work to complete and will require a team of representatives capable of rolling up their sleeves and working together.

What is the biggest issue in your riding?

The issues Kam Lake constituents have approached me about the most is their future prosperity and the safety of our residents, particularly in the downtown. These are both systemic problems, which will require systemic solutions. As such, we must bring everyone to the table; each taking part in implementing solutions that we can all support. 

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

Connect people. I believe that creating an expectation and precedence of connection both between public and Indigenous government, the private sector, non-government organizations and civil society will go a long way.

The impact of connecting people will empower teams to move forward together; to deliver integrated service programs that better serve the client, to better support youth by connecting our education, health and community leaders at the grassroots level, and to connect. 

I sincerely believe that by focusing on connecting people, ideas and opportunities, I can be a catalyst for meaningful and lasting improvements to the quality of life of our residents and the prosperity of our territory.

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

In the North, we see the impacts of climate change earlier and more intensely than the rest of the world. We can invest in the infrastructure that will make us more resilient to the impact. 

We can become a centre of excellence in research at the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility and the emerging Aurora Polytechnic University, where in concert with Indigenous knowledge, we can innovate adaptive technologies and ways of life. We can provide leadership in adaptation to both the challenges and opportunities of climate change, resource availability, and emerging agriculture.

What would you change about how the government currently operates?

I would like to see the GNWT continue to break down silos and integrate system delivery models that benefit the client, improve our efficiency and ultimately stretch the reach of our budgets. Regulatory regimes set a platform from which we can operate responsibly, but this environment needs to be simple, clear and focused on supporting the outcomes we want, rather than only preventing the impacts that we wish to avoid. 

We need to focus our energy on things that improve our prosperity and the quality of life, and stop doing things that don't achieve that. We need all government to be accountable for results, and not the enforcement of procedure. 

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

We need to make the NWT an attractive place to move to and do business in by removing barriers while reducing the cost of doing business here. We need to expect that socially and environmentally responsible diversified business, both big and small, in tourism and mining, is GOOD BUSINESS. 

Some solutions require federal support, like making strategic infrastructure investments that increase the availability of sustainable energy, communication, transportation and skills. Other action items require connecting and resourcing Indigenous and community governments, as well as business partners, to ensure GNWT policies and processes are modern, fair, transparent and accessible; streamline regulatory processes and clarify measurable objectives; support local and Indigenous business development; and strengthen the N.W.T.'s skilled labour pool.

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

Listen, reflect and connect. Our Indigenous governments need to be heard, and we all need to sit at the table with respect and integrity. My business and personal success is driven by my ability to connect with people and I intend to carry myself professionally within my role as MLA with the same integrity and respect that I have throughout my career.

If elected, will you be seeking a cabinet position?

With our current government, our role as either MLA or cabinet minister is determined by our peers. I plan to do the best job possible with the role I am given.

Would you like to be premier?

I will be committed to the interests of my riding, the territory, and Northern Canada through careful listening, creative and strategic thinking, effective relationships, and meaningful results.


Abdullah Al-Mahamud

(Facebook)

Why did you decide to run for office?

I decided to run for Kam Lake because I'm a Kam Laker. When I saw that businesses and mining are closing, living costs are rising, employee shortages, population stagnant, and less mining exploration. We don't have a university for our children, for them to upgrade their skills and get more education for the emerging economy. Homelessness is a bigger issue for our [government].

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

I'm an entrepreneur with 18 years experience, and the last 14 years, I've lived in Yellowknife. As an entrepreneur, I do like to have a balanced budget, find out what ways there are to minimize my costs and getting more exposure for my business to expand.

I started with one business up here. Now I have a couple of restaurants running and I do have a real estate business, too, up here, for the rental sector. Quiznos at Old Airport Road, and one at the airport terminal, and I have an apartment in the downtown area. That is the experience I can bring. 

As a northerner, we need to have a balanced budget to be self-sustaining, and looking for the future. I don't like to be dependent. Northerners can be independent and the GNWT can flourish for the future.

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of?

I came to Canada in 1999, and the welcome and the kindness and the diversity in Canada, it's just amazing. People love each other, so much. And you have a place where you have opportunity. You can be whoever you want to.

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

The territory is facing a whole bunch of things mixed together. The economy is slowing down. We are a mining territory, and we need to have exploration…. We need to really look for the way to develop that infrastructure…. We have to implement our digital infrastructure too…. I think we need to have a redundant… fiber optic line to support the North. The digital age is coming, and we have to adapt ourselves for the coming, emerging economy.

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

I'd like to accomplish a whole bunch of things, but I'd like to go for, mainly, the young families. The reason [is that] in Yellowknife, we have only 18 to 20 thousand people. It's become a kind of transient place, and people don't want to stay up here because of the cost of living. 

So I would like to reduce the living costs, allowing the family to grow more. Implement universal daycare so that parents can work and make more family income. Reduce daycare costs.

[Also,] a competitive auto and housing insurance support program. It's the same as an insurance company, that would generate $80 to $200 million in revenue for the GNWT. And obviously, it would create jobs. We could reduce the insurance premiums for Northern residents. That revenue we generate, we can [use to] fund our daycare system, the program I am trying to implement, and invest in renewable energy and affordable housing, and all other social programs.

The SGI and MPI [public insurance companies in Saskatchewan and Manitoba], they are the example, how they are doing a government insurance program.

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

It's a huge issue, not only for the territory, for the whole world. We only have one Earth. We want to keep that place pristine. 

It is our moral obligation, it is our duty not to utilize that resource that much, and try to step onto renewable energy, use solar power and wind turbines to reduce our carbon footprint.

What would you change about how the government currently operates?

We've got to cut the red tape. We've got to allow new businesses. Go for the mining sector, the renewable energy sector, the tourism sector. We are lagging behind on the digital age. So we've got to cut the red tape, make it streamlined for new investors to come and do business in the Northwest Territories.

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

We've got to be much more independent. We need to have our fiscal responsibility tightened, and try to get more investors to come up here. Investing heavily in our education, in our polytechnical university, to reduce our dependence on other provinces.

One way to say it is the "brain drain" — because when the kids are going down south to upgrade or get a higher education, one in ten students is not coming out.

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

We've got to work with Indigenous people a lot — as an MLA, I would like to work with the Indigenous [people] to improve their living standard, education, and land settlements. At least we can handshake together, and we can live in a prosperous and serene North together.

If elected, will you be seeking a cabinet position?

Yes.

Would you like to be premier?

No.

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