1. Why are you running for election?
People want to know that prosperity, jobs and property values are secure for the long-term. I want that too; for my family, for my neighbours in Yellowknife South and for everyone in the NWT.
It has been a pleasure to serve the people of Yellowknife South for 8 years and the NWT as Premier for the past 4 years. We have accomplished a great deal over the past term. First and foremost was devolution of land and water authorities. Secondly, being invited by National Aboriginal Governments to chair the first national roundtable on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women was a source of great personal pride. Thirdly, increasing the GNWT borrowing limit to $1.3 billion is a critical step in addressing our infrastructure deficit.
Looking to the future, there are still many challenges to overcome in the 18th Legislative Assembly and we need to get to solutions quickly.
One thing I firmly believe in is altering the cost of living. We need the new Government of Canada to act immediately on its election promise to increase the Federal Northern Resident Income Tax Deduction; not just once, but annually. And we need a high level discussion on the impacts of taxation at all levels.
Another large expense for business and home owners is the cost of electricity. There are new technologies out there and I am committed to exploring them and harnessing runaway energy costs.
Reduced resource investment, population migration rates and many social issues must also be addressed.
2. What are the key issues in your riding?
The key issues in Yellowknife South are not dissimilar to those in most ridings. People worry about the economy. The Conference Board of Canada has identified eight new mine projects that it feels will come on stream over the next 10 years. We need those exports, jobs and resource revenues.
As those projects come on stream we need to ensure that territorial residents are the first ones to get the jobs. To do that, we need to ensure that they have the necessary skills. So we need to strengthen our education system, work with business and labour to build and deliver the best skills training possible, because when global commodity markets rally, we are standing ready before an unprecedented opportunity, not just for the territories, but for the entire country.
And our Senior Citizens and Elders need to have their concerns with the continuum of care and supplemental health benefits addressed. These are all matters that I pledge to address if re-elected.
3. Why should voters cast a ballot for you?
We have unfinished business. Devolution is not complete. We must accelerate the full transfer of authority from the Federal government and develop a made in the north regulatory system. We need to be in full control of decisions that will enable other environmentally sustainable resource projects to move forward in a timely manner.
Over the past several years we’ve invested heavily in schools, community facilities and airports; these are investments in the future of our people. However, we need to invest more in the future of our economy. Our infrastructure deficit is a major impediment to investment in exploration and development. Public infrastructure investments also create jobs that we need across the North. Studies show that every $1 of infrastructure spending adds $1.70 to final GDP. We need to get moving on those investments and create jobs.
The challenges we face are real. They will not be met easily, but they will be met.
I’ve spent my entire career working to make a difference for the people of the Northwest Territories, successfully advancing Territorial and Federal policies that have improved life and living conditions in the North.