1. What is your position on the current funding formula for community governments, leaving a $40 million shortfall?
I believe it’s time to update the funding formula for community governments. The formula we now have is almost 10 years old so I support MACA’s review and look forward to its recommendations to the 18th Assembly. It will be up to the Assembly to determine the viability of the new formula, but as I see it, almost every jurisdiction and almost every community in the country is struggling to keep up with infrastructure replacement and maintenance costs. It’s no different here in the NWT. So it’s vital to our own success that we review and modernize the formula to ensure that peoples’ needs are being met.
2. Do you support making community funding a priority of the 18th Legislative Assembly?
3. What steps will you take to ensure that communities are funded fairly?
As I said, the decision will be up to the 18th Assembly. I’m in support of a new formula that’s fair, just and reasonable. We’ll need to closely review MACA’s proposal in the next Assembly to make sure it meets those criteria.
4. What is your position on an indexed funding formula for community governments?
Gas tax transfers from the Federal government are indexed, so it’s not impossible to do the same for community funding. We will need to assess the impact on GNWT revenues. Like our communities the Government of the Northwest Territories has limited revenues and there are many needs and priorities to meet. However, I’m sure the notion will be debated in the Assembly and we’ll do the best we can to meet all needs and priorities of our people and our communities in balance with one another.
5. How do you think communities can be resilient and prepared for challenges like climate change?
I wish I had a crystal ball. I don’t. NWTAC and its members have done a good job of defining the perceptible effects of climate change through resolutions related to shore line erosion, permafrost and community drainage plans, and alternative energy codes and standards, among others. I believe the NWTAC should continue to light the path for its members and set critical priorities for the GNWT. We can’t address everything at once, but if you establish critical priorities then we can begin to address those that you feel are most important for community resiliency with regard to climate change.
6. What will you do personally to ensure that community governments are high on the agenda during the 18th Legislative Assembly’s priority-setting exercise?
More than community governments or the government of the NWT, high on the agenda is the people that make up our communities. We are all interdependent. When one succeeds we all succeed. I want to see our communities become even more resilient. The characteristics of community resiliency are fundamental; good quality water, housing, education, health and health care, safety in public places, and keeping the young, the old and disabled top of mind. I believe that community governments and the GNWT share these ideals. Clearly they were all, to the degree possible, priorities of the last two Assemblies. We need to continue down that path in the next term. It’s difficult in a jurisdiction with diverse cultures and an expansive geography. I genuinely believe that it’s our communities and community governments that bind us together. When you succeed we all succeed. You have been a priority in every Assembly I’ve been part of and will be in the next one as well.