Mayor of Inuvik Floyd Roland has confirmed he intends to stand in this fall’s federal election.
Roland, who served as Premier of the Northwest Territories between 2007 and 2011, wants to become the territory’s next member of Parliament in Ottawa.
The 53-year-old hopes to represent the Conservative Party. He intends to file his papers in the coming days.
“I’ve got a lot of experience from the grassroots right up to the NWT legislature,” Roland told Moose FM.
“I retired in 2011 as Premier and, with that history and knowledge of the process of trying to get the message out from the NWT to the rest of Canada, I thought it was time to step in and see what I can do to continue to help us here in the Northwest Territories.”
The present MP for the Northwest Territories, Dennis Bevington, continues to hold back on confirming whether or not he will run for re-election.
Speaking to Moose FM on Wednesday, Bevington said: “I promise I will be giving people an answer in the near future.”
Bevington’s NDP is basking in the glow of this week’s provincial victory over the Progressive Conservatives in Alberta.
“This may have the Harper government looking over its shoulder at an area where it once thought it had a hammer-lock on most of the seats,” he added.
“Alberta and the NWT have a very close relationship. Whether it’s medical facilities, post-secondary education, supply of goods and services, maintaining the roads – we have that relationship.
“If the Alberta government is more focused on people, many of the services we receive will, I hope, improve.
“There may be better opportunities to deal with outstanding environmental issues. Things may be possible now that were not possible under the old regime.”
The Dene Nation also voiced its support for Rachel Notley’s embryonic NDP government to the south.
“They want to diversify the economy, base it on sustainability and be much more environmentally friendly,” said Chief Bill Erasmus.
“Notley is talking about taking a new look at the way economics work in Alberta, which means reviewing the tar sands. She’s talking about having a full debate on it.”
Energy markets experienced volatility on Wednesday in the wake of industry uncertainty over the Alberta election result.
Roland said he was reserving judgment on the impact a New Democrat-led Alberta might have on the North.
“It was a fairly big shift for Alberta. We’ll have to see how things shake out once they take the reins and become fully involved in running the province,” he said.
“What will happen to, for example, the water strategy? What will happen to discussions in the past about environmental issues, and support for each other’s initiatives? It’s a new learning curve with a new government.”
Roland suggested his coming campaign will focus on the “downturn in the economy” and “challenges of remote, high-cost areas”.
He told Moose FM only the Conservatives have delivered meaningful change in the North to date.
“You look at the track record of getting things done. When you look at the history of the Northwest Territories, key decisions in our history were made by the Conservative government, working with the territorial government of the time,” he said.
“The most recent is devolution. Now the GNWT is making moves and continuing to build on that.
“The work we are beginning to do is important.”