On Wednesday night in Yellowknife, local youths once again had the chance to let the candidates in this year’s election hear about their concerns, and gave them a chance to offer solutions.
Wednesday, November 1st, the Ecole St John High School hosted a youth-led election forum, where several candidates were asked a series of questions that were formulated by the school’s student body and debate team.
There were three questions in total, and the students even came up with ways to keep the process quick and streamlined. A digital wheel was set up to choose which candidate would answer next, and if anyone took longer than their allotted 2 minutes to respond, a loud gong was rung to signal the end of their turn.
Each of the three questions were incredibly topical, and addressed some topics that sit in the minds of many of today’s youth.
The first question asked what the GNWT could do to better prepare for climate disasters in the future. The answers provided ranged from transitioning into using fewer fossil fuels, making sure the territory is more prepared to look after itself due to our more remote location, expand the use of biomass heating, and increasing the quality of training that emergency workers receive. There was some disagreement among candidates about whether or not the GNWT should declare an active climate emergency.
The second question related to enticing young people to stay in or return to the Territory once they became adults. Many of the candidates agreed that the current housing crisis is one of the biggest obstacles in this situation. Other answers included improving the overall wellbeing of communities on the fronts of mental health, home safety, and recreation. A few even brought up the idea of paying people an amount of money in exchange for their residency. Improving the education system, and supporting small businesses were also pitched as ideas.
Finally, the third question asked how the GNWT can boost the economy while supporting the environment. These answers were very diverse, ranging from the promotion of a more equal society with indigenous individuals, increased promotion of art and tourism sectors, making sure that northern resource extraction operations are more sustainable, as well as an increase in the skilled workforce of the north, and hiring more workers who live in the north.
The Territorial General Election is set to take place on Tuesday, November 14th.