Upon election, what do you plan to accomplish in your first 90 days, what about a year?
“Well it’s going to be a learning curve for me, as it will be my first foray into politics, so I hope to accomplish setting a very specific mandate with the other 19 MLAs with a short list of priorities. I want our priorities to be focused, and achievable. Within the first year, I would like to sit down and ensure that the municipalities, mainly Yellowknife, that we’re supporting them in their attempt to develop more housing.”
What are the most pressing issues you plan to address during your time in office?
“The most pressing issue for me would be housing as the foundation of our territory for the foreseeable future. We can’t have any economic development until we have housing in place. We need people for economic development, and we can’t have people without housing. So once we’ve established housing, I’d like to start building our infrastructure. We need transportation and energy corridors in order to drive the cost of living down. Most of the cost of living that the Territorial government has control over is heating fuel and power generation. So if we develop our transportation corridors and along with it we have linear infrastructure running up our transportation corridors, then we can drive our cost of living down. So those are the three; housing, economy, and cost of living, but they’re all interlinked.”
What is your plan to bring workers to the north, and keep residents in the NWT?
“Again, we need to circle back to housing. It’s just so important to know that you can’t have economic development without at least some foundational pieces of housing. It’s great to say that we’re going to have economic development, but we can’t do it without housing. Then a second piece of that is, we need to get into the schools. We need to educate our students. We need to start speaking to our students. We need to have real, hard conversations with them on what they’re going to do after high school. There needs to be career plans set up with them. I feel like we’ve been lacking in our education in setting students up for success in the north. Those are the two things I would work on is housing, and educating the youth.”
As housing prices continue to rise, do you have plans to address the needs of those struggling to live in the north?
“Housing prices are rising in the north because we don’t have any housing stock. We have a limited number of houses. We’ve stopped building houses, stopped building affordable houses, and we’ve especially stopped building market housing. Look back when the diamond mines first came online, whole neighbourhoods popped up in Yellowknife with a partnership between the municipal and territorial government. But to be honest, in order to build houses, we need to support the municipal government in their community plans. We need to support them by bridging the municipal funding gap, because they need to build their infrastructure in the city as well. Some more pump houses need to be replaced, sewer lines need to be put in, power lines need to be run. So in order to build housing, we need to support the municipality in developing their infrastructure so they can handle the amount of houses and the amount of people that will be moving to the Territory. It’s not a simple fix. This isn’t something that’s going to be done in four years. This is going to take long term vision and long term planning.”
Due to the rise in drug crime and homelessness in the territory and its communities, can you describe the number one crime-related issue you plan on addressing first?
“Well Yellowknife is not the same city that I grew up in. When I was growing up in Yellowknife, you hardly heard of drug busts involving guns and some of the harder drugs we’re seeing. So we need to really get to the root of the problem. Where are these drug dealers selling their drugs out of? Where are they coming from? The amount of drug busts we see with guns involved, and people from the south that are making Yellowknife their haven to sell drugs, we need to find out where they’re selling drugs and stop it at that root cause. We can’t go after users on the street, we can’t go after small time dealers, we need to go after where these people are stashing their stuff.”