Family status: Spouse is Jean Cardinal
Age: Did not answer
Education: MBA, Law degree, diploma in Wellness Counselling
Experience: One term as MLA for Yellowknife North
Four terms as councillor on Yellowknives Dene First Nation
Eight months as acting chief for Yellowknives Dene First Nation
12 years as a senior manager with GNWT, including four years as assistant deputy minister of Education, Culture and Employment
Land claims negotiator for Akaitcho Territory Government
I see too many problems that are persisting with the current POOR approach to government. Things are being done in ways that are not in the best interests of Yellowknife and NWT residents.
One person put it best: the GNWT seems to think that an issue is solved if they allocate a bit of money to an area, do a study, or print a plan. Not so. It’s time for a fresh approach.
Here are a few examples.
Everyone knows the cost of living is too high in the NWT. But the GNWT is not being proactive to assist with that. There are so many things that can be done. One small one would be to provide subsidies or tax breaks to pay for registration for sports, recreation and fitness. We would end up with healthier people and less health costs in the long run.
So many people have a poor education and need to upgrade their education levels. GNWT seems to think people should do this on Income Assistance. I want to provide Student Financial Assistance to people who need upgrading to get into a trade, college or university. Another area is too many kids are leaving high school unprepared. We need to work with parents to get them involved in their children’s education. Remember, no matter how good your school system is, a kid won’t learn if he is not in school.
Also, it would be in all of our interests to finish land claims as quickly as possible, particularly with the Akaitcho Dene. Because it would open up land for development in Yellowknife, which would result in cheaper housing lots, thus cheaper houses being built. It would also provide certainty for developers who need to know the rules of engagement when they want to invest their money in exploration or developing mines. Also, Akaitcho Dene, and particularly the Yellowknives Dene would receive a huge amount of cash, and a lot of that would be invested in Yellowknife and the NWT.
But the GNWT continues to treat the land claim groups like enemies instead of fellow citizens of the NWT. In fact, they appear to have gotten worse in their approach to negotiations. That is simply wrong. Northerners need to work together to make the NWT the best it can be. We were supposed to do better when we took over from the federal government, not entrench their worst behaviors and even make them worse.
Finally, we have socio-economic agreements with the mines in which the mines have committed to provide jobs, apprenticeships and business opportunities. They usually are not able to meet those commitments, but we can’t do anything about it. I would push to pass legislation so that we can enforce the socio-economic agreements. Newfoundland has that for offshore oil activity.