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School district arms parents with questions

Yellowknife North candidate Dan Wong's handpainted campaign sign.

Yellowknife Education District No. 1 (Yk1) has come up with a list of questions parents can fire at MLA candidates vying for their votes. The questions were prepared to help parents figure out where candidates stand on local education issues, according to a news release.

Yk1 superintendent Metro Huculak said the school board wanted to give parents a battery of questions to ask prospective MLAs knocking at their doors.

“We sat down and looked at what are some of the needs of Yk1,” he said. “These are just the needs of Yk1, and there will be needs in smaller communities that trump our needs.”

The questions ask if candidates will advocate for city education issues; what actions they'll take to ensure residents are well served by the education system; if they'll support publicly-funded junior kindergarten in the city and whether they'd like to see it implemented at the same time in other regional centres; if they'll support much-needed renovation projects; how they'll help to co-ordinate inter-agency activity in the schools and what they feel are the biggest challenges facing educators today.

He said he expects housing, health care and substance abuse to be spotlight issues in the election, so he doesn't want education to be left in the dark.

“These are just kind of questions parents could consider asking if they wanted to,” she said. “Here we're quite well served with the dollars we do get to meet the needs of kids. But children coming to us have more and more needs.”

– Evan Kiyoshi French


Lots of candidate forums coming up

Yellowknife Education District No. 1, the Commission scolaire francophone and Yellowknife Catholic Schools (YCS) are holding an education-themed forum for MLA candidates on Thursday, Nov. 12, starting at 7 p.m. in the gym at St. Patrick High School. Miles Welsh, vice-Chair for YCS, told Yellowknifer administrators from the three districts collaborated on a list of questions for the candidates, who have been given them to allow them to prepare.

The Status of Women Council is hosting an all-candidates forum Nov. 17, which will ask Yellowknife candidates to “think about issues of concern to NWT women.”

The Yellowknife Seniors Society is set to host an all-candidates teleconference forum Nov. 16 at the Baker Centre at 7 p.m.

Between 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Northern United Place, questions will be asked by several community, organizations including the YWCA, Native Women’s Association of the NWT and Alternatives North. The forum will also air live online.

– James Goldie


Signs for sore eyes

After the longest federal election in Canadian history, a simultaneous municipal vote here in Yellowknife and now the territorial election, residents may be starting to feel as though brightly coloured campaign signs are a permanent fixture on the city’s roadsides and street corners.

Former Yellowknife city councillor Dan Wong is breaking the mould when it comes to campaign signage, swapping plastic for paint with his hand-crafted adverts.

“We just wanted to do something creative and outside the box,” he said. “Elections are intense for our candidates and teams and voters so I think the point is to believe in what you’re doing but also try to have some fun while you’re doing it.”

Wong has one sign built using an old canoe that was full of holes and would have otherwise been destined for the dump. He said he wanted to find ways to recycle materials in making his signs, which he and his team are also doing with old bicycle parts salvaged from the landfill and a local bike shop.

However, perhaps his most attention-grabbing sign is greeting motorists at the Niven Gate entrance where people can see a large hand-painted sign by artist Terry Pamplin.

“Terry offered to paint a hand-painted sign for me as a contribution to the campaign,” he said. “Terry says that something’s off with the left eye brow he’d like to tweak but I don’t know if we’ll have time.”

Wong said voters he has talked to have had positive things to say about his approach to campaign signage, describing it as “fresh.”

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