Levan take NDP nomination
Aboriginal rights an issue

by Mark Sproxton
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 30/97) - A Yellowknife woman will lead the Western Arctic New Democratic Party to the polls in June.

Mary Beth Levan won the party's nomination meeting Saturday, defeating Fort McPherson's Wally Firth in the process.

Levan, a private consultant and long-time party activist, took two-thirds of the 94 votes cast. The meeting was held at the Yellowknife Inn, but heard throughout the Western NWT on a teleconference call.

"We need to have representation where Western Arctic people are represented in Parliament and not the other way around," she said. "I feel we've kind of had representation of Ottawa to us."

The first-time party candidate said incumbent Liberal Ethel Blondin-Andrew has gone against her constituents on many occasions, such as the gun control legislation.

"In the North, having guns is a way of life," Levan said. "But Chretien praised Ethel for voting against (her) constituents. What arrogance."

Although she has been involved with the party for 25 years, this was her first attempt at the NDP nomination.

Aboriginal rights, economic development, employment and social issues are some of the most important issues in the upcoming campaign, Levan said.

She will be opening a campaign office across from the Yellowknifer building on 51st Avenue this week and has plans to hold a press conference soon to officially launch her campaign.

Blondin-Andrew will run again for the Liberals. The Progressive Conservatives and Reform Party have yet to nominate candidates for the Western Arctic riding.

Firth said before the vote that he will still run in the election, but as an independent.

The federal election is Monday, June 2.