Tips for new councillors
MACA releases helpful CDs for community and band councillors

Glen Korstrom
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 04/99) - Being a new town councillor or band councillor has just got a little bit easier.

The Department of Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA) has just released a CD-ROM disc for new councillors.

The discs outline some common problems new mayors or councillors might have, some advice from experienced councillors and a quiz section complete with the sound of applause for a correct answer and a buzz for a wrong answer.

"It's not all they need," said project manager Felicity Burr of the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs.

"It's one other tool of providing orientation. They're always going to need regional staff. When it gets to specific issues, they're going to need specific advice."

The $150,000 project was funded by the federal Agriculture and Agri-foods Canada, Human Resources and Development Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and the GNWT's Municipal and Community Affairs.

Though, with 1,000 CDs and the cost per CD being $150, Burr said it "is still much cheaper than regional staff going to a community for the cost of travel and spending the time there."

There are enough CDs for all community and band councillors in both the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, since the project was initiated before the creation of Nunavut.

The discs are called More than 'dogs, ditches and dumps', which recalls a quote from Fort Providence Mayor Michael McLeod, who once described the job of town councillor that way.

"The problem with our remote communities is that they're not all connected to the Internet, so we couldn't use the Internet as a tool for training," said Burr, who has lived in Rankin Inlet, Iqaluit and Inuvik before settling in Yellowknife.

Despite this, the department has put the content of the CD on its Web site at

To gather the information for the project, Burr said, focus groups met in Cambridge Bay and Yellowknife and included councillors and facilitators.

"We gave them computer training so they could understand the process of computer-based learning," Burr said.

"We tried to make it simple enough that anyone could use the CD."

Another objective of the project is to initiate networking between communities and get community councillors talking with their counterparts in other communities.