business pages

NNSL Photo/Graphic


Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

Election 2011
Get informed before next Monday

Bruce Valpy
Northern News Services
Published Monday, September 26, 2011

This time next Monday, all you eligible voters should be marching down to your friendly community or neighbourhood polling booth to cast your vote for your favourite territorial politician.

Go to this page for up-to-date election information

If you're reading this at your office desk or settled into your comfortable livingroom armchairs, you may be tempted to yawn and move on. Before giving in to temptation, remember that as much as dear democracy needs a free press and committed politicians, it requires voters even more, preferably well-informed voters.

In most places, people get their political information through the press, television or election forums. Not so in the North, especially outside of the capital city. News/North has editors and reporters in Inuvik, Hay River and Fort Simpson. Outside of those centers, it's difficult for us to touch base with either voters or candidates other than by telephone. CBC, based in Yellowknife and Inuvik, has a similar challenge.

Even if a Nunakput candidate has the cash to fly into Ulukhaktok, can both candidates do that and go on to Paulatuk, Tuktoyaktuk and Sachs Harbour? Not impossible but costly and difficult. That riding is larger geographically than some Canadian provinces. Many other Northern ridings share such dimensions.

That's why News/North has put so much effort into developing an NWT Election 2011 webpage. Our election coverage began July 22 with Hay River News/North Bureau Chief Paul Bickford's story: Delorey not planning to run for MLA. Every story between now and then is available on the site. You'll find opinions there, with which you may or may not agree, and information on the 19 ridings.

Candidates from across the territory have posted their analysis of the issues and what they intend to do if elected. We have reprinted as much of those as possible on these pages. We are still missing some submissions but we will be accepting them right up to Sept 2.

By writing down their political views, candidates not only bring into focus their campaigns for their ridings, but they let the rest of us know where they stand. After all, any one of them could be our next premier or enter cabinet and hold our collective fate in their hands. Unlike earlier elections, you can comment on their views for everyone to see. Just go to our election pages and question the candidates.

Are you happy with consensus government? Do you want a chance to vote on your premier? These are two of the broader questions considered by our resident political expert Yacub Adams. Yacub works out of an obscure little office in the capital. He's well-educated, well-travelled, experienced and erudite, which means he knows a lot. He also watches the sittings of the legislative assembly on a small television screen when the rest of us are watching everything else. He has witnessed the worst of democracy in Africa, and is passionate about Northern politics and people.

We often hear from southern experts with giant credentials detailing the flaws and foibles of Northern society. It's time we heard from an equally qualified and arguably more credible Northerner on how we might do things better.

- Bruce Valpy is the managing editor of Northern News Services

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.