NWT Election Expose #3: Who will win/who should win?
Here are my predictions of who will win their respective races in the 2019 NWT Territorial General Election — and who should win. There is a big difference between those two positions. Candidates could win because of their profile in the community — including family status, historical personal politics, etc. — fundraising capabilities, or quiet political party backing, instead of someone who might be the best-qualified representative for the constituency.
This isn’t about me endorsing people. I have chosen a couple of winners I dislike. I try and be objective about determining those who should win. My desire is to provide some fuel for thought on the day before people go to the polls. I’m sure this laying bare of my political instincts will open me up to be shamed, blamed or exclaimed tomorrow night.
And thanks to CBC North for having the cleanest and most accessible list of candidates I could find online to form the template for my list:
- Michael Nadli (incumbent, first elected 2011). Will win/Should win, as he’s shown improvement in his time as MLA.
- Ronald Bonnetrouge (project manager for GNWT, former chief of Deh Gáh Got’îê First Nation, candidate in 2015).
Frame Lake A CLOSE RACE, both candidates have decent voting bases. A stark left/right choice for voters.
- Kevin O’Reilly (incumbent, first elected 2015).
- Dave Ramsay (former MLA and cabinet minister, board member Denendeh Investments, Fortune Minerals). Will win/Should win. The NWT needs this smart, experienced, business-minded person back in the assembly. And O’Reilly’s limited left-wing interests — labour/environment — are getting old.
Great Slave A CLOSE RACE and another left/right choice. This is my home constituency.
- Katrina Nokleby (engineer). Should win. I already cast my vote for this bright and articulate candidate whose environmental and engineering background would be a welcome asset in the assembly.
- Patrick Scott (business owner, former land claim negotiator) Will win, MAYBE. This one is close. I like Scott’s popular downtown coffee shop (maybe I won’t be welcome there after this) and he is aligned with the NDP, which could result in some automatic votes. He has some decent policy planks in his platform, but in this race, at this time, Nokleby is the better choice for the 19th Assembly.
Hay River North
- Rocky “R.J.” Simpson (incumbent, first elected 2015). Acclaimed. Congratulations.
Hay River South
- Wally Schumann (incumbent, first elected 2015). Will win/Should win. Possibly our next premier.
- Rocky Simpson (business owner).
Inuvik Boot Lake
- Diane Thom (self-government negotiator, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation) Will win/Should win.
- Eugene Rees (economic development officer, Government of the Northwest Territories).
- Jimmy Kalinek (artist, outfitter).
- Dez Loreen (Inuvik town councillor, Inuvialuit Communications Society manager).
Inuvik Twin Lakes
- Lesa Semmler (nurse, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls advocate).
- Sallie Ross (public servant, former nurse) Will win/Should win.
- Donald Hendrick (highway transport officer, Government of the Northwest Territories).
Kam Lake A CLOSE RACE, votes will split all over the place. Several good candidates. Too bad they are all running in one place. Three candidates would make good MLAs. This one is confusing for me, so I’m going with the power of incumbency.
- Kieron Testart (incumbent, first elected 2015) Will win/Should win.
- Robert Hawkins (executive director John Howard Society, former MLA).
- Abdullah Al-Mahamud (entrepreneur).
- Caitlin Cleveland (senior policy analyst with Department of Finance, entrepreneur) Should win.
- Cherish Winsor (president, YWCA NWT, Yellowknife Food Bank; senior communications adviser with Department of Education, Culture and Employment) Should win.
- Rommel Silverio (Yellowknife city councillor, patient care co-ordinator, Stanton Territorial Hospital).
- Frederick Blake Jr. (incumbent, first elected 2011). Acclaimed. Congratulations.
- Jackson Lafferty (incumbent, first elected 2005). Acclaimed. Congratulations. Possibly our next premier.
- Shane Thompson (incumbent, first elected 2015). Will win/Should win.
- Mike Drake (regional superintendent, Government of the Northwest Territories).
- Randy Sibbeston (artist, Canadian Ranger).
- Eric Menicoche (Liidlii Kue First Nation councillor; president, Xah Ndah Resources).
- Herb Nakimayak (incumbent, first elected 2015).
- Annie Steen (former economic development officer, Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk). Will win.
- Alisa Blake (mine safety trainer, dog musher).
- Holly Campbell (economic development officer, Government of the Northwest Territories; former Tuktoyaktuk hamlet councillor). Should win.
- Jackie Jacobson (former MLA, councillor for the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk).
- Sheila Nasogaluak (regional operators manager, Government of the Northwest Territories; former wildlife scientist).
Range Lake A CLOSE RACE.
- Caroline Cochrane (incumbent, first elected 2015). Will win.
- Hughie Graham (public servant, former president N.W.T. Chamber of Commerce). Should win.
Sahtu A CLOSE RACE, but incumbent needs to go.
- Danny McNeely (incumbent, first elected 2015).
- Wilfred McNeely Jr. (former grand chief, Sahtu Dene Council). Will win/Should win.
- Caroline Yukon (former child protection worker).
- Paulie Chinna (Norman Wells council candidate, 2018).
- Louis Sebert (incumbent, first elected 2015).
- Denise Yuhas (former constituency assistant).
- Don Jaque (former journalist, publisher).
- Frieda Martselos (former chief, Salt River First Nation). WIll win/Should win. Martselos is a strong Indigenous female candidate and Sebert is a grumpy train wreck.
Tu Nedhé-Willideh A CLOSE RACE
- Steve Norn (federal government employee, former RCMP officer).
- Nadine Delorme (advocate, 60s Scoop survivor).
- Paul Betsina (Ndilo councillor).
- Lila Erasmus (consultant). Will win/Should win.
- Richard Edjericon (former Yellowknives Dene chief, candidate for Dene Nation chief).
Yellowknife Centre A CLOSE RACE, votes will split oddly. The late addition of Konge into race threw a monkey wrench into the incumbent’s re-election plans. I am not a fan of the strongly left-leaning Green, who championed and still defends the miserably failing Day Shelter/Sobering Centre experiment.
- Julie Green (incumbent, first elected 2015). Will win. But it will be very close.
- Arlene Hache (community activist and advocate).
- Thom Jarvis (loan officer, former broadcaster). Should win.
- Niels Konge (Yellowknife city councillor, contractor; NWT apprenticeship, trade, and occupation certification board chair). Should win.
- Cory Vanthuyne (incumbent, first elected 2015). Will win/Should win.
- Rylund Johnson (lawyer, co-founder of Makerspace YK).
- Jan Vallillee (public servant, most recently in information technology at Stanton Territorial Hospital).
- Caroline Wawzonek (lawyer, former NWT Law Society president). Will win/Should win. I consider Wawzonek as cabinet material and a potential premier in the years to come.
- Gaeleen MacPherson (vice president corporate affairs, Dominion Diamond Mines). A solid candidate who I hope will pursue another elected office in the future.
For those keeping score, I selected eight female candidates to win, and a couple of others who should win. So I’m right around the target set by many to increase the number of women in the assembly from the two we had in the 18th Assembly.
Good luck to all.