Federal Election 2021

We asked each of the NWT Federal candidates running in the upcoming election the following 4 questions: 

  1. How would you build childcare capacity and affordability in the North?

  2. As you may know, the North has one of the highest rates of violence, specifically, violence against women and girls. What elements would you support in a National Action Plan to reduce gender-based violence?

  3. What is your understanding around family homelessness in the NWT? What would you propose to ensure that families don’t fall into homelessness, and that homeless families get the support they need?

  4. What is your position on an Annual Guaranteed Income? Why?

*Responses are listed in alphabetical order and published as received. No edits have been made to responses. 

Jane Groenewegen


1. All the major parties have comprehensive platforms and plans to address childcare affordability. The missing part to those platforms is an understanding of the infrastructure deficit we have in the NWT, especially in our smaller communities. As an independent I will have the advantage of not being bound by a party’s platform and I will be able to work with whichever party forms government to address that deficit. By all indicators Canada is headed for a minority government whereby every single vote will count to move policies forward. With my experience and commitment to consensus problem solving and as an independent I believe my ability to help craft policy that is reflective of the North gives me and the residents of the North an advantage over backbench party MP’s.


2. The National Action Plan was designed around three pillars: prevention, support for survivors and families, and legal and justice system responses. Budget 2017 and 2018 proposed 100M+ of investments towards gender-based violence. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted gaps in the very systems designed to keep people safe. The Federal

government has made significant funds available for family shelters and assistance.  Before being a business owner, and politician I am first and foremost a mother and Grandmother. I will always be supportive of funding to address gender-based violence and will work with the incoming government to ensure that the voices of our vulnerable population are



3. Family Homelessness in the NWT is a little understood and reported problem. I am however aware of your CBC article from January 2021 and the YWCA’s call for urgent investment in affordable transitional housing as the pandemic pushes family homelessness to crisis levels. I understand the organization houses more than 100 homeless families in YK including 156 children and with a wait list of more than 50 families. If elected I would be open and available to meet with your Board to discuss how I could best advocate for your needs.


4. The North has many challenges not the least of which is Housing which I know you can appreciate. In talking to Indigenous governments and municipalities Housing is the number one concern in the North with Health and the Economy filling out the top three. An annual guaranteed income is not on the forefront of 2 of the 3 major parties in this election currently. The analysis is still out on this issue with estimates of 30.5 – 71.4 billion dollars to lift 12% of Canadians out of poverty. More analysis and discussion are required at the national level before I could be comfortable in supporting such a major program.


Kelvin Kotchilea

New Democratic Party

1. An NDP government would establish universal public child care as the next building block in our social safety net. As MP I would push for childcare facilities in every community, expand childcare educational capacity, provide professional development opportunities for child care workers, and pay child care workers good livable wages and benefits.


2. In terms of direct preventative measures, I support partnerships with school boards and Indigenous governments to provide appropriate education about gender based violence at the earliest possible age and promote understanding between young men, women, and non-binary youth. I strongly believe all measures we can take to break the cycles of addiction and poverty and intergenerational trauma is also pivotal to ending gender based violence. I believe many of those measures lie in the final report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.


3. I understand that the NWT is in the midst of one of the worst social crises in the entire country, and that the federal government is responsible for the situation and therefore responsible to rectify the situation. As MP I will push to bring more services into all communities, expand on the land healing programs, promote non-profit, co-operative, and Indigenous led housing initiatives, accessible and sufficient affordable housing, and expanding transitional housing, shelters, and treatment facilities. We need to end the adversarial structures in the North that pits a lot of groups against one another and the GNWT for funding. The NDP also supports universal comprehensive mental health care, particularly family counselling.


4. Within the first mandate of an NDP government, a guaranteed livable income is costed out in our platform to be provided to seniors and those with disabilities. As a Member of Parliament I will push for this program and for the criteria of this program to be broadened out,especially for easy and quick access if there is a family emergency or someone fleeing violence, for example.


Roland Laufer

Green Party 

1. The steps to build childcare facilities is 2 fold. Companies which are employing single parents should get incentives to integrate childcare facilities within the workplace . Government buildings should be swiped with these as well . Especially here in the north Where the Territorial and Federal government is a major employer. More childcare professionals should be trained in the NWT instead of in the southern centres. The second part is that a additional child benefit should be made available to single parents to be able to afford childcare . Not a tax benefit but a government paid subsidy directly to the parent. 


2. Gender violence is a very concerning issue for me personally. To reduce these occurrences, we have to work with education , prevention and yes apply legal actions as well as ongoing protection. All genders should have access to preventive measure , such as situational training, a designated contact person with in safety organizations. A organization of this kind should have professional counsel available and transportation to safety should be provided. In many cases the violence is ongoing and only with defined measures to remove the victim from danger permanently, with adequate ongoing long term support can the safety of victims be guaranteed. This calls onto the government to create a long term ongoing funding plan for all communities to create , and maintain adequate support for victims and their families. The consequences for offenders have to be revisited as gender violence needs to be recognized as a severe crime and should be dealt with accordingly . It may need to be implemented that especially in small communities that offenders should be indefinitely relocated


3. 4. These questions go hand in hand. Canada has amble resources and financial possibilities to create a guaranteed income plan for its citizens , of course combined with adequate job and skills training. In addition to this a non eviction clause should be implemented especially in times as ours now as the pandemic makes stability almost impossible. This initiative can certainly give more stability for families. Also a financial child support system should be initiated , as in many

European Countries : A set sum is awarded per child per month as a tax free government  paid incentive for families with children. The assist these families a program which not only includes shelter, but training, education and ongoing support has to be implemented , as homelessness, individually or as family causes trauma, for which ongoing

support is necessary. With certainty also the almost monopolized rental market here in NWT plays a big role in homelessness. The rental market should not be in the hands of just 1 or 2 companies and if so more control of rental prices as well as the enforcing of living standards must be guaranteed . To many of our people live in very inadequately maintained housing. The last part I would like to point out that especially her in the north, low cost housing, with rent control is a urgent necessity. But not only the housing , but also ongoing upkeep and maintenance of these dwellings, as we see many housing areas which are in a state of decay.


Michael McLeod


1. Our government has brought forward an ambitious national child care plan which will reduce fees for child care by 50% within a year, and will be at $10 per day within 5 years. Our plan includes building 250,000 new high-quality child care spaces, and hiring 40,000 more early childhood educators. We have already signed agreements with 7 provinces and the Yukon, and I am eager to get an agreement in place with the GNWT. Based on independent analysis, in Yellowknife our $10/day child care plan will

result in savings of over $9500 for parents. We will also move forward on building an Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care system that meets the needs of Indigenous families, wherever they live, to ensure more Indigenous families have access to high-quality programming. As a part of our plan, we will create 3,300 new spaces, and invest in Aboriginal Head Start programs in Northern and urban communities.


2. We are committed to building a country free of gender-based violence. It was our government that launched the Gender-Based Violence Strategy, committing nearly $200 million until 2023, and over $40 million per year ongoing. And in our 2021 Budget, we committed $601.3 million towards a National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence. If re-elected, we will continue to move forward with the National Action Plan and begin negotiations with the provinces and territories within a year, while working with community-based anti-violence experts to track our progress. We will also work with provinces and territories to support the development of specialized sexual violence courts, and to enact Clare’s Law so that domestic partners who fear for their safety can request from police information about their partner’s violent history. As well, we have proposed lifetime background checks to prevent those with a history of abuse against their spouse or partner from obtaining a firearms license, and "red flag" laws that would allow immediate removal of firearms if that person is a threat to themselves or others, particularly to their spouse or partner.We will also work with Indigenous partners to implement $2.2 billion to address violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people through implementation of the Federal Pathway and the MMIWG and 2SLGBTQQIA+National Action Plan.


3. We know that homelessness affects families and individuals across the NWT, and while it may present differently in Yellowknife than it does in the communities, the root causes are the same. Part of that is access to safe and affordable housing. Our government has been working with the GNWT and municipal, Indigenous, and not-for-profit partners to address the housing crisis, and while we have seen progress we know more work is required. Through our Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund, we have reached funding agreements with Indigenous governments across the territory to assist with their housing and infrastructure needs.Our platform proposes to co-develop an Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy, with an initial allocation of $300 million. We are also seeking to more than double the National Housing Co-Investment Fund, which has supported several projects already in the territory.  In our last budget we have also invested an additional $567 million to extend the elevated level of Reaching Home support over the next two years, which has been used by the City of Yellowknife to support a variety of programming and housing initiatives. On the matter of programming, we know that housing units alone will not solve the housing crisis; it will also require greater access to culturally-sensitive programs like mental health and addiction services. Our plan includes co-developing and investing in a distinctions-based Mental Health and Wellness Strategy that meets the deep and unique needs of Indigenous peoples to address the ongoing impacts of colonization and residential schools. A co-developed mental health and wellness strategy could also respond to the prevalent opioid crisis, include culturally appropriate wraparound services for addictions and trauma, suicide and life promotion, and the building of treatment centres based on the priorities of communities. Our platform also includes $4.5 billion in mental health transfers to the provinces and territories, and a further $2 billion for Indigenous governments.


Lea Mollison


No responses received to questions.