Gaeleen MacPherson has announced she plans to run for Yellowknife South MLA this fall.
MacPherson joins another first-time MLA candidate, Caroline Wawzonek, in running for the position in the district currently held by Premier Bob McLeod. The Premier has yet to announce whether he plans to run for re-election.
Currently the vice-president of corporate affairs at Dominion Diamond Mines, MacPherson stated the NWT economy is facing a critical time with the territory's two largest diamond mines nearing the end of their mine life.
"That will have a significant impact on northern employment, in particular here in Yellowknife," she stated in a news release Tuesday. "It’s critical we take action before these impacts hit us full-on."
She added the greatest impediment to growth in the territory is the high cost of living, saying government needs to look at all "key cost drivers" especially taxes, to see how costs can be reduced.
Calling for diversification of the economy, MacPherson stated tourism has been a great example. “Now, however, the development of products and services allowing us to take advantage of seasonal low periods is essential," she stated.
MacPherson also called for an overhaul of education in the north, something she stated is "long overdue." Attracting students to the territory's future polytechnic institute could also reverse a drop in population as students can be enticed to become longer-term residents. "Building this local capacity and tax base not only increases our population‐based federal transfers, but will also provide skilled labour for employers, who continually acquire these skills from the south," she wrote.
With her background in mining, including eight years in human resources at De Beers Canada and six years with Dominion Diamond Mines according to her LinkedIn profile, MacPherson stated she is able to bring "important insights and ideas on how we can change course."
"Through partnerships with all stakeholders, I believe we will enable the North to prosper."
Cabin Radio will feature extensive interviews with NWT election candidates beginning at the start of September, when nominations officially open. Bookmark our NWT Election 2019 homepage to follow our coverage.