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At first they were afraid. Now, YK councillors have embraced video pep talks


You thought all they did was sit in council chambers and debate dogs, ditches, and dumps. Now, here they are reimagining disco hits for the pandemic era.

In a video shared to the City of Yellowknife’s Facebook page on Monday, Councillor Shauna Morgan – a piano teacher in pre-Covid times – belts out altered lyrics to I Will Survive.

She’s encouraging others to devise their own lyrics to sing while washing their hands for 20 seconds. 

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“Our role as leaders is to be trying to support the community in adjusting, and understanding, and coming to terms with our current realities right now,” Morgan said.

“I just thought instead of me talking to people, it would be fun to be a bit more creative and maybe get a message out in a different way.”

What many political leaders need to be doing now – including us – is staying out of the way of a lot of the day-to-day decision-making.

COUNCILLOR SHAUNA MORGAN

Morgan thinks a lot of the lyrics from the 1978 tune, by Gloria Gaynor, are applicable to what’s going on with Covid-19. She sees the song as a reminder not to give up on yourself when losing patience. 

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“We’re facing some really tough challenges right now,” she said, “and we have to respond not only with hope but maybe just a really strong spirit of not giving up.”

Morgan, who plays piano accompaniment for Aurora Chorealis, said the video is her first solo singing performance. 

She isn’t the only city councillor posting videos online, sharing information and messages of kindness. 

On Friday, Councillor Niels Konge shared a video of himself grooming the ski trail on Frame Lake – a public service for which he has long been celebrated among the ski community.

This time, he used the moment to encourage physical distancing.

Konge said he and his family have been in self-isolation since returning from Alberta.

He got permission from officials to perform upkeep on the trails without having contact with anyone.

Earlier last week, Councillor Stacie Smith shared a video with a message about the importance of accurate Covid-19 information. 

“We need to put some good vibes out into the universe, reminding people that kindness is of the utmost importance these days,” Smith said.

Councillor Steve Payne, meanwhile, focused on urging people to stay at home while learning how to knit, playing the guitar, or just petting your dog. 

“Do whatever you need to do, but do it in the confines of your home,” he said. “If we do that, I think we’re going to be able to beat this thing and we’re going to stay at low numbers.” 

Mayor Rebecca Alty, for her part, explained the dos and don’ts of social distancing.

“We want to be here for people. We want to get out the messaging that we all need reinforced right now,” Morgan said.

“What many political leaders need to be doing now – including us – is staying out of the way of a lot of the day-to-day decision-making that our trained staff and experts are working on.”

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