Longtime northern politician Jane Groenewegen is the fifth person to confirm their candidacy for Northwest Territories MP in next month’s federal election.
The former NWT minister and MLA last week told NNSL she was considering running as an independent. On Monday, Elections Canada confirmed her name will appear on the territory’s ballots.
“I’ve spent a lot of years in elected office so I thought I would offer that as an option,” Groenewegen told Cabin Radio of her decision to run. “In a democratic process, people like to have options.”
Groenewegen was first elected to the NWT legislature as the Hay River MLA in 1995, then won four consecutive terms as the Hay River South MLA until she was unseated by Wally Schumann in 2015. During her 20-year tenure she served as the territory’s deputy premier, minister of health and social services, and deputy speaker among other roles.
She said her platform will be “purely northern” and, while encompassing bigger national issues like the federal deficit, will focus on decisions, policies, and programs that directly affect northerners.
“There wasn’t any party platform that I wanted to be scripted by. I just wanted to do my take on northern issues and focus on that,” she said.
“The beauty of being independent is that you can side with any vote, any bill, any legislation that favours your political ideology and also your constituents.
“If we end up with a minority government, for example, all the votes of the independent members could become very valuable and that’s where you can get, I believe, some leverage for consideration for the North.”
NWT residents, she said, “really understand the concept of independent” because the territory’s system of consensus government sees all MLAs stand as independent candidates.
The federal election is set to take place on September 20. Advance polls take place from September 10 to 13. Anyone wishing to vote by mail or at an Elections Canada office must apply before 6pm on September 14.