NDP – Yukon will select its federal candidate for Yukon on July 7th

NDP Nomination candidates André Bourcier and Melissa Atkinson

Whitehorse (June 4, 2015) – The NDP’s federal riding association for Yukon has announced that its members will assemble on Tuesday, July 7th to choose their candidate for the upcoming federal campaign. Candidates André Bourcier and Melissa Atkinson both launched their campaigns this month; Yukoners with active memberships as of Sunday, June 7th will be eligible to vote in the nomination campaign.

André Bourcier
André Bourcier | Photo: Submitted

“A contested nomination between two high calibre candidates is a strong sign that Yukoners are looking for a change,” said Yukon riding association president Dan Bader. “I am so excited to watch André and Melissa show Yukoners what kind of candidate they would be over the coming weeks.”

Melissa Atkinson
Melissa Atkinson | Photo: Submitted

The NDP-Yukon media-release related to this announcement said, “NDP leader Tom Mulcair is running on a platform of affordability and progressive steps to make life better for Yukoners. From more affordable, $15-a-day child care to a national inquiry on missing and murdered Aboriginal women to repealing Bill C-51 and the non-negotiated clauses in Bill S-6, an NDP government would turn the page on decades of Liberal and Conservative inaction”.

“Neither the Liberal nor the Conservative candidates represent the change Yukoners want to see in Ottawa, added Bader. “Yukoners have a choice in the upcoming federal campaign – and under Tom Mulcair and the NDP, we have the chance to make positive change in Ottawa.”

The Peel Watershed – Frack It Or Leave It

Joseph O'Brien - Northern Tutchone citizen speaks at a Peel Watershed protest in May 2012.

By Norm Hamilton

It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.

– Ansel Adams

Antagonists in the confrontation in Yukon over the Peel Watershed are polarized between protecting the environment and creating economic opportunity. The Peel Watershed is not only a pristine wilderness; it is potentially rich in fossil fuels that could be extracted using a hotly disputed method.

Hydraulic Fracturing—“Fracking”—is the shattering of rock, usually shale. A cocktail of water, sand and chemicals is introduced into the earth under high pressure causing the shale to split and allow the oil or natural gas to find its way to the well. While the industry claims safety, there have been many instances of poisoned water wells and pollution of the air around the fracking. Extraordinary amounts of water are required to implement fracking, reportedly around five millions gallons per well. In some US states it is now illegal to state what chemicals are used.

In the quest for economic increase we create pipelines, perform fracking and allow careless mining. All these have been responsible for adulterated water supplies and polluted environments. At the same time, because we live and die based on economic circumstances, jobs are necessary to the working public.

Dave Loeks, former chair of the Peel Watershed Planning Commission at a Peel Watershed protest in May 2012
Dave Loeks, former chair of the Peel Watershed Planning Commission at a Peel Watershed protest in May 2012

There is more to the argument to protect the Peel Watershed than retaining the pristine beauty vs monetary growth. The watershed is one of the few remaining vestiges of pure, clean water left on earth. Plundering it for imaginary wealth may be a death knell.

Will the Peel Watershed be fracked?

The Peel Watershed Planning Commission (PWPC), was established in October 2004 with the express purpose of providing recommendations for the Peel Watershed. Their mandate was to maintain “wilderness characteristics, wildlife and their habitats, cultural resources, and waters” while managing resource use. Seven years, countless studies and consultations resulted in recommendations that 80% of the area be protected with 1% available for minimal development, up to 11% be used for conservative development – and 8% for major development.

However, the Yukon government has a different agenda.

“This remote area holds resources that have the potential to be of great value to Yukon’s economy, both now and in the future,” said Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources Scott Kent.

The Yukon government’s unilateral plan protects up to 29% of the region rather than the 80% recommended by the PWPC. Government’s focus on the economy, ignoring the environment, causes people to wonder if their decisions and information are disingenuous. The press release includes the term “enhanced regulatory and permit processes,” ostensibly designed to assure people of the safety of the development.

The Yukon Conservation Society and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Yukon along with the First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun and the Tr’ondek Hwech’in have filed a lawsuit hoping to protect the 42,000-square-mile watershed. They argue that the government breached the planning process as provided by the PWPC.

Prominent lawyer, Thomas Berger represented the Plaintiffs in court in July 2014. Berger said the lawsuit is unwanted but the government has forced the issue. The plaintiffs wish to defend First Nation and environmental values as well as principles rooted in the Constitution.

Joseph O'Brien, Northern Tutchone citizen and Stephanie Sidney, Teslin Tlingit Council member sing at the Peel Protest on May 5, 2012
Joseph O’Brien, Northern Tutchone citizen and Stephanie Sidney, Teslin Tlingit Council member sing at the Peel Protest on May 5, 2012

Then there is the much ballyhooed billion dollars plus budget presented by the Yukon Party. The budget address presented by Premier Pasloski states, “The Government of Yukon’s Budget for 2014-2015 is $1 billion and $318.4 million. ($1,318,400,000).

In reality, $898 million of the budget is federal money provided as Health Transfer, Social Transfer and Territorial Formula Financing. That leaves $410,400,000, approximately 31% of the total, to be collected from citizens, industry and commerce. At one time mining provided $300 million, but that figure is now closer to $85 million.

Statistics of July 2013 show 19,000 people employed in Yukon, 700 in forestry, fishing, mining, oil and gas. This is less than 3%; not all Yukon residents. To be fair, there are some jobs in the businesses that supply mines as well.

Economy is artificial, existing because we agree it does. Environment exists whether we agree it does or not.

When only the economy is taken into account, the environment suffers. Conversely, if we consider just the environment there may be a lack of employment and economic growth. Governments at the federal, provincial and territorial levels are taking the paternalistic position of entering into agreements contrary to the wishes of constituents.

An example is the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) signed September 9th, 2012. Some of the highlights of concern are as follows:

  • The negotiation was conducted behind closed doors.
  • It is a 31 year agreement with 1 year release clause effective after the initial 15 years have lapsed.
  • The FIPA causes us to relinquish control of our labour laws, natural resources and removes full ability to protect our environment.
  • Chinese corporations (owned by the Chinese government) can sue any level of government in Canada for creating rules or regulations that interfere with their ability to create profits.
  • The hearings for those suits will be before an international tribunal, rather than courts, and the resulting decisions will be paid for by Canadian Taxpayers.

This was not the first agreement of its kind, nor was it the last. To get an idea of the full extent of these go to  http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/agr-acc/a-z.aspx?lang=eng

Peel Protesters in front of the Yukon Legislative Assembly May 2012.
Peel Protesters in front of the Yukon Legislative Assembly May 2012.

Today’s issues include the Northern Gateway Pipeline proposed by Enbridge and promoted by the federal government. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Chiefs, said this project is destined to cross critical watersheds, streams and rivers, placing the environment in jeopardy. Enbridge claims there will be 3,000 construction jobs and 560 long-term jobs, all here in B.C.

In 2012, Marc Lee wrote a paper that questions the accuracy of these claims. Recently, the citizens of Kitimat, BC have voted against having this pipeline in their area.

Meanwhile the BC Liberal government is pursuing Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) agreements under protest by numerous environment groups.

So, the question remains, “Does the economy trump the environment or can equilibrium be reached?”

Peel Guerrilleros

Mountains Blackstone River Watershed. Photo by: Damien Tremblay

By: Damien Tremblay

The fight for the Peel Watershed is like an old western movie: Cowboys vs. Indians; developers vs. tree-huggers; evil vs. good; a black-and-white confrontation. Who are the protagonists and what are their motives?

Let’s imagine that each protagonist has good reasons, and a true motive—the “true motive” being more or less conscious or unspoken. The Yukon Party and the miners want the Peel open for mining and for roads. They use terms like “development” and “balance” to justify their views. They have good reasons: create jobs, they say, and a strong economy of course. Their true motive is clear, however. It is to conform to a world of big money, profits and dividends.

First Nations, conservation groups and wilderness tourism operators all have excellent reasons for protecting the Peel: keeping alive a culture along with the ancestral land, saving a shrinking wilderness and beautiful mountain ecosystems for our own purposes and for the next generations. Are those reasons not enough already? There is another true motive we seldom discuss.

The Peel watershed, like so many mountainous areas, is a place of resistance—a highly political space. Mountains are an essential component of the geography of rebellion. They offered refuge to the maquisards in occupied France. They provided perfect forest and scrub cover for the guerilla warfare of the Fellagha during the Algerian war of independence. Rugged valleys and dizzy summits are still hiding the Taliban in Afghanistan.

It is a historical reality. Mountain ranges thwart the plans of the most powerful armies. They defy logistics; they defy heavily armed forces, challenge economy. Unpredictable and treacherous, they defeat some of the most potent human systems. The dissident, the terrorist, the guerrillero, all find protection in those untamed and remote lands. Far from the centres of power, their ideologies, their beliefs are safer. They are free to exist. Remoteness offers freedom.

If mountain rebels are often a minority and definitely weaker than their opponents, they have at least, the satisfaction of being higher than they. It is much more than a fact of altitude. It is often a philosophical position; principles that make them believe they are higher. They need to be mentally and morally stronger. They fight dominant ideologies, governments and economic systems that by nature are adverse to any type of dissidence—yes, even democracies.

In many ways, mountains are the last physical outpost for critical thinkers. The Peel River is precious because it is a space of alternative; the polar opposite of a world of consumerism, laws and self-destruction. Yes, it is worth being protected because it is a space where we can still say “no.”

Who is the Peel guerrillero of today? How does he fight?

A Peel River skirmish already happened in 1932. Albert Johnson, the “Mad Trapper” was chased by an army of pursuers in the Rat River area, a tributary of the Peel. He had killed a constable and wounded others. For weeks Albert Johnson was able to elude his pursuers. Many media followed his exceptional feats of endurance with great interest. The man fought a police force, a government. The Peel guerrillero of today shares a few commonalities with Johnson, but he is a different type of warrior.

Johnson was fighting in the Peel River area, the best place to escape for him. The Peel guerrillero of today fights for the Peel area—to keep alive the possibility of escape. Johnson’s world had no laws, only the law of nature. Kill or be killed. The Peel guerrillero hopes laws will protect the Peel. He believes in lawsuits. The Johnson’s chase only lasted a few weeks. The lawsuit may spread on several years.

Johnson was fighting a government, just like our guerrillero. But even if Johnson had some sympathy from the public, he was alone and isolated, completely disconnected from any sort of help. The Peel guerrillero is not alone, there are many like him and he can count on global sympathy with social networks.

Johnson followed ridges to spy better on his pursuers; he erased his tracks, sometimes starting gunfights to defend himself. The Peel guerrillero does not erase his tracks. He leaves them everywhere! Newspapers, both printed and online versions, films, photos, and comments on the web are all shared massively. He reaches Google immortality. The Peel guerrillero signs Facebook petitions and clicks “like” on gorgeous Peel Watershed photos. He puts stickers “Protect the Peel” on his car. He participates in peaceful protests in front of the Yukon Legislature. He is non-violent in his actions.

The Peel guerrillero believes in democracy. For him “more democracy” will save his cause. He believes in consultations, letters to elected officials and letters to the editor. Johnson, in all likelihood, did not care about the principles of democracy. He survived. If he believed in anything, it was probably in his bush skills. Paranoid Johnson did not need to believe in conspiracy theories; he was living them. They were all after him. But there is something more dangerous than conspiracy that threatens the Peel watershed—it is indifference. How many people really care about the Peel? A lot maybe; but not enough. The Peel guerrillero needs an even wider audience if he wants to win.

Johnson wanted to be left alone. Maybe a bit crazy, he had, however, outstanding stamina and the will to fight till the end. He was hard to kill. Peel guerrilleros’ lives are not directly threatened and all guerrilleros have not the same level of commitment to win. But many of them are smart and they are now angry. They want to stray off from a univocal path of “if you can hold it, it was mined.” They want to strip away the government’s hypocrisy. They want to see real balance in the world.

Technology, in the form of a plane, defeated Johnson in the end. From the air, he was found easily in the barren landscape of the Eagle River. The Peel guerrillero can take virtual shapes, he is super connected. He masters technology and the digital age. Johnson was surviving in a cold Yukon winter. The Peel guerrillero can live at the other end of the world, in a tropical climate, and still fight adequately. In fact many guerrilleros have never put a foot in the Peel watershed. The legacy of the Mad Trapper lives on. It has reached legendary status. The Peel guerrillero has still to prove himself.

The Mad Trapper has been dead for a long time now but we can wonder if the recent threats on the watershed will bring him back to life. His spirit is already here.

Interview – Over a cup of coffee with Ben Sanders

Ben Sanders

I met Ben Sanders at the StarBucks to talk about his recent announcement of jumping into the race of the Liberal nomination. Here is the dialogue that unfolded over a cup of coffee: Gurdeep Pandher


YT: How did the idea of jumping into Liberal nomination get started?

BS: Well, I used to work in the House of Commons, so I had a first-hand view of politics at the federal level. And, you know, I hear a lot of people complain that it’s not working very well, that politics is broken, that it needs a reboot or an upgrade. And I got to see that up close, so I know exactly, you know– I have a visceral feeling for that being true. And, you know, I feel as though I’m at a point in my life now where I’ve learned how to take some big ideas and make them happen in industries where it’s very hard to do so. And I’m hoping to apply myself politically. I really want to get people more engaged; I think that they’re turned off. So at the very least, I have some new ideas for how to build a new type of politics, to try and make it more exciting for people, and more relevant too.

YT: Are you a long-time politician, or you just started experimenting with it?

BS: Definitely not a long-time politician, and not a regular politician. I’m going to be a different type of politician. This is my first time running for federal, you know, for office officially in Canada. But I do have that experience having worked in the House of Commons. And I think I bring a different type of experience, a breadth of experience to the job. I’ve built a couple of environmental NGO’s, I’ve bicycled across Canada, I’ve helped build a tech company in Silicon Valley, and I helped build the Blackberry and the Canadarm, and the particle physics accelerator at CERN. So one thing I think that politics needs is people who look at fact-based, evidence-based decision making a little bit more, and who bring a bit more of a builder type of perspective to it. And that’s what my engineering background will do. I think, in some sense, people don’t like politicians who are kind of career politicians. And I’m hoping to kind of get in for a while and get some stuff done, but then leave before things get too comfortable and the level of activity drops.

YT: You want to do things differently?

BS: That’s right, yeah. And I think that’s what people are looking for. I think they’re tired of the status quo, ’cause it’s not working, and they want to see politics be more positive, more accessible, more cooperative, more transparent, and more inclusive. And they want to see something get done. I think that’s what people like about me; I have strong track record of getting things done.

YT: Why did you choose the Liberal Party? Is there any reason?

BS: I think that the federal political scene is what’s most broken. I’m very distressed about the way in which Harper is currently leading the country. I used to work in the House of Commons when he was the opposition leader, so I’ve seen him and I’ve seen how he operates. And I think that a lot of Canadians are very concerned about the direction he’s taking the country in. I think he’s taking the ‘Progressive’ out of the Conservative Party, and I feel very compelled to stand up and fight for the Canada that I remember, the Canada that I believe we can be again. And the best way to do that is to get involved, and here in the Yukon, to try and make a difference. I think, you know, I’ve never been a hugely partisan fellow. I’ve worked on various campaigns before as a volunteer, both for Liberal and NDP – I’ve worked on Jack Layton’s campaign. And my feeling is that Justin Trudeau is building a new team, and he’s trying to build a new type of politics. And sometimes that means taking some risks, trying some things differently. And sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but I like the fact that he’s willing to try and build it in a better way. And that’s why I’m seeking the Liberal nomination, federally.

YT: You talked about Justin Trudeau. What do you think of Justin Trudeau and his politics, as he’s going to be your leader?

BS: I think that, like a lot of Canadians, we’re eager to see him evolve and grow into the job, you know. I think that he is doing some things that have motivated me and have made me excited that he’s actually taking action and not just talking about doing things differently; he actually is. So, earlier this year, when he made the changes to the senate – to free the senators, so that they were no longer part of the party, that they could be senators in a more bipartisan way – I think that that’s really important, you know. And I think anytime you see a leader relinquish power, give more power away, that’s a positive sign. I think that’s healthier for democracy. He’s also made strides to open up the nominations more than they ever have been before for the Liberals. And I think that’s really exciting too, because it means more people will get involved. And I think having a race for nominations is healthy thing, so I’m glad to see that too. And I think he’s taken some strong stands on some issues that Canadians feel passionate about, and he’s not shying away from engaging Canadians in a dialogue about those ideas.

YT: Do you think that Liberals will be able to form the next government in Ottawa?

BS: I hope so. What I hope for is to see a change. Again, like a lot of Canadians, I’m very unhappy with the direction that Harper is taking, increasingly so, and I feel we need a change. And that’s why I’m standing up, to try and help be part of that.

YT: Let’s come to the Yukon. How do you believe that you can do better than the other two Liberal candidates who are in the race?

BS: Yes. You know, I think there’s even more who are exploring the idea, and I think that’s healthy. The Liberals are going to use a ranked ballot to pick the candidate here, and what’s exciting about that is: there’s no negative repercussion from having a lot of candidates. So I’m hoping to see even more step up and join. The ranked ballot does away with vote splitting and it leads to more positive campaigning, ’cause you have an incentive to be your other candidates’ second choice. It’s a system that’s used around the world, and I would like to see it adopted federally in more places in Canada. I was part of a team that helped move it forward at the municipal level in Toronto. And I think that that in particular is a very progressive move. Again, I don’t see this so much as a race against other candidates for the Liberal Party. I’m excited that together we’re getting more people involved and engaged, and I hope to see more people come out and vote. And I think that I offer something new and different, and I think that after politics as usual for such a long time, I think a lot of Yukoners are looking for change, and they’re looking for something new and fresh. And I’m hoping to get some new ideas off the ground.

YT: If you’re elected as an MP, what will you do for the Yukon?

BS: There’s a lot of things that I want to do, but I’m certainly aware that it’s a system where it isn’t easy to make quick changes overnight. They’re adding thirty new members of parliament, so in the next parliament there will be 338 MPs. Which means that, first and foremost, I want to represent Yukoners’ voice very loudly in Ottawa. I think that a lot of Yukoners feel very critical that right now, sometimes it’s more that Ottawa has a voice here in the Yukon, and I think people want to see that change. So I want to stand up for Yukoners and fight for what’s important to them, and make sure that we’re heard in big decisions for Canada. Especially on things like the environment, climate change here in the North. Those impacts are even more strongly felt, and so we have a big role to play in shaping some of those policies and shaping the vision of the future for Canada. I have presented a number of ideas that are important to me, and so I’m hoping to advocate and push for those. But, again, really I think the first step is to try and introduce a different type of politics that engages people better. I think that politics needs to be more visual, so I’m going to try and share some of these big decisions with people in a way that’s more digestible, more palatable, easier to understand. I want to engage people better and find some ways with technology perhaps, to allow people to have their voice. So doing more ranked polls with Yukoners, so that I understand more their opinion in a factual kind of way on certain issues. So that when I represent them and vote, in certain ways, that I have more than just a subjective understanding of their thoughts on certain issues. And I think in the past, Yukoners sometimes feel like their representatives haven’t stood up for issues that were important to them, so I want to do that better. In terms of specific policy ideas, again, I have some that are very close to my heart, but I think it’s important for people to understand too that it will take time to bring those to the forefront.

YT: The issue of the Peel watershed development has been a widely discussed issue in the Yukon recently. What are your view about it?

BS: So I think, for me, the larger issue there is that a lot– I’ve been talking to a lot of Yukoners who feel that their voice wasn’t heard in that process, you know. That there was a well-described process where the government here said that they were going to capture feedback from the public. It seemed to me anyway that there were some very clear, strong opinions and a pretty broad consensus on the way that that should move forward, and I don’t know that Yukoners feel necessarily that that voice was incorporated in the plan moving forward. I do certainly recognize that industries like mining are very important in the Yukon, and they have helped grow and shape the economy here. And I don’t think that we can turn them off overnight, but I also recognize the incredible importance of protecting and preserving our environment. And I think that there’s a way that we can grow the economy without having as negative an impact on the environment. Those are some of the ideas that we talked about, that I would like to propose, as another way to diversify the economy. And that’s what I haven’t heard in the debate so far: a way to kind of find a middle ground, and that’s what I’m hoping to push for.

YT: What will you do for the mining industry for the Yukon, if you are elected?

BS: I’m really motivated by some of the leadership that I’ve seen from Shawn Ryan and his team. They’re using technology in some really innovate ways; world-leading techniques that are making exploration have far less impact on the environment. It’s making their costs lower, it’s making them more effective at pinpointing good places to do some mining, with less environmental impact. So it’s a great example of how technology can help improve mining in many ways, and I’d like to see more of that evolve. And I think that the Yukon could become a leader in mineral exploration that is less harmful to the environment. So, again, I think that there’s a common ground there that we need to find and strive for.

YT: You’re a tech guy. Please tell me more about that, about your tech background?

BS: Yeah, I spent several years building a tech company down in Silicon Valley with some friends, and saw first-hand how that community embraces the notion of failure. And I think that sometimes in government, there’s too much of a concern placed on playing it safe, and that prevents new ideas from being realized. And I’d like to try and shift more of that focus so that there is a greater acceptance for trying out some new ideas. Knowing that if we try ten ideas, maybe only a couple of them will really work out to be successful. And there’s ways to pilot and test those to get feedback in a tangible way, without planning, and planning, and planning forever, and never really learning quickly from those iterations. I think that Silicon Valley is kind of an epicentre for seeing creative new ideas emerge in a practical manner. And that’s something I think politics lacks, and it’s an experience that I bring that I would like to introduce increasingly to that area.

YT: Do you want to bring Silicon Valley to the Yukon?

BS: Well I don’t think the Yukon will ever be a Silicon Valley, but I do think that a hundred years ago we had the Gold Rush, and one way to diversify the economy would be to build the Yukon ‘Code Rush’. The idea there is to help support the growth of more web-based businesses, who can scale very easily and who can export their product to the world without any detrimental impact, without as much of the restriction as if they were trying to build a physical, tangible product. Because, with the internet, if it is indeed fast, affordable, reliable – those are things we need to improve on for this to work – then Yukoners could build businesses here and compete on the world stage. And it’s a great example of helping to grow and diversify the economy without hurting the environment. And I think those are the kind of innovative ideas that we need to look toward for the future.

YT: How did you get involved with YuKonstruct?

BS: I was part of the early team that got YuKonstruct off the ground. I have seen the model of a ‘makerspace’, which is essentially a place where you can go and share tools and share ideas with other inventors and builders, to create new things. I’ve seen that model work well in other parts of Canada and around the world. And I was meeting with a lot of Yukoners who have great ideas – there’s no shortage of innovative ideas here – but a lot of people either don’t have the space, or the tools, or the expertise to get their idea off the ground. So over Christmas, on my personal vacation, I went and toured six or seven makerspaces across Canada, ’cause there’s thirty in Canada, and nine hundred around the world. And I wanted to better understand how that could be applied here. I was able to bring some of that back here and have an event to see if Yukoners were interested in it. And we thought twenty or thirty people might come, but ultimately there were over two hundred who came. Moving forward on that momentum, a nonprofit was built, and that group was able to take this idea and build it in fewer than four months, which is remarkable – to take an idea and make it happen in under four months. I think that’s an example of the kind of leadership that I bring in being able to, again, have less talk and more action, to get things done. And there’s a lot still to do, to make sure that that idea continues to survive, and blossom, and thrive. But I think it’s exciting to see the space evolve, and more and more tools are coming in, and more members are joining up. And I’m hopeful that this will be a space where Yukoners can see their ideas materialize, and hopefully help grow the economy too – start some new businesses, get some new jobs going. There’s a lot of benefits that could come from it.

YT: What are your hobbies? What else do you do apart from tech and politics?

BS: I love the outdoors. When I came to the Yukon, I had one bicycle, and now I’ve got three – one for every season, you know. So I try and spend as much time as possible outside. I really love the opportunity to live here, to be so close to access this world-class wonderful nature that we’ve got, and that’s one of the best things about living here.

YT: When did you come to the Yukon?

BS: So I am coming up on my first year, and sometimes people say: “Wow, how will you be able to represent the Yukon if you’ve only been here that short while?”. And my response to that is– I think some people are saying: “Well, look at how much he’s done with the short amount of time he’s been here. Imagine what he could do with even more time”. I have been to every community in the Yukon, I’ve purchased a home here, and I’ve helped build YuKonstruct – a new nonprofit. So I think that’s an example of what I’m able to deliver, and I’m hoping to continue investing in this community. I’ve decided this is where I want my home to be, and it’s part of the reason I’m running – I want to make it a really great place, an even better place. But, again, I’m no stranger to the North; I was born in Northern Manitoba, and taught science in Northern Quebec. So, in many ways, this is a very fitting place for me to end up, of returning to the North.

YT: I think that’s it. I wish you all the best, Ben!

BS: Thank you. You too, Gurdeep. It’s great to talk.