Two Tories talk tough on housing, economy, health-care and Trudeau

Hour-long Saturday night session for Conservative Party members to consider candidates ahead of potential federal election  

A couple of dozen Conservative Party of Canada NWT members listened to the two candidates hoping to be the Tories' candidate in the next federal election. (James O'Connor/CKLB.)

Members of the Conservative Party of Canada put off watching the Stanley Cup opening game to sit in a hotel meeting room Saturday night listening to political pitches and answers from candidates for an election that could be over a year away.

Former MLA Jackie Jacobson and Kimberly Fairman, executive director of the Institute for Circumpolar Health Research, each presented their arguments for a couple of dozen party members in the room, and others joining online.

Tuktoyaktuk resident Jacobson criticized the Carbon Tax, poor infrastructure, lack of proper housing, the high cost of living, and poor health-care in the North. Unlike Fairman, he cited Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre several times.

Jackie Jacobson making his case Saturday night on why he should be the next Conservative Party of Canada NWT candidate in the next federal election. (James O’Connor/CKLB.)

“Carbon Tax is affecting us, right across the board in our communities, the living costs, the food, the transportation — the stores are being blamed. This NDP-Liberal government is so out of touch in regards to what they’re doing, and the policies that they’re making. I feel that the Western Arctic has been neglected for a lot of years.

“I think we could do a lot of good things. I believe in Pierre Poilievre’s plan that he has for our country. Because my my grandkids are going to be paying for these idiots’ mistakes … this NDP Liberal government … I want change.”

Fairman moved from Inuvik to Yellowknife decades ago, but also spoke on the Carbon Tax, gun laws, the NWT’s slipping economy, and allowing a “mix of private and public options,” to help the over-burdened national health-care system.

“We’ve seen over the last several years of the Liberal government that housing prices have risen sharply, and changing interest rates for loans and mortgages that feel unpredictable. We lived through a pandemic that really divided people and divided Canadians along ideological lines.

Kimberly Fairman speaks to assembled NWT Conservatives on Saturday night. (James O’Connor/CKLB.)

“We saw businesses close and mines coming to the end of their life, job losses, daycare programs that created more stress and pressure on an already overtaxed sector, health-care systems that are not functioning and were impacted even further by the pressure and stress of the pandemic.

“All these things made me mad … and I’m still angry, you know, and simmering about some of the things that have been going on, and the inability or unwillingness of the current government to find practical ways to address those concerns and stop telling me you know how to run my life, I don’t need the government to in my business, I need workable options.”

Pre-screened questions from party members centred around economic issues, with the need to settle outstanding land claims and to push for more natural resource extraction being repeated themes.

Residents of the NWT have not sent a Conservative MP to Ottawa since the late 1980s, opting for NDP or Liberal representatives.

In the pandemic-plagued 2021 federal election, the Tories ran an absentee candidate, Lea Mollison, who did not campaign in the NWT, preferring to avoid the media from her Thunder Bay home.

She finished third of five candidates, with a significant drop in vote share from the 2019 election.

The Liberal-NDP coalition could crumble at any time, but the next election could happen as late as the fall of 2025.

The NDP has already lined up behind Kevin Kotchlea.

The Tlicho resident of Behchoko finished a respectable second in 2021 behind long-time Liberal incumbent Michael McLeod in the 2021 federal election.

The Conservatives will choose between Jacobson and Fairman in combined mail-in and in-person voting at the end of June.

Canada’s 2121 Election Results. (Image courtesy of Elections Canada.)

About the Author

James O'Connor
James O’Connor joined CKLB 101.9 FM at the start of 2024, after working as a journalist, photo editor and managing editor at newspapers in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. James also has experience in politics, arts, service clubs and the NWT’s non-profit sector. At this point in his lengthy career, James is thrilled to be working at such a unique media outlet and always welcomes notes from listeners at: