Mr. Speaker, six community governments in the Northwest Territories had an election on October 15th, 2018. These elections took place for all of our communities with City, Town or Village status, including the City of Yellowknife, the Towns of Hay River, Fort Smith, Norman Wells and Inuvik and the Village of Fort Simpson.
There were 87 candidates in total, vying for 52 available seats. The large number of candidates shows that there is keen interest in the local level of government and that individuals want to serve as leaders and decision-makers for their community.
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to report that our territory continues to benefit from gender parity at the local government level, with four of the six mayor positions taken by female candidates. In total, 26 per cent of the total 87 candidates for municipal office were female, and 78 per cent of those candidates were successful in their bid for election.
The voter turnout rate was between 34 per cent and 78 per cent across the Northwest Territories. The lowest turnout rates were in communities where either the mayor or council was acclaimed.
Seventeen per cent of candidates overall were acclaimed, with the Mayor of Hay River and the eight councillor seats for the Town of Inuvik not requiring a vote. Overall, the Mayor position was well contested, with two to four candidates running for Mayor in each of Yellowknife, Inuvik, Fort Smith, Norman Wells and Fort Simpson.
Local elections remain important to community residents. Being an elected official is one of the best ways that an individual can support their community in providing a safe, sustainable and healthy environment for their residents. Congratulations to all who were elected on October 15th, 2018, especially to the Mayors. I look forward to working closely with Mayor Natasha Kulikowski in Inuvik; Mayor Frank Pope in Norman Wells; Mayor Sean Whelly in Fort Simpson; Mayor Rebecca Alty in Yellowknife; Mayor Kandis Jameson in Hay River; and Mayor Lynn Napier-Buckley in Fort Smith.
Many thanks to all the candidates who ran in the six communities, whether they were successful or not. People’s willingness to serve is what makes democracy work, especially at the community level.
I would also like to thank the staff and volunteers who not only led the election process on behalf of the municipalities, but also those who supported candidates with their campaigns. It takes a significant effort by many people to facilitate this process behind the scenes so that residents can exercise their right to vote in elections. Mr. Speaker, there will an election for nine Hamlet community governments on December 10th, 2018. During this election, there will be 35 positions to be filled.
This will be an opportunity for aspiring candidates in those communities to run and for residents to choose their leadership and determine the future direction of their community. I encourage all qualified residents to put their names forward and, especially, to get out and vote.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.