The Green Party pushed back its nomination, originally scheduled for its May 10 meeting.
At the meeting, the two hopefuls – William Gagnon and Paul Falvo – fielded questions from party members. Despite a planned vote, the decision was delayed to complete the creation of an Electoral District Association, which is expected to hold its founding meeting next month.
Consequently, Gagnon and Falvo will now likely have to wait until June for the party to settle on a nominee. The former is a green building specialist with Ecology North, while the latter is a criminal defence attorney.
If chosen as the nominee, Falvo said he would be a local face to head the party’s efforts, having served two terms on Yellowknife city council.
“I think it’s the right times for the Greens here. Because even two weeks ago someone who said that the Greens had a shot at winning, I would have said that person took full advantage of cannabis legalization,” Falvo told Yellowknifer.
He points to recent success in PEI and the British Columbia by-election as signs that the Party is a growing force to be reckoned with.
“I think we’re at a point where people are ready to make that shift,” he said, adding need for action on climate change has created an appetite for the party.
Having travelled across NWT and Nunavut, he said constituents have seen climate change firsthand.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people in difficult circumstances in different communities,” he said. “We have to temper anything on climate change with understanding the reality of the lives people lead.”
He said the NWT economy’s emphasis on resource extraction has to be evaluated to see “what we can keep doing, what we can stop doing, and what can we do differently, without throwing everybody out of work.”
On the carbon tax, he said it should be seen as shifting costs, “making bad things expensive, and good things cheaper.”
That action would mitigate the larger costs associated with climate change, according to Falvo.
“We can’t make it more expensive for a family that’s already struggling with the cost of heating and the extra cost … of fuel to bring groceries in,” he said.
He suggested growing produce within communities to lower costs associated with imports, explaining this would create job opportunities.
Meanwhile, Gagnon said he would bring time and energy to the role.
He also pointed to recent electoral wins as a positive sign of the Party’s chances in the upcoming election. He said there is limited amount of time before the 2030 milestone specified under the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2018 report.
The panel reported that year could see the planet heat 1.5 degrees over pre-industrial levels, precipitating extreme climate events such as drought and wildfires.
“There’s not much time,” Gagon said. “I think people are realizing that.”
He cited melting permafrost as one of the potential dangers facing the territory. In response, his proposals include sustainable retrofitting of buildings in NWT, adding it’s a fiscally responsible decision that would create jobs and grow the economy.
“It’s not a political argument anymore,” he said.
Implementing a current plan on the table, he claimed the territory would save $120 million by 2030, and another $20 million per year starting then. He also said the program would create 123 jobs.
Similarly to Falvo, Gagnon indicated installing greenhouses could limit costs associated with flying in food.
On the carbon tax, he said the program’s success depends on its design.
“If you live in Sachs Harbour and are dependent on oil to heat your home, it’s going to cost you a lot of money. So let’s design a system, where the most affected get money back,” he said.
“We need to propose solutions, like the building retrofit economy,” he said. “People need to work and eat.”
Gagnon said he and Falvo likely agree on many of the party’s election issues.