The Village of Fort Simpson has 10 candidates running for eight council positions. Candidates running this time for councill around include Celine Antoine, A.J. Augier, Troy Bellefontaine, Kirby Groat, Muaz Hassan, Marie Lafferty, Liza McPherson, Clayton Moreau, Michael Rowe, and Randal (Randy) Sibbeston.

The mayoral candidates are Sean Whelly and Patrick Rowe. Councillors from the last term not running again include Chuck Blyth, Tylor Bradbury and John Dempsey. The following candidates could not be reached by press time: Celine Antoine and Liza McPherson.


Patrick Rowe

Status: Running for Mayor

Age: 59

Time in the area: first moved to Fort Simpson in 1969.

Family status: married with two kids.

Why running: I think it is time for changes in Fort Simpson. I’m a long term resident and my philosophy is you’re either in or you’re in the way. I think I can bring a lot to the village council and a little bit of new blood wouldn’t hurt.

What differentiates you from other candidates: I’m not afraid to work with other agencies of government to go out and get things done. I’m all for Fort Simpson. I’ve been with the fire department for 35 years and I’ve worked at the territorial level helping set up emergency measures for the community. This shows my commitment and that is what I’m offering to the people.

I’m not a politician, but I think it is time to look at where Fort Simpson is going and maybe some objectives of how we can get there. It will depend a lot on who the council is, but I bring a working relationship to the big city YK for a lot of things. I’m not scared to meet with ministers on things that could be an incentive to the Fort Simpson area.

Experience: I worked with the fire department for 35 years, including as chief for 21 years. department. I was on council in early nineties and at the time we paved all of Main Street curb and gutter in the short term. It proved that we could roll up our sleeves and get at it. I’m not sure how everything works. I would have to rely on staff and senior administration. I’m not going to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes but I’m just saying willing to listen and be heard and anyone that knows me I am a straight shooter.

Top election issue: Growing up here I played a lot of minor hockey and baseball and it doesn’t happen in Fort Simpson anymore. I would like to look at enhancing our recreation facilites,  and deal with the dust on the roads by working with the territorial and federal governments for funding. I’d like to see an asset review to see where we are at and balance the budget, while still moving forward.

What does a healthy community look like to you: Everybody working toward the same goal. Our youth finding work where we can be more meaningful. I was a supporter of the former communities in bloom where we were fairly impressive by having potted plants all the way down the road. Work beautification into our area with staff. Improve the use of staff resources as best we can.


Muaz Hassan


Time in Area: Nine years in Fort Simpson.

Experience: Unity store owner and manager stayed for eight years before that I worked as manger of quality assurance and risk management. I’ve worked all over the world with refugees and internally displaced people. I’ve worked in the humanitarian field with international nongovernmental organizations and the United Nations.

Why Running: Through all my life I’ve been dealing with social issues. I think it’s my responsibility to share some of my experience in regards to youth issues, drug issues, alcohol, domestic violence, suicide, bullying and all issues that affect the community.

Fort Simpson residents always respect the elders involvement regarding traditional life and the people’s connection to the land and environment. As a councillor, I will do my best to work with residents and raise their concerns to the council.

What differentiates you from other candidates: I can’t talk about other candidates but I know that I always deal with all council and community issues ethically and I try to avoid conflicts of interest.

What does a healthy community look like to you: A community that recognize its own issues and starts practical steps to solve problems. I think that I can help Fort Simpson become a community that deals with all issues proactively. As town council we will always be supportive to our community in terms of services and essential needs.


Clayton Moreau

Age: 39

Time in Area: Born and raised in Fort Simpson.

Family status: Married with one dog.

Experience: Carpentry, long standing interest in all things science related.

Why Running: I was asked this time.

What differentiates you from other candidates: I don’t know.

Top election issue: Learning and long term planning.

What does a healthy community look like to you: Busy and productive.


Photo: Sibbeston, Randal.jpg

Name: Randal Sibbeston

Age: 47

Family status: Married with children.

Why Running: Because I was asked to.

Top election issue: Here are the causes I champion. They are the environment, arts, agriculture and history. I have served as the Metis president of FSMN and the executive committee of DFN. I have also self represented at the Supreme Court level having successfully defended my rights against a ruthless opponent.

What differentiates you from other candidates:  I am a parent concerned with the future of Fort Simpson as I plan to live out my days here.  I am familiar with legislation, the legislative process and international standards.

What does a healthy community look like to you: A healthy community would have many large happy families uncontaminated by arsenic.


Michael Rowe

Age: 32

Time in Area: Born in Yellowknife, spent whole life in Fort Simpson.  Marital Status

Family status: Live-in girlfriend, parents and extended family in the North.

Experience: Mechanic at PR Contracting Ltd. One term on council and I’m a volunteer firefighter.
Top election issue: Focusing on more activities for children, raising awareness on drug prevention and creating a more inclusive village for community events. I enjoyed the last term. There seems to be a bit of interest for me to run again. We began construction on the fitness centre and entered into an agreement for the lease for the partnership building with the band. We also chip-sealed the back road (Antoine Drive) and we are very happy with how it worked out.

Why Running: The main reason is that there is more that I want to get done with the chip-seal project in the rest of the community. There are projects in motion  that I would like to see to the end.

What differentiates you from other candidates: I think I have a different approach than other people running. I was born here and raised here and I am community and business-oriented. I have no agenda running. I just want to do what is best for the community.

What does a healthy community look like to you: A community that works together to achieve a single goal. It involves municipalities working with local bands and other agencies like chamber of commerce.


Troy Bellefontaine

Age: 41

Family status: Common Law

Time in Area: I moved to Fort Simpson in 1996 and have lived in the community off and on over the years. I also lived in Calgary and Halifax since then but have been back in Fort Simpson for 4 years.

Experience: I have been attending the Village council meetings since shortly after I moved back to Fort Simpson which gives me an idea of how things are currently being done and this has allowed me to learn more about the way things work in our village. I also have experience coordinating important community projects such as a Spay and Neuter/ Vaccine clinic in collaboration with NWT SPCA. I was involved with the creation of a local affiliate of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library – a book gifting program that ensures all children in six local communities will have access to free, high quality, age appropriate books every month from birth to 5 years of age.

Why Running: I see a lot of potential for positive change in our community and I truly believe that things can get even better for us. Folks already know that I devote a lot of my time to helping youth, elders, animals and the environment. I feel that serving as a Village Councilor is a great way to affect more positive change. I like to look for innovative ideas that can help our community grow and become more prosperous. I look forward to working with other councilors to achieve the goals of the community while modeling respectful relationships and discouraging gossip and bullying.

What differentiates you from other candidates: I have been attending village council meetings since I moved back to Fort Simpson and have done presentations to the current council where I brought forth not only concerns but also possible solutions to address these issues. I have also been very active in the community supporting local businesses, children, elders, animals and the environment. I started the local affiliate of Imagination Library, sit on the board of Open Doors Society, started a reward program to promote attendance at the high school. I am the local contact for NWT SPCA and I help a lot of people from Fort Simpson and surrounding communities with pet related issues whenever possible. I am also the first salon owner in northern Canada to join Green Circle and recycle 95% of our waste to help keep our community beautiful. I believe these actions show my commitment to Fort Simpson and positive growth of this community.

Top election issue: I would like to see better representation of people at our meetings. I want to work with people in the community to help shape the future of Fort Simpson. I will encourage council to focus on issues that really matter to the community as a whole. I have ideas to make council more approachable and accessible I want to empower people to create the kind of community we all want to be part of and can be proud of.

What does a healthy community look like to you: A healthy community is one where people work together, share ideas, and are respectful. A community that makes choices to benefit all including the more vulnerable under represented of our youth, elders, pets and our environment. I would like to work with a council that promotes “healthy discussion.” Even if we have different opinions, we can model respectful relationships and discourage gossip and bullying. I want to be a part of an inclusive, respectful, kind, open minded, innovative, beautiful and happy Fort Simpson.


A.J. Augier

Family status: Common law for 23 years in Fort Simpson

Age: 73

Time in area: I’ve been here in Fort Simpson for about 30 years, but I first came north 53 years ago.

Experience: I was on council prior to this last council and there for three years.
I’m a heavy equipment operator by trade and I retired seven years ago.  I have drive school bus. There are not too many people in this community who don’t know me. I get involved and attend meetings. The three years, I missed two hours of council in three years. I’m straight forward person and if you have a problem, you can come to me. I will take it to council. Everybody knows me.

Why running: The last time I missed by a short inch or two for council. People approached me and will stand up and not afraid to talk. People say AJ, we need you. I do it to show that I’m not afraid to run.

Top election issue: to be transparent and accountable. I would like to see mayor and council be responsible and be accountable and make sure dollars aren’t spent foolishly. The mayor and council need better control of where tax dollars are spent.
What does a healthy community look like to you:  We are a pretty healthy community. We work pretty good together and it doesn’t matter if you’re aboriginal or non-aboriginal. I like Fort Simpson because you don’t have to lock your doors and you can leave stuff on your lawn – it will be there in the morning.  I would like to do a little more for people addicted to alcohol and the homeless. Not enough is being done. We have a drug problem and we are going to get more and more of it when they legalize marijuana. We need to take care of the kids who are 10 or 12 years old getting into that stuff. We have to teach them the difference between right and wrong.


Kirby Groat

Age: 65

Family status: married

Time in area: I’ve lived here with my family for more than 34 years

Experience: I’ve been in business here for years all the time I have been here. Pretty good look at it from that side. After 30 years know how the community works. A council on a term and a half. About 20 years.

Why running: hope I can help the community a bit. We need experience on council and I think I can help the community move forward.

Top election issue: One thing is I know we have to get more housing working here. There is leased land in limbo that no one can buy – residential and commercial and community living on leases – can’t develop without – one issue. Another subdivision out here trying to develop – we have nice rec facilities – like to work on fly in and fly out and entice people to move to Fort Simpson – nice facilities – housing and appealing to live here and remain.

What does a healthy community look like: An increase in population which would be healthy. Traditional problems in North, decreasing population – have to urn that train around.


Marie Lafferty

Age: 74

Family status: Not married, but I have two  grown sons.

Time in area: Lived here my whole life. I’ve been on council for at least eight years.

Experience: I’ve done lots of volunteering over the years. I have been with the Metis Nation many years ago when they were in Yellowknife and was on the board many years. I was with the Native Women’s Association for many years, Art Advisory Board and DFN now. I’ve been associated with many organizations in the past.

Why running: I wasn’t going to. I thought I would throw in my name one more time to see what happens. When in these kinds of positions it hangs on you and you want to keep on doing it. I’ve learned quite a lot and at first it was hard. It took me a lot to running a village. Now I’m pretty well knowing happening and just decided to try one more time.

What differentiates you from other candidates: Other than two or three others, I have quite a bit of experience. There are some who are running that haven’t been on council. We just get our minutes and agenda and make the best decisions that I think are and go with vote or against the vote.

Top election issue: There are a few. The one fellow running for mayor is talking about a bridge for Fort Simpson because this year our ferry could go out any time. That is a month early. That is becoming an issue with the low water.

What does a healthy community look like to you:  It doesn’t look like Fort Simpson. We have a lot of health issues. Our ambulance is on the go sometimes once or twice medevacing people. There is a lot of drinking and drugs in town, so our town is not a healthy town. There is not too much we can do about it because we don’t have the programs we should have because of a lack of money. We wouldn’t run the programs. There are other organizations that could. We are lacking in those areas.


Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. A through and through "County boy" from Prince Edward County, Ont., Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin...

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