Since 2007 Tom Beaulieu has been the MLA for Tu Nedhé – Wiilideh but will not be seeking re-election for the position, citing a long career in politics and frustrations with the government.
“I’ve been at it 12 years, that’s long enough,” said Beaulieu. “I had a fairly long career, I’m not young.”
Beaulieu says over the years he became frustrated with the government’s spending policies.
“I think the inability for the government to spend strategically so that the results 10 years down the road produce good outcomes in all areas (is a concern),” said Beaulieu.
Beaulieu says strategic spending in the right areas would not only increase the quality of life for residents, but save the government money in the long run.
“Everyone knows that if you introduce income in the communities, all indicators show that health issues go down as well,” said Beaulieu.
“If you introduce employment into communities, graduation rates goes up as well. These things are all tied to income and early childhood spending”
Issues such as promoting in-home care for seniors could also save the government millions of dollars per year while producing jobs but Beaulieu says not enough action was taken.
“All indications show that that kind of strategic spending will create savings but the government refuses to go in that direction no matter what’s been told to them.”
Beaulieu also accused the territorial government of not taking advantage of federal initiatives.
“I’ve been presenting all kinds of strategic spending opportunities in each department but none of them took. Over a billion dollars is being committed by the prime ministerw I wanted to focus on NWT protected areas and his mandate of 17 per cent protected.
“GNWT didn’t take advantage of it.”
Despite being unheard in some of the ideas he’s championed, Beaulieu is also proud of the work he’s been able to do and the things he’s accomplished over the years.
In his tenure he’s held the positions of minister of Transportation, minister of Public Works and minister of Human Resources, minister of Health and Social Services and minister for Seniors and minister for Persons with Disabilities.
“I felt that when I was minister of Health, at the very beginning my plan was to develop a strategy,” said Beaulieu.
His plan was to reduce costs at the hospital through action with alcoholics.
“The next health minister carried on a lot of aspects of [that plan] and I felt pretty good about that.”
As a regular member, he said he feels “fantastic” about helping increase the employment rates of Fort Resolution and Lutselk’e by several per cent.
Now Beaulieu says he’ll be able to spend more time with his family.
At this point, no contenders for the job of MLA in Tu Nedhé – Wiilideh have stepped forward and declared an intent to run.