Bruce Valpy responding to what he heard knocking on doors along the Ingraham Trail.

I want to thank the voters of Yellowknife North for their support - all 350 of them

NOV. 19, 2023 – I have now recovered from the campaign trail, having been stricken the day after the election by what I think was a piece of contaminated California cantaloupe that brought down an uncounted number of people across North America.

The campaign leading up to the election was a wild ride: Attending forums with fellow candidates, filling out online questionnaires, knocking on doors, and putting up election signs. I met many people and learned many things, especially from people who took the time to speak to me at their door, inviting me in, snowy shoes and all, asking questions and giving me their opinions. 

It’s important people know I officially began this effort on October 29, 2022. My immediate goal was to help shape the decision for the election just past with the issues I view to be critical to the future of the NWT and our government. Running for election, necessary as it was,  was only part of it. The work continues because the problems I pointed out about our economy, my platform issues, and the state of the communities outside Yellowknife cannot be fixed by one MLA, either myself or the person elected instead, no matter how worthy. 

We are all going to have to work together to acknowledge where we truly are and what needs to be done to move forward. Please keep an eye on this website as we move forward. There is much work to to. Thanks. 


Who is Bruce Valpy?

Bruce Valpy, managing editor,  then publisher of Northern News Services since 1995, has been a cornerstone in community journalism in Canada’s North.

As he prepares to enter NWT politics, he brings a legacy of documenting Northerners’ lives and stories. Careful investment and responsive consultation with community leaders and Indigenous governments can put us on track to create a new NWT economy less dependant on government.

Bruce Valpy MLA candidate for 2023 Election in Northwest Territories.

what Should We Be Focusing On?

Yellowknife faces an array of challenges as the NWT’s population dwindles. Current approaches to addiction treatment are ineffective, requiring localized, on-the-land healing methods with other more intensive treatment options. 

A lack of affordable, available daycare, hurts local families. Government in-sourcing drains local businesses, contradicting its economic pledges. High wages in public sectors increase turnover in the private sector, stunting economic growth. Housing and essential services are compromised by scarcity of Northern tradespeople.

The ripple effects touch all corners of society, from household economics to healthcare. Acknowledging these challenges is a first step for a government that aims to better serve its people.

Person asleep on streets of downtown Yellowknife, a too common occurrence.

1. Addiction

We in Yellowknife don’t really know anything about addictions in the small communities and we figure the best thing is to put people on an airplane and send them south to get fixed up and then we bring them back to the same place they left.

In 2013, MLA Tom Beaulieu, from the small community of Fort Resolution, as health minister said: Why don’t we ask the people what they want so we can tackle these problems. The people listed some of the things they wanted but the mainly said let’s begin with On-The-land healing! No On-The-Land healing happened.

If we follow through with the recommendations of Beaulieu’s forum, we will be providing healing options in the communities which will take the pressure off Yellowknife’s streets, our emergency rooms, and hospital wards, not to mention police, courts and correctional institutions.

Kids at daycare

2. Childcare

Making daycares more affordable, as the federal government has done, is a good thing.

Lower fees make it easier for the families that presently have daycare. It also gives more families the option for one or both to work contributing to the economy.

But such benefits are greatly reduced if the GNWT isn’t able to match the affordable with accessibility to daycare space and the people to work in them. That’s where it falls apart. 

Kids at daycare
Yellowknife small business has to cope with hiring and retaining staff in an enviroment of government and corporate wage levels, far higher than wages in the retail , service and non-profit sectors.

3. Small Business

Too often BIG government hurts the people and economy it aims to serve. I witnessed this as a business person in the marketing business in Yellowknife.

Yellowknife once had a robust advertising and graphic arts industry, with four or five robust agencies employing dozens of people. The decision was made to do the designing and marketing in-house, which led to the government hiring those same people. So the GNWT grew at the expense of those local businesses which reduced the private sector and services offered for hire in the city.

GNWT wages and benefits are the envy of workers in the private sector. Turnover is high. What can be done about that? A good starting point is acknowledging it’s a problem for a government pledging to help grow the economy.


4. Tradespeople

The cost of building a home in Yellowknife is scary enough. Even scarier is having your furnace stop working in -40 on a Friday night of a long weekend. 

Getting tradespeople in the North is little different than attracting doctors and nurses. Tradespeople are in short supply but are just as necessary. Our local plumbing, heating, and construction companies are always going flat out. They provide good service but they have difficulty finding and retaining staff like every other business. We risk burning them out. One day we may make that call at -40 and find no one answers.

What can a government do? Produce apprentices. Aurora College has a range of trades training but are we getting any results?


Read More About the Issues

Understanding what our government does, and doesn't do is key to knowing how to move forward. Exaggerating graduation rates, putting out employment figures that fail to tell the true story, and ignoring the culture and history of The Dene, Metis and Inuvialuit population has brought few results.