If I was premier...
Pages examine the top job

Arthur Milnes
Northern News Services

NNSL (Dec 14/98) - You could argue the people who know the most about territorial politics are a group not even out of high school yet -- legislative pages.

Unlike the rest of us, this group is right in the thick of politics North of 60, working each day on the very floor of the legislature itself.

They carry messages back and forth between MLAs and ministers and serve at the beck and call of all those who work in the legislature.

With this in mind, and with a new premier now chosen, it seemed appropriate these keen observers of politics be asked their opinion.

So, just what would they do if they woke up tomorrow and found themselves in the premier's chair?

"I would build a restaurant and more opportunities and a bigger gym for our school," says Coral Harbour's Darren Bruce.

Yellowknife's Leah Drew thinks it is high time concerns of youth are front and centre on the government's agenda.

"I'd make a coffee house just for teens, so we'd have a place to go," she says. "We need a proper university up here. People shouldn't have to go away to go to school."

Kelda Braden has similar views.

"We should get cheaper airfares," the Yellowknife student says. "It costs twice as much to fly up here."

Fort Good Hope's Vital Manuel says it would be good for his community if West Edmonton Mall moved to the Sahtu by a Vital-led government. This brought numerous expressions of support from his fellow pages. It appears though, each page thinks the famous mall belongs in their town.

Time for a feasibility study leading to a firm, yet flexible, response by government, perhaps.

As for politics as a career, the pages appear to be hesitant. Their experience in the assembly has taught them, first hand, that public life is far from easy.

"It causes stress and stress causes zits," Drew says. "I don't like that."

The real politicians would sometimes agree.