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Kakfwi bows out - for now

Mike W. Bryant
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (May 23/05) - Last month former premier Stephen Kakfwi suggested he was willing to run as an independent to defeat Western Arctic incumbent Ethel Blondin-Andrew if an election were held this year.

He now says that's no longer in the cards.

His biggest priority right now, he said, is securing a deal for his home community of Fort Good Hope to obtain royalties from oil and gas companies for the Mackenzie Valley pipeline.

The political climate in Ottawa at the moment is not something he wants to be part of anyway, he said.

"There will be a day when everything seems right and my feeling will be right," said Kakfwi.

"The political situation in Ottawa should certainly improve after this next election."

He said, unlike current Liberal MP Blondin-Andrew, if he does enter federal politics, he will stand up for the North.

Kakfwi accused Blondin-Andrew of toeing the party line on issues like gun control and the appointment of Todd Burlingame to chair the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board - both of which were extremely unpopular among NWT residents.

Kakfwi will be aiming high should he run as a Liberal candidate.

"I think I'd probably safely be considered for a cabinet position because of my profile," said Kakfwi.

"But I'd never agree to that unless I was given the prerogative to stand up and at least censure the decision-making of ministers in the future."