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Focus on basics

Jack Danylchuk
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 12/05) - After campaigning for MLA Charles Dent and Western Arctic MP Ethel Blondin Andrew, Kirby Marshall knows how elections are won or lost.

"There's only two things that count: identifying the vote and getting that vote out on election day."

NNSL Photo/graphic

Liberals map campaign strategy. Clockwise, from centre, Darlene Leisk, Lana Roeland, Martin Tremblay, Ethel Blondin-Andrew and Laura J. Tutcho. - Jack Danylchuk/NNSL Photo

Marshall, campaign chairman for Richard Edjericon, laid down the basics as he waited in the empty Conservative campaign headquarters for the candidate to arrive for a meeting.

Accomplishing the basics has challenged all parties in the Western Arctic where voter turn-out slipped below the 50 per cent mark in the June 2004 election.

"It comes down to people on the ground, in the street working hard to achieve those two goals. We have people in almost every community," Marshall said.

The support was nowhere in evidence in the first week of the campaign as Marshall settled the Conservative machine into space formerly occupied by CJDC radio.

Edjericon has been visiting communities since May, dropping in on annual assemblies to let everyone know that he's running for the Conservatives.

"You have to take Conservative policies and make it fit here for the Northwest Territories," said Edjericon.

"We need to take a look at the issues here, land claim agreements, and the bigger issues, devolution and revenue sharing are important to all Northerners."

Dennis Bevington's Yellowknife campaign office is farther along 49th Ave. in the CasCom Building.

The NDP candidate divided last week between the capital and Hay River, and spent the weekend at meetings in the Dehcho before returning to Yellowknife.

"People are ready for a change; it's the message we heard last time, but this time it's stronger," Bevington said.

Incumbent Ethel Blondin-Andrew campaigned door-to-door in the evenings and crammed the days with meetings with party organizers, volunteers and seniors at Aven Manor and the Legion.

She worked the crowd at a Chamber of Commerce mixer, and dropped in on an opening at the Birchwood Gallery and the Festival of Trees.

Liz Wyman, returning officer for the Western Arctic, opened the office for Elections Canada on the second floor of Centre Square Mall, next to the library. Revisions to the voters list have started.