Georgina Jolibois, the current MP for Desnethé- Missinippi-Churchill River, hit the campaign trail in Denare Beach, hosting a community barbecue and meeting with residents.
Jolibois, part of the federal NDP caucus, is preparing for the upcoming federal election campaign. Voters will head to the polls to decide who sits in the House of Commons on or before Oct. 21.
A former mayor of La Loche, Jolibois won the seat in 2015 by less than 100 votes. It was a three-way race between the Liberal Party, Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) and Jolibois’ NDP. All three parties ended up with more than 30 per cent of the vote and under 35 per cent in 2015. The vote required a recount to decide the winner.
Despite the tight results from 2015, Jolibois is confident as she prepares for the campaign.
“It may not be a three way race,” she said.
“I have been on the road constantly for the last six months and in every community I’ve gone to, I’ve been well received and people have been very supportive. When you go from community to community, there’s no sign or evidence of the presence of any opponent.”
The federal election has not begun, but Jolibois will be facing stiff competition once more. Polling aggregator 338 Canada currently favours the CPC, who have nominated former Meadow Lake mayor Gary Vidal. The site currently gives Vidal more than a 90 per cent chance of winning the vote as of August 11.
The Liberals have put forward Lac La Ronge Indian Band Chief Tammy Cook-Searson as their candidate. 338 currently shows all three MPs as within the margin of error for an electoral victory. Jolibois pointed to her record as MP as a reason for her confidence. In 2018, she was chosen by non-NDP members as the MP who best represents her riding as part of parliamentary awards by MacLean’s.
“We have that as an accomplishment,” Jolibois said. “When I spoke, I brought issues affecting us in the riding and I’ll continue to do that. It’s really a good thing.” The riding stretches from the northern border with the Northwest Territories down past the Prince Albert National Park, going from eastern border to western border across the province.
“We are so blessed,” Jolibois said.
“We’re just so fortunate to have the riding that we do because we are surrounded by lakes and rivers. We’re all connected through the water systems. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the west side, or the east side, or the north or the south.”
Jolibois said she always knew she wanted to be in politics and points to her history as mayor and degree in political science and Native studies as assets for governing in the riding.
“I have a thorough understanding of the federal system, provincial system, the municipal system, as well as the band system, and how they overlap and how they should be working together - and how they offer programs and services,” she said.
Jolibois said she’s proud of the work the NDP have done in challenging both the governing Liberals and opposition Conservatives, naming their work with the Indigenous Languages Act as a good example of both.
“[The Conservatives] don’t even want to go there, they don’t touch anything. When it’s convenient for them, they will,” she said.
“Then, the Liberals would backtrack. I will challenge both.” Jolibois said she was heavily involved in hearing from expert witnesses during the bill’s construction. “The changes that [the government] wanted to make would shrink the legislation to very minimal.” she said. “It still isn’t that much, but there’s some pieces that were able to get in there and so we’re able to do that. We were able to challenge the concerns. We’re able to continually talk to them and say, ‘What is it about the legislation that you really don’t support?’ They don’t come up with answers.”