Wednesday November 18 2015 3 POLITICS TERRITORIAL ELECTION SPECIALS ALL EVENING LONG 4 Courtoreille St. Hay River 867 874-4747 RINGS PHARMACY LTD. 6 Courtoreille Street Hay River 867 874-6744RINGS PHARMACY Friday November 20 700 pm 1100 pm Closed from 600 pm 700 pm. The pharmacy department is also closed after 600 pm. Friday November 20 700 pm 1100 pm Closed from 600 pm 700 pm. The pharmacy department is also closed after 600 pm. CELEBRATING MIDNIGHT MADNESS CELEBRATING MIDNIGHT MADNESS By CRAIG GILBERT The Union of Northern Workers UNW targeted the spectre of austerity measures at the GNWT with a pre-election survey that has stirred up controversy in the home stretch to the Nov. 23 vote. President Todd Parsons told the Journal last week he was disappointed with the re- sponse rate to the ve questions the UNW sent to all 60 candidates in the Northwest Territories 19 ridings. The questions concerned public service job safety and public-private partnerships P3s such as the one that will see a private company build and manage the new Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife. Two-thirds of candidates received a failing grade from the UNW either for not respond- ing at all not answering enough questions or answering the rst question - Will you oppose any cuts of GNWT staff including boards and agencies - with a no. The UNW which represents about 6000 employees about 4000 of them public servants published the results and each candidates grade at unw.ca nwt-election-report-card. Members are worried because with the next territorial budget on the horizon job cut rumours are circulating. Its not like were stirring the pot the finance minister himself is doing that and hes not responding Parsons said. Milten- berger received an F from the UNW for answering no to the first question. The Union confronts GNWT job cut rumours in election survey rumours that have been posed by regular MLAs is that every department has been instructed to cut in anticipation of the new budget. Job losses are a real concern and the rumour is out there. Were dealing with this head on. A number of candidates who received an F have criticized the survey as out of context and overly simplistic with false dichotomies forcing candidates to address complex issues with a binary positive or negative response. Noting she walked the picket line during a CBC lockout in 2005 Yellowknife Centre candidate Julie Green blogged that her F grade should not represent a lack of support for the public service. What job interview contains only yes or no questions Green wrote on her election blog. When answers are based on specu- lation rather than information are they good answers that are worth having I do not have enough information now to make a promise not to cut the public service in the future. I could have said yes to all the questions to earn an A but that wouldnt be honest. Dan Wong a former UNW Local 1 presi- dent running in a ve-way race in Yellowknife North wrote in a letter to the UNW that the restrictive questions were not fair to candi- dates or the public. I will say I nd it short-sighted to cut po- sitions and contract out as a means to con- trol budgets and absolutely oppose such measures Wong wrote. However there are some situations where positions must be cut like when federal government or third- party funding for a specic time-limited project expires. Im also signicantly con- cerned about the use of P3 projects for the construction of government infrastructure like hospitals. But Im not prepared to com- mit to categorically banning the P3 model. I prefer to evaluate each project on its own merits on a case by case basis instead of tak- ing an entrenched position before receiving any information. Union had to be practical with questions Parsons said the straightforward ques- tions were created with logistics in mind. The union considered giving each candidate as much as five or 10 lines to answer each question but that would have led to thou- sands of words to either edit or publish. They decided the first option was not fair to the candidates and the second served no use for the membership or members of the general public who would have had to digest it. Candidates in this years election received questionnaires from as many as two dozen special interest groups including the UNW the NWT Seniors Society the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society the Status of Women Council and media outlets includ- ing this newspaper. The NWT Chambers of Commerce created a guide for candidates and voters outlining its top ve priorities for the next assembly. Parsons did not cut the candidates seeking more leeway in commenting on complex is- sues much slack. He said the questions were hosted on a common online tool called Sur- vey Monkey making it easy for any candi- date to take part. Moreover he said candi- dates who want to become an MLA should be ready to deal with a high volume of requests and documents. From what were hearing there are a lot of other groups that are disappointed with the lack of responses too Parsons said. Its not just the UNW. I dont want to pinpoint other groups but surveys put out by social interest groups are not seeing a very good return. I think the UNW response rate seems to be better than the average right now. Producing a report card on candidates for MLA each election is written right into the unions regulations. It is a challenge for the union on how to best meet our objectives as an organization Parsons said. When you have 60 potential candidates in 19 separate ridings its com- plicated when theres no party politics in- asmuch as they dont have platforms. Its very challenging but candidates are either against these things or not. Thats why its easy to say yes or no from our perspective. The survey itself wasnt written for the con- venience of the candidates. It was to assist UNW candidates in making the right choice for their next employer.