Election season is beginning early this year, with a Yellowknife lawyer announcing her intention to run in the Yellowknife South riding.

Caroline Wawzonek says she’s putting her name forward in the Yellowknife South riding, where the sitting NWT Premier Bob McLeod is the current MLA. Whether McLeod will run again has not yet been confirmed.

Wawzonek says she’s focusing on preparing for the October election and not worrying who might be running against her. 

“To me, it felt right to run where I live and to then from that point forward, having made that choice, to prepare myself to be myself. And to prepare my own ideas, my own vision, and to not spend time worrying about who may or may not be running.” 

Through conversations with residents and her experience as a lawyer in criminal and now civil and administrative law in the territory, Wawzonek says she sees some key challenges to tackle over the next four years and beyond. Front and centre is the NWT economy and striking the right balance between the resource industry and tackling climate change.

She also wants to focus on healthcare and education. “If we are educated, early years straight through to post-secondary in some form, you can encourage people to be entrepreneurs…a skilled labour force…an educated labour force. They can bring those ideas forward and we can be a place that starts to generate ideas and innovation.”

In her riding, she sees challenges for parents looking for childcare in the early years as well as a need to make sure local innovators are supported and get the prime opportunities in their fields.

“Are we truly looking at diversity from the perspective of making sure that the diversity that we’re bringing, keeps those dollars in the communities.”

Wawzonek began her practice in Toronto after graduating from law school from the University of Toronto. When she first came to Yellowknife she worked as a criminal defence lawyer in her own practice, she is now a lawyer focusing on administrative and civil law at Dragon Toner.

Wawzonek moved to Yellowknife in 2007: her two young children are born and raised in the city. A former president of the Law Society of the NWT, Wawzonek is a director at large on the NWT Chamber of Commerce board.