Politics
Mark Rendell
Mark Rendell

Bogan’s Run: Fathers’ Rights Activist Wants Council Seat

The day shelter support worker says he's past previous antics and wants to head the City's social issues committee,

Mark Bogan, best known for his theatrical, often bizarre fathers’ rights protests, says his civil disobedience days are behind him and he’s running to make Yellowknife a better place for families.

“Plywood Man has kept the peace and been of good behavior since the Jack Layton protest, and he’s buried, sir, he’s gone,” says the 55-year-old support staff worker at the Safe Harbour Day Shelter.

If elected, Bogan, who has lived in Yellowknife for over 30 years, says he’ll focus on putting money back into taxpayers’ pockets through things like cutting back on beautification projects.

“They spend a great deal of money on landscaping here, and it looks nice, it really does. However, I think little things like that could be rethought, to just get back to basics.”

While advocating for fiscal prudence, however, Bogan also wants to see investment in new recreation facilities, particularly an indoor tennis court that he envisions going in next to the Field House.

“It’s a wish. But again, more things to do for families is probably going to entice people to make Yellowknife a permanent home.”

Having run unsuccessfully for territorial politics back in 2011, this is Bogan’s second shot at elected office. And while he’s still an active, albeit less stunt-inclined, supporter of the fathers’ rights movement – he most recently collected a petition with around 900 signatures on it demanding equal rights for men in custody battles – he says he’s not running for city council to forward that agenda.

That said, if he’s elected, he wants to be appointed as chair of the social issues committee, where he hopes hear grievances from “families in crisis.”

“I would probably pitch it out there… [and] definitely invite them to discuss their issues with me and would bring them forward to the GNWT and the MP.”

And is this within the City’s jurisdiction?

“I don’t know enough about the rules behind the social issues committee – it could be I’m not allowed to promote or push a group to come forward. My instincts tell me that if people come forward with requests I would grant the request, I would give people value.”

On the topic of dealing with homelessness and addictions, Bogan says he’d push for an addictions treatment facility: “It doesn’t necessarily have to be in Yellowknife, it would be a treatment centre for all persons in the Northwest Territories… [and] It could be a treatment centre for people who are struggling with nicotine, people who are in family violence, people who are struggling with eating disorders or other health issues.”

And to help deal with poor quality roads and the endless expenses associated with road upkeep, Bogan says the City should be more actively involved in researching what other communities are doing to improve road engineering.

“Maybe our engineers don’t have the answers, but what are they doing in Russia? What are they doing in the Scandinavian countries? What are they doing in environments similar to ours to get longevity going on with these kind of sinkholes that keep surfacing?”