Community minded, proven track record
As a young man who grew up on a farm in Alberta, Daryl knows what hard work means and has carried that work ethic with him throughout his university days, business and community involvement and his first term as the Member for Range Lake.
“I knew at an early age what it meant to earn a dollar and to be thankful. I think that mindset has always guided me in my career and in my community support. Of course, this grassroots thinking also shaped how I wanted to represent the people of Range Lake at the Legislative Assembly.”
Daryl pursued a degree in Pharmacy at the University of Alberta where he both used his keen business sense and practiced community health care. Soon after graduation, Daryl and his wife Cindy purchased the struggling Yellowknife Shoppers Drug Mart franchise in 1992. Although Daryl stepped down as store owner after his successful 2011 election bid, for over 20 years the couple, and now under Cindy’s ownership, carved a unique and prosperous northern business.
In his quest for a stronger community and territory, Daryl used that same vigour while he served on the boards of the Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation and the Yellowknife Community Foundation, as Chair and President.
“I believe this was the start of my true community calling. Working alongside some great people over those many years, these large NGOs allowed me to see and understand some of the root issues facing northerners. I’m proud to say having had a direct hand in re-shaping these NGOs with sound business models of excellence, this has translated to millions of dollars trickling back to those in need across the North.”
Nationally, Daryl has been an advocate, industry spokesperson and lecturer on topics such as diabetes, Aboriginal drug reform, pharmacy and health reform, Vancouver Board of Trade related NWT issues, tourism and philanthropy.
Daryl has received a number of professional accolades, however none was more satisfying than being the first NWT resident and first pharmacist in Canada to be named as one of the Globe and Mail’s “Top 40 under 40” in 2004. He also received the National Lauriers de le PME, which recognized his excellence in Francophone entrepreneurship for his unique health care services offered in Northern Canada.
“Winning a national award like the “top 40 under 40” was a bit nerve racking. It was a proud moment not only for me, but for my family and our business. Looking back now on what it meant to be a northerner recognized at a national level, inspires me to find other diamonds in the rough out there and help them re-shape or re-tool, so they too can succeed in their career or business.”
Throughout his first term in the 17th Legislative Assembly Daryl has shown passion for areas he feels are important to all NWT residents
Ensuring our Health and Social issues
A long-standing concern with our health care delivery is our departmental silos that create fragmented experiences for people trying to access services. Daryl has been instrumental in convincing the GNWT to provide services in a more integrated case management approach. As we continue to invest in a fair and sustainable healthcare system, the Anti-poverty Action Plan, the Early Childhood Development Action Plan and the Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan are being plagued with a patchwork of investments. Daryl has been a staunch advocate for more targeted, more comprehensive and longer-term funding.
“It’s critical that within the next couple years we closely monitor the newly modernized and streamlined Health and Social Services system transformation. With some progress made, several initiatives, such as the Child and Family Services, Seniors Continuing Care, the Pharmaceutical Strategy, Medical Travel Policy and Chronic Disease Management are either being delayed or stalled. This has to change. Finally, the current Anti-poverty Action Plan is silent on investments or any systemic approach to deal with homelessness in Yellowknife or the NWT – as shameful as this is – we must make this a priority.”
Dolynny also recognizes that wellness courts with reliable supports to counselling, housing for seniors, the Avens’ long term care bed proposal, finding affordable solutions for our housing shortages and dealing with addictions treatment will also need to be addressed in the coming years.
Ensuring our Education
While being impressed with the scope of the Education Renewal and Innovation Initiative (ERI) ten year strategic framework, Daryl has been quick to point out the slow and uneven progress and several other early concerns, such as new workloads for teachers and support workers, lack of attention to truancy and poor attendance, lack of the educational basics like reading, writing and arithmetic and even more troubling, the lack of any new funding. Inclusive schooling was also on Daryl`s radar these past 4 years. He has championed the department to consider alternative funding formulas for student needs versus the current enrolment base formula, as “magnet communities” such as Yellowknife, attract a higher number of complex needs students.
In the wake of a 2010 Auditor General’s report focused on Education and with committee vigilance, Dolynny reminds us that we need to keep regular status updates.
“With Skills-4-Success, enhancements to the Student Financial Assistance, the newly enacted anti-bullying legislation and Aboriginal language revitalization still in their early transitions, it will be imperative that we ensure our plans are working and not tied up in bureaucratic complexity.”
With Early Childhood Education and Child Day Care gaining much attention during the past couple of years, Daryl recognizes the need for a more streamlined approach in the way it’s being funded.
“Currently there are 5 pots of money to assist regulated and private day care businesses. The process is confusing, so we need to make this simpler and more balanced.”
A recently tabled feasibility study for $7-a-day child care claims the NWT spends below Canadian average on day care, between 718-1415 more child care spaces need to be created, and we need an additional 250 child care workers. Dolynny knows his experience will be called upon to help the $21 million dollars that will be required to realize this success.
Ensuring our Economy and Diversification
“DeBeers head office leaving is definitely a disappointment and is a hollowing reminder that our Socio-economic Agreements and Impact Benefit Agreements are not working for northerners. We cannot ignore mining as it will always be the backbone of our economy. Boom and bust cycles are part of this industry, just as much as commodity fluctuations or global sectoral shifts. Yet we must find ways to mitigate these cycles with economies that are more resilient.”
Of course, Dolynny recognizes our ability to target investment in transportation, renewable energy sources, tourism/film, agriculture, traditional harvesting and economies will all have positive impacts and help mitigate such GDP fluctuations.
The 17th Assembly spent considerable time and energy drafting an Economic Opportunities Strategy and Action Plan. Dolynny recognizes it’s important the members of the 18th Assembly not reinvent the wheel, but provide the targeted investment needed to fulfill true economic benefit for northerners.
“I have always said, strategies do not change our world, but targeted investment does.”
Ensuring our Environment
When it comes to our climate and our energy concerns, action is the order of the day. Dolynny recognizes the success of past energy initiatives such as biomass capital projects and the over-subscribed rebate programs. With the proposed Energy Efficiency Act in the works, Daryl hopes this will develop a better territory-wide system for continued funding in renewable energies that will have a direct impact on our climate and on territorial infrastructure initiatives.
“I believe we still have a lot more we can do to achieve a low-carbon economy. We need to seize all renewable energy opportunities to reduce our energy costs and our dependence on diesel and other fossil fuels. We need to continue to press forward with updated strategies and targeted action. This is the most effective way to deal with the high cost of living.”
When it comes to the Carbon Tax question, Dolynny’s response directly reflects what he has heard in the Range Lake riding. And it’s pretty clear.
“I have stated publicly on more than one occasion, given our extremely small population base, I do not support a carbon tax, or anything that increases the cost of living for northerners. Instead, we need to focus on the financial impacts of climate change. We need better risk management tools to protect our assets from sudden and unforeseen events. The GNWT needs to take more intelligent risks without burdening the taxpayer. With our aging infrastructure, we need to concentrate on our vulnerability, not increased taxation. In essence, we need to focus more attention on reducing the impacts of climate change. We need better construction standards for all infrastructure to deal with melting sea ice and permafrost degradation. Furthermore, we need to regulate climate design values, revise land use plans and improve our disaster management services.”
Ensuring our Community
Dolynny recognizes the hard work performed by many NGOs and agencies, which is why he suggests the GNWT set up a funded joint community service agency board. A one-stop if you will, with centralized shared operations for non-profit agencies, such as shelters and transitional housing or food-related agencies.
“It’s definitely not their fault, but I see too often a lack of qualified record keeping at the counter, with accounting challenges or with grant application gaps in their operation model. We need to provide high-level support to these agencies and minimize the duplication of these time-consuming activities. Savings realized would more than pay for this investment and put more emphasis on program service, rather than red tape.”
Ensuring our Voice
Establishing an office of the Ombudsman has been discussed since the 12th Legislative Assembly. Dolynny was a strong advocate, calling on and appealing to the GNWT for this needed statutory officer. As we know, this will now be in the hands of the 18th Assembly and Daryl is willing and ready to continue this priority.
With new Devolution powers brings the need for better transparency and accountability. According to Dolynny, this starts with a proper Lobbyist Registry.
“We are more mature with our new province-like powers, so it only makes sense that we modernize our consensus style of government with tools that will enhance our transparency. I have always stated, sunshine is the best disinfectant.”
Ensuring our Finances
For most of his term at the Legislative Assembly, Daryl spent considerable time and energy overseeing the transparency and accountability of our public purse. Some media have coined his actions as “hawk-like”, while others refer to him as a “watchdog”.
“No matter what is perceived, I can only tell you my financial acumen is really second nature and I take great pride watching the bottom line.”
Dolynny indicates that our current financial state of affairs is not what is being broadcast to the masses. Even with the newly minted Financial Administration Act coming on stream April 1st, 2016, the GNWT is facing stagnation in many different forms. He reminds us we have been hearing for years about our sound fiscal strategy of surpluses, paying down our short term debt and maintaining certain cushions to our borrowing limit.
“Our debt management is tied to out-dated policies and deficit spending beyond our means. I am sure historians will look back at the 17th Legislative Assembly and say ‘These were the folks that ran up their credit cards and pushed the NWT over the financial cliff.’”
Dolynny reminds us that while the GNWT basks in the glory of defined measures such as the AA1 Moody credit rating for its debt management and current debt load, the real landscape paints a much bleaker forecast than Moody’s can safely measure.
“As I mentioned recently in the House to the previous administration, we cannot ignore the warning bells. I stressed the need to move cautiously forward with our financial situation and I meant it”
If re-elected, Dolynny reminds us his vigilance, stewardship and oversight with YOUR money will be his top priority.