Updated: Aug 23, 2019
I am going to begin this post at a level nearing philosophy. But that is where I believe we need to begin in order to move forward.
I have been told over and over again in this campaign that policy does not win votes. I think there is good reason for this. Voters are busy—families, jobs, hobbies—and they prefer to leave the details of policy with politicians so they can live their lives without thinking about politics all day.
But for that to work, I believe politicians need to explain their views of the world in enough detail that voters can decide whether theirs is close enough. Without that, representation doesn't work.
That's why I've committed to sharing my views in detail —even if it doesn't win more votes.
So What do I Believe?
I will begin to explain my political outlook with a statement I believe applies especially here in the NWT: the status quo is not working.
So what do we do when our political systems are failing us? We change them.
And what do I think is the best way to do it?
Radical cooperation. Rational policy. And approaching solutions with real consideration for views that might fall outside traditional ideological frames.
What Does That Mean?
Some call it radical centrism. I like to think of it as Progress for realists: politics where evidence-based decision-making is first and foremost.
It means taking ideas from across the spectrum, and advocating for a policy framework that pairs the right solutions with problems we want to address. It does not mean picking the best version of some solution that fits within a particular ideology.
Progress For Realists At Work
For example, I know families in Yellowknife North—and across the territory—are struggling to juggle their desire to succeed and find meaning in their careers, while having the resources available to raise a family without breaking the bank or fighting tooth-and-nail to find childcare.
Universal daycare is shown in study after study around the globe to increase participation in the workforce—especially among women—and alleviate a ton of stresses for working families.*
And, contrary to some who choose to peg this as a left-wing policy, I don't believe this is at odds with something else I find really important: fiscal responsibility. In today's political norms, that's a concept often cast as a right-wing talking point—oppressive and inconsistent with expanding the social safety net.
But we need it—we need to be responsible if we want to be able to stand on our own two feet and invest in transformative projects which will allow our territory to move forward.
By bringing these two concepts together instead of leaving them at odds based on our established norms, we can look at what we're investing in today in an ad-hoc, patchwork attempt to address an issue like childcare, we are now free to look at new possibilities. Possibilities like redirecting subsidies proven to be inefficient by a battery of economic research, and ultimately building a more productive economy with happier residents finding more success and stability.
That's just one example of progress for realists in action. My platform lays out a suite of policies I plan to advocate for which I believe fit within that vision—one that doesn't fit neatly within any ideological box.
And I think that's not just what this territory needs—but what our non-partisan political system should demand.
I hope you share that vision. And if you want to grill me on it, call me, comment on social media, or send me an email. I'll always reply—and I'm always up for a coffee.
Rylund Johnson, J.D.