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Vote for Health

Choose a future where we stop cancer before it starts.

Cancer cases are poised to increase by 60% in the Northwest Territories within the next 15 years. The territorial government will face a significant challenge in managing this increase, which will largely be a result of our rapidly aging population.

That being said, about half of all cancers can be prevented by creating healthy public policies and supporting Canadians in making healthier choices.

The Canadian Cancer Society believes the Government of the Northwest Territories must take the lead on helping to stop cancer before it starts.  As such, the Society will be educating all candidates throughout the duration of this campaign on important health issues as they relate to cancer.

To make a significant impact in the fight for life, the Society is urging candidates to support the development of a comprehensive tobacco reduction strategy to reduce tobacco use in the Northwest Territories and protect our children from dangerous second-hand smoke.

We are also surveying candidates to ask for their stance on 2 policies that should be cornerstones of an effective comprehensive tobacco reduction strategy:

  • smoke-free outdoor spaces where children play
  • smoke-free vehicles carrying children

See how the candidates responded. These results will help you Vote for Health on November 23.

You can make change happen

Changing public policy is one of the most effective ways to prevent cancer. That’s why the Canadian Cancer Society advocates for things like tougher tobacco-use regulations.

But we can’t do it alone. We need you to speak up for health. We need you to Vote for Health.

Tell your candidates to make cancer prevention a priority. Vote for a government that is up for the challenge. You can learn more about the importance of smoke-free vehicles and smoke-free outdoor public spaces below.

Disclaimer: The Canadian Cancer Society is a non-partisan, charitable organization. We do not support or endorse candidates or political parties at any level of government. All candidates running in the Northwest Territories election were invited to participate in our 2015 Vote for Health campaign by completing a survey. Candidates were given equal opportunity to consult with the Canadian Cancer Society before providing comment or responding to the survey. Participation in Vote for Health is voluntary and all responses provided were given of the candidate’s own volition. 

  • How you can help prevent cancer

    Governments have a huge impact on public health and disease prevention. Decisions made by governments affect our day-to-day life. As such, it is crucial that these decisions take into account our health.

    Vote for Health is intended to empower voters like you to elect candidates that support healthy public policies. Making the healthy choice the easy choice contributes to a high quality of life for you and your family.

    Be heard. Tell candidates to make cancer prevention a priority. Vote for a government that is up for the challenge. Vote for Health on November 23.

    Here are ways you can get involved:

    Give a candidate more information about the issues

    The easiest way to get involved is to print off our info page for candidates and hand it to them if and when they show up at your door. You can also print off and bring the page to an election forum or drop it of at campaign offices.

    Start a conversation

    Ask your candidates questions in person, at an election forum or through social media, and let them know what matters to you. Call, write or email your candidates and ask them if they support action on these important health issues. Below are some sample questions to help get you started.

    Learn more about the issues

    To help prevent cancer before it starts, the Canadian Cancer Society believes the Northwest Territories needs a comprehensive tobacco reduction strategy to reduce tobacco use (the smoking rate in the Northwest Territories is almost double the national rate), and protect our children from harmful second-hand smoke.

    Learn more about the 2 policies that should be cornerstones of a comprehensive tobacco reduction strategy:

    Vote for Health

    On November 23, vote for a candidate that supports healthy public policy. See how candidates responded when the Canadian Cancer Society asked them if they support smoke-free vehicles carrying children and smoke-free outdoor public spaces where children play.

  • Sample questions

    Smoke-free vehicles carrying children

    Important facts

    • Vehicles are one of the most common spaces in which children are exposed to dangerous second-hand smoke.
    • Levels of second-hand smoke in vehicles are often higher than levels that were once measured in smoky bars.
    • Children are more severely affected by second-hand smoke than adults because they have higher breathing rates and consequently breathe in greater amounts of cancer-causing chemicals.
    • Second-hand smoke increases the risk of childhood cancer, asthma and ear infection in children, and also contributes to sudden infant death syndrome and poor lung health.
    • Young people are less able to guard themselves against exposure to second-hand smoke. It is important that policy be in place to protect them. Children and youth living in the Northwest Territories deserve first-class protection from second-hand smoke.

    Sample questions

    The following are sample questions you may wish to ask your candidates at different forums or events, or through other means of communication, such as email and Facebook (see shorter messages below that will work with Twitter’s 140 character limitation).

    Create your own questions that will challenge candidates to adopt legislation that bans smoking in vehicles carrying children. Learn more about this issue.

    • Protecting children from dangerous second-hand tobacco smoke is important because children cannot always protect themselves. If elected, will you commit to supporting legislation that bans smoking in vehicles carrying children?
    • Are you aware that almost all Canadian provinces and the Yukon have banned smoking in cars carrying children? If elected, will you see that such legislation is brought to the Northwest Territories?
    • Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Canada, and most smokers start using tobacco before the age of 18. It’s important that we focus on ways to help kids stay tobacco-free for life. If elected, will you protection our children by supporting a ban on smoking in vehicles carrying children?

    Twitter questions for your candidate

    Remember to include your candidate’s Twitter handle in your tweet.

    • If elected, will you support a ban on smoking in vehicles carrying children in NWT?
    • Do you support the banning of smoking in vehicles carrying children?
    • NWT is 1 of the only places in Canada that doesn’t ban smoking in cars carrying children. Will you change this?

    Smoke-free parks and playgrounds

    Important facts

    • Smoking in outdoor public places where children and youth are active is a real threat to public health.
    • Smoking has no place in areas where people – especially children – gather outdoors as it can compromise public health and safety, and it poses a threat to the environment.
    • Cigarettes and smoking-related litter have a serious, negative impact on human health and the health of the environment. Discarded butts are poisonous to both children and wildlife.

    Sample questions

    The following are sample questions you may wish to ask your candidates at different forums or events, or through other means of communication, such as email or Facebook (see shorter messages below that will work with Twitter’s 140 character limitation).

    Create your own questions that will challenge candidates to adopt legislation that bans smoking in select outdoor spaces where children and youth play. Learn more about this issue.

    • It’s important to protect children from the negative influence of smoking and to remove incentives for them to start. If elected, will you commit to making parks and playgrounds smoke-free in NWT?
    • Other jurisdictions across Canada are creating smoke-free outdoor spaces. If elected, will you protect our children by supporting a ban on smoking in outdoor public spaces such as parks and playgrounds?
    • Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Canada, and most tobacco users start before they turn 18. We must focus on ways to reduce youth tobacco use. If elected, will you protect our children by supporting a smoking ban in outdoor public spaces such as parks and playgrounds?

    Twitter questions for your candidate

    Remember to include your candidate’s Twitter handle in your tweet.

    • If elected, will you commit to making parks and playgrounds smoke-free in NWT?

      Do you support creating more smoke-free outdoor spaces in NWT to protect youth from the dangers of tobacco?

    • Other jurisdictions have banned smoking in outdoor spaces like playgrounds. Do you support doing this in NWT?
  • Smoke-free vehicles carrying children

    Our position

    The Canadian Cancer Society believes that prohibiting smoking in vehicles carrying children will help protect kids and youth from the harmful health effects of second-hand smoke.

    Health risks of exposure to second-hand smoke

    Second-hand tobacco smoke contains at least 50 cancer-causing chemicals that are inhaled and absorbed by non-smokers and smokers alike. Research has shown there is no level of second-hand smoke exposure that is safe. Second-hand smoke causes premature disease and death – including cancer – in children and adults who do not smoke.

    Impact of second-hand smoke on children

    Children are more severely affected by second-hand smoke than adults, so protecting them from exposure is critical. Compared to adults, children absorb more of the harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke due to their developing lungs, higher breathing rate and less-developed immune systems. The 2006 US Surgeon General’s Office concluded that children exposed to second-hand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, leukemia, brain and other childhood cancers, acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease and an increased severity of asthma.

    Young people are less able to guard themselves against exposure to second-hand smoke; therefore, it is important that policy be in place to protect them.

    Tobacco smoke in vehicles is highly concentrated

    Smoking a single cigarette in a car causes an alarming increase in respirable suspended particles (RSP), or air contaminants, and carbon monoxide in only 5 minutes. Even short exposure to second-hand smoke can trigger an asthma attack in children; long-term exposure can impact lung health.

    Smoking a single cigarette in a vehicle can produce levels of second-hand smoke once found in the smokiest bars and restaurants. Studies show that: “the particle exposure for a 5 hour automobile trip, with 2 cigarettes smoked per hour, would be 25 times higher than the same exposure scenario in a residence.” 1

    Positive role modelling and helping to prevent youth uptake of tobacco

    In addition to protecting children from harmful second-hand smoke, restrictions on the public use of tobacco also influence changes in social norms. Smoke-free policies help challenge the perception that tobacco use is acceptable and a normal adult behavior. Such a shift in public perception can have a positive impact on reducing the number of youth who start smoking, or helping them stop if they already have started.

    Research shows that when parents provide a smoke-free vehicle and home, their children are less likely to use tobacco in the future.

    Other research has indicated that ongoing or severe exposure to second-hand smoke, particularly in a confined space such as a vehicle, has a direct and measurable impact on the brain that can increase the potential for nicotine addiction. This effect is similar to what happens in the brain of smokers.

    Smoke-free vehicle legislation will help empower more parents to take steps that will support their children in remaining tobacco-free for life.

    Existing Canadian laws protecting children and youth from second-hand smoke in vehicles

    Laws prohibiting smoking in cars carrying children have been adopted in the Yukon and in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario and Nova Scotia.

    Policy recommendation

    The Canadian Cancer Society believes all children and youth deserve equal protection from the harmful health effects of second-hand smoke. One of the most prevalent locations minors are exposed to second-hand smoke is in a vehicle. Despite public health information and warnings on the dangers of exposure to second-hand smoke, some adults continue to smoke in their vehicles when children and youth are present.

    The Canadian Cancer Society strongly urges the Government of the Northwest Territories to prohibit smoking in vehicles carrying children and youth.

    1. Ott, Wayne, Klepeis, Neil, Switzer, Paul, Air change rates of motor vehicles and in-vehicle pollutant concentrations from secondhand smoke, Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology (2007), 1–14, 2007 Nature Publishing Group as cited in OMA Backgrounder

  • Smoke-free parks and playgrounds

    Our position

    The Canadian Cancer Society believes that outdoor smoking, particularly where youth play, is detrimental to human health and to the health of the environment. Outdoor smoking contributes to the perception that smoking is acceptable, contributes to second-hand smoke exposure, and has a negative impact on the environment with respects to smoking-related litter.

    Exposure to outdoor tobacco smoke

    Scientific evidence indicates that exposure to second-hand smoke outdoors poses a health risk; smoke does not quickly dissipate. Generally, the smoke from a single cigarette can be detected 7 to 10 meters away – well within reach of many people at a crowded beach, park, playground and other outdoor spaces.

    Scientific support for outdoor smoking bans is based on evidence, including the 2006 Surgeon General's Report and the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Resources Board Report that declared second-hand smoke to be a toxic air contaminant.

    Outdoor smoking and the environment

    More than 4.5 trillion cigarettes are littered worldwide each year, making them the most littered item in the world. The Great Canadian Shore Cleanup reported in 2013 that tobacco-related litter accounted for 35% of all garbage collected.

    Cigarette butts are made of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic that is not biodegradable. In other words, littered cigarette butts never truly vanish, making them an increasing and ongoing threat to the health and natural beauty of our parks and beaches. Discarded cigarette butts are also poisonous to humans and wildlife

    Positive health messaging

    Smoking restrictions influence a change in the perception that tobacco use is acceptable behaviour. Limiting youth exposure to tobacco use reinforces the message that smoking is not normal, which decreases the likelihood that youth will start using tobacco. Since the majority of smokers start before the age of 18, this measure may result in fewer children and teenagers starting to smoke.

    Smoke-free outdoor spaces in Canada

    Across Canada, the provinces of Ontario and New Brunswick, as well as more than 50 municipalities, have banned smoking in outdoor locations. About one-quarter of these municipalities
    have comprehensive bans that include parks, playgrounds and recreation fields. In Alberta, the cities of Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Medicine Hat and Grande Prairie have comprehensive bylaws prohibiting smoking around playgrounds, skating rinks, skate parks, water spray parks and sports fields. The Alberta cities of St. Albert and Devon require all outdoor public events be smoke-free. In the province of Ontario, it is illegal to smoke on and around children’s playgrounds and publicly owned sport fields and surfaces (e.g., areas for basketball, baseball, soccer or beach volleyball, ice rinks, tennis courts, splash pads and swimming pools that are owned by a municipality, the province or a postsecondary education institution). In the province of New Brunswick, smoking is not permitted in an area of an outdoor public place on which playground equipment is situated, in a sports area of an outdoor public place or within 20 metres of any point on the perimeter of the playground equipment or the sports area, or on a trail of an outdoor public place or within 9 metres of the trail.

    Policy recommendation

    The Canadian Cancer Society recommends that the Government of  the Northwest Territories adopt policies that restrict smoking in select outdoor public spaces, particularly where children and youth play. The Canadian Cancer Society recommends the following phase-in period for this policy:

    • Year 1: ban smoking in youth-oriented outdoor areas (e.g.; playgrounds, sports fields, pools, rinks)
    • Year 2: ban smoking in outdoor areas frequented by youth (e.g.; fairs, markets, festivals, concerts, attractions)
    • Year 3: ban smoking in outdoor areas accessible to youth (e.g.; parks, trails, recreation areas, green spaces)
  • About Vote for Health

    Vote for Health is an initiative aimed at educating municipal, provincial and federal election candidates and the public on important health issues affecting their communities.

    Government plays a critical role in disease prevention and health protection. For example, policies that provide smoke-free spaces can help prevent kids from taking up smoking. Such policies help prevent cancer and improve the lives of those living with the disease.

    Watch for Vote for Health in your community during election time, and visit takeaction.cancer.ca to learn more about our current advocacy work.

    Disclaimer: The Canadian Cancer Society is a non-partisan, charitable organization. We do not support or endorse candidates or political parties at any level of government.


Survey results

Question 1: Smoking in vehicles carrying children (Q1: Cars)
If elected, will you support legislation that bans smoking in vehicles carrying children?

Question 2: Smoking in parks and playgrounds (Q2: Parks)
If elected, will you support legislation that bans smoking in select outdoor areas, particularly where children and youth play, such as parks and playgrounds?

*A yes or no answer was not provided; see PDF for written response.

Candidate Q1: Cars Q2: Parks Survey
 Alfred Moses did not return survey
 Arnold Hope did not return survey
 Ben Nind  checkmark checkmark PDF
 Brian Willows  checkmark checkmark PDF
 Caroline Cochrane-Johnson  checkmark checkmark PDF
 Chris Clarke did not return survey
 Cory Vanthuyne checkmark checkmark PDF
 Dan Wong checkmark checkmark PDF
 Daniel McNeely did not return survey
 Daryl Dolynny checkmark checkmark PDF
 Dave Ramsay checkmark checkmark PDF
 David Krutko did not return survey
 David Wasylciw  checkmark * PDF
 Deneze Nakehk'o checkmark checkmark PDF
 Dennis Nelner checkmark x mark PDF
 Desmond Z Loreen did not return survey
 Don Jaque checkmark checkmark PDF
 Edwin Castillo checkmark checkmark PDF
 Ethel-Jean Gruben did not return survey
 Frederick Blake Jr did not return survey
 Glen Abernethy checkmark checkmark PDF
 Gregory Nyuli did not return survey
 Herbert Nakimayak checkmark no response PDF
 Jackie Jacobson did not return survey
 Jackson Lafferty did not return survey
 Jan Fullerton checkmark checkmark PDF
 Jane Groenewegen checkmark checkmark PDF
 Jimmy Kalinek checkmark checkmark PDF
 John Stuart Jr checkmark checkmark PDF
 Judy Tutcho checkmark checkmark PDF
 Julie Green checkmark * PDF
 Karen Felker did not return survey
 Kevin Menicoche checkmark x mark PDF
 Kevin O'Reilly checkmark checkmark PDF
 Kieron Testart checkmark checkmark PDF
 Louis Sebert checkmark checkmark PDF
 Lyle Fabian did not return survey
 Michael J. Miltenberger checkmark checkmark PDF
 Michael Nadli did not return survey
 Nigit'stil Norbert checkmark checkmark PDF
 Norman Snowshoe did not return survey
 Paul Andrew did not return survey
 Randy Sibbeston did not return survey
 Richard Edjericon did not return survey
 Robert Bouchard checkmark checkmark PDF
 Robert Hawkins * * PDF
 Robert Kuptana did not return survey
 Robert C. McLeod checkmark checkmark PDF
 Robert R. McLeod checkmark checkmark PDF
 Rocky (R.J.) Simpson checkmark checkmark PDF
 Ronald Bonnetrouge did not return survey
 Rosemary Gill checkmark checkmark PDF
 Roy Erasmus checkmark checkmark PDF
 Samuel Roland checkmark checkmark PDF
 Sean Erasmus checkmark checkmark PDF
 Shane Thompson checkmark checkmark PDF
 Tom Beaulieu checkmark checkmark PDF
 Wally Schumann checkmark checkmark PDF
 William Firth did not return survey
 Yvonne Doolittle checkmark checkmark PDF
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