Very pleased today to mark an anniversary important to everyone in old stomping grounds as a reporter in the Northwest Territories. So, it was on this date in 1967 that Yellowknife was named the NWT’s capital city. I first experienced Yellowknife on a four-month contract for Northern News Services during the spring-summer of 1995 (where I met, for the first time, an American President, a guy named George Herbert Walker Bush who loved to fish up there — but that story is for another day.) A couple of years later, just after we were married, I returned to the NWT with my wife Alison where we lived first in Fort Simpson before I transferred to the paper’s head office in Yellowknife.
As a political junkie, I naturally gravitated towards covering politics whenever I could in the North and, to this day, I think the Northwest Territories’ Legislative Assembly is one of the most beautiful of all such buildings in Canada. I have nothing but fond memories of covering leaders like Jim Antoine and Donny Morin, both Premiers back in my day in that building. Other MLAs I got to know included Steve Kakfwi, a fellow Bob Dylan fan who himself would become the NWT’s Premier after I returned south, and a feisty MLA, Jane Groenewegen, who was always a great source for the politics of the day, and a future MLA, Dave Ramsay.
So happy anniversary to all my old friends in Yellowknife as we mark this significant day on the political history calendar.
Arthur Milnes is an accomplished public historian and award-winning journalist. He was research assistant on The Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney’s best-selling Memoirs and also served as a speechwriter to then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper and as a Fellow of the Queen’s Centre for the Study of Democracy under the leadership of Tom Axworthy. A resident of Kingston, Ontario, Milnes serves as the in-house historian at the 175 year-old Frontenac Club Hotel.