Schumann not ruling out bid for premiership if re-elected

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Wally Schumann is not ruling out a bid to become premier should he be re-elected in this fall’s territorial election.

Hay River MLA Wally Schumann plans to run again in the upcoming territorial election. Schumann is the minister of Infrastructure and the minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment.
NNSL file photo
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

“As far as the premiership goes, it’s something that I’ve been asked by a number of people and it’s something that I’ll have to consider at that time when it comes up,” the MLA for Hay River South told The Hub last week.

Schumann said the number one priority will be to get re-elected as an MLA.

The makeup of cabinet and who will be premier will depend on who is elected to the 19 seats in the Legislative Assembly, he explained. “As we know, there’s going to be some new people because a couple of people say they’re not running already. So we know there’s going to be a different mix of people there and the priorities might change.”

Schumann is currently the minister of Infrastructure and the minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment.

Aside from any possible bid to become premier, he said he would be seeking to get back into cabinet.

Schumann, who is just completing his first four-year term as an MLA, noted it was not a big decision to run again.

“I knew when I even ran the first time that I would probably want to do at least two terms,” he said.

Schumann said the past four years have been quite a ride.

“There’s always lots to do,” said the minister, noting he has two “awesome” portfolios in which his work affects people on a daily basis.

“So my interaction with the public is very similar probably to someone like the minister of Health or the minister of Education where it’s very personal,” he said. “But mine’s probably a little bit more exciting because it’s a part of the economy.”

Schumann said his portfolios include such things as mining, oil and gas, agriculture and fishing.

“We’re trying to diversify our economy in a number of ways,” he said, adding it’s been a big honour to serve the people of the Northwest Territories.

No one has yet announced plans to challenge Schumann in Hay River South.

“You hear all kinds of stuff around town, and every jurisdiction has different people already talking about running,” he noted. “I think it’s starting to get ramped up a bit. But it’s a free country and, if someone wants to have a run at it and challenge all incumbents, that’s the way it is and that’s the process of democracy.”