It’s been a busy couple of weeks for Diane Thom.
Fresh off her election as MLA for Inuvik-Boot Lake, Thom was elected to the executive of the legislative assembly Oct 24 following two rounds of votes.
Since then it’s been a roller-coaster. Thom said she’s been busy packing and preparing for spending a good chunk of her time in Yellowknife, up to three or more weeks a trip.
“It’s crazy. There’s a lot of things I still need to get done,” she said with a laugh. “I’m going tomorrow and I’ll get a better sense of what’s going on. They give you a calendar to March 31, but if you’re in cabinet your calendar actually triples.”
Thom brings a lot of experience to the table and her roots run deep in the community. In her previous capacity she was the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation’s chief negotiator for the Inuvialuit Self Government Agreement. She spent 20 years working with community groups that included intergovernmental relations between the territorial, federal and Inuvialuit governments.
During her run for MLA, where she captured 238 votes, Thom said she would push for better relationships with local governments to speed up housing development, with nearly 100 people still waiting for homes in the area. She also had said during an all-candidates forum that she would push for the GNWT to fulfill a decade old promise to complete the school yards at East Three School.
She noted her previous experience negotiating with the government would help her bring some new insight to the table.
“Now I’m on the other side of the table,” she said. “It’s going to be really interesting.”
As for what portfolio she had an eye on, Thom said she was pretty open, noting all 19 departments were fascinating.
“They all come with different capacities,” she said. “I’m sure the premier that will look at the work that I’ve done and be able to determine quickly which ones would suit me best.”
But she said she’s excited to get to Yellowknife and roll up her sleeves.
“It feels really good. There’s a lot of work ahead and a big commitment – and it’s one that I’m ready for.”