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The GNWT Department of Infrastructure is on the search for a new deputy minister.

Premier Caroline Cochrane announced Dr. Joe Dragon’s departure from the department in a news release Friday morning. The release said his departure is effective July 28.

Environment and Natural Resources wildlife director Dr. Brett Elkin and Deputy Minister Joe Dragon present range plans for boreal and Bathurst caribou at a Dec. 7 committee meeting in Yellowknife.
NNSL file photo

“The GNWT does not comment on specific HR matters, but it is not uncommon for lengthy discussions to occur regarding potential options when changes to the public service occur,” the release read. “Plans are being developed to identify a successor to lead the department.”
Steve Loutitt, assistant deputy minister of regional operations, will serve as acting deputy minister. Deputy ministers are the non-elected heads of GNWT departments.

“I would like to recognize and thank Dr. Dragon for his strong contributions to the Government of the Northwest Territories in his most recent role as deputy minister of Infrastructure and his former role as the Deputy Minister of Environment and Natural Resources,” Cochrane said in the release. “Joe’s high level of integrity and his ability to effectively mobilize, develop and lead employees has positioned the organization and its employees to successfully transition into the future.”

Dragon, a son of Fort Smith and a member of the Smith’s Landing First Nation who holds a PhD in wildlife ecology and management, was “instrumental” in the establishment of Thaidene Nene National Park Reserve and the development of the 2030 Climate Change Strategic Framework and accompanying action plan, according to the GNWT.

He held a number of senior positions in territorial and federal government departments including the GNWT Department of the Environment and Natural Resources, the Treasury Board Secretariat, the Department of Defence and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.

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Craig Gilbert

Craig is an award-winning journalist who has worked in his home province of Ontario, the Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Alberta and the Northwest Territories again. He should be at least six...

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  1. Jo is a great person. I know that from serving on the board of Katimivik and going to grad school with him