All 19 MLAs are expected to be present for the second session of the 19th Legislative Assembly of the NWT on Tuesday, May 26, more than two months after the assembly sitting was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Several protocols will be in effect when the session resumes to comply with health regulations related to Covid-19, as spokesperson Danielle Mager explained in an email.
Daily temperature checks will be conducted on all MLAs and essential staff before they enter the legislature, access to rooms will be controlled to ensure physical spacing and directional arrows will be put on the floor for visual references.
All members and Chamber staff will be given hand sanitizer and gloves, seating arrangements will be modified to maintain two metres of physical distance between members, pages won’t be in attendance and there will be minimal staffing levels in the building.
The public gallery will only be open to accredited members of the media.
Dene Nation Chief Norman Yakeleya said in a press conference on Thursday morning that he hopes the new session deals with housing and overcrowding in Indigenous communities, which he called “the number one issue.”
“The MLAs, along with the ministers, need to look at a big part of the reconciliation of the Indigenous leaders — of the Inuvialuit, the Metis and the Dene — and set up a political table to look at co-governance, collaborations and cooperation,” Yakeleya said. “I think our relationship is at a critical point where we need each other so badly but we don’t seem to come together. I’m not too sure how seriously we’re talking with this government.”
The second session will last until June 12.