Deputy minister of Lands resigns


The Premier’s Office announced this morning that Willard Hagen, deputy minister with the GNWT Department of Lands, has resigned following a slur he made on an NNSL Facebook post directed at Frame Lake MLA Kevin O’Reilly.

“I have accepted Willard Hagen’s resignation as Deputy Minister of Lands today,” stated Premier Bob McLeod in a Sept. 18 email. “Mr. Hagen’s personal remarks do not reflect the views of the Government of the Northwest Territories, nor are they consistent with our expectations of a professional and respectful public service.

“I will not be commenting further on this matter.”

On Tuesday, Hagen made comments online about O’Reilly, who is seeking re-election, in response to an NNSL column about  the history of NWT land claims.

The slur followed a social media post O’Reilly made in reference to a photograph that accompanied the column.

Since Hagen’s online remarks, O’Reilly has declined to comment on the matter.


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Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. He came from Prince Edward County, Ont., and obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa. Working in Yellowknife, he covers education-based stories and general news but has also taken other beats in the past, including city hall and entertainment. He is a champion of the printed word and the importance of newspapers. As a board member of the United Way NWT and Rotary True North, he believes in the importance of civic engagement and community building. He spends his spare time with his boxer Sharona. Simon can be reached at (867) 766-8295 and


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