MLAs prepare for new roles in legislative assembly

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The new slate of MLAs return to the legislature on Oct. 25 but in the weeks that lie between now and then, there will be much work to get elected members ready.

Danielle Mager, manager of public affairs and communications at the legislative assembly, said it is going to be a busy schedule leading up to the first day of the first session.

“It is very busy with member orientation and having everyone ready to go and having presentations done and really getting members to meet staff and prepared for working for the next four years,” said Mager.

Members of the 19th Assembly met with Dene National Chief Norman Yakeleya Oct. 9. Also present were Eleanor Bran, John Bekale, and Akaitcho Territory Spokesperson Chief Edward Sangris, and Ernest Betsina, Chiefs of the Yellowknives Dene First Nations. Photo courtesy Dene Nation

Earlier this week, all MLAs arrived in Yellowknife for an orientation session. This included an introduction to staff and a lesson on consensus government.

Today there will be a round table discussion at the legislative assembly, which will focus on issues of transition and legislative priorities for the 19th Assembly.

Tomorrow there will be another orientation day, which will focus on pay and benefits for members, budgets and rules around code of conduct and conflict of interest.

On Friday, the MLA-elects will meet members of the media before a swearing-in ceremony and a photography session.

Next week MLAs will meet Indigenous leaders at the Tree of Peace Friendship Centre.

Premier nominations  

There has been much speculation about who will be the next premier as former NWT premier Bob McLeod did not seek reelection.

The official selection process will start on Oct. 18, when candidates will put their names forward at the territorial leadership committee.

On Oct. 19, MLAs will travel to their home communities to meet with constituents to get their feedback on who should be supported for premier, said Mager.

On the morning of Oct. 24, the new speaker will be selected. Later in the morning, MLAs will elect the next premier. In the afternoon, the votes will be cast for the executive council or cabinet.

The regular session – the day that MLAs  “spread their wings,” as Mager said – will begin Oct. 25.

Later in the day there will be an official swearing-in of the premier and cabinet. The day will wrap-up with a meet and greet with NWT commissioner Margaret Thom.

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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 editorial@nnsl.com.

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