You get a say about the NWT’s new Premier, MLAs promise

MLAs are sworn in at the beginning of the 18th Assembly
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Newly elected MLAs are pledging to consult the public about the identity of the next Premier of the Northwest Territories.

In a statement on Monday, the legislature confirmed MLAs will select their leader using a new system.

This time, they’ll hear speeches by candidates on Wednesday, December 9, then take a week to seek feedback from voters before coming back to make a decision by secret ballot.

The final vote will take place some time on Wednesday, December 16 – with cabinet members and the speaker of the house selected at the same time.

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Read: Bob McLeod re-elected, ‘prepared to stand for premier again’

The identities of those MLAs standing for Premier of the NWT are not yet confirmed. You can expect to hear from your MLA via social media, email or a knock at the door once the candidates make their public speeches this week.

Caroline Cochrane-Johnson, the new MLA for Range Lake, told Moose FM she will look to hold a constituency meeting to brief residents on the choices available and listen to their views.

Other MLAs say they may rely on social media – and expect Northern residents to be vocal in expressing their preferences.

In the past, the leader was decided soon after the speeches concluded, with no time set aside for consultation with constituents.

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Kam Lake MLA Kieron Testart, who campaigned on a platform of transparency in government, still plans to make public his voting decision next week. Cory Vanthuyne told L’Aquilon he also intends to disclose his vote. Beyond that, it’s not clear if any other MLAs will join them.

Meanwhile, Tuesday morning saw the 19 MLAs formally sworn in at the Legislative Assembly in Yellowknife.

Following a breakfast meeting with reporters, MLAs – watched by family members – took a joint oath inside the assembly’s main chamber before posing for photographs.

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