NWT ministers subject to mid-term reviews in late 2017

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The territory’s MLAs will conduct a mid-term review of current cabinet ministers next November – something that hasn’t happened since the 12th assembly back in the early 1990s.

Last Thursday, all 11 regular members voted in favour of the standing committee on rules and procedure’s report on exactly what that review will look like.

Cabinet ministers and the premier abstained from voting on the report.

This time next year, every member of cabinet will speak about their accomplishments during the first half of their term before facing questions from MLAs.

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Following that, regular members and ministers will cast a secret vote much like they do when selecting a premier and cabinet.

As part of the secret vote, MLAs will decide whether or not they have confidence in the performance of cabinet as a whole and the performance of each individual minister.

Process of secret vote

Two cabinet ministers spoke out against the idea of a secret vote last week.

On Tuesday, Louis Sebert, minister for public engagement and transparency, said the review is redundant and that ministers are already evaluated on a daily basis.

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Government House Leader Glen Abernethy agreed, saying cabinet is not afraid of being judged and that any votes cast should be open.

He also said the review was never intended to focus solely on cabinet and that it goes against some of the assembly’s mandates.

“Cabinet believes that this recommendation is fundamentally inconsistent with the commitment we have made as members to openness and transparency,” he said.

Meanwhile, the committee that developed the rules decided a secret ballot vote was the only way to give cabinet ministers a chance to vote independently.

The mid-term review is scheduled to be held in November 2017.

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