GNWT shoots for openness with new mandate tracking website

Legislative Assembly
The Chamber of the NWT Legislative Assembly. Submitted photo
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The GNWT has launched a new website that allows the public to see if the territory’s MLAs are following through with commitments they made in the legislature.

In all, the territorial government’s mandate sets out approximately 200 distinct commitments that were tabled earlier this year.

The new website organizes those commitments into five major themes, which the public can track progress on.

The five major themes include:

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  • Governance
  • Economy, Environment and Climate Change
  • Cost of Living
  • Education, Training and Youth Development
  • Community Wellness and Safety

“Open government is good government,” said NWT Premier Bob McLeod in a statement issued Friday. “The Government of the Northwest Territories is committed to transparency.

“The mandate reporting website provides a new tool for concretely measuring and demonstrating the GNWT’s success in fulfilling the expectations of the legislative assembly and the public.”

Louis Sebert, the minister responsible for public engagement and transparency, added: “Citizens will be able to see milestones for each commitment, quickly gauge progress, and drill down for more detailed information.”

“Openness and transparency are fundamental principles of democracy that contribute to government accountability. These principles underpin our debates and discussions in the House.”

How else is the government pushing openness and transparency?

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In its mandate, Sebert says the government made several commitments relating to transparency and accountability, including:

  • Maximizing citizens’ ability to access government
  • Improving public visibility and accessibility of cabinet
  • Improving opportunities for meaningful public input into government decision-making
  • Developing ombudsman legislation

In recent weeks, he says cabinet has followed through on some of those promises by hosting open houses in five communities including Yellowknife and Hay River with plans to visit others in the near future.

Ministerial mandate letters (pdf) issued by the premier have also been published online for residents to see.

Sebert says he’ll also start hosting public engagement sessions to ask residents what open government means to them and what kind of information they want from their elected officials.

“We expect to hold public sessions in at least 14 communities across the Northwest Territories and we are also looking at some targeted sessions for selected stakeholders,” he told MLAs Friday.

You can find the government’s entire mandate here (pdf).

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