Are you ready to be an MLA in the Northwest Territories?

Legislative Assembly
Legislative Assembly. (Photo by MyTrueNorthNow.com. staff)
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With an election approaching, it’s time for political wannabes in the Northwest Territories to get serious.

That’s the message from politician Bob Bromley.

Bromley has been the member of the legislative assembly, or MLA, for Yellowknife’s Weledeh district since 2007.

“We’re only six to eight months away from a territorial election, and with it an opportunity for concerned citizens to take a leadership role in the governance of our people, lands and resources,” said Bromley on Monday.

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“We have all heard criticisms, frustrations and suggestions from residents and constituents. Now is the time for individuals to consider stepping forward to provide leadership and to put their ideas into action.”

Some might interpret that as code for: if you’re that worried, stop complaining and start doing something.

So, what do you actually have to do to get elected?

The NWT has an elections website which offers a basic guide to the criteria you need to meet.

The main boxes you need to check are:

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  • At least 18 years old
  • Canadian citizen
  • Resident of the NWT for the past 12 consecutive months

Not wanting you to surprise your boss, the website recommends that candidates “check their employer’s policy about running for public office”.

If you meet the criteria and feel strongly enough to go ahead with a campaign, you need to get yourself nominated.

Being nominated means you’re officially up for election. It involves:

  • Getting a form signed by at least 15 eligible voters who live in the district where you want to run (you don’t have to live in that district yourself)
  • Appointing an official agent to manage your campaign finances
  • Submitting a deposit of $200 (if you withdraw, you don’t get this back)

“Election campaigns usually cost money,” continues the guide, breaking it to you gently.  Click here to find out more about raising funds and what expenses to expect.

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There are various rules to follow and, while voters are long accustomed to politicians indulging in financial shenanigans, it’s best to get elected first. The golden rule is you can’t spend more than $30,000 on your campaign.

The most important things to have are values. The people of the Northwest Territories are concerned about a huge range of issues and you, on the campaign trail, will be expected to have a clear, concise and appealing answer to each of them. You will even be expected to deliver on this answer if elected.

Speaking of getting elected – if it’s the part after the election that worries you, this page explains what the job of being an MLA actually involves.

Here are the key dates you need to know if you’re interested. Election day is set for Monday, October 5. Good luck!

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