Monfwi MLA Jackson Lafferty has resigned from his position in the Legislative Assembly.
Lafferty made the announcement while the Legislative Assembly was in session on Friday.
Lafferty said the impacts of the pandemic had made him reflect on his own life.
“My five kids grew up I grew up during my 16 years here, I missed so much childhood
while they’re growing up, so many of the rites of passage,” he said. “Of course, it’s not just for me, how many baby’s first words, first steps, birthdays, soccer tournaments, laughters, tears have each of us missed because of our duties as MLAs?”
“When I was approached 16 years ago, to run for the MLA for Monfwi region, it was at the prompting of the elders,” he added. “Now, those same elders, at least the new generation of them, have approached me again. This time, Mr. Speaker, they’re asking me to come home, back to my region, back to Tłı̨chǫ. They want me to take what I’ve learned here and put it to work within our Tłı̨chǫ governance system.
“As tradition demands, I consulted with my family, which stood by me in my journey. My family says the elders are right, it’s time for a new direction. It’s time to go home.”
Lafferty was first elected as an MLA in 2005, and was re-elected in 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019 — in the latter two the position was acclaimed.
During the 17th Legislative Assembly, Lafferty held the position of Deputy Premier, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, Minister Responsible for Official Languages, and Minister Responsible for the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission.
During the 18th Assembly, Lafferty was elected to the position of Speaker.
“During his time as Speaker, he increased the use of official languages at the Legislative Assembly,” said a spokesperson for the Legislative Assembly in a statement.
His position in the Legislative Assembly is now vacant.
Following procedure, the Chief Elections Officer will be directed to issue a writ to call for a byelection to fill the vacancy.
More information about when that election will happen will be released by Elections NWT.