News April 7(a), 2011

Cabinet seat to remain vacant

(YELLOWKIFE) April 7, 2011 – At a meeting of the Caucus held earlier today, Members of the 16th Legislative Assembly decided not to fill the vacancy left on Cabinet by the resignation of the Member for Range Lake, Sandy Lee. Accordingly, the Territorial Leadership Committee to be held this afternoon at 1:30 p.m. has been cancelled. 

Caucus’ decision was based on the costs associated with selecting, swearing in and briefing a new minister with less than four months remaining in the term of the current Legislative Assembly. Wendy Bisaro, Caucus Chair and MLA Frame Lake says, “today was the first opportunity that the full Caucus has had to meet since the resignation of Ms. Lee on March 26. Members agreed that the costs of filling the vacant cabinet seat and a potential cabinet shuffle were too great given the remaining life of this legislative assembly.” 

Caucus has agreed to a number of measures to ensure that all members have an active role to play in cabinet decision making for the remainder of this Assembly. A protocol has been agreed upon whereby Cabinet will identify and consult with Regular Members on any major decisions that may be required in the lead up to the general election and during the election period. Caucus has also scheduled a three day meeting in Norman Wells from May 30 to June 1 to discuss transition issues for the remainder of the 16th Legislative Assembly. The ministerial portfolios that are now vacant will be shared by the existing ministers on the Executive Council. Premier Roland will make an announcement to that effect in the coming days. 

A seven-Member Cabinet is a political convention and can be changed at any time by the direction of the Caucus. The decision to continue with a six member cabinet is an interim measure that will expire after the current Assembly is dissolved. As usual, the Caucus of the 17th Legislative Assembly will re-visit this convention following the upcoming general election in October. 

For more information, please contact: 

Wendy Bisaro, Caucus Chair 
Legislative Assembly of the NWT 
P: 867-669-2274 or 1-800-661-0784 

Tim Mercer, Clerk 
Legislative Assembly of the NWT 
P: 867-669-2299 or 1-800-661-0784 
F: 867-920-4735