Thank you, Madam Speaker. Prior to and during this session, I've been working on a discussion paper on electing a leader by popular vote. Members recall that this was an item that was supposed to have been discussed in Cambridge Bay at our strategic planning workshop. The matter was deferred. This issue has been a subject of informal discussion during the six years I've been a Member. It has not proceeded to a full-blow examination in Caucus for two reasons. First, ordinary Members enjoy the privilege of being able to choose the Cabinet. Second, Ministers enjoy being Ministers in a system which makes the Premier leader in name, but with limited authority compared to her southern counterparts.
Change doesn't come very easily or very quickly, Madam Speaker. Some Members will recall the long period of time it took to make many of our internal elections, which took place behind closed doors, into a public process. That was quite a battle. There is widespread disenchantment with the political process today. Citizens have indicated they want more mechanisms for them to be involved in the issues important to them. During the last decade, at least one political party has been formed and has obtained considerable public support for one reason only, and that promise is the promise to involve citizens more in the political process, and no real political platform beyond that.
In the absence of political parties, one obvious form of direct democracy which could work in the Northwest Territories is the election of the Premier in a general election. I believe the issue should be examined at our strategic planning meeting in Fort Smith. I will table a paper outlining how a leader could be elected, while retaining the essential power of the Assembly to remove both Cabinet and Government Leader. I will table, today, a short paper which examines the ramifications and technical problems in relation to choosing a leader by popular vote. Thank you.