This is page numbers 4285 - 4326 of the Hansard for the 17th Assembly, 5th Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was public.

Topics

Point Of Order
Motions

Page 4294

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

To the point of order, Mr. Bromley.

Point Of Order
Motions

Page 4294

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thank you. This is to the point of order, Mr. Speaker. Finally, I did check with the officials of this House before I proceeded with my comments to ensure that I was on track and legitimate in doing so, and I'm well within my 20 minutes, I might add. This is apparently one of the few opportunities that the public has to hear their voice and for this House to fully hear their voice. I am tempted to lay a point of order myself. This is the voice of the people that are speaking here, and it is my right and duty and privilege to fulfill that by making sure their comments are heard in public. May I continue, Mr. Speaker?

Speaker's Ruling
Motions

March 10th, 2014

Page 4294

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Bromley. You may continue. I will deal with this point of order right now. There is no point of order. You are reading off of papers that are not singling one paper out. You are reading off of different people's aspects of what they're thinking and sending to all Members and to yourself. There is no point of order. I will allow you to continue, but I am going to remind Members, the respect and the decorum of this House is the priority while we are debating this motion. Respect each other. Thank you. Mr. Bromley, you may continue.

Speaker's Ruling
Motions

Page 4294

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I do want to say that I respect this House and the voice of your authority.

As I was saying, almost all were very concerned about the lack of voice they had and the failure to give people their due in terms of consulting with the electorate.

The issue has come up far too suddenly for ordinary citizens to give it due consideration. We would ask the Assembly to delay or table a vote on this motion until sufficient time has passed for a reasonable public debate, if it is possible to do so.

Mr. Speaker, another voice: “This move is anti-democratic...”

Speaker's Ruling
Motions

Page 4294

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

[Microphone turned off]...you may continue.

Speaker's Ruling
Motions

Page 4294

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I was speaking to you. “This move is anti-democratic in the sense that there is no opportunity for public consultation and little time, five days, for public debate.” I think it was less than that actually, Mr. Speaker. “A decision to tamper with this fundamental democratic right cannot be made without the full and informed consent of all citizens of the NWT. To propose a weekend to consider deferring my right is an affront to democracy and to the hard fought battle to have the right to vote.”

Mr. Speaker, another constituent or resident says, “I find it totally unacceptable to spring this issue on voters and then expect them to get back to their MLAs over the weekend.”

Another: “At the very least, allow time for full and open public debate on a matter of such importance.”

Finally: “This rushed approach does not allow adequate time for the public to become informed or respond.”

Mr. Speaker, there is firm data, firm studies on the benefits of concurrent elections such as through the study that examined many situations concluded that there was a significantly improved voter turnout with concurrent elections. People want to hold the election October 2015 as scheduled, or a bit earlier if we must. Again, the public spoke clearly along similar lines with these comments.

I quote again, Mr. Speaker: “It might be hard for this government to understand, but as voters we can keep more than one issue straight, especially because the federal election is so simple. My two cents: Have it on the same day and save us some money.”

Again, a voter says, “The possibility of voter fatigue is disrespectful to those voters who take voting seriously. This move is anti-democratic in the sense that there is no opportunity for public consultation and little time, five days for public debate. I urge you to leave the election date where it is and face the electors with your skills and decision-making record.”

Another constituent writes: “Also, to suggest that voters would be confused and/or frustrated with a possibility of up to three elections taking place in a relatively short period of time denigrates the intelligence of all Canadians and particularly the electors in the NWT.”

Mr. Speaker, a resident says, “If you really must change the election date, why not make it shorter rather than longer?”

Another says, “I am concerned that Members of the Legislative Assembly would think that the electorate of the NWT would be confused and not able to differentiate between different elections for different levels of government. I don't know anyone who would find this confusing.”

Another says, “If you sincerely believe the electorate is too simple to cope with multiple elections, you could offer to hold territorial elections earlier.”

A constituent says, “I strongly disagree with the concerns that having all three elections at the same time would affect voter turnout in a negative way. As a matter of fact, I believe the opposite. Those of us who do vote, will continue to vote. Those who do not, may be convinced to do so as a result of the increased exposure.” And that is consistent with the findings of the study.

Finally, a constituent says, “I don't believe three elections in close proximity to each other is nearly as problematic as some would make it out to be. While there are some risks in terms of voter fatigue, there is also a possibility that many could find the elections in close proximity much more convenient.”

Mr. Speaker, to my mind, the public has spoken and their message is crystal clear. This motion is considered by most to be undemocratic and of questionable ethics. The message that people may be confused with three concurrent elections is insulting to the people of the NWT.

Finally: “Give this up, stick to the democratic as currently provided for in legislation and await additional authority for changing election dates as provided for the 18th Legislative Assembly following due and democratic process.”

So, Mr. Speaker, based on the people, I firmly oppose the motion and invite my colleagues to hear the people and join me and others in opposition.

Before ending, Mr. Speaker, I would like to, in recognition of the comments I've heard to the previous amendment, I think there is interest in having flexibility to reset the dates of the election within the month of October in order to maximize the voter turnout and the coordination between elections. I heard that from my colleague Mrs. Groenewegen, I believe. I would like to propose an amendment to Motion 16-17(5).

Speaker's Ruling
Motions

Page 4294

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Bromley. Mr. Bromley.

Speaker's Ruling
Motions

Page 4294

Bob Bromley Weledeh

I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Frame Lake, that Motion 16-17(5) be amended by adding the following to the resolution portion of the motion: “AND FURTHERMORE, that should federal legislation be enacted as requested, the Board of Management of the Legislative Assembly propose a bill at the earliest opportunity to defer the election to a date within the month of October 2015 that maximizes coordination of concurrent elections and voter turnout.” Mahsi.

Speaker's Ruling
Motions

Page 4294

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Bromley. The motion is in order. To the motion. Mr. Bromley.

Speaker's Ruling
Motions

Page 4294

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I've been very clear so far, so speaking very briefly to the motion, there was some indication and sentiment that we do need to have a little bit of flexibility within the month of October 2015 rather than force the election on the first Monday of October 2015.

Speaker's Ruling
Motions

Page 4294

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Bromley. We're just waiting for the copies of your amendment, Mr. Bromley. I will take a five-minute break.

---SHORT RECESS

Speaker's Ruling
Motions

Page 4294

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Mr. Bromley, could I ask you to read your amendment to the Motion 16-17(5) into the record, again? Thank you.

FURTHER mOTION TO AMEND MOTION 16-17(5), DEFEATED
Motions

Page 4294

Bob Bromley Weledeh

I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Frame Lake, that Motion 16-17(5) be amended by adding the following to the resolution portion of the motion: “AND FURTHERMORE, that should federal legislation be enacted as requested, the Board of Management of the Legislative Assembly propose a bill at the earliest opportunity to defer the election to a date within the month of October 2015 that maximizes coordination of concurrent elections and voter turnout.” Mahsi.

FURTHER mOTION TO AMEND MOTION 16-17(5), DEFEATED
Motions

Page 4294

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Bromley. The motion is in order. To the motion. Mr. Bromley.

FURTHER mOTION TO AMEND MOTION 16-17(5), DEFEATED
Motions

Page 4294

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Again, I'm trying to recognize the requests of the original movers of the motion. I think Mrs. Groenewegen spoke to the desirability of having some flexibility to move the date around within the month of October 2015, so we don't have to have it on the first Monday. My point has always been that there's a real opportunity to maximize voter turnout if we can coordinate our election with any other elections that might be happening in October 2015. This motion is a proposal to do that.

Again, there's good evidence to indicate that with this sort of move we can actually achieve increased voter turnout. In the last election, certainly it was a concern as turnout was down quite a bit from the election before. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.