Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today is the last day that these Members will gather together on the floor of this House. Like everyone else here, I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to be a Member of the 18th Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories and to represent the people of Hay River.
To say it has been an honour is an understatement. When I speak at high school graduations, I always tell the graduates it is okay if they don't yet know what they want to be when they grow up. It wasn't until I was 35 and was elected to this position that I really figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up. If I don't get re-elected, I guess I'll have figure it out all over again, but that is okay.
However, if I am not re-elected because people think that's what's best for Hay River, then, even though I love doing this, I can't complain, because that is democracy in action. It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time, and I have to agree. We're extremely lucky to be able to vote for the people who represent us and make decisions on our behalf.
Everyone who wants a shot at being an MLA is about to go through a very public, four-week long job interview, and at the end of it, we, the people, each get to have a say on who gets the job. As long as you're at least 18 years old, a Canadian citizen, and have been a resident of the territory for six consecutive months as of October 1st, it doesn't matter how much money you have, it doesn't matter what you do for a living, it doesn't matter what your gender is, it doesn't matter what your ethnicity is, or anything else. Your vote counts as much as every other person's vote.
Now, Mr. Speaker, there is no reason not to vote because Elections NWT and all the returning officers who we have here in the gallery today have made voting easier than ever.
The first thing you should do is go on the Elections NWT website and check to see whether or not you're registered. The process to check and to register if needed is ridiculously easy. I just did it yesterday.
In Hay River, you can vote on the ordinary polling day, on October 1st, at the Community Hall in the rec centre. I assume that once again, there will also be a number of opportunities prior to October 1st to vote in the office of the returning officers who I know from the last election are very helpful and accommodating.
If you aren't going to be in the NWT during the election like most college and university students you can still vote by signing up for an absentee ballot on the Elections NWT website and chose whether you want to vote by mail or, for the first time ever, Mr. Speaker, online.
Like I said, Mr. Speaker, there is no reason not to vote, so I encourage everyone to get out there and exercise their right to have a direct say in our democracy. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.