Masi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker -- [Translation] Masi, Mr. Speaker. Today is a special day; it's a huge day. Yesterday as I spoke, I spoke in my language. The reason I said it, I said it in my language. Today we have Mary Rose here in the audience from CKLB. I spoke with her, and they report on everything that we say and do in this House. When we represent the people, we need to talk for them, and we relay those concerns to the government.
Yesterday, as I spoke in my language, I spoke in my language yesterday on the radio. But today I will speak in English. The languages are all equal. Today, as we meet here, I will be announcing a special report. I want to say to all the MLAs and the people of Northwest Territories, and also to the Tlicho Region, my people, I want to talk to them. As I stand here, I will read my statement. I will now speak in my language. Masi, Mr. Speaker. [Translation Ends]
Mr. Speaker, we've experienced a challenging year and a half from COVID-19 here in the Northwest Territories, in Canada, and also around the world. We have lost something dear and today we face a normal full of unanswered questions. And then, Mr. Speaker, comes devastating news last week from the former Kamloops Indian Residential School - news of a mass grave containing the bodies of at least 215 Indigenous children.
Mr. Speaker, challenging times like this tend to focus on person's thoughts, on what really matters. It gets you thinking about family, how very precious family is, and about the community and how precious that is. And this leads, naturally, to thoughts about your own life and what have you done with your time on earth that you've been given by Our Creator.
Mr. Speaker, that applies to me. That includes reflecting back on my 16 years - five terms as a Member of this Legislative Assembly. Mr. Speaker, when I walked into this building in June 2005, my oldest son, Jade, was only 12 years old. Today, Mr. Speaker, my son, Jade, is 28 years old with a son on his own and a family on his own. My youngest Ty was only just born when I became a MLA. Now he is 16, studying for his driver's licence.
Mr. Speaker, we take our oath of office as a MLA. We sign on to a demanding parallel of life - an existence away from home, removed loved ones, and away from family. Mr. Speaker, while I sat in this chamber, my five kids grew up around me. During my 16 years here, I've missed so much childhood while they were growing up - so their rites of passage. Of course, not just for me, Mr. Speaker. How many babies first words, first steps, birthdays, soccer tournaments, laughters, cuts, tears of each of us - missed because of our duties as MLAs.
But, Mr. Speaker, on the flip side, there's always a -- it has also been a wonderful 16 years serving here in this Legislative Assembly, in this House. I've visited just about every community in the Northwest Territories, just every part of Canada as a Minister, and then later as a Speaker, travelled to promote NWT internationally.
Mr. Speaker, when I was approached 16 years ago to first run as a MLA for Monfwi Region, it was at prompting of the elders. 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 the Tlicho. They want me to take what I have learned here and put it to work within the Tlicho government system.
As tradition demands, I consulted with my family. My family, which stood by me in my journey as a MLA, as a Minister, and also as a Speaker. My family says the elders' right. It's time for a new direction. It's time to go home.
For that reason, Mr. Speaker, today I am giving notice to this House, to the Tlicho people, the NWT as a whole, that I will be resigning my post as a MLA for Monfwi effective today, Friday, June 4th, 2021.
In doing so, Mr. Speaker, I'd like to say a big masi cho to the Tlicho communities and the people, for the privilege of representing them for the past 16 years, for the past five terms. I'm humbled by the trust they placed in me. It makes a personal sacrifice more worth it. I love the Tlicho people and the communities. For their sake, I would do it all over again.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to masi cho to my former assistant Morgan McPherson who dedicated almost ten years to helping me in various elected roles. Without her, Mr. Speaker, I would have been lost. Thank you, Morgan, for your dedication and commitment, for being a friend that I could always count on. For that, masi cho.
Another constituent assistant, Mr. Speaker, is Richard Charlo. He has been my voice, my eyes and ears, in the Tlicho Region when it came to constituent issues. Thank you, Richard, for your enthusiasm, for your cheerfulness, hard work, and your dedication these past several years.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to say masi cho to my family - my father, my sisters, brothers, aunties and uncles, for supporting me and encouraging me as I struggled to make a difference for my Tlicho people and my communities. During my 16 years here, I have lost so many close family. First my mother, 2014; then a year later, my grandma cho. Then just last year, my brother Troy. And this year, my loving auntie Therese. Their death made it more difficult in trying times but my family's love and support kept me going.
Mr. Speaker, that brings me to my immediate family. If I had an amount of success as a politician, it's them I have to thank. They get the credit. My son Jade, his wife Jessie, our grandson Aries. My daughter Cheyenne, my daughter Sahara, my daughter Dené, and our youngest Ty. Without their constant love and understanding, I'd be nothing. Then, Mr. Speaker, there is a super woman I married - Diane Marie Lafferty. In every challenge, every time, every defeat, she has been there by my side. Through every trying times, absence, every inconvenient business trip, every sitting of this Assembly, she was there covering me with the kids, reminding them of my love. If I have accomplished anything in life, it's on account of my love Diane. If my path leads to success, it will be entirely because of her.
Mr. Speaker, finally, I want to thank this institution - the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories, and all their Members, past and present, I have had opportunity and privilege to serve with. Elected office is a true honour - a high calling. I will be grateful for the rest of my life for being given this opportunity.
Mr. Speaker, I will miss this chamber, the excitement, the debates as well. But new excitement beckons from outside this building, outside the city. They call me.
Mr. Speaker, it's been a blast. Mr. Speaker, good luck to all my colleagues around the room here. Continue to be the voice of the North. Do not forget who elected you. It's the people that you serve. It's their voice that should be heard in this House. So make a difference for NWT.
Masi cho and God bless.