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In the Legislative Assembly


Crucial Fact

Historical Information Michael Nadli is no longer a member of the Legislative Assembly.

Last in the Legislative Assembly September 2019, as MLA for Deh Cho

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 47% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Question 772-18(3): Emergency Preparedness Plans June 4th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Minister did state that there are nine communities that have their emergency plans in place and that, within the year, his department is going to lead the running of five workshops to ensure that other communities complete their emergency measures planning. Could the Minister state to this House whether this is going to be given high priority? We are just seeing the onset of summer. Would that be a very high priority, working along with communities governments? Mahsi.

Question 772-18(3): Emergency Preparedness Plans June 4th, 2019

With the last experience in the 2014 fire season, MACA recently restructured the civil and emergency organizations that address these kinds of situations. What other changes came about because of the 2014 fire season?

Question 772-18(3): Emergency Preparedness Plans June 4th, 2019

This government has advanced some good initiatives, including what was recently beneficial for one of my communities in the Deh Cho riding. Enterprise has stepped up, has worked with both levels of government, including ENR and MACA, to try to advance the idea of their FireSmart project, and kudos to both the local government in Enterprise and ENR, as well. I just wanted to understand whether the program in terms of the FireSmart initiative has been successful. I think it's a well-intended initiative. I just wanted to understand the role of MACA. What role would MACA play in terms of rolling out this FireSmart program with ENR? Because what we have seen in the past is we had, during the forest fire season, bulldozers create fire guards, but can we undertake FireSmart initiatives and be involved with the local government to ensure the aesthetics in the communities that have really beautiful scenery are maintained?

Question 772-18(3): Emergency Preparedness Plans June 4th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions are to the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs. Recently, we witnessed what transpired over the start of early spring in Alberta. We saw forest fires, and then recently we saw perhaps a weather anomaly, and that was a report of a tornado in Fort Smith. We have experienced some natural disasters up here in the Northwest Territories, including floods, so my questions are related to trying to understand just how this government works with communities in terms of preparing emergency plans. My questions are, of course, to the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs. ENR goes through a process of determining valleys at risk and working with communities, so my question is to the Minister: how many communities have completed their emergency plans such as evacuations? Mahsi.

Committee Report 17-18(3): Special Committee to Increase the Representation of Women in the Legislative Assembly June 4th, 2019

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Considering Guaranteed Seats for Women in the NWT

To achieve the target of 20 percent women in the NWT Assembly of 19 Members, at least four women would need to win seats. Currently, two women hold seats in the NWT Legislature, representing 11 percent of the seats.

The discussion paper shows first, how many guaranteed seats would be required for a 20 and a 30 percent representation of women in the NWT Legislative Assembly. Then, the discussion paper shows how scenarios would have played out in the past NWT elections of 2015, 2011, and 2007. Three additional seats would have been required in 2015 and 2011. Two additional seats would have been required in 2007, as three women were elected. To achieve the target of a 30 percent representation of women, six additional seats would have been needed in 2015 and 2011. Five more seats would have been added in 2007.

The discussion paper sparked discussion on how the model of guaranteed seats could encourage young women to participate more in politics.

"And I really liked how you referenced the Samoa people [...] and their concept of reserved seating and I think that if you wanted to be a bit progressive and move forward and encourage women in politics, that might be one solution to look at. I think what they started out with was they had six reserved seats, and not all of them were filled the first time they started that, but I think that might encourage more women to come out if you have that sort of model to go after as well. (Jessica Landry, Public Hearing Detah, January 16, 2019)

Committee heard questions with regard to the discussion paper's proposals. For example, if five additional women members are appointed through this model, how would the Cabinet and Regular Members function? Would Cabinet be larger? Would Regular Members number 16 with a seven-member Cabinet? Others wondered how the additional seats would be funded, and how the possible higher representation of women for Yellowknife would be dealt with.

"Since the beginning, there have only been 12 women. Six of them are indigenous women, like Lisa Laurier, Nellie Cournoyea, Ethel Blondin-Andrew, Lena Pederson, Helen Maksagak, Manitok Thompson" (Jane Groenewegen, Public Hearing Hay River, 9 January 2019).

Committee heard a variety of comments, including that incumbent women who do not win their seat back should be excluded from reserved seats. Confusion was expressed regarding how the guaranteed seats relate to women candidates, who only narrowly lose against their male competitors. It was also suggested that seats should be given to those candidates who were successful in getting high voter percentages.

Another option suggested in the discussion paper is to allocate additional seats to constituencies with the "highest level of relative underrepresentation" according to the findings of the Electoral Boundaries Commission. The last commission report (2013) identified Monfwi, Yellowknife, and the Sahtu as relatively under-represented.

The discussion paper identified several areas for additional study, such as the make-up of Cabinet; how vacancies would be filled between general elections; and whether additional women members would represent specific ridings or the NWT at large.

The discussion paper concludes that the measures proposed could be put in place for a limited time, such as two or three elections, and then automatically sunset. In the meantime, if targets were met through the normal electoral process, no extra, guaranteed seats would be needed.

Committee did not hear a discussion on the temporary nature of the proposed scenarios specifically, or options for alternative time frames.

Additional Suggestions

Committee was asked to consider a quota for women ministerial positions, in addition to guaranteed seats for women legislators. Setting a minimum number of women ministers was described as the "true" factor in gender equality. Recommendations by the federal Standing Committee on the Status of Women encouraged changes in electoral politics to achieve more gender equality. Electoral district associations would set goals and publicly report on their efforts, including achieving gender parity on their boards of directors and positions of leadership (House of Commons 2019).

There have been calls for position quotas in leadership in other countries. For example, changes proposed to the Maldives government included introducing a mandatory quota of 30 percent for women in leadership positions, and at least one vice president in political parties with more than one deputy leader.


Research demonstrates that we often find a combination of several measures working together: creating discussion and lobbying platforms for women; allocating funds for training and skills-building; establishing women's wings and committees; and legislating -- oh, sorry. My apologies, Mr. Speaker.


Committee believes that women holding a greater share of seats in the Legislative Assembly will have multiple beneficial effects for the NWT. The most direct and immediate impact will be increased equality of representation and the inclusion of missing perspectives. Increasing women's participation will also affect the performance of politics in the areas of policymaking, public opinion, and the legislature as workplace.

Committee heard that temporary special measures should be a plebiscite issue. If guaranteed seats are deemed necessary in the NWT, they would have to be legislated as suggested in the Speaker's discussion paper.

Two plebiscites have been held in the Northwest Territories, one in 1982 on the division of the territories, and a second one 10 years later in 1992 on the boundary between the NWT and Nunavut. The first plebiscite also began with a recommendation made by a special committee of the Assembly.

Committee notes the agreement on increasing gender equity and the number of women in the Legislative Assembly based on public hearings and submissions received. However, agreement on how to best achieve this goal was not evident.

The committee determined that, should the 2019 election not result in a minimum of 20 percent of women representation, a plebiscite to obtain public feedback on proposed temporary measures to guarantee a minimum number of seats for women in the Legislature, is something that will contribute to the goal of increasing the representation of women in the Assembly.

While the motion adopted by the Legislative Assembly in March 2018 established a goal of 20 percent in 2023, committee is looking for increased representation as soon as the 2019 election. Committee is hopeful that the changes recommended in the interim report will contribute to reaching the goals faster.

Recommendation 1

The Special Committee to Increase the Representation of Women in the Legislative Assembly recommends that if the 2019 election does not meet 20 percent women representation, the 19th Legislative Assembly call a plebiscite to determine which of the options set out in the discussion paper is preferred by the electorate.


Research demonstrates that we often find a combination of several measures working together: creating discussion and lobbying platforms for women; allocating funds for training and skills-building; establishing women's wings and committees; and legislating financial incentives and assistance programs. Committee heard the suggestion of a women's caucus as an idea to be explored and perhaps to be considered in the future.

Committee heard the proposal to consider limiting the number of terms for which an individual MLA could be re-elected. Incumbency was mentioned as one of the biggest struggles to overcome for new candidates. Limiting the number of terms would encourage change and allow a greater number of different individuals to take of the challenge of serving as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. It would also, however, deprive the legislature of the wisdom that comes from having experienced MLAs in office.

"I used to think two terms should be the limit. I did not realize then that one term is barely enough to understand what you are doing. So maybe three terms, that would be 12 years. It is hard to say. Incumbency is such an obstacle. (Chris Westwell, Public Hearing Fort Smith, 8 January 2019).

Another suggestion is rotating of the Deputy Speaker among men and women MLAs. In this proposal, there would be two Deputy Speakers, one woman and one man, and a rule that requires the Deputy Speakers to alternate when taking on their duties.

Mr. Speaker, I now pass the reading of the next section to my honourable colleague for Range Lake. Mahsi.

Forest Fire Evacuation June 4th, 2019

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. [English translation not provided.] The forest fires of Alberta have impacted the NWT and, as neighbours, we watch in worry for family and friends who live in northern Alberta. The residents of the Deh Cho riding remember all too well the terrible fires of 2014. Thankfully, none of our communities were damaged that year and we pray that the communities in northern Alberta are also spared.

Some evacuees from High Level and surrounding communities were accommodated on the Hay River Reserve, and they were just allowed to go home yesterday, but they have been told that they must be ready to evacuate again at a moment's notice.

Mr. Speaker, here in the NWT, we have 33 communities, and most of them are surrounded by thick forests. We have to ask ourselves: are we prepared to address a potential situation of an out-of-control wildland forest fire threatening our communities?

The recent wet weather has been helpful, and according to ENR, there is only one active fire in the NWT at the moment, but we all know how quickly things can change. Now is the time to prepare and make sure that our communities are as safe as they can be from forest fires.

Mr. Speaker, the 2014 forest fire season was the biggest forest fire season on record in the NWT. The community of Kakisa was evacuated and fortunately no injury or damage was done. Following that fire season, some fire guards around some communities were established. Some communities only have one road going into the community, and others are only accessible by air. A fast-moving fire could cause a catastrophe.

The GNWT has initiatives such as the FireSmart programs that clear low laying combustibles and forest thinning to lessen the spread of wildfire around communities. It is essential for our isolated communities especially to make themselves as safe as possible from wildfires. I will have questions for the Minister at the appropriate time on what is being done to prepare our communities should they be threatened by forest fires. Mahsi Mr. Speaker.

Question 758-18(3): Update on Education Initiatives May 30th, 2019

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Earlier in my questions, the Minister had stated that she has posed to the chairs of the various education authorities throughout the NWT in terms of addressing the attendance issue and who is responsible for it. My question is: can the Minister please advise of the department's plans to address the issues of low attendance with the proposed changes to our post-secondary landscape? Mahsi.

Question 758-18(3): Update on Education Initiatives May 30th, 2019

Can the Minister please tell us whether she will support a reduction of funding to schools where attendance and enrolment rates decline?

Question 758-18(3): Update on Education Initiatives May 30th, 2019

Some very good initiative in that. I actually ran out of space in terms of writing about seven key initiatives that the Minister has undertaken. There are some challenges. One of the challenges that we are well aware of is attendance rates in small communities. Can the Minister please tell us why attendance rates are not improving?

Question 758-18(3): Update on Education Initiatives May 30th, 2019

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. My questions today are for the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment. This time of the year is time for graduations, and this department, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment, aside from the Department of Health and Social Services, is the second-biggest department in the GNWT. Can the Minister please inform us of the results of the various education initiatives undertaken over the past few years to renew our education system and motivate our students? Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.