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Alfred Moses, former NWT minister and Inuvik MLA, passes away

Alfred Moses is seen in an image he had uploaded to Facebook
Alfred Moses is seen in an image he had uploaded to Facebook.

Alfred Moses, a former Inuvik MLA who served as an NWT cabinet member from 2015 to 2019, has passed away at the age of 45.

His passing was confirmed by two territorial government officials on Wednesday. No cause of death was immediately provided. The territory’s coroner’s office said an investigation was under way.

Premier Caroline Cochrane, who worked alongside Alfred in cabinet, called him a “dedicated public servant … who invested much of his life in making his home community of Inuvik and the NWT a better place for all.”

“Rest easy, friend. You will be missed,” Cochrane wrote in a tribute.

Speaker Frederick Blake Jr, the Mackenzie Delta MLA and a friend of the Moses family, said in a statement: “Alfred and I worked together for eight years here at the assembly, and I am grateful to have developed a friendship with him during that time. His passing is a great loss for the town of Inuvik, the Beaufort Delta region and the Northwest Territories as a whole. He will be missed by many.”

Michael McLeod, the NWT’s MP, called Alfred “a wonderful colleague and friend, and a champion for Inuvik and all northerners.”

Alfred was born to Martha and Winston Moses in Fort McPherson in 1977. His grandfather, John, had served as a special constable in Old Crow and Aklavik, famously playing a central role in the hunt for “mad trapper” Albert Johnson in 1932.

Alfred graduated from Inuvik’s since-demolished Samuel Hearne Secondary School and completed his post-secondary education at Red Deer College and the University of Alberta.

He served on Inuvik’s town council both before and after his time as an MLA and worked as a health professional for Inuvik’s health authority, the Department of Health and Social Services, the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs and the Diavik diamond mine, where he was an occupational hygienist and wellness coordinator.

In particular, he worked hard to campaign against smoking, helping to pass a bylaw that restricted smoking in Inuvik while a town councillor in his early twenties.

After Floyd Roland stepped away from the role of Inuvik Boot Lake MLA at the 2011 NWT election, Alfred ran to replace him. He ultimately won the seat by just five votes, receiving 216 votes to Chris Larocque’s 211.

He retained the seat in 2015 and became a member of cabinet for Bob McLeod’s second term as premier, serving primarily as education minister but also as the minister responsible for youth, alongside shorter stints as minister for housing and municipal and community affairs.

Alfred Moses at an August 13 infrastructure announcement
Alfred Moses delivers an announcement as an NWT minister. Emelie Peacock/Cabin Radio
NWT Housing Corporation chief executive Tom Williams, MLA Sonny Blake, housing minister Alfred Moses, and Aklavik Indian Band Chief Eddie Greenland pose outside a new housing complex in Aklavik
Alfred Moses, second from right, opens an Aklavik housing complex with (from left) then-boss of the housing corporation Tom Williams, MLA Frederick Blake Jr and Aklavik Indian Band Chief Eddie Greenland. Photo: NWT Housing Corporation

The rollout of the NWT’s junior kindergarten program took place on his watch, while he had a hand in overseeing the implementation of 9-1-1 emergency service across the territory.

As housing minister, he oversaw the building of seniors’ homes in northern NWT communities and the opening of affordable housing complexes in Behchokǫ̀ and Inuvik.

Since leaving government, Alfred had expressed frustration at a lack of services for vulnerable people on more than one occasion. He left a job at Inuvik’s warming shelter after just two weeks, telling the CBC he was dismayed by a lack of help from Yellowknife, while he had more recently used Facebook to call for more supports for people living with disabilities.

His passing was first reported by NNSL.

“I’m shocked to learn of the sudden death of Alfred Moses,” Kieron Testart, who served alongside him as the MLA for Yellowknife’s Kam Lake for four years, said on Twitter late on Tuesday.

“Alfred was a staunch advocate for his people and a hard worker, always putting others before himself. His service will not soon be forgotten.”

Robert Bouchard, who served as a Hay River MLA while Alfred was in office, said working alongside him had been “a privilege.”

The NWT Association of Communities, which worked with Alfred during his time as minister of municipal and community affairs, said his passing would “resonate throughout the NWT.”