A sign outside the NWT Legislative Assembly. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
NWT MLAs are set to meet next week to discuss delaying the upcoming territorial election and authorizing emergency spending.
In a Monday press release, caucus chair and Thebacha MLA Frieda Martselos said there was “clear support” from territorial politicians for the chief electoral officer’s recommendation that October’s election be delayed until November.
Chief electoral officer Stephen Dunbar was quoted as saying: “The logistics and people required to run an election are significant and, in the current circumstances, there are a number of ridings where we would not be in a position to safely proceed on September 4.”
The news release states Speaker Frederick Blake Jr will recall the Legislative Assembly on August 28 at 1:30pm. MLAs are expected to pass legislation to delay the election as well as assign more money toward wildfire-related costs.
The release states if the assembly is unable to sit in Yellowknife, it will sit in Inuvik. Politicians unable to travel to the Beaufort Delta community will participate remotely.
Legislation is required to delay the October election as NWT Commissioner Margaret Thom has already ordered the chief electoral officer to issue writs of election for all ridings.
Blake is also expected to recall the 19th Assembly in late September to conclude its business. The final sitting of the assembly had been set to take place earlier this month, but was postponed as wildfires forced the majority of the territory’s residents to evacuate.
Yellowknife, Ndılǫ, Dettah, Fort Smith, Hay River, Kátł’odeeche First Nation, Enterprise, Jean Marie River, Kakisa and surrounding areas remain under evacuation orders. Officials have said it is not safe to return to any of the communities.