Support from northerners like you keeps our journalism alive. Sign up here.



There’s a line forming to be in the next NWT cabinet

No wonder Commissioner Margaret Thom looks apprehensive. A lot of names want to fill these silhouettes. (Guess where RJ Simpson was standing in this photo).
No wonder Commissioner Margaret Thom looks apprehensive. A lot of names want to fill these silhouettes. (Guess where RJ Simpson was standing in this photo).

I can’t stand this indecision married with a lack of vision. Everybody wants to rule the world.

Tears For Fears may have released that song in 1985, but its chorus does a good job of summarizing some NWT residents’ concerns about their government in 2023 – and many incoming MLAs’ desire to be at the controls.

Who would you pick? Voting in our poll has now closed. We’ll publish results soon.

In a Cabin Radio post-election survey, no newly elected MLAs ruled out becoming a member of the new seven-person cabinet.

Twelve out of 17 MLAs-elect (we couldn’t reach Lucy Kuptana or Jane Weyallon Armstrong) told us they have some interest in being a minister.



Of the other five, Julian Morse said he hadn’t thought that far ahead. Vince McKay said he wouldn’t comment yet post-election (ahead of polling day, he had said he wasn’t interested in a cabinet position). Denny Rodgers said he would work in “whatever capacity [MLAs] decide as a whole.” Kate Reid said she’d prefer to be a regular MLA but it was “impossible” to rule out other roles before getting to know her colleagues. Sheryl Yakeleya had no comment.

Kieron Testart, RJ Simpson and Shane Thompson all told us they are interested in the role of premier (or, failing that, a role in cabinet). Lesa Semmler didn’t rule out an interest in the premier’s job, and told Cabin Radio she would be “honoured to be picked” for a role in cabinet, given her experience as an MLA returning for a second term.

Robert Hawkins said he was interested in a cabinet role, as did Caitlin Cleveland, Danny McNeely, Jay Macdonald, Richard Edjericon and Caroline Wawzonek, who is also considered a likely contender for the premiership but has avoided expressly announcing her candidacy.

Shauna Morgan said she’d consider a place in cabinet, qualifying that with the statement that “you have to kind-of get in there and get to know the crowd.”



Since we mentioned it, you should probably listen to it.

George Nerysoo said he’d be interested in a cabinet role if he was nominated, but added he did not consider it to be a priority.

“My priorities are to get the concerns of the residents of the Mackenzie Delta addressed. If I am nominated, I will consider the position,” he said, adding he has “a lot of learning to do.”

Nine MLAs-elect have used interviews either before or after polling day to categorically rule out trying to become the next premier: Morse, Reid, McKay, Rodgers, Cleveland, Nerysoo, Edjericon, Hawkins and Morgan.

Simpson, Thompson and Wawzonek are the only MLAs-elect with ministerial experience.

Hawkins is the most experienced territorial politician of the group, having already served three full terms between 2003 and 2015, each as a regular MLA. Simpson and Thompson are heading into their third terms.

MLAs-elect start coming together on Tuesday next week, with dedicated blocks of time to hash out the new premier and cabinet on November 30 and December 7, though those dates could yet shift.

MLAs hold votes to decide who becomes premier and who enters cabinet. The new premier then gets to decide which cabinet members take which portfolios.

The votes have in the past been secret ballots, meaning the public isn’t told who voted for whom unless MLAs choose to make their votes public.

Who would you pick?

We ran a poll on this page from November 17 to November 19. Results will appear on our website soon.