Glen Abernethy, the MLA for Yellowknife’s Great Slave since 2007, will be challenged by Katrina Nokleby in this fall’s territorial election.
Nokleby, an engineer, announced on Monday her intent to stand as a candidate in Great Slave.
“As a woman in engineering, I feel I bring a diverse voice and unique skill set to the Assembly that isn’t currently being represented,” Nokleby said in a news release.
“I’m a project manager and a problem solver, and I want to use my wide range of northern experience to help the people of the Northwest Territories prosper.”
Nokleby said she wished to focus on growing the NWT’s economy “while maintaining high standards of sustainability and environmental protection.”
According to the news release, Nokleby has been an engineer in the North since 2006, working on projects like the ice road to the diamond mines and the Giant Mine remediation.
She said time volunteering with the YWCA had “given her perspective on the social issues facing the North,” including the cost of living, addictions, and homelessness.
Abernethy, the NWT’s health minister since 2013, has endured a turbulent few years leading the department. Critical reviews of the territory’s child and family services, in particular, led to a motion to remove him from cabinet in October 2018.
Abernethy survived that vote, with several regular MLAs – even in the course of backing his removal – stating they considered him one of the most capable ministers at the territory’s disposal.
Frame Lake MLA Kevin O’Reilly said Abernethy was “perhaps our best minister” as he voted to remove him, calling Abernethy “receptive and responsive” but saying he had been sufficiently disturbed by the department’s apparent failings to vote out the minister.
Facing opponent Chris Clarke in the 2015 territorial election, Abernethy was successfully re-elected with almost 80 percent of the vote.