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Politics

New MLAs to webcast their first NWT priority-setting session


The NWT's new political leaders will broadcast live their opening discussion of the territory's priorities for the next four years.

The broadcast, carried on community TV and online via the Legislative Assembly's website and social channels, will give each of the 19 MLAs-elect the opportunity to publicly state their vision for what the new government should aim to achieve.

A live feed from the legislature will begin at 9am on Wednesday, October 9.

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Watch live: Legislative Assembly on Facebook and YouTube

"This meeting marks the formal start of the priority setting process for the 19th Legislative Assembly," a news release from the assembly's staff stated.

"Each Member of the 19th Legislative Assembly will be provided an opportunity to express their views on what the priorities of the incoming government should be.

"Wednesday’s public roundtable discussion will be informed by and build upon the feedback received by members during their individual election campaigns, and from information received during the members’ orientation program."

A similar priority-setting process has taken place in the past, featuring individual public statements followed by the 19 members coming together to create a formal list of priorities. The last government called this its "mandate" and published a document in early 2016 setting out what ultimately became a list of 230 items to achieve. (Eighteen were left unfinished in 2019.)

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Both bureaucrats and politicians have criticized that mandate list for being too long and unwieldy, too inflexible to cope with changing circumstances, and impossible to truly evaluate as it only accounts for what got done, not what impact the work had.

It will be up to the 19 new members to decide what form of mandate, or priority list, they should put together, and how their government should be held accountable.

Tuesday's news release from the legislature suggests a will on behalf of the incoming government to make its processes more transparent and accessible to residents from the start, in keeping with many candidates' promises to deliver a more collaborative approach to politics.

However, the last government in 2015 began life with similar aims. The word "collaborating" was the very first word of the very first bullet point in the last government's initial list of priorities.

If you can't watch Wednesday's broadcast, Cabin Radio will carry a full report of what was said.

Wednesday will also see judicial recounts taking place for the districts of Yellowknife North and Frame Lake. Results are expected by the end of the day.

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