New MLAs leave premier selection process mostly unchanged

The NWT’s 19 new MLAs decided on Wednesday to make only minor changes to the process by which the next premier, and cabinet, will be chosen in the coming nine days.

In a news release on Wednesday afternoon, the territory’s legislature said the MLAs would keep the essence of the process used in assemblies past, including a secret ballot to decide the speaker, premier, and cabinet members, in that order.

Candidates for premier will address their colleagues in a live broadcast from the legislature starting at 9am on Friday, October 18.


In a new development, those candidates will then take up to two questions from each MLA during the public broadcast.

Proceedings are then paused until Thursday, October 24, when MLAs can each ask one further question of the would-be premiers before voting. (While voting is done by secret ballot, there is nothing to stop MLAs publicizing who they voted for.)

Again, the session begins at 9am and is broadcast live.

The speaker will be the first position voted in on October 24, followed by the premier, then six more cabinet members – otherwise known as the executive council.

“The executive council will consist of six members, with two each representing three distinct geographic areas: the ‘northern’ constituencies; the ‘Yellowknife’ constituencies; and the ‘southern’ constituencies,” the Legislative Assembly advised in a news release.


MLAs running for cabinet will take up to one question from each of their colleagues (which is also a change from past assemblies) before a secret ballot – with separate ballots for each of the three regions’ positions.

Residents can watch the October 18 and October 24 sessions in person from the legislature’s public gallery, or tune in via the Legislative Assembly’s website or social channels. Cabin Radio will report on the identities of the new premier, speaker, and cabinet as soon as they are announced.

Those positions are finalized on October 25 when a formal motion is passed in the legislature and the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, Margaret Thom, swears them in.