Katrina Nokleby, the infrastructure and industry minister, faces removal from cabinet just six months into her time in office.
Steve Norn, the Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh MLA, introduced a motion on Wednesday calling for Nokleby – the MLA for Yellowknife’s Great Slave – to be stripped of her position on the executive council, as cabinet is also known.
In a short statement, Norn said there were “concerns about the Member for Great Slave’s performance as a cabinet minister.”
Those concerns were not listed.
Reached by phone immediately after making the announcement, Norn – who chairs the legislature’s accountability and oversight committee – said the decision “wasn’t taken lightly.”
He told Cabin Radio: “We deliberated quite a bit as regular members. The regular members wanted me to put forth that motion and that’s what I did.”
“Right now, I can’t say any more,” he said, when asked to explain what brought about the decision to seek Nokleby’s removal.
Nokleby, reached by phone, declined immediate comment and referred Cabin Radio to cabinet communications.
She later said in a short written statement: “There is a process for discussing and debating non-confidence motions in the House and I want to respect that process. I am not going to comment about the concerns of members until they have had an opportunity to explain them fully in the Legislative Assembly, as part of the debate on this motion.
“Until that time, I do not wish to comment further on this matter.”
Recent attempts to unseat ministers failed
Norn’s motion was seconded by Hay River South MLA Rocky Simpson, who is the father of cabinet member RJ Simpson. Rocky Simpson entered the legislature after last fall’s election with his company owing around $2 million to the Business Development and Investment Corporation, of which Nokleby is now minister.
The motion is to be debated on Friday, when a vote will also be held.
Nokleby is the minister of industry, tourism, and investment as well as the minister of infrastructure. She is also the minister responsible for the Worker’s Safety and Compensation Commission.
The last time ministers faced motions to remove them from power was in October 2018, when some regular MLAs tried to remove Glen Abernethy and Wally Schumann from their portfolios. Both survived the removal motions.
Justice and lands minister Louis Sebert was criticized by regular MLAs in a midterm review in October 2017 and lost a vote of confidence in a secret ballot. The confidence vote was non-binding, reported the CBC, and when it came time to put the motion to a public vote that included cabinet members, Sebert managed to hold on to his job.
Three MLAs re-elected from the 18th Legislative Assembly to the current 19th Assembly – Julie Green, Shane Thompson, and Kevin O’Reilly – had voted in favour of removing Sebert.