Jackson Lafferty, the MLA for Monfwi, resigned from his position on Friday morning after spending 16 years representing the communities of Behchokǫ̀, Gamèti, Wekweètì and Whatì.
The longtime territorial politician first announced the news on CKLB on Thursday. Speaking with Tłı̨chǫ host Mary Rose Blackduck, Lafferty said he plans to run for Tłı̨chǫ Grand Chief later this year.
“Today is a special day. It’s a huge day,” he began in Tłı̨chǫ on Friday morning in the legislature, before switching to English to announce that it was “time to go home.”
“Today, I am giving notice to this house, to the Tłı̨chǫ people, and to the NWT that I will be resigning my post as the MLA for Monfwi effective today.”
Lafferty reflected that it was because of prompting from his Elders that he initially sought the territorial position.
“They have approached me again,” he said. “They’re asking me to come home, back to my region, back to the Tłı̨chǫ. They want me to take what I’ve learned here and put it to work within that same strong governance system as tradition demands.”
“I’d like to say a big mahsi cho to the Tłı̨chǫ communities for the privilege of representing them here for the past 16 years, for the past five terms. I am humbled by the trust they place in me. It makes the personal sacrifice worth it.”
Lafferty said while he sat in the Legislative Assembly, his five children grew up around him.
“I missed so much childhood while they were growing up,” he said. “How many babies’ first words, first steps, birthdays, soccer tournaments, laughter, tears do each of us miss because of our duties as MLAs?”
The sacrifice was worth it, Lafferty reflected, because he loves the Tłı̨chǫ people and communities.
“For their sake, I would do it all again,” he said, while thanking his family and constituency assistants for their support over the years.
“New excitement beckons from outside this building, outside this city. They call on me. Mr Speaker, it has been a blast.”
Lafferty was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in a July 2005 by-election. He was re-elected in 2007 and 2011 and was then acclaimed in 2015 and 2019.
During that time, Lafferty has served as the deputy premier, minister of Education, Culture and Employment, minister responsible for official languages, and minister responsible for the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission.