Former NWT minister Jackson Lafferty has been chosen to become the next Tłı̨chǫ grand chief, defeating Eddie Erasmus and George Mackenzie.
Lafferty received 795 votes according to a news release from the registrar who oversaw the election. Erasmus, a former grand chief, received 523. Incumbent Mackenzie received 369.
Turnout was given as 66 percent. This election incorporated online voting for the first time in Tłı̨chǫ history, but the share of votes cast online was not immediately known.
“The Covid pandemic presented new challenges for this election and required unprecedented decisions and planning to protect the health and wellbeing of Tłı̨chǫ people,” registrar Gabrielle Mackenzie-Scott was quoted as saying.
Mackenzie-Scott thanked candidates and voters “for their patience, cooperation, and contributions in making this important election process safe for all.”
Setting out his campaign at the start of the election period, Lafferty had promised to focus on issues like housing and addictions.
“It’s time that we started listening to our people, raising these issues, and following up as we should,” he said at the time.
Lafferty, a longtime territorial politician, resigned as Monfwi MLA earlier this year in order to seek the position of grand chief.
He 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.
In the 17th Legislative Assembly, from 2011 to 2015, Lafferty was the deputy premier and education minister. From 2015 to 2019 he served as Speaker of the House.
Lafferty was one of four candidates hoping to become Premier of the NWT in 2019 before MLAs ultimately selected Caroline Cochrane.
“I look forward to working with newly-elected Tłı̨chǫ Grand Chief Jackson Lafferty as we continue to build a better NWT for all,” Cochrane said in a Friday tweet.
“A respectful and collaborative relationship between our governments is important and hope we can build on this in the coming years.”