Bob McLeod: Working Together for the Northwest Territories

Delivered on October 20, 2017

Mr. Speaker, before Members finish this Sitting and go their separate ways ‘til the House sits again, I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on our experiences together over the past few weeks and the past two years.

When the 19 of us met in November 2015 as newly-elected Members, we agreed that the 18th Legislative Assembly needed to change the way it does business. I supported that priority then and I still support it today. So too, I believe, do all my other colleagues on both sides of this House.

One of the first changes we made included publishing the first-ever four-year Mandate of the Government of the Northwest Territories. As well, for the first time in 20 years, we agreed to formally review our progress, and Ministers’ ability, to meet that mandate halfway through our term.

These are all positive steps towards improved transparency and accountability. Although we may not have fully anticipated how these changes would play out, I still think our intentions were for the best and that there are valuable lessons to be had.

Change is never easy, Mr. Speaker. I don’t think any of us should be surprised that making that change has been difficult, but we should not let that discourage us. We have done a lot over the last two years, but we still have much to do.

Consensus has served the territory well and gives us the tools we need to make the best decisions for the residents of the Northwest Territories.

Consensus is about working together to make collective decisions, it is not about one side or the other winning. That does not mean there will be unanimous agreement on every decision, but it does mean that Members on both sides always need to be prepared to listen to and consider diverging opinions inside this Chamber, in Committee and in our private discussions with each other.

The people of the Northwest Territories want and deserve the best government that we can be. As Premier, I am committed to doing whatever I can to live up to their expectations, and so are all the Members of this Legislative Assembly.

Cabinet has heard clearly from Members about their frustrations and their concerns. We have all worked hard, but we can do better.

As a consensus government, the contributions of Regular Members and Standing Committees will be essential to our success as a Legislative Assembly. I hope that we will be able to count on all Members for their support where it is warranted, criticism where it is deserved, and their best ideas and suggestions always.

We were elected because people believed that we could make life better for both current residents and for those in our future. Let’s work together during our remaining two years to make a better territory for our people.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.