August 21, 2023 – The Hon. Frederick Blake Jr., Speaker of the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly, has received a recommendation from the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) that the Territorial General Election scheduled for October 3, 2023 be delayed until November due to the current wildfire situation in the Northwest Territories.
The Speaker shared the CEO’s recommendation with Caucus, which is comprised of all 19 Members of the Assembly. “Members of Caucus considered the CEO’s recommendation, and there was clear support for his recommendation,” said Caucus Chair, Frieda Martselos.
“I am glad the Speaker has accepted my recommendation,” said Stephen Dunbar, Chief Electoral Officer. “The logistics and people required to run an election are significant, and in the current circumstances, there are a number of ridings where we would not be in a position to safely proceed on September 4.”
Based on the CEO’s recommendation and comments from Caucus, the Speaker will recall the Legislative Assembly on Monday, August 28, 2023 at 1:30 p.m. The purpose of this sitting will be to have Members pass legislation to delay the General Election until early November 2023, and pass a supplementary appropriation for wildfire related costs. If the Assembly is unable to sit in Yellowknife, the Assembly will sit in Inuvik, with remote participation for Members unable to travel.
The Speaker will recall the Assembly in late September to conclude the business of the 19th Assembly.
As the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, the Hon. Margaret Thom, has already ordered the CEO to issue writs of election in all 19 electoral districts on September 4, 2023, legislation must be passed to delay the election.
If legislation is not passed, the 19th Assembly will be dissolved on September 3, 2023. The Territorial General Election would proceed on October 3, 2023. However, the Chief Electoral Officer has advised that he would need to withdraw the writ of election in any riding subject to an evacuation order. This would delay the election in that riding for a period of up to three months. This could result in Members being elected on different days between October and December 2023.
For more information:
Glen Rutland, Clerk
Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories
Stephen Dunbar, CEO