September 4, 2015

Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Did Not Override Elections NWT Directive



(Yellowknife) - An article in the Friday, September 4, 2015 edition of Yellowknifer cites Ms. Julie Green as saying that the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly “stepped in to clarify what potential candidates can and cannot do before the election officially begins.”  This is inaccurate. 

On Wednesday, September 2, 2015 the Speaker met with the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to seek clarification on behalf of Members of the Legislative Assembly and the public as to the meaning and intent of a directive issued by Elections NWT regarding campaign activity prior to the issuance of a writ of election on October 26, 2015.  During this meeting, the Chief Electoral Officer offered to review the ruling and publicly clarify its intention.  The Chief Electoral Officer has not yet completed her review or issued a clarification.   

The Chief Electoral Officer is appointed by the Legislative Assembly for a four year term pursuant to the Elections and Plebiscites Act.  Once appointed, the CEO serves as an independent officer of the Legislative Assembly and is responsible for the general direction and supervision over the conduct of elections and plebiscites.   Although the Chief Electoral Officer’s budget is allocated by the Legislative Assembly, the Speaker has no day to day role in the conduct or oversight of her office and does not have the authority to issue or override directives made under the Act.

“There seems to be a view that I have issued a directive overriding a decision of the CEO,” said Speaker Jackie Jacobson.  “Nothing could be further from the truth.  The Chief Electoral Officer and I had a productive discussion earlier this week.  I passed on to her some of the concerns and uncertainties that were brought to my attention about her recent ruling.  She is in the process of reviewing these concerns and will communicate directly with potential candidates and the public in due course.”      

For further information please contact:

Tim Mercer
Clerk of the Legislative Assembly
P: (867) 660-2299