(YELLOWKNIFE) February 28, 2017 – The Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures, chaired by Kevin O’Reilly, presented today the Report on the Review of Members’ Conduct Guidelines.
The report has six recommendations (see below for list of recommendations) and will be reviewed by Members in Committee of the Whole. If accepted, steps will be taken to implement the recommendations prior to the next election.
On December 17, 2015, a motion was passed in the Legislative Assembly directing the Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures to conduct a comprehensive and public review of the Members’ Conduct Guidelines. The Committee presented an interim report on October 25, 2016. The Committee also held public hearings in Inuvik, Hay River, and Yellowknife and solicited written submissions from northern residents. Eight written submissions were received and a number of submissions were made during the consultation phase.
“It is vitally important for residents of the Northwest Territories to have input on Members’ conduct in the Legislative Assembly. It was great to see all of the people show interest in this review, we received a lot of feedback from residents that we were able to incorporate in our report,” says Mr. O’Reilly.
The Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures inquires into matters referred to it by the Legislative Assembly, the Honourable Speaker, or the Board of Management and includes four Regular Members and one Minister.
For more information, please contact:
Chair, Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures
Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories
P: 867-767-9133 ext. 12110
Manager, Public Affairs and Communications
Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories
P: 867-767-9130 ext. 12017
Recommendations from the Report on the Review of the Members’ Conduct Guidelines
The Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures recommends that the Elections and Plebiscites Act be amended to provide that, during the election period, candidates declare compliance with a code of conduct including the duties to abide by the laws of the NWT and Canada; to conduct his/herself with honesty, integrity and respect for others; and,
To refrain from actions that would upon election create, or be perceived to create, a conflict of interest as set out in section 74 of the Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act.
The Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures recommends that the Elections and Plebiscites Act be amended to include a five-year limit on eligibility for candidacy for anyone convicted of an offence of violence or threats of violence under the Criminal Code of Canada and who has not received a pardon or record suspension; and,
Where the offence was committed against a person over whom the accused was determined by the presiding judge to be in a position of trust, authority or intimacy; and,
If applicable, that the limitation not apply to offences committed before the coming-into-force date of this amendment; and,
That a consequential amendment of section 6 of the Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act ensure consistency of qualification of sitting Members and candidates.
The Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures recommends that the Legislative Assembly’s Oath of Office be revised in Schedule B of the Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act as follows:
I, (Member’s name) do swear (or affirm) that:
a) I am fully qualified to hold the office of Member for the district of ________ to which I have been elected;
b) I have not knowingly contravened the Elections and Plebiscites Act respecting any matter in relation to my election;
c) I will faithfully, to the best of my ability, perform the duties and responsibilities of my office and will not allow any direct or indirect monetary or other personal or private interest to influence my conduct or affect my duties in public matters;
d) I hereby affirm, subscribe to and agree to follow the Members’ Conduct Guidelines (or Members’ Code of Conduct, if applicable) adopted by the Legislative Assembly. (In the case where the oath is sworn, add “So help me God.”)
The Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures recommends that the Members’ Conduct Guidelines serve as the basis for a new Members’ Code of Conduct including more specific and enforceable provisions; and, that the new code be presented to the Assembly for consideration and adoption.
The Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures recommends that the Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act be amended to expand the duties of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner to include oversight of the Members’ Conduct Guidelines or Code of Conduct; that the Commissioner be empowered to receive and investigate complaints from a Member or any other person respecting breaches of prescribed conduct, and to recommend sanctions or penalties, as appropriate, to the Speaker; and, that the newly-constituted commissioner be known as the Ethics Commissioner.
The Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures recommends that conflict-of-interest provisions of the Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act and other relevant legislation and policy be the subject of a public review before the end of the 18th Assembly.