Eight hundred thousand dollars.

That’s what it cost Northwest Territories taxpayers for give or take a month of work that resulted in the removal of Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh MLA Steve Norn from office this fall, according to a CBC report, Dec. 10.

Consider instead that of the money spent on the inquiry, $500,000 went to Maurice Laprairie, lawyer of the sole adjudicator, while another $127,000 went to the adjudicator himself, Justice Ron Barclay. Both legal minds graced our territory with their expertise from Saskatchewan only to, as expected, advise to oust an elected member from one of the poorest regions in the Northwest Territories.

We’d only be so lucky to see one red cent of that money circulating back into the NWT economy where it rightfully belongs.

South Slave residents may be tempted to roll their eyes and see the situation as another example of the NWT’s capital and the disconnect with the realities of the rest of the territory and the bottomless tone-deafness of our legislature. And they’d be right.

But as a thought exercise, it might be worth considering how far $800,000 could go in the South Slave based on recent demands in the community.

In the Town of Hay River, complaints about the need for funding are ever prevalent as 2021 comes to a close.

The Hay River Ski Club, a keystone organization of youth sport development in town, continues to contend that the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs ought to provide a means for funding core services, even as the GNWT revised the NWT Lottery Act almost a decade ago. Chuck Lirette, trails supervisor and biathlon Coach has said that it would only cost between $40,000 and $50,000 per year to keep the trail lights and the power on.

Instead, like other youth sport organizations, the club is told to go fish and fundraise.

Perhaps also consider the Dec. 6 draft budget which again shows that the territory, by its own admission, shortchanges the Town of Hay River between $3 million and $4 million – a huge expense as the municipality attempts to meet its major capital expenses like roads, sewers and water delivery while keeping the cost of living balanced.

South Slave residents and their local government have the right to be concerned about tight budgeting and high costs in their communities.

Perhaps the Legislative Assembly should take notice and show some of their own fiscal prudence and do better to avoid such outlandish expenses.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa. Simon can be reached at...

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  1. well said, they are like a bunch of little kids fighting over who’s dad is bigger! there are better analogies that can be used, but you are a family paper!!
    from the top down it is pathetic in the legislature, simple solutions in the real world that could have been used to nullify the problems.
    and it wouldn’t have cost $800k, but as long ass they keep going this direction and “Looking out for my Buddy” it’ll spiral faster!
    the leader like any other real world enterprise is the one that should be dealt with and then the lower echelon can be curbed as it fits the situation.
    and they spend foolishly when there are more real problems they can help, but as usual, it’s not happening, the communities and the homeless and single parents could have been helped, jus sayin!