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DON JAQUE: Thebacha: Disclosing premier and cabinet vote

After Nahendeh incumbent Shane Thompson announced Thursday that, if re-elected, he would support Jackson Lafferty, MLA for Monfwi, as premier, NNSL media sent the following question by email to all 58 candidates in the NWT election:

"Currently, MLAs choose premier and cabinet in a secret ballot vote. Some Northerners have expressed reservations about this practice, calling it undemocratic.

If elected, will you publicly disclose who you will vote for to be premier and on cabinet before the vote in the legislative assembly?"

Don Jaque MLA candidate Thebacha
Don Jaque, MLA candidate for Thebacha

"No, I will not disclose who I vote for. Secret ballot is sacrosanct generally, and in this case in the best interests of an MLA’s riding.

"Beyond that it is my belief that the process of the selection of premier is undemocratic and needs to be changed.

"That is one of the reasons our consensus government system is not functioning well, which leads to systemic dysfunction, including a too powerful bureaucracy.

"What is needed is a means by which all NWT residents participate in the election of premier.

"That would inject democracy into the process.

"The other benefit would be that each premier candidate would then need to present a platform that would have to be critiqued and defended - providing optional paths forward that would be debated across the territory - a debate meaningful and beneficial to a healthy democracy (what is missing now).

"And that platform, for the candidate elected, would be a road map to the future to guide the legislature and to which that new premier would be held accountable."