Jackson Lafferty has resigned his seat as MLA for Monfwi.
Speaking to members in the legislative assembly on June 4, Lafferty said “it’s time for a new direction and time to go home.”
He will run in the election for Grand Chief of the Tlicho Government.
Lafferty recalled first becoming an MLA in June, 2005 when his children were young.
“While sitting in this chamber my five kids grew up. I missed so much of their childhoods when they were growing up and their rites of passage. Baby’s first steps, birthdays, soccer tournaments, laughter, tears of each of us, (things) we missed out on because of our duties as MLAs.
“But on the flip side it has always been a wonderful 16 years serving in this house. I’ve visited just about every community in the NWT and Canada as a minister and as Speaker. I travelled to promote the NWT internationally.”
Lafferty explained that Elders first approached him 16 years ago years to encourage him to run as an MLA. But now a “new generation” of Elders is asking him to return home to the Tlicho region to serve the community in the Tlicho Government system.
“I consulted with my family, (who) stood by me in my journey as an MLA, speaker and minister. My family said the Elders are right.”
He thanked the members of his family for their support, particularly his wife Diane Marie Lafferty, whom he said has been by his side through every challenge, triumph and defeat.
“I will miss this chamber, the excitement, the debates as well. But new excitement beckons outside the city. They call me. Mr. Speaker, it’s been a blast. Good luck to all of my colleagues. Continue to be the voice of the North. Mahsi cho and God bless.”
MLAs rose to give Lafferty a standing ovation and Speaker of the House Frederick Blake Jr. thanked him for his 16 years of service.
Blake noted that Lafferty was the longest serving member of the 19th Legislative Assembly, having served in four assemblies since 2005 as MLA, deputy premier, minister of education, culture and employment; minister responsible for official languages and minister responsible for the workers’ safety and compensation commission.
“In the 18th Assembly you served as our speaker. In this chair you left a legacy. You have promoted Indigenous languages, expanding interpretation services and set an example for others.”
Blake said the Monfwi seat is now vacant but did not address next steps to fill the seat.