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A motion on Monday afternoon in the legislative assembly to remove Katrina Nokleby from the executive council was met by a “nay” by Nokleby herself.

In an emergency session of the legislative assembly, Premier Caroline Cochrane read out her motion to have Nokleby removed from the council. That motion was seconded by Frieda Marselos, MLA for Thebacha.

Cochrane needed unanimous consent from the MLAs to bypass the period of time it usually takes for such a motion to move through procedure to a point where the assembly can vote on it. Because Nokleby said “nay,” the vote will be held Wednesday afternoon. With no other business to attend to, the session ended shortly thereafter.

Premier Caroline Cochrane reads out her motion seeking the removal of Katrina Nokleby from the executive council, in the Legislative Assembly on Monday. image courtesy of the GNWT

The move follows an announcement on Aug. 19 by Cochrane, who explained that she had revoked Nokleby’s appointments as minister of Infrastructure and minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI).

Shane Thompson took over ITI and R.J. Simpson took over Infrastructure.

Cochrane cited concerns over Nokleby’s performance as the rationale for relieving her of her duties.

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In a five-minute video statement posted on Friday, Cochrane said the decision to remove Nokleby from her positions was “very hard” but necessary.

However, the premier said many of the details behind the decision must remain confidential.

The events of the last few days have surprised some MLAs, who want the premier to better explain why she decided to strip Nokleby of the portfolios just months after expressing support for her in the wake of a similar non-confidence motion approved by regular MLAs in committee but abandoned before a vote could be held in the House.

Response from MLAs

Commenting on Monday’s short assembly session, Rylund Johnson, MLA for Yellowknife North, said he understands where Nokleby is coming from.

“I doubt I would make it easy if I was in her position,” he said. “I don’t suspect Wednesday to be short or easy for anyone involved.”

Johnson also addressed Cochrane’s video message, saying he doesn’t believe it sufficiently explained her actions.

“I recognize there is a debate about how much the ‘professionalism’ of a minister can be discussed. I also don’t think that cabinet confidentiality necessarily has to be broken, but the public needs more information than has been given,” Johnson said.

NNSL Media tried to contact Nokleby and Caitlin Cleveland, MLA for Kam Lake, for comment on Monday’s assembly session and is awaiting a response.

Blair McBride

Blair McBride covers the Legislative Assembly, business and education. Before coming to Yellowknife he worked as a journalist in British Columbia, Thailand and Ontario. He studied journalism at Western...

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