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Emergency NWT Assembly session on Tuesday lasts just under five minutes


Political watchers who popped out for quick coffee just before the start of Tuesday's emergency session of the Legislative Assembly would have returned to see it wrapping up.

In possibly one of the shortest sessions of the Assembly in its history, Tuesday's proceedings lasted just under five minutes.

The Orders of the Day, posted on the Legislative Assembly's website showed a regular roster of oral and written questions, petitions and motions.

Rylund Johnson, MLA for Yellowknife North, spoke briefly in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday, in an emergency session that lasted less than five minutes. GNWT image

But the voices of only three regular members were heard in the assembly: those of Speaker Frederick Blake Jr; Paulie Chinna, minister of Municipal and Community Affairs and Rylund Johnson, MLA for Yellowknife North.

Chinna took all of 12 seconds to table a document on homelessness and housing in Hay River.

Johnson spoke for about 50 seconds to say that on Thursday, Aug. 27 he will move that the house be adjourned from Aug. 27 until Oct. 15 unless the Speaker deems it necessary to resume sessions before or after then.

Less than two minutes later, the session was over and the members were led from the Chamber by the Sergeant-At-Arms.

The quick and sombre session came a day after Premier Caroline Cochrane tabled her motion to remove Katrina Nokleby from the executive council. The motion was seconded by Frieda Martselos, MLA for Thebacha.

The premier's motion followed her revocation of Nokleby's appointments as minister of Infrastructure and minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment on Aug. 19, due to what Cochrane said were performance-related concerns.

Cochrane required unanimous consent from MLAs to bypass the time it usually takes for such a motion to move through the procedures to where the assembly can vote on it.

But Nokleby's "nay" will lead to a vote on Wednesday on her status on the executive council.

The Premier's decision to remove Nokleby from her ministerial duties has been met with confusion by some members of the public and MLAs, including Johnson and Caitlin Cleveland, MLA for Kam Lake.

In a Facebook post after Tuesday's session, Johnson said the "lack of transparency" in the way the situation with Nokleby has been handled "has caused a lot of grief for my constituents."

"If I am ever a minister and the premier calls my professionalism into account there better be clear, precise details and documents provided along with the accusation. This ensures the media and voters can judge the elected official for themselves. If we come out of this on Wednesday without putting everything on the table we are doing the public a disservice," he said.

"The premier must set out the entire case and Minister Nokleby must be given the opportunity to respond tomorrow. I will vote tomorrow based on the information provided to me in the house, not rumours or the other disinformation that seems to be flying around right now."