In regards to the column by a Nancy Vail in the June 3 Yellowknifer, titled “Down with Nokleby”, I’d reverse it and say “Down with Vail!”

Merlyn Williams is a long time Yellowknifer and former city councillor.

About all that I can agree with Vail on is her comment that: “the system of government we have is not working.” When a group of opposition MLAs attempt a putsch on a minister of six months, during the worst socioeconomic crisis we have ever faced, and with concerns they never had the guts to reveal, then our government needs a significant kick in the arse.

It was not a brave move by Norn if that was his duty as chair of the committee to do the committee’s bidding. Of course, perhaps he was part of the putsch too.

What all MLAs should take note of is that a petition in support of Minister Nokleby has now garnered over 2,700 votes. That almost surpasses the total votes that got the members of the “official opposition” MLAs behind the putsch voted in as MLAs in the last election!

Any petition that garners over 2,700 signatures (1,400 in the space of one day) should send any minority MLA, and even Vail into reconsidering their level of outrage or dissatisfaction with this minister’s popularity and general support of the public.

I would assert that speaks volumes about what the people think.

Vail does a horrible job at trying to take up messaging on behalf of the politically motivated and silent “ouster MLAs” to make a case against Minister Nokleby. Witness Vail’s criticism for her attending one mining conference and no climate change rallies since she came into office. This is pathetic if not misleading journalism considering Nokleby is just over six months into her term (three of which have been consumed by Covid-19). Only one conference? She’s lucky to have even squeezed that in before Covid-19 hit.

Walt Humphries, NNSL’s Tales from the Dump columnist was the award recipient for distinguished service by Katrina Nokleby, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment and Infrastructure in November.

When Vail tries to bring her own bias against Taltson Power and Slave Province infrastructure into this discussion on Minister Nokleby, she blithely ignores to tell the reader that these infrastructure projects are within the mandate of the government, which was approved by a majority of MLAs.

Vail then tries to link the minister’s meetings with the minerals industry as ignoring small businesses in Yellowknife and likely elsewhere that are suffering horribly during the pandemic. In so doing, she again conveniently ignores the fact that the mines spend more than $800 million in the North annually, which provides tremendous support for the small business sector.

I don’t know why I’m burning up energy to even respond to  Vail’s very weak column and rant against mining, other than I want to remind people of the facts, something that would take the wind from Vail’s sails.

But truly why I’m writing is to express my pride at having been one of the over 2,700 petitioners who showed overwhelming support for our new and enthusiastic and qualified and respectable Minister Nokleby.

Now I’d recommend that all those nincompoops that took up the role of an official opposition against this minister park all their future shenanigans and get back to the real work necessary to see us socially and economically through this pandemic.

We electors expect that.

– Merlyn Williams is a longtime Yellowknifer


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  1. Very well written Merlyn, my friend. I could just hear your Welsh accent when I read “needs a significant kick in the arse”.

  2. The whole effort was political opportunism and cowardly! As a new MLA and Minister, Katrina Nokleby could have been knocked off her stride with the cut throat antics of her colleagues, especially Julie Green, the MLA for Yellowknife Centre who took sole credit for getting women from across the North elected to the legislature. Nokleby didn’t flinch, but showed courage, calm and maturity throughout the ordeal.