Whether MLAs will agree to introduce a motion of revocation to remove Minister Louis Sebert from cabinet when the third session of the 18th assembly begins Tuesday remains uncertain.
What is clear is MLAs have a lot left to say about their midterm review. Sebert stood alone, with the lone non-binding, non-confidence vote from the majority of MLAs on Oct. 5.
“I think the midterm review is what’s capturing everyone’s attention right now,” said Yellowknife North MLA Cory Vanthuyne. “I think it needs to be addressed seriously and then we can get past it and then really get on with the work at hand.”
He did not want to speculate about whether members will introduce a motion Tuesday.
However, like some other regular members, Vanthuyne expressed frustration about the unified front cabinet presented during the midterm review.
Cabinet stood up Oct. 5 and stated they would not resign if the majority of members’ votes showed they did not have confidence in their leadership and performance, despite many members’ expectation a resignation would be part of the process.
Vanthuyne said while members are trying to strengthen consensus government and accountability, they’re at the same time “thwarting” those efforts.
However, at least a few MLAs think introducing a motion of revocation for Sebert’s resignation is exactly what is needed Tuesday.
It’s what Kam Lake MLA Kieron Testart said he expects regular members will do.
While Testart said he thinks the minister’s “complete unwillingness to work with regular members” on the A New Day men’s healing program, as well as his handling of land management issues, contributed to his non-confidence result, the issue is about more than one minister’s performance.
“This is about the integrity of our democracy,” he said. “To not stand up and reflect that majority vote on the floor at this point I think does not speak well to the future of consensus government.”
Yellowknife Centre MLA Julie Green said a motion is “the logical next step.”
She told News/North on Friday that regular members are expected to meet Monday to discuss their plan going forward.
As for whether the midterm review was the best process to follow – “maybe, maybe not,” said Nahendeh MLA Shane Thompson.
But it was what was agreed to at the beginning of the assembly, he said.
While Thompson was unable to say whether members will introduce a motion Tuesday, he said he is ready to stand up and vote if needed and to work with whatever outcome results from the midterm process.
Hay River North MLA R.J. Simpson said he wants to see everyone work together to improve relationships with ministers, regardless of whether or not there is a motion.
When issues with ministers arise, he said, members need to set time aside to work through them rather than let them build up.
Tuesday also presents an “important moment” to examine whether a midterm review would be a worthwhile exercise for the next government, said Green.
“It’ll be interesting to see what we come up with on Tuesday,” she said.
Besides the midterm review, MLAs told News/North they expect to raise a range of issues, from family violence to the legalization of marijuana and a carbon tax.
The commissioner will deliver an opening address that will signal some of the government’s priorities for the final two years of the 18th legislative assembly, said Green.
Sebert is the Minister of Justice, Minister of Lands, Minister Responsible for the NWT Power Corporation, as well as the Minister Responsible for Public Engagement and Transparency.
News/North requested to speak to Minister Sebert but did not receive a response for an interview from the GNWT by press time.