There are whispers of a Yellowknife cabal, scheming behind closed doors to take back the NWT government. Or could it be a Hay River MLA with an axe to grind against the minister heading a department he owes $2 million?

Herb Mathisen is a longtime Yellowknifer. He writes for different Northern publications.

Some think that it’s big southern investors—angry with the ITI minister’s recent comments about companies ‘gaming the system’—who are behind yesterday’s notice of motion to bring a non-confidence vote against Katrina Nokleby.

Saying any of those theories out loud feels ridiculous. Yet, in the last 24 hours, rumour and speculation have run amok in the Northwest Territories, and it’s the regular MLAs that make up the Accountability and Oversight Committee who are to blame for letting it get so out of hand.

When this government came to power, we were promised accountability and transparency. Yet, none of the 11 regular MLAs have thus far had the courage to publicly explain the rationale behind tomorrow’s motion, fuelling rampant speculation and frustration online.

Many of these regular MLAs made openness and transparency key platform issues. They should be reminded that transparency means answering questions even when it’s inconvenient or uncomfortable.

Industry, Tourism and Investment Minister Katrina Nokleby faces a non-confidence vote in the legislative assembly Friday. Many people are wondering why with regular MLAs refusing to comment. NNSL file photo

We find ourselves in unpredictable times, dealing with a pandemic that threatens not only our lives but also our livelihoods. So far, the NWT has been a model for curbing the spread, as residents have (for the most part) followed public health orders and helped each other out.

We have taken a united front. We expect our leaders to set that same example.

Government has taken drastic measures as this crisis has rapidly evolved. Not everyone agrees with every move. Still, I struggle to understand how MLAs can single out one minister from cabinet for how she has performed during a global crisis that has no modern precedent.

Is there something we don’t know? Does the minister deserve the ouster for some undisclosed breach of conduct? It would be great if someone in a position of authority would tell us.

Instead, we are left to speculate, which only leads to an erosion of trust in our leaders and institutions. Further polarizing the NWT when we need to come together.

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