R.J. Simpson was elected to the 18th Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories on November 23, 2015. He represents the constituency of Hay River North. R.J. is a lifelong resident of Hay River. He graduated from Diamond Jenness Secondary School in 1998, and went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from MacEwan University and a juris doctor (law degree) from the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Law. He has worked with the Government of Canada, Northern Transportation Company Ltd. (NTCL), Métis Nation Local 51, Maskwa Engineering, and most recently Concept Energy Services Ltd. R.J. resides on Vale Island in Hay River’s Old Town.
Duties & Committee Membership
The Deputy Speaker may assume the duties of Speaker during the Speaker’s absence. This is a rare occurrence. Duties may include presiding over the House, hosting foreign dignitaries, and acting as the Chairperson of the Board of Management. The Deputy Speaker also serves as Chairperson of Committee of the Whole.
Chair, Committee of the Whole
When the Assembly resolves into Committee of the Whole, the Speaker leaves the Chair, and the Chairperson of Committee of the Whole takes his or her place at the Clerk’s Table and presides over the proceedings.
When in the Chair, the Chairperson maintains order and decorum in the same manner as the Speaker when the House is in formal Session. The Chairperson ensures that business is conducted in accordance with the Rules and established practices of the Assembly.
Some of these Rules and practices are relaxed somewhat in Committee of the Whole. For example, Members may move about the Chamber more freely; Members are not required to stand when speaking; Members may be permitted to speak more than once to an issue but not for more than ten minutes at a time; no seconder for a motion is required.
Following a resolution that the Committee rise and report progress, the Chairperson awaits the return of the Speaker. Returning to his or her regular seat in the Chamber, the Chairperson reports to the Assembly on Committee resolutions adopted, progress on the consideration of Bills and all other business transacted in Committee of the Whole.
Deputy Chair, Standing Committee on Government Operations (SCOGO)
The Standing Committee on Government Operations shall consider the following matters with respect to the Departments of Aboriginal Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations; Executive; Finance; Human Resources; and Municipal and Community Affairs:
- Review multi-year business plans and budgets, bills, boards and agencies;
- Review departmental performance and official language issues, including that of boards and agencies;
- Review, as necessary or appropriate, the annual and other reports of the Statutory Officers of the Legislative Assembly, including the Languages Commissioner, the Information and Privacy Commissioner, the Equal Pay Commissioner, and the Human Rights Commission;
- Examine the reports of the annual financial statements and public accounts of the Government of the Northwest Territories and the report of the Auditor General;
- In the event that the Assembly is not in Session, the Speaker may provide the Auditor General’s Report and the Minister of Finance may provide the Public Accounts to the Committee for review, which may include public hearings, in advance of tabling; and
- Consider any other matter referred by the House.
Member, Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment (SCEDE)
The Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment shall consider the following matters with respect to the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources; Industry, Tourism and Investment; Public Works and Services; Transportation; and Lands:
- Review multi-year business plans and budgets, bills, boards and agencies, including the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, the Northwest Territories Power Corporation, the Northwest Territories Business Development and Investment Corporation, and the Public Utilities Board;
- Review departmental performance, including that of boards and agencies;
- Consider matters related to infrastructure;
- Consider matters related to climate change; and
- Consider any other matter referred by the House.
Member, Joint Working Group on Aboriginal Relations and Aboriginal Rights Agreements
The purpose of the Joint Working Group on Aboriginal Relations and Aboriginal Rights Agreements is to serve as a forum for discussions on new initiatives as they pertain to relations with Aboriginal Governments, and to review matters related to the negotiation of Land and Resource and Self-government agreements.
The Working Group provides advice and makes recommendations to the Minister responsible for Indigenous Affairs to strengthen relations with Aboriginal Governments, and to help facilitate the time resolution of Aboriginal rights claims to achieve the reconciliation of Aboriginal interests with those of broader society.
The Working Group is comprised of seven members, including the the Premier (as Minister of Indigenous Affairs), three Cabinet Ministers, and three regular Members.