Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as you are well aware, the life of an MLA can get quite busy. That is true if you are a Regular Member or a Minister, or even the Speaker.

There is a never-ending supply of constituency issues, policy issues, legislative issues, meetings, appearances, travel, and so on, and with so much going on we always run the risk of losing focus on why we’re here. That’s why it is important that, once in a while, we take a step back and reflect on what our role really is.

Despite the diversity of our responsibilities, and the complexity of many of the issues we deal with, the reason we are here is simple: it is to work for the benefit of the people of the NWT.

I’m positive that all of my colleagues know this, but we have to make sure that it is in the forefront of our minds every time we make a decision. We must always ask: how is this going to affect the people on the ground? We’re not engaged in some academic exercise – the decisions we make here have real-life consequences for our residents, but I find that too often we end up only providing lip service to that fact.

We’re only human. We all have our own principles and ideas about how things should be done, but we cannot let those distract us from our central role. We need to ensure that we do not make decisions with the sole purpose of advancing a cause or championing an ideology. We have to make sure that egos or hurt feelings do not get in the way of our decision making. It’s a shame, but it happens, and it is a disservice to our residents.

Ministers have to make sure to remember that first and foremost they are MLAs elected to represent the people. They are not senior managers, and they are not the GNWT’s board of directors. The GNWT is their tool to serve the people.
Regular Members have to remember that we are here to make sure that the GNWT is serving the people. We are not here to grandstand, represent special interests, or make headlines.

Mr. Speaker, I apologize if I’m coming off as a little preachy, but sometimes I find that we cannot see the forest for the trees. I truly believe that all of us who are here took on these roles with the intention of improving the lives of our people. To do so, we have to stay focused – we must not get distracted, we must not let ourselves be managed, and we must not forget why the voters elected us. It’s not good enough to know that we’re here to serve the people: we have to act like it.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.