As a regular member in the Legislative Assembly I have a variety of roles and duties in the House and on Standing and Special Committees, including:
- Deputy Speaker
- Chair, Committee of the Whole
- Chair, Special Committee on Transition Matters
- Deputy Chair, Standing Committee on Government Operations
- Member, Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment
- Member, Joint Working Group on Aboriginal Relations and Aboriginal Rights Agreements
- Alternate Member, Standing Committee on Social Development
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.
Chair, Special Committee on Transition Matters (SCOTM)
The Legislative Assembly’s Process Convention on Priority Setting and Reporting calls for the establishment of a joint Special Committee on Transition Matters in the final year of a Legislative Assembly. The purpose of this Special Committee is to make recommendations to the next Legislative Assembly on the transition process and the political structure of the 19th Legislative Assembly. This special committee is comprised of six Members of the Legislative Assembly, two selected from among Members of the Executive Council and four selected from among Regular Members. The terms of reference for the committee are as follows:
- This Committee will prepare a report on behalf of the Caucus of the 18th Legislative Assembly with advice for consideration by the Caucus of the 19th Legislative Assembly.
- The Committee’s final report should be moderate in tone, factual in approach, and respectful of the authority of the 19th Assembly.
- The Committee’s final report should identify, describe, and make recommendations on the following matters:
- the timing, content and format of the orientation of Members of the 19th Legislative Assembly;
- a process for setting the priorities of the 19th Legislative Assembly including changes to the Process Convention on Priority Setting and Reporting;
- the size, structure and selection process for the Executive Council and standing committees of the 19th Legislative Assembly; and
- whether, how and when to conduct mid-term reviews of the priorities of the 19th Legislative Assembly and the performance of cabinet and standing committees;
- The Committee’s final report will be made available for consideration by Members of the 19th Legislative Assembly, but in no way will it fetter the right of the next Assembly to take decisions.
- Any report or other document produced by the Committee is not intended to replace or take precedent over any other transition materials that may be produced by Cabinet, the House, or its Committees.
Deputy Chair, Standing Committee on Government Operations (SCOGO)
The Standing Committee on Government Operations considers matters with respect to the GNWT departments that comprise the machinery of government, and any other matters refers to it by the House.
SCOGO is tasked with providing oversight and reviewing the budgets, business plans, and performance of the Departments of Executive and Indigenous Affairs; Finance; and Municipal and Community Affairs.
SCOGO has additional duties which make it unique among the Standing Committees. These include:
- reviewing 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;
- examining the reports of the annual financial statements and public accounts of the Government of the Northwest Territories; and
- reviewing the performance audits produced by the Auditor General of Canada.
Member, Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment (SCEDE)
The Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment considers matters related to the economic development, infrastructure, climate change, and any other matters referred to it by the House.
SCEDE is tasked with providing oversight and reviewing the budgets, business plans, and performance of the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources; Industry, Tourism and Investment; Infrastructure; and Lands.
The Committee also considers matters related to various boards and agencies including the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC), the Northwest Territories Power Corporation (NTPC), the Northwest Territories Business Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC), and the Public Utilities Board (PUB).;
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.
Check out the Committee page on the Legislative Assembly’s website for more information including reports and upcoming events.