It’s unquestionable that life in the Northwest Territories (NWT) poses unique challenges for all its residents. Extreme weather conditions and far flung communities force both Legislators and public servants in NWT to find creative solutions in order to best serve their communities.
This commitment to innovation in the public service was best described to us by NWT’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Nicole Latour-Theade. Before being appointed CEO, Ms. Latour-Theade has served a Deputy CEO, Mayor of Fort Liard, been a small business owner, and the first female Sergeant at Arms for the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. This diverse career history has informed the manner in which Ms. Latour-Theade approaches her current role. In our conversations with Ms. Latour-Theade she shared her reflections on the territorial elections that were held only several months before hand. Part of her mandate is to remove barriers to voting, and Ms. Latour-Theade espoused a vision of a technologically modern election process. All of the interns enjoyed our frank and open conversation with Ms. Latour-Theade and we all look forward to reading her final report on the 2015 NWT election.
Our next meeting was with Mr. Alan Cash, Assistant Deputy Minister of the Executive and Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet. As an avid history buff, Mr. Cash shared with all the interns the history of NWT and put into perspective everything we’d been learning over the course of our week in Yellowknife. Covering everything from health, education, and economic development Mr. Cash exposed the exponentially fast changes that have occurred in NWT. One of most fascinating topics of discussion between Mr. Cash and the interns was the role of roads and transportation in the territory. Looking at the maps of NWT we were able to better understand the reliance that many communities had on ice roads and the ever-present concern about transportation issues. We were also excited to continue our discussion about change in the territory over dinner that evening, hosted by Speaker Lafferty, and would also like to thank Mr. Cash for taking some of the interns out to Deta and onto the ice road that evening.
Thank you to Ms. Latour- Theade and Mr. Cash for their openness and patience with our questions!