Legislative Assembly cancels rest of winter session due to coronavirus

(File photo/CKLB).

The Legislative Assembly is suspending its winter session due to the “growing concerns surrounding COVID-19,” said Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

However, Blake will be convening a one-day session on Monday, March 16 for MLAs to pass an interim budget.

The interim budget would allow for “routine government expenditures” for the first three months of the fiscal year.

MLAs have been analyzing the proposed 2020-2021 budget since it was announced in late February.

The departments of Health and Social Services, Infrastructure, and Industry, Tourism and Investment all still had to defend their budget in the House in the coming weeks. That has been deferred until May.

Blake said sessions of the Legislative Assembly “require the support of substantial cabinet and public service resources, and the suspension of our current sitting will free up these resources to focus on preparing for and responding to the potential spread of COVID-19 to the Northwest Territories.”

According to a news release, cabinet will continue to meet during the recess and regular MLAs will return to their constituencies “to provide local support and communications to residents.”

This session was originally scheduled to last until April 2.

The news release also said the 2020 Youth Parliament, which was scheduled for May 4-8, has been cancelled.

Earlier this week, public tours of the Legislative Assembly were also cancelled for the time being.

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis has been a general news reporter with CKLB since January 2019. Originally from rural Ontario, he first came to the NWT in 2016 as an intern with Up Here magazine and fell in love with the North. In his time with CKLB, he's had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures. Otherwise, you can find him hanging around the Legislative Assembly. If you have a story or want to chat, reach out to francis@cklbradio.com