Two NWT cabinet ministers survive non-confidence votes

Photo courtesy of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories - Facebook page

Two NWT cabinet ministers still have their jobs after surviving non-confidence votes in the Legislative Assembly Wednesday.

Glen Abernethy remains Health and Social Services Minister after MLAs voted 11-7 against a motion to remove him.

MLAs Julie Green, Frederick Blake, Danny McNeely and Herb Nakimayak sided with the seven MLAs who make up cabinet to keep Abernethy.

Wally Schumann keeps his portfolios as Infrastructure Minister and Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment after a 12-6 vote against stripping him of cabinet status.

Nakimayak, Green, Blake, McNeely and Cory Vanthuyne joined cabinet in supporting Schumann.

Schumann, the MLA for Hay River South, says he did not take the motion to remove him personally.

During his pitch to keep his job, Abernethy apologized to vulnerable children and families in the NWT, who Canada’s auditor general said were being jeopardized by his department’s deficiencies.

Kam Lake MLA Kieron Testart,  who introduced the motion to strip Schumann, says both motions failed at least in part because Premier Bob McLeod told cabinet how to vote.

Schumann denied the premier told him how to vote while Abernethy did not say one way or the other.

Schumann was under fire for his handling of the Marine Transportation Services file which saw a re-supply barge not make it to Paulatuk and two Nunavut communities before freeze-up this fall.

Abernethy was on the hot seat after the auditor’s report which said conditions for foster kids had become worse than they were in 2014,  the last time an audit was done on the social services department.

Thursday’s session is the final one of the current sitting.

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