Shortly after becoming the N.W.T.'s newest leader on Wednesday, Floyd Roland promised a tougher stance in relations with the federal government.
Elected members in the territory chose Roland, the MLA for Inuvik Boot Lake in the northern part of the territory, as its 10th premier in a secret ballot vote that morning.
Floyd Roland was chosen premier by his fellow members on Wednesday. His selection will be made official with a government motion on Thursday.
Soon after, Roland set his sights on the Conservative government's throne speech, which came down Tuesday with a number of promises for the North — such as a "northern strategy" to promote economic and social development.
"I think we need to, first and foremost, see what deliverables might come out of the throne speech. There's some prominent recognition of the north in that area, but what does it really mean?" Roland said Wednesday.
"I believe we do need to take a stronger approach as we see development happen in the Northwest Territories, and I really believe that northerners need to benefit from the development of the resources here in the North."
The 45-year-old Inuvik native garnered more votes than Thebacha MLA Michael Miltenberger in the secret ballot Wednesday, taken among MLAs at the territorial leadership committee meeting.
The Northwest Territories has a consensus-based government, with independent MLAs selecting the premier, speaker and cabinet ministers among their own ranks.
"It is the members of this assembly that have the power and the authority, and I believe in working together to make a difference," Roland told the assembly after the vote was announced.
"We'll have some tough decisions, but we'll be working together to make it happen."
Premier contenders have cabinet experience
Both Roland and Miltenberger are four-term MLAs who were cabinet ministers in past governments.
Roland, an auto mechanic and former Inuvik town councillor, served as the territory's deputy premier, health and finance minister in the last assembly headed by Joe Handley.
He was acclaimed in the Oct. 1 territorial election, making him the third MLA to have been acclaimed twice.
Roland ran unsuccessfully for the premier's job in 2000 and did not seek the position in 2003, leading to Handley being handed the top job in an acclamation.
Miltenberger, a former mayor of Fort Smith, was health and environment minister in Handley's government until October 2006, when he was ousted from cabinet for allegedly making a threatening gesture toward a non-cabinet MLA who had been questioning him about the operations of Stanton Territorial Hospital.
Miltenberger was also the minister responsible for seniors and persons with disabilities.
MLAs peppered Miltenberger and Roland Wednesday morning with a wide range of questions, covering topics from community policing to the use of traditional knowledge in government.
Members then marked their ballots at 11 a.m. MT at polling booths located in the assembly chamber. Delorey announced the result about half an hour later.
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