Northwest Territories MLAs have decided not to fill a cabinet seat that was recently vacated by Sandy Lee.

Lee was the N.W.T.'s health and social services minister until March 26, when she resigned to enter the federal election campaign as the Conservative candidate for Western Arctic.


Sandy Lee was the N.W.T.'s health minister until late last month, when she resigned her seat to run for the federal Conservatives. MLAs decided on Thursday not to fill the cabinet vacancy, since a territorial election will be held in October. ((CBC))

Shortly after Lee resigned, Speaker Paul Delorey called a two-day leadership meeting in which all MLAs would meet and select a new cabinet member.

But just as the meeting was supposed to begin Thursday afternoon, MLAs decided it would not be necessary to fill the cabinet vacancy, since a territorial election is already scheduled for October.

Cost was one of the reasons why MLAs decided to leave the cabinet seat empty, caucus chair Wendy Bisaro told CBC News.

"There is a cost associated with a new minister; there probably would've been a shuffle," said Bisaro, the MLA for Yellowknife Frame Lake.

"It's sort of mundane, but there's all the letterhead that has to be changed," she added. "There's business cards that have to be redone, of course, because you've got different names on them and so on."

The next session of the N.W.T. legislature will begin on May 11 as previously scheduled.

Bisaro said cabinet MLAs have agreed to consult with regular MLAs on any major decisions in the months before and during the fall election campaign.

As well, all MLAs will meet from May 30 to June 1 in Norman Wells, N.W.T., to discuss "transition issues" for the months leading up to the election.

Premier Floyd Roland will soon announce which of the six remaining cabinet ministers will take on Lee's portfolios, Bisaro said.