A motion calling for a plebiscite on devolution got very little support in the N.W.T. legislative assembly.
Since the agreement-in-principle first became public two and a half years ago, there have been many questions about whether there has been enough consultation.
Weledeh MLA Bob Bromley brought forward the motion, saying residents voted before division with Nunavut was finalized. He said a public vote before the devolution deal is finalized would show how residents feel.
"What kind of basis do we want to move forward on? Do we want to move forward on a dictatorial basis, or a representative democratic basis where we're actually engaging the people, listening and responding, engaging and giving them an opportunity to be heard," said Bromley.
Bromley also made reference to a recent poll. The social justice group Alternatives North got EKOS Research Associates to ask residents about whether they would support a devolution vote.
Of the 400 people who responded, 68 per cent were in favour of a devolution plebiscite, 20 per cent were opposed, and 12 per cent were undecided. The poll’s margin of error was about five per cent, 19 times out of 20.
Most MLAs spoke out against having a public vote.
"The democracy that happened was when we were elected to make decisions for this territory. I think it's in our hand to make the decisions and go forward. To have a plebiscite would be expensive," said Hay River North MLA Robert Bouchard.
Kevin Menicoche, Nahendeh MLA, said that if they hold one on devolution, why wouldn’t they have to hold one on the Deh Cho Bridge or the highway between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk.
Thebacha MLA Michael Miltenberger said MLAs have their constituents’ best interests at heart.
"I haven't received one phone call or email and I ran on devolution in the last election and every election. Its time has come," said Miltenberger.
In the end, cabinet and seven regular MLAs voted against a plebiscite.
Only Bromley and Frame Lake MLA Wendy Bisaro supported the motion.
Information sessions are planned across the territory for people who want to learn more about what's in the 115-page devolution final agreement document, and what it means to them.
MLAs will then vote on whether to approve the final deal before it is official.