Northwest Territories Premier Floyd Roland has announced that he will not seek re-election this fall.


N.W.T. Premier Floyd Roland, seen in a CBC-TV interview earlier this month, said Wednesday he will not put his name forward in the Oct. 3 territorial election. ((CBC))

Roland told MLAs on Wednesday that he will not run again in his constituency, Inuvik Boot Lake, when the next territorial election takes place on Oct. 3.

"After much thought about the future and the work that I've done with the people of Inuvik, I feel it is time to let some younger, more energetic folks take a look at representing the fine community of Inuvik," Roland, 49, said in the legislature.

"So I want to inform them that I will not be putting my name in and wish the best for the future assemblies of the Northwest Territories."

In politics since 1995

An auto mechanic and former Inuvik town councillor, Roland has been in territorial politics for the past 16 years.

Roland was first elected as the MLA for Inuvik in 1995. He has represented Inuvik Boot Lake since that district was created in 1999, and he was acclaimed there in 2003 and 2007.

Shortly after the 2007 election, Roland was chosen as premier  by his fellow MLAs. Unlike provincial governments, the Northwest Territories has a consensus-based government, with independent MLAs selecting the premier, speaker and cabinet ministers among themselves.

While Roland will have served only one term as premier, he was deputy premier, health and finance minister in the last legislative assembly headed by Joe Handley.

Controversy over devolution

Roland has faced some controversy during his four years as premier, most recently when he signed a devolution agreement-in-principle with the federal government earlier this year, despite opposition from aboriginal leaders.

The agreement-in-principle is a non-binding commitment to negotiate a final agreement on devolution, which would give the N.W.T. more powers over lands and resources.

Some aboriginal groups say they were not consulted before Roland signed the agreement  with Indian and Northern Affairs Minister John Duncan in January.

On Tuesday, Roland explained the agreement to about 30 people who attended an information meeting in Yellowknife. He said he would be open to holding similar information meetings in any community at the request of local leaders.

The premier also came under fire in 2008 when it was revealed that he was having an extramarital affair with a woman who, at the time, was a legislative assembly clerk.

A government inquiry concluded that Roland was in a conflict of interest by not immediately disclosing the affair  to officials. Six MLAs had alleged that the couple may have been sharing legislative committee secrets, but the inquiry ruled that Roland's error of judgment was made in good faith.

While Roland did not say what he plans to do after territorial politics, he said he will still be keeping an eye on the government.

"I'm sure I will at some point, in some place, still be poking and prodding the government of [the] Northwest Territories to make the right decisions and look towards our future," he told MLAs.