Many N.W.T. candidates say they wouldn't reveal their cabinet selections

The N.W.T.'s premier and cabinet ministers running for re-election all support selecting the next premier and cabinet using the same secret ballot process that was used to select them in 2011.

Some would-be MLAs fear ministers would hold grudges if they knew who didn't vote for them

A survey of candidates in the upcoming N.W.T. election found that most candidates, and all seven members of the last cabinet, support the secret ballot system to select a premier and cabinet. (Chantal Dubuc/CBC)

The N.W.T.'s premier and cabinet ministers running for re-election all support selecting the next premier and cabinet using the same secret ballot process that was used to select them in 2011. 

CBC polled candidates in the upcoming election to find out who, if elected, would reveal who gets their vote for premier and cabinet.

Historically, newly-elected MLAs gather two weeks after the election to pick a premier and cabinet, as well as the speaker. That's always been done by secret ballot — nobody knows who voted for whom.

Cabinet ministers Michael Miltenberger and Glen Abernethy reasoned that voters don't have to reveal who they vote for in elections, so why should MLAs when voting for premier and cabinet?

Tom Beaulieu also said that's the best way, reasoning that secret ballot voting preserves relationships —  "some people hold grudges."

Robert C. McLeod didn't explain why, but says he's OK with the secret ballot process.

Dave Ramsay says if anyone wants to know who he voted for for cabinet and premier he will tell them, but he still supports voting by secret ballot.

Premier Bob McLeod says the process could be more open, "but on the whole it works OK."

The other member of cabinet, Jackson Lafferty, was acclaimed. He did not return calls for the survey.

There was a wide range of answers from the rest of the candidates.

Some said the process needs changes but supported the secret ballot vote. 

Others said they think the process is entirely too secretive. Nahendeh candidate Arnold Hope said he'd be comfortable revealing his choices. "There's no reason for me to hold any information back."

"I'm pretty sure it should be public knowledge," said Nunakput candidate Ethel-Jean Gruben. "I don't believe we should be hiding anything from the public."

Some candidates said they don't know how they feel about it, having never sat as an MLA. 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.