Michael McLeod, minister of Municipal and Community Affairs, minister of Environment and Natural resources, and minister responsible for youth.
Deh Cho means "big river" – this district straddles the Mackenzie River at its headwaters. The surrounding landscape is flat boreal forest, cut through by several dramatic canyons and waterfalls.
Fort Providence (pop. 727), a predominantly South Slavey community, is the district’s major centre. Situated on Highway 3 near the Mackenzie River ferry crossing, the hamlet's residents income sources include transportation, tourism and craftwork.
In May 2007, the N.W.T. government announced it would begin construction this summer of a permanent one-kilometre bridge across the Mackenzie at Fort Providence. However, some MLAs have said the government should not move so quickly on building the estimated $130-million span, given it has not received federal funding.
South of the river is the tiny, log-cabin community of Kakisa (pop. 40), and the Hay River Reserve (pop. 265), situated on the outskirts of the town of Hay River. Enterprise (pop. 95), a highway-service centre, is the only non-aboriginal community in the district.
Aboriginal populations in Fort Providence, the Hay River Reserve and Kakisa are represented by the Dehcho First Nations, an organization of about 10 communities led by Grand Chief Herb Norwegian. The Dehcho are in the middle of land-claims talks with the federal government.
From Elections N.W.T.:
Deh Cho [HTML]
In what turned out to be the tightest race in the 2003 election, incumbent MLA Michael McLeod squeaked past former Dehcho grand chief Michael Nadli by a margin of 13 votes. By contrast, in 1999, McLeod handily defeated Sam Gargan – who at the time was the assembly’s longest-serving member – by a margin of 154 votes. In the past four elections, every candidate from this district has hailed from Fort Providence. Voter turnout has tended to be high.
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