Nunakput MLA Herb Nakimayak changes mind, will attend caucus retreat

Nunakput MLA Herb Nakimayak has changed his mind and will now attend a caucus retreat for N.W.T. MLAs, which begins Wednesday.

Last week Nakimayak was not planning to attend retreat at Fort Providence

Nunakput MLA Herb Nakimayak has confirmed that he will attend caucus meetings this week in Fort Providence, after earlier stating that he would miss the meetings due to commitments as vice-president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council. (CBC)

Nunakput MLA Herb Nakimayak has changed his mind and will now attend a caucus retreat for N.W.T. MLAs later this week.

Nakimayak has come under scrutiny for missing a number of committee meetings since he was elected last November.

As of Friday, Nakimayak was not planning to attend this summer's retreat, which is taking place at the Snowshoe Inn in Fort Providence.

But this morning, the clerk's office confirmed Nakimayak will be there.

"It was my understanding that he was going to attend a meeting for his other role with the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, which is fine," said fellow regular MLA Julie Green Monday.

"But as the chairman of the caucus, I think that everyone who possibly can should attend the caucus meetings. This is our time to meet as equals and discuss some fairly meaty issues."

Mackenzie Delta MLA Frederick Blake Jr. will not be at the retreat as he is attending the Gwich'in Tribal Council's annual general assembly Aug. 22-25 in Inuvik.

Caucus meetings encourage frank discussion

MLAs meet as a caucus several times a year, but only twice while the assembly is not in session. Those meetings are usually held outside of Yellowknife.

MLAs in attendance are supposed to largely check their disparate positions — cabinet minister, committee chair, etc. — at the door and talk to each other as equals.

The meetings are notable for allowing the Speaker, who normally does not have the chance to air concerns arising from his constituency in the legislative assembly, to do so.

This assembly's Speaker is Jackson Lafferty, who represents the Tlicho riding.  

While the agendas for caucus meetings are confidential — MLAs don't even keep minutes — Green said one issue she'd like to discuss this week is how the government will handle its mid-term review of the government's work on achieving its mandate.

That review is due before the fall 2017 sitting.

This week's three-day caucus retreat begins Wednesday.