North·Q & A

Michael Nadli, re-elected Deh Cho MLA, 'open' to cabinet position

Voters in the Deh Cho riding re-elected Michael Nadli as their MLA, despite his recent conviction for assaulting his wife, which resulted in a jail sentence.

MLA says voters gave him a 'second chance' after he served jail time for assaulting spouse

Michael Nadli, who was re-elected MLA Monday after a recent conviction for assaulting his spouse, says people in Deh Cho "voted for me to move forward." 

Nadli pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm, and last month a judge sentenced him to 45 days in jail. It was Nadli's second conviction for assaulting his spouse.

Michael Nadli was re-elected MLA for Deh Cho in the 2015 N.W.T. election. Nadli was suspended from the previous assembly after he was sentenced to jail for assault causing bodily harm. (Submitted)

He was then suspended by the Legislative Assembly because people who are incarcerated are not eligible to serve as an MLA.

Nadli was released after serving eight days of his 45-day sentence, just before the nomination period opened for the election. Nadli took the seat in Monday's election by a mere 18 votes.

He spoke with Trailbreaker's Loren McGinnis Tuesday morning. This interview has been edited and condensed.

Q. What do you make of these results?

A. I think I've stated very clearly that I'm trying to move forward with my life and now the results from yesterday have told me and the people of the riding that people recognize the work that I've been doing for the past four years and that I'm committed to this kind of work and wanted to ensure that they continue with the voice that has been carrying them for the past four years. 

Q. There were people who did not want you to run given that you had just spent time in jail for spousal assault. What do you say to these people?

A. A person has to move forward from experiences. There's a Chinese proverb that says, I think it was Confucious that says the glory is never in rising, it's every time we fall, we pick ourselves up. I'm trying to simply move forward with my life. I've been provided this second chance. I think the voters voted for me to move forward.

Q. What made you decide that this was the best way to move forward rather than taking time off?

A. The experience that I went through, it's a growing experience. You can't take everything for its negative proportions. I think the attitude a person should carry is every experience a person goes through, they should try and learn from it, at the same time try and grow from it. It's simply an approach I think people have. This is the approach that I'm taking. If things go well then more likely people that have my shared experiences will try to do some reflection upon changing their lives around, too.

Q. At what point would you consider that a member of the legislative assembly's conduct is not befitting of that office? What is the line for you?

A. It's only go forward at this point. It's simply one day at a time here. There's lots, lots of stuff to do in the next four years. I think the real voice that I carry is ensuring that there's a voice for small community issues and people that struggle. I think we experience on a daily basis people struggling, the homeless, the people that go through situations that look impossible and yet they go forward. That's a reflection of the people I'm trying to work with and trying to help and I hope to continue that.

Q. What are your top priorities?

A. I think the youth in terms of the programs and services that we have in existence, trying to build upon those trends and perhaps consider some other initiatives such as ongoing infrastructure projects, schools, as an example, telecommunications in terms of its enhancement, trying to complement the tourism initiatives that keep going here in N.W.T.; those come to mind.

At the same time we'll have a voice at the legislative assembly and there's certain challenges. One of them is jobs and business opportunities. We're very optimistic that we'll see startup of sustainable projects like the wood pellet mill in the riding here, I think that's creating a level of optimism. At the same time the reality that we're at an economic lull; it's a reality that we have to accept. At the same time we have to work together strongly.

Q. Will you seek a cabinet position?

A. Right now I'm considering the realities, but at the same time I'm open. There's merit in terms of being a regular MLA, at the same time you always aspire to try to be on cabinet. At this point I'm very open and we'll see what happens.