Time for a female N.W.T. commissioner again? MLA starts a list of possible names

​​As N.W.T. Commissioner George Tuccaro nears the end of his term, one MLA says it’s time the territory had a female commissioner again.

George Tuccaro's term as commissioner to end in May

George Tuccaro has served as commissioner of the N.W.T. since 2010. His term ends May 10.

​As Northwest Territories Commissioner George Tuccaro nears the end of his term, one MLA says it's time the territory had a female commissioner again.

Julie Green, the MLA for Yellowknife Centre, took to Facebook Thursday to announce her own pick and solicit others.

"This appointment is made by the federal government. In the past, the GNWT has recommended candidates for the role," said Green.

The long list of suggested candidates includes:

  • Green's pick: Margaret Thom (former assistant commissioner and respected elder from Fort Providence)
  • Shirley Kemeys-Jones (former assistant deputy minister for the N.W.T.'s Department of Justice)
  • Julie Lys (nurse practitioner)
  • Nellie Cournoyea (former chair of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation)
  • Gail Cyr (former City of Yellowknife councillor)
  • Ethel Blondin Andrew (current chair of the Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated)
  • Jane Groenewegen (former MLA for Hay River South)
  • Jane Dragon (Fort Smith elder)
  • Sharon Firth (cross-country skiing Canada's Sports Hall of Fame inductee)
  • Wendy Bisaro (former MLA for Frame Lake)
  • Violet Camsell-Blondin (current chair of the Wek'èezhìi Land and Water Board)

The most recent female commissioner, Glenna Hansen, finished her term 11 years ago. Only two of the N.W.T.'s 16 commissioners have been women.

In 2012, the federal government set up a non-partisan committee process to select territorial commissioners, provincial lieutenant governors and Canada's governors general. N.W.T.'s next commissioner will be its first selected under this new process.

'The best 6 years of my working life'

The role of the commissioner is now similar to that of a province's lieutenant governor. He or she represents the territorial government at various ceremonies, swears in MLAs and officially approves bills passed by the territorial government.

"It is with profound gratitude and deep respect that I say thank you for your kind support and encouraging words throughout my term," Tuccaro told MLAs Thursday, his last opportunity to address caucus in the assembly.

"It has been the best six years of my working life to serve the people of the Northwest Territories in this capacity."

Tuccaro's term ends May 10.


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