Deh Cho | Ronald Bonnetrouge, Lyle Fabian, Michael Nadli, Greg Nyuli

Land claim issues dominate concerns among the four candidates running in the Deh Cho riding, but the big question is whether voters will forgive incumbent MLA Michael Nadli for his recent assault conviction.

Land claim issues dominate concerns in Deh Cho

Land claim issues dominate concerns among the four candidates running in the riding of Deh Cho, but the big question is whether voters will forgive incumbent MLA Michael Nadli for his recent assault conviction. 

The largest community in Deh Cho is Fort Providence (pop. 814), which remains an important way point for travellers, even after the construction of the Deh Cho bridge. Transportation and tourism are mainstays of the economy, while traditional activities like hunting, fishing, trapping and arts and crafts also remain economically vital.

South of the Mackenzie River is the tiny, log-cabin community of Kakisa (pop. 45), and the Hay River Reserve (pop. 321), situated on the outskirts of the town of Hay River. Enterprise (pop. 122), a highway-service centre, is the only non-aboriginal community in the district.

Deh Cho was represented from 1999 until 2011 by Michael McLeod — brother of current Premier Bob McLeod. 

In 2011, Michael Nadli won the seat from McLeod by nearly 170 votes (McLeod narrowly defeated Nadli in 2003 and was acclaimed in 2007). McLeod is now the federal Liberal MP for Northwest Territories. 

In 2013, Nadli was the only MLA to vote against the territory's devolution final agreement with the federal government, citing a lack of progress with negotiations for a land claim settlement between Ottawa and the Dehcho First Nations.

Earlier this year, Nadli pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm stemming from an incident that left his wife with a broken wrist. He was sentenced to 45 days in jail, but released after eight, paving the way for him to run again.

Ronald Bonnetrouge

Ronald Bonnetrouge was born and raised in Fort Providence and has a certificate in classroom assistance from Aurora College. He's worked in schools and in the trades on numerous construction projects. Most recently he was employed by the Department of Public Works and Services as a project manager. He's a former chief and band councillor with the Deh Gah Gotie First Nation.

Bonnetrouge says there's a wide range of issues facing the four communities of the Deh Cho riding. He wants to establish a healing centre that would combine an indigenous perspective with southern medicine to treat addictions, mental health issues and family violence. He says he wants to be a representative for youth issues in the Legislative Assembly. "They face more tough times than any other age group." 

Lyle Fabian

Lyle Fabian is from Hay River Reserve and has a bachelor of arts degree from Mount Royal University in Calgary, as well as training in information technology and social work. As a project manager for the Katlodeeche First Nation, he's overseen a large expansion of the First Nation's IT infrastructure and fibre optic lines. He's also worked as a project manager for elders projects and the Dene Cultural Institute. 

Land claim issues are top of mind for Fabian in this campaign. He says there needs to be a comprehensive review of all land claims in Treaty 8 and Treaty 11 lands. He feels this would be good for both the First Nations in question and the territorial government. He's also promising a full review of fracking rules, and wants to find ways to provide addictions treatment and offer Dene language immersion programs. 

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Michael Nadli

​Born in Edmonton, Nadli has lived in Yellowknife, Hay River, Hay River Reserve, Fort Simpson, and, currently, Fort Providence. He has attended the Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific and the University of Lethbridge. Nadli has worked as a CBC broadcaster, in land use planning, was the CEO of the Deh Cho Bridge Corporation and a consultant for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. He was also the grand chief of the Deh Cho First Nations.

Nadli says his first priority is more infrastructure for the communities, followed closely by the need to finish the Deh Cho land claim process. Doing so, Nadli says, would provide greater certainty for business and allow more economic development, which would benefit the entire N.W.T. economy. He also wants to see new health and wellness facilities in his riding, better cellphone service and a forest fire tower in Enterprise.

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Greg Nyuli

Greg Nyuli was born in Fort Providence but raised in Alberta. He returned to the N.W.T in 1983 and to Fort Providence the following year. He has a college education in business and native studies and has worked as a manager and consultant in business and as the executive assistant to Dehcho First Nations Grand Chief Herb Norwegian. He's served two terms as chief of the Deh Gah Gotie First Nation and six as a councillor.

He says his top priority is greater accountability and transparency on the part of the territorial government. The GNWT, he says, is taking on bigger and bigger issues, like fracking, jurisdiction over land and water, and changes to regional health authorities, but those decisions are coming from the top down. He wants more infrastructure and services but is concerned about the GNWT's fiscal situation and says communities will have to prioritize.

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