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Roberts calls for review

Conflict commissioner says she was treated unfairly

Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Nov 30/01) - The former conflict of interest commissioner is asking the NWT Supreme Court to tell the government to reinstate her.

NNSL Photo

Carol Roberts: protesting what amounted to a performance review.

In a Nov. 26 application for a judicial review, Carol Roberts asked the courts to overturn her firing by the commissioner of the Northwest Territories.

Roberts is also asking for payment of income she has lost as a result of the firing and court costs.

Appointed June 1, 2000, the conflict of interest commissioner's term was set to run until July 30, 2004.

Roberts' term was cut short when Commissioner of the Northwest Territories Glenna Hansen, on the recommendation of the legislative assembly, officially revoked her appointment on Oct. 31.

Roberts was one of four casualties of an unprecedented special committee investigation into a bias complaint against the commissioner.

The committee of MLAs also looked into the surreptitious recording of phone calls to the commissioner by Hay River MLA Jane Groenewegen.

Groenewegen resigned her cabinet post as a result of the investigation and the damning report the committee submitted to the legislative assembly.

In her application for judicial review, Roberts argues the committee exceeded its authority when it did what she says amounts to a review of her performance based on her interaction with one minister.

During debate of the special committee's report, Premier Stephen Kakfwi argued as much.

He said if the investigation was to include a performance review, Roberts should have been given the same consideration as any other government employee and been notified of it.

When the threat of court action first arose, clerk of the assembly David Hamilton said courts would be loathe to bridge the gap, established by tradition, between themselves and legislatures.

In terms of salary, Roberts noted that from the time of her appointment to Aug. 31, 2001, her average monthly income as conflict commissioner was $2,566.

Under her contract with the government, Roberts is paid $175 per hour or $825 per day.

The chair of the special committee, Brendan Bell, was travelling and unavailable for comment. Clerk of the legislative assembly, David Hamilton, is also travelling and unavailable for comment.