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The people speak in Hay River North

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Published Monday, October 8, 2007

HAY RIVER - Paul Delorey handily won his re-election bid as MLA for Hay River North, despite a spirited bid to unseat him.

Delorey garnered 514 votes, compared to challenger Vince McKay's 329 in the Oct. 1 territorial election.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Paul Delorey thanks supporters after being re-elected as MLA for Hay River North. - Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

The campaign in Hay River North was largely shaped by McKay's claim that the district was not properly represented in the last legislative assembly because of Delorey's role as Speaker.

"Obviously, the constituents didn't totally buy into that," Delorey said, noting he worked hard for the district while Speaker.

The MLA has not ruled out returning to that role.

"I'm keeping all my options open when I go back to Yellowknife," he said,

"It doesn't tie me up at all," he said. "I've found that I've been able to deal with issues a lot quicker as speaker than I could as a regular MLA."

However, Delorey, 58, said he has his eye on a cabinet post, since he has eight years of experience in the legislative assembly.

"I haven't even ruled out maybe looking at the premier's position when I get back," he added.

Delorey said he will discuss representation for Hay River in cabinet with Jane Groenewegen, who was re-elected in Hay River South.

"If I sense the support is for Jane, I wouldn't have a problem supporting her," he said.

McKay said he thought the election was going to be closer.

However, the 30-year-old believes many of his supporters, especially young people, didn't get out to vote.

"Young people are just not interested in politics to a certain degree," he said.

Whether more young people voting would have resulted in a different outcome, McKay said it is hard to say. "It's a possibility."

The Hay River town councillor said he will just have to wait for the next territorial election. "In four years time, I will run again in Hay River North."

Both McKay and Delorey said family connections and friendships played a role in the vote.

McKay had a lot of support in the West Channel area.

"Vince McKay has an awful lot of family, especially down in the Channel area," Delorey said. "When I came out with a split in West Channel, I thought that was a victory for me, and I won all the other polls."

McKay noted many people know Delorey from his many years as MLA and are more accustomed to his name.

Now that he has been re-elected, Delorey said he will focus on getting territorial money to deal with aging infrastructure in Hay River, such as the hospital and high school.