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Legislative assembly TV ready to broadcast

Herb Mathisen
Northern News Services
Published Monday, June 16, 2008

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - Later this year, residents in all communities of the NWT will be able to watch their favourite MLAs duke it out in the legislative assembly, from the comfort of their living rooms.

The legislative assembly is prepared to launch its own channel: Legislative Assembly Television (LATV).

"We've been looking for sometime to be able to get into peoples' homes across the Northwest Territories," said Paul Delorey, Speaker of the legislative assembly

Delorey said there has been demand from residents to have more access to legislative assembly proceedings.

The system will broadcast sessions in English, the language used on the floor. Four official languages of the NWT will also be translated live. The languages translated will be delivered on a rotating basis.

For now, the first two hours of session will be broadcast, said Delorey. This would include MLA statements, motions, recognition of visitors in the gallery and question period.

Equipment was purchased for Yellowknife to beam the signal to satellite and additional equipment was purchased for each community to receive the signal, and then rerecord it, said Delorey.

LATV was initiated by the 15th session of the legislative assembly, which approved an expenditure of $380,000 to get it off the ground.

Delorey said there will be costs associated with translation, but added there are already expenses dedicated to translator services at the legislative assembly.

The need for the service came from the legislative assembly's inability to reach a contract with APTN

"The price to get covered on APTN increased significantly," said Delorey, adding the hours of broadcast and the limited amount of languages they could broadcast in did not suit their needs.

LATV will be available on basic cable. Delorey said people can access it with "their rabbit ears."