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Roland responds to affair privately
Northern News Services
Published Monday, December 8, 2008
However, MLAs were mixed on what the premier should do next and whether this issue should be considered a private or public matter.
Premier Floyd Roland left the legislative assembly after the meeting without commenting on his affair.
"The premier has nothing to say about this matter. It's a private matter and he won't be speaking about it publicly," said Julia Mott, spokesperson for the premier's office.
The legislative assembly clerk in question was transferred to Elections NWT, confirmed Speaker Paul Delorey.
The confidential meeting was called to address the premier's relationship and any potential conflicts arising from it.
"Members have the right to call a caucus meeting at any time if they want to discuss an issue. This issue was one that members had wanted some clarification on from the premier," said Delorey. "Any questions that the public has, it will be up to the premier to answer the concerns," he said.
Delorey said no laws had been broken as far as he knew.
No one interviewed after the meeting said they had any proof of information being passed to Roland from their committee meetings.
Responses varied among MLAs on what should happen now.
Dave Ramsay, MLA for Kam Lake, said he thought what the premier did was dishonest and said he believed Roland should resign.
Although he acknowledged the relationship is a private matter he said, "It's not the people, it's the positions."
"The code of conduct members sign up to ... says we will conduct our business and our affairs and ourselves in a way that espouses integrity and honesty. How somebody could be in a relationship with a staff member who is directly involved with our committees and not tell us about it for months, to me, that is dishonest," Ramsay said.
"In my mind and in my mind alone, I think he should resign,"
Tom Beaulieu, MLA for Tu Nedhe, said he believes this issue for the most part is a private matter.
"The question comes down to is there the impression or feeling that the clerk, who was working with two of the committees - economic development and infrastructure and priorities and planning - was relaying information to the premier."
"They both indicated that there was no transmission of any kind of confidential information to the premier," he said.
Beaulieu said he believed the premier should retain his office, although he said he will go back to Fort Resolution and Lutsel K'e to hear what constituents have to say.
"If they see some serious fault in it, then my position may change," he said.
Other MLAs also said they would consult with the public.
"I am very interested in hearing what people think about this," said Jane Groenewegen, MLA for Hay River South.
"There is a court of public opinion and I think that is what influences members in the positions that they take, hopefully, because we are here to represent the people," she said.
Roland, a father of six, has spoken often in the legislative assembly about his family and family values.