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Political whirlwind tour

Dez Loreen
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, January 29, 2009

INUVIK - Robert McLeod is back in town this week to hear from the people of the west end.

The Inuvik Twin Lakes MLA arrived on Friday afternoon and left on Sunday. McLeod said his schedule was busy, meeting with leadership and hearing from the people who live in his riding.

Inuvik Twin Lakes MLA Robert McLeod is in town this week, meeting with constituents and gathering information before returning to Yellowknife to continue his duties as a member of cabinet in the legislative assembly. - Dez Loreen/NNSL photo

McLeod, now minister of Municipal and Community Affairs, minister responsible for the Workers Safety and Compensation Commission and minister responsible for youth, said his role has changed, but he is still dedicated to bringing the issues forward for Inuvik.

Recently, McLeod said the assembly is busy preparing the upcoming budget.

"Committee had their chance to go over the budget and gave us their opinions on it," he said.

Next Wednesday, budget sessions begin, which means a lot of discussions.

"That's almost five, maybe six weeks of budget sessions," he said.

McLeod said he always makes time for his constituents during his time in town.

"I've got a few days with meetings scheduled," he said.

"My new role has me in Yellowknife more than I'd like, but I'd like to think I'm still bringing the issues forward," he said.

He said people can reach him any time on his cell phone, or they can leave messages with his constituency assistant in his Inuvik office.

"Some people call me, others just drop in," he said.

McLeod said his new role as a minister has put more on his plate.

"As a regular member I was focused on the region I represented, but now I have to look at the rest of the North and keep an eye on the big picture," he said.

When he was brought up to cabinet, he said it would have been nice to have some breathing room, so he could take it all in.

"It's getting a little easier now. When I was brought in, it was right in the middle of session so I didn't have much of an opportunity to absorb as much as I wanted to," he said.

"Since then, I've had a few months and I'm more up to speed right now."

He said MACA has changed the way the money is distributed to the communities.

"There used to be a day when MACA used to say 'we're giving you this much and putting this infrastructure in your community,'" he said.

"Well, those days are done."

He said now each community is responsible for their own spending.

"Some are going to take this and run with it, others are going to need some help," he said.

"MACA's role right now is to help them come up with plans for their infrastructure."