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Premier Floyd Roland won't run again
Boot Lake needs new MLA for fall election

Samantha Stokell
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, May 26, 2011

INUVIK - For the first time in 15 years, the Inuvik Boot Lake constituency will have a new representative at the legislative assembly, as Premier Floyd Roland announced his decision to not seek re-election in October.

Roland made the announcement in the legislative assembly on May 18, paving the way for a new premier and a new face from Inuvik. Roland said he won't run in the election, set for Oct. 3, because he's lacking the passion necessary to continue working as a politician.

"My heart wouldn't be in it. I wouldn't do justice to the community," Roland said. "If I came back, my energy levels aren't as high as they should be. You need to have the fire in the belly."

Roland has been premier since October 2007 and has worked as a member of the legislative assembly for Inuvik Boot Lake since 1995, when he beat incumbent Fred Koe. He won again in 1999 and then was acclaimed to his position in the 2003 and 2007 elections.

As premier, Roland has had his fair share of controversy, both personal and political. Regular MLAs said he did not communicate major policy decisions to them, and in February 2009, he scraped through a no-confidence vote by 10 to 8.

He also faced a potential conflict of interest when it was revealed he had an extramarital affair with a clerk of the legislative assembly, raising concerns she may have passed on confidential information from committee meetings to Roland. It was later found she had not.

Despite reaching the pinnacle of territorial politics, Roland said he never looked further than the current term, simply accomplishing what he could while he elected.

"I figured that if I think about the job and apply myself, I should get elected again and so far it has proved successful for me," he said. "When I put my name forward as premier, I said I would bring big change and bring a better future than we had. It was a lot of work and took a lot of energy."

Prior to joining territorial politics, Roland worked as an automotive mechanic with the Department of Public Works and ran an outfitting tourism company in Inuvik. He entered politics at the community level, starting first with the Inuvik Hunters and Trappers Committee, the Western Arctic Tourism Association and Inuvik town council as councillor and deputy mayor.

As for the next candidates who hope to win the Inuvik Boot Lake constituency, Roland has some advice: be balanced in your representation and build a good constituency base.

"If you're calling Inuvik home for six months or 30 years, this is their home and you have to be open to all of them," Roland said. "You need support and a connection to the community, to get ideas off of people and the broader the better."

Aside from balance within representation, Roland also suggests politicians remember to take time for themselves and spend time with family members.

"I got back to the time when my children's mother said she felt like she needed to make an appointment to see me," Roland said. "In my younger days I had a good connection with the family. You need to know you have the family support. I neglected that in recent years."

In his remaining months, Roland and the GNWT will work on completing the work plan for devolution and clean up the files on the Mackenzie Gas Project and the Mackenzie Valley Highway. He will play host to the western premiers in June and attend the Council of the Federation in July, as well as host the royal visit by Prince William and his new bride Catherine Middleton.

Roland has no plans yet as to what he will do after the election, but says he will look for work.

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