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Carbon tax, wildfire response among issues N.W.T. MLAs want to address in 1st session

N.W.T. MLAs will be back in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday. Members will sit until Feb. 29 with a few days set aside next week to set priorities. (Travis Burke/CBC - image credit)
N.W.T. MLAs will be back in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday. Members will sit until Feb. 29 with a few days set aside next week to set priorities. (Travis Burke/CBC - image credit)

The first sitting of the N.W.T.'s 20th Legislative Assembly resumes Tuesday afternoon and some MLAs say they want to address the territory's wildfire response, and the carbon tax.

Following a one-day session last fall for the members' swearing-in ceremony, the newly-elected MLAs will now sit from Tuesday until Feb. 29, with a few days set aside for priority-setting during the week of Feb. 12.

"First and foremost for me is addressing the carbon tax, and addressing the 2023 wildfires," said Kieron Testart, MLA for Range Lake.

Testart said he'd like to see an independent inquiry into last summer's wildfire response to inform the government on how to respond to these kinds of disasters in the future.

As for the carbon tax, Testart said he'd like to see that be repealed.

"My position is the carbon tax system is failing northerners," he said. "It's not meeting its objectives, we haven't been able to see any appreciable decrease of greenhouse gas emissions due to carbon pricing in the Northwest Territories."

Range Lake MLA Kieron Testart.
Range Lake MLA Kieron Testart.

'My position is the carbon tax system is failing northerners,' said Range Lake MLA Kieron Testart. (Julie Plourde/Radio-Canada)

Kate Reid, MLA for Great Slave, says those are issues she expects many of the regular MLAs have been hearing about. She says she would also like to see the territory do a feasibility study for a guaranteed basic income in the N.W.T., as well as improved supports for northern artists.

Next week, MLAs will discuss priorities for their assembly and then table those priorities in the assembly later in the month.

"I'm really keen to see priorities that lessen cost-of-living pressures on residents," Reid said.

She also said she believes the assembly should focus on a smaller number of priorities.

"That way we can really rally behind making long-lasting, impacting change in a few areas and have that be this assembly legacy," she said.