New Speaker – Northwest Territories
Jackson Lafferty was elected Speaker of the Northwest Territories’ Assembly on December 14, 2015. Lafferty, who was the sole nominee for the position, replaces Jackie Jacobson.
The Monfwi MLA was first elected to the Assembly in a 2005 by-election and re-elected in 2007 and 2011. He was acclaimed in the 2015 election.
Born in Behchoko, Lafferty attended school in Yellowknife before studying business and community development at Red Deer College and the University of Lethbridge. Prior to seeking office, he worked as superintendent of participation agreements for Diavik Diamond Mines Inc., as community development and empowerment coordinator for the Government of the Northwest Territories and as administrator for the Rae-Edzo School Society and assistant manager for the Rae-Edzo Dene Band Development Corporation.
Within the Assembly he has served as deputy premier, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment and the Minister Responsible for the Workers Safety and Compensation Committee. An advocate of the role of language, culture and heritage revitalization for the North, Lafferty was instrumental in implementing the Francophone Affairs Secretariat and the Aboriginal Languages Secretariat.
New Speaker – Newfoundland and Labrador
Members elected to the House of Assembly in the general election held on November 30, 2015, were sworn in on the morning of December 18, 2015. Lieutenant Governor Frank Fagan, summoned the Members in the afternoon to elect a new Speaker as their first order of business.
Two Members submitted their names for consideration: Tom Osborne, Waterford Valley, and Scott Reid, St. George’s – Humber. The Standing Orders had been amended in 1999 to allow for a secret ballot election of the Speaker; however, this was the first ever contested election. After ballots were cast, Osborne was elected Speaker of the 48th General Assembly.
A native of St. John’s, Osborne attended Cabot College and Memorial University of Newfoundland. Prior to entering politics he worked for Statistics Canada, Small Business Enterprise, and with the Penney Group of Companies.
He has represented his district of Waterford Valley (formerly St. John’s South) since 1996, making him the longest serving Member in the legislature. Speaker Osborne served as Deputy Speaker from 2007-2011. He has also held several cabinet positions, including Minister of Environment, Minister of Labour, Minister of Health, and Minister of Justice.