First-time Northwest Territories MLA Herbert Nakimayak has missed over 20 committee meetings over the past couple months, according to a report tabled in the assembly late last week.

The MLA for the territory’s Nunakput region was absent from one legislative assembly session and 21 standing committee meetings between Feb. 19 and May 27.

Nunakput MLA Herbert Nakimayak.

Nunakput MLA Herbert Nakimayak.

Since May 31, he’s also been absent from two session days. The MLA posted positive attendance records prior to February, but the same can’t be said since.

Nakimayak has also stepped down as chair of the economic development committee, says Barbara Abramchuk, a communications advisor for the legislative assembly.

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Frame Lake MLA Kevin O’Reilly.

Three reasons were given for the missed meetings. While ‘personal reasons’ were cited for six of his absences, ‘duty as a member, minister, premier or speaker’ was responsible for the other 16.

Duty work can refer to constituency work – like attending community ceremonies – or duties assigned by a minister, such as attending First Nation assemblies.

The MLA’s involvement with the Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada is another likely factor for some of his absences.

Sahtu MLA Daniel Mark McNeely was second in terms of absenteeism, having missed a total of nine committee meetings between mid-February and late May. Mackenzie Delta MLA Frederick Blake Jr. missed seven.

On the other hand, several members attended more meetings than they needed to over the past couple months. Frame Lake MLA Kevin O’Reilly attended more than anyone with 11.

Tu Nedhe – Wiilideh MLA Tom Beaulieu and Nahendeh MLA Shane Thomspon were also eager to sit in on more meetings, having attended an additional six themselves.

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