1st Northwest Territories Legislative Council

The 1st Northwest Territories Legislative Council was the 8th assembly of the territorial government lasting from the election on September 17, 1951 to dissolution in 1954. This council would see elected members returned it for the first time since 1905.

1st Legislative Council
Last election
Meeting place
Various communities and Ottawa

Powers increaseEdit

Following the 1951 election, legislation to amend the Northwest Territories Act introduced in the House of Commons to increase the powers of the council. Provisions in the legislation also allowed them to re-establish a territorial court of law, as well as provide for the appointment of a police magistrate and increase the living allowance for members of the council while it is in session to $25.00 from $15.00 a day and to keep the pay per session day at $50.00.[1] The legislation also increased the number of elected seats to four and provided for a federally managed Reindeer Marketing Board to portion off Reindeer herds to Inuit family's to encourage establishment of Reindeer farms. The federal government passed these initiatives to help assert arctic sovereignty and prevent the United States from taking over the north lands.[2]

Financial situationEdit

In 1953 the territory recorded a budgetary surplus along with the Yukon. The inflow of cash came from government controlled liquor that netted over $150,000 to the treasury along with over $260,000 in federally collected taxes being returned to the territory. Other contributing sources were a 1 cent per gallon tax on all petroleum products, a fur export tax and various licensing fees.[3]


District / Position Member
Appointed Member Louis Audette
Mackenzie South James Brodie
Mackenzie West Frank Carmichael
Appointed Member William Clements
Deputy Commissioner Frank Cunningham
Mackenzie North Mervyn Arthur Hardie
Appointed Member Donald McKay
Appointed Member Leonard Nicholson

A total of eight members served on the council, with five appointed and three elected. The three elected all came from the District of Mackenzie while the five appointed members lived in Ottawa. Previous to this council the last elected members sat in the 5th North-West Legislative Assembly.

Two appointed members of the council were returned from the 2nd Council of the Northwest Territories. They were Louis Audette and Deputy Commissioner Frank Cunningham who served by default as the presiding officer on the council. The Commissioner and leader of the government at the beginning of the council was Hugh Andrew Young who had served as such since 1950. Young left office on November 15, 1953, when his replacement Robert Gordon Robertson was appointed on the same day.

The only membership change in the council came in 1953 when Mervyn Hardie vacated his seat to run in the 1953 Canadian federal election. He won the district of Mackenzie River to be the first Member of Parliament for the territory since 1904. A by-election was not called to fill his seat.


  1. ^ "More Self-Gov't Planned For North". Calgary Herald. June 17, 1952. p. 2.
  2. ^ "Plan For Northland". 52nd Year No. 28. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. November 19, 1953. p. 15.
  3. ^ "A Few People - A Lot of Land and Headaches". Vol XLVII No. 4. The Financial Post. January 24, 1953. p. 1.

External linksEdit