Stephen Dunbar

A photo of Stephen Chamber, Carleton University Political Science Alumnus

Chief Electoral Officer, Northwest Territories

MA in Political Science, 2008

Since graduating from Carleton, I have worked in government administration in the Northwest Territories. The Northwest Territories is one of only two jurisdictions in Canada with a consensus system of government instead of one based on party politics. In our system, all Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) are elected as independents, making for a unique political atmosphere.

Much of my career was as the principal political advisor to various Ministers and a Premier. This included providing strategic advice on any emerging issues and acting as the liaison between the Minister’s office and the department, MLAs and other Ministers. In this role, I was privileged to have travelled to all communities in the Northwest Territories and was also the point person in the Premier’s Office for the 2011 Royal Visit.

I am currently Chief Electoral Officer of the Northwest Territories, responsible for the administration and planning for the 2023 territorial general election, and any by-elections or plebiscites for the Legislative Assembly.

Before my current position, I was the Director of Research and Committee Advisory Services with the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly. I led a small team who provide budgetary analysis, policy and research support, and advice to the non-Cabinet Members, who comprise the majority of our Legislature.

I am fortunate to have worked with Members on both sides of the House, and to apply daily what I first started learning in my thesis research.

In my second year at Carleton, I took a course on Canadian legislatures which not only awakened my interest in the subject, but also prompted me to switch my thesis to be on consensus government. I would not have pursued my career path without the inspiration drawn from this course.