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Bell bows out

Adam Johnson
Northern News Services
Published Friday, August 24, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - After two terms in the legislative assembly, Yellowknife south MLA Brendan Bell is leaving territorial politics.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Yellowknife South MLA Brendan Bell is leaving territorial politics, and is widely expected to run for the Conservatives in the next federal election. - Adam Johnson/NNSL photo

"There are a number of things I am interested in politically," said Bell, who is widely expected to seek the Conservative nomination in the Western Arctic.

"I think it's been alluded to," he said. "I won't deny that I have interest in that in the future."

Earlier this month, Bell added fuel to speculation on his federal ambitions when he introduced Prime Minister Stephen Harper at a Conservative Party meeting at the Baker Centre.

"The government of the Northwest Territories has had a wonderful relationship with Mr. Harper's government over the last 18 months," he said, praising what Harper's government had done for the North.

"Who knows, politically, what the future will bring," Bell said.

First and foremost, however, Bell said he wants to get back into the business world.

"It's been a great experience," Bell said of his two terms in Yellowknife South. "I can't think of another job where I would have the opportunity to travel to all 33 communities of the NWT."

Bell was first elected in 1999 at the age of 28.

He served as Justice minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, as well as minister of Environment and Natural Resources.

Bell joins three other MLAs - all from Yellowknife - who have decided not to run in the next election. Premier and Weledeh MLA Joe Handley, Frame Lake MLA Charles Dent and Great Slave MLA Bill Braden have announced retirement.