Transcript of meeting #1 for Midterm Review Committee in the 18th Assembly. (The original version is on the Legislative Assembly's site.) The winning word was work.

The winning word was work.

On the agenda

MLAs speaking

Mr. Testart's Question
Members' Questions for Ministers

The Chair Jackson Lafferty

Minister Moses.

Mr. Testart's Question
Members' Questions for Ministers

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate the Member's comments and questions. Yes, when we first looked at implementing junior kindergarten, there was concerns, and my experience is we waited until we got the comprehensive report that was released in the 17th Legislative Assembly. As you heard in my opening comments, I did visit schools as a Regular Member and as a Minister, and looked at the junior kindergarten classes. We heard from education authorities.

We've developed a really strong relationship with education councils, listened to the concerns, but also listened to the concerns of committee, and moving forward, working with my colleagues on this side of the House, working very hard to find a solution and that's where we looked at fully funding junior kindergarten. It is all that experience working with our education councils, with Members on that side, and committee, and finding a solution. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Testart's Question
Members' Questions for Ministers

The Chair Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Questions to Ministers. Next on my list: Member Beaulieu.

Mr. Beaulieu's Question
Members' Questions for Ministers

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marsi cho, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Education. During the last couple of years, one of the key things that occurred with the Department of Education was the close-down of the Teacher Education Program and the social work program. This upset many students. This upset many people that were hoping to, mature students, especially students that already are married and have children that the best place for them to attend school was in Fort Smith. However, those programs were shut down. Even the community of Fort Smith was upset over it. There was lots of letter writing going back and forth in the community, over to here, and then at the end of the day, the board was dissolved. I'd like to ask the Minister: who, and by who I mean a person not a department. Which person made the decision to close those two important programs down? Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Beaulieu's Question
Members' Questions for Ministers

The Chair Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister Moses.

Mr. Beaulieu's Question
Members' Questions for Ministers

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Just to clarify, we did put a hold on those two programs until the foundational review was completed. The students in those two programs will continue to get support to complete the programs in Fort Smith, as well as the social work program. They are getting work from our department. They are getting support from staff at Aurora College. Plus we continue to support students that are taking a degree, granting programs for education, as well as social work, outside the territory.

These discussions were brought forth in the May-June sitting. I listened. We worked with Aurora College, and we decided to put those two programs on hold until the foundational review was completed. We did not shut them down. We stopped. What we did shut down was enrolments into the access program, and we will wait for that foundational review to come out. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Beaulieu's Question
Members' Questions for Ministers

The Chair Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Questions to Ministers. Next on my list: Member Vanthuyne.

Mr. Vanthuyne's Question
Members' Questions for Ministers

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Mr. Chairman, we all know that in the early days of this Assembly that there was a kind of a contention and some tension between Regular Members and Cabinet relating to the fiscal strategy and the budget process at the time. One of the things that we have as an opportunity through that process is the opportunity to stand up and provide a reply to the Budget Address. My question is for the Minister for Health and Social Services, Minister Abernethy.

While all of us Regular Members took advantage of that opportunity to stand up and give our thoughts, positive or negative, it was our opinions and our views that we were sharing on the budget at the time. Minister Abernethy had his right to do that, and he stood up in this House and gave his reply to the budget address. However, as most know, it did not seem to be a reply to the budget address. It was more a criticism of Members and their replies to the budget address. I would like to ask the Minister: if he had the opportunity to do it again, what would he do to change, if anything? Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Vanthuyne's Question
Members' Questions for Ministers

The Chair Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister Abernethy.

Mr. Vanthuyne's Question
Members' Questions for Ministers

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I'm an MLA as well as a Member of the Executive Council and I've been around for a few years in this Assembly, and I do have to say that that budget process was one of the more frustrating budget experiences that I have been around for. This is a consensus government. This is supposed to be about working together. If you go back and read that statement, I made some criticisms and maybe I was a little harsh and I apologize that, but I was also hard on Cabinet as well.

I did indicate that we have an obligation as Cabinet to work with the Members of this Assembly, to work together to find compromise and it seemed like we were both having difficulty in that process at that time. I was frustrated. I might tailor my words slightly differently and be a little bit more soft in some of my approach, but I do acknowledge that I did criticize both sides of this House. We're supposed to work together in the best interests of the people of the Northwest Territories. That takes compromise. That takes work. Some of the statements that were being made, in my mind, some of them were not exactly accurate. It was frustrating, so I made a statement. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Vanthuyne's Question
Members' Questions for Ministers

The Chair Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Questions to Ministers. Next on my list: Member McNeely.

Mr. McNeely's Question
Members' Questions for Ministers

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Chair. My question is to the whole Cabinet. We heard earlier on the accomplishments and the targets achieved from the Members across the floor, and now we know what is there. Now I'd like to discuss what is not there. My question: which department or departments within your portfolios can you explain that needs the attention of what is not achieved, aside from the presentation we heard earlier? Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Mr. McNeely's Question
Members' Questions for Ministers

The Chair Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister Schumann.

Mr. McNeely's Question
Members' Questions for Ministers

Wally Schumann Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I think that is a hard question to answer, what we have not achieved, because a lot of the stuff that's within my portfolios is well under progress. We are working to achieve them. We have a number of initiatives. Like I said in my statement earlier today, I had 30-some commitments of the mandate, and we are working to achieve those. If I wanted to speak about specifically one particular commitment that has been left behind a little bit, I guess, would be the Petroleum Resources and Oil and Gas Act, and there is a reason for that. It has to be dovetailed in with the energy strategy that we are working on. It has to fit in with the climate change framework that's being proposed with this government. With the downturn of the economy in the oil and gas sector, it was one I think that was not quite brought forward in a timely manner that maybe in different Assemblies possibly could have been, but with the sector down right now… We are trying to figure out how we can capitalize on this energy sector to help facilitate bringing the cost of living down for residents of the Northwest Territories. I think out of all the general ones that I have that are in progress, that's the one that sticks in my mind that we need to be working on, but there is a reason for it, which was my explanation of what I've just said. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Mr. McNeely's Question
Members' Questions for Ministers

The Chair Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister Sebert.