This is page numbers 1 - 7 of the Hansard for the 12th Assembly, 3rd Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was nunavut.

Members Present

Hon. Titus Allooloo, Mr. Antoine, Mr. Arngna'naaq, Hon. James Arvaluk, Hon. Michael Ballantyne, Mr. Bernhardt, Hon. Nellie Cournoyea, Mr. Dent, Mr. Gargan, Hon. Stephen Kakfwi, Mr. Koe, Mr. Lewis, Mrs. Marie-Jewell, Ms. Mike, Hon. Don Morin, Mr. Nerysoo, Mr. Ningark, Hon. Dennis Patterson, Hon. John Pollard, Mr. Pudlat, Mr. Todd, Hon. Tony Whitford, Mr. Zoe

Members Present
Members Present

Page 1

The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

I would call upon Reverend Willy Chidowe to lead us in prayer which will be followed by a drum prayer.

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 1

Chaplain William Chidowe

Thank you so much for bringing all the Members here safely. Lord, we are so thankful for the blessings that you have given us. One of those blessings is to live in a country such as ours where we have the choice, Lord, to elect Members to represent us. We ask you now, Lord, to be with each Member as they lead and guide this government, Lord, that they might do it in a way which will bring pride to the people who have elected them. Help them, Lord, to deal with one another in a fair way. Lord, please be with our Government Leader and her Cabinet as they make decisions that are going to affect people in this territory of ours. Lord, we know there are so many people who are going to be affected by the decisions that will be made. Lord, may they be fair. Watch over and guide each Member, and for them we pray. Amen.

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 1

The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

Thank you. Please be seated. Mr. Clerk, would you ascertain if his honour, the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories is prepared to address the Assembly.

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 1

Commissioner Norris

Ladies and gentlemen, please be seated. Mr. Speaker, and Members of the Legislative Assembly, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the 3rd Session of the 12th Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. During the session your government will be presenting its capital estimates for 1993-94 and other legislation including Appropriation Act, No. 1, 1993-94; A Payroll Tax Act; An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act; Supplementary Appropriation Act, No. 4, 1991-92; and Supplementary Appropriation Act, No. 3, 1992-93.

Mr. Speaker, your government considers these bills essential to the good conduct of government business and I want to recommend passage of each one of them. Mr. Speaker, before officially opening this session, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere congratulations to the people of Nunavut who not only initialled the largest land claim in history, but successfully ratified the agreement only last week. All the people involved can be justifiably proud of a job well done.

---Applause

I would now like to commend you for your earnest consideration and wise judgement of business of this House as I declare open the 3rd Session of the 12th Assembly of the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 1

The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

Please be seated. Good afternoon. I would like to welcome all Members back to the Legislative Assembly this blustery, winter day. Item 2, Opening Address. I am sorry, that was Item 3, Ministers' Statements. Ms. Cournoyea.

Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Mr. Speaker, the reason we are here today is to begin a new session that has been scheduled to consider our 1993-94 capital estimates.

The estimates that will be placed before the House by the Minister of Finance were developed with the input of all communities in the Northwest Territories and Members of this Legislative Assembly.

They represent the new capital consultation process that the Legislative Assembly put in place earlier this year. By dealing with them at a dedicated fall session, we are providing northern businesses and contractors substantial lead time and certainty in which to conduct their planning for next year's construction season.

By taking this approach, projects can be planned well in advance so that the construction activity in any one year does not exceed what the local labour force can handle.

Mr. Speaker, new sessions in the past have been opened with a major statement or Throne Speech outlining government intentions in a number of important areas. I am departing from that tradition today because we have already spent considerable time during the past 12 months outlining our priorities and plans to change government in a way that makes more sense at both the territorial and community level.

It is time now to get down to business, but before doing that, I do want to acknowledge that a lot has happened since we were elected in this office a year ago.

The amount of change we have brought about during the first year of our term is substantial. The amount of effort and time we have put into the business of the House has been unprecedented.

Together, the government and the Legislature are making the kind of progress that is putting us in a much better position to respond to the special needs and priorities of northern residents including job creation, housing, social programs, education and training.

Faced with an extremely difficult financial climate and the need to cut back on expenditures we have also had our share of disagreement and some fairly pointed and controversial question periods. That is to be expected in any system of government, particularly in light of the tough choices that must be made and the genuine interest individual Members have in participating in the key decisions of government.

Mr. Speaker, during our first 12 months, the government and the Legislative Assembly have, among other things:

-Developed and begun implementation of a comprehensive plan that is making fundamental changes to the structure of government and the way it does business in the territory through a process of consolidation, decentralization, community transfers and privatization;

-Tackled an unprecedented financial deficit and targeted expenditures in a manner that will return the government to a balanced budget by the end of 1994;

-Developed new capital estimates and legislative processes that allow for greater public input; and

-Initiated substantial review processes into such key matters as the roles of boards and agencies and they way we deliver health and social service programs in the territory.

More recently, the Minister responsible for housing has prepared a new Home Ownership Program designed to assist residents in building and maintaining their homes.

In addition, the Minister of Personnel has finalized a long-term housing strategy that will make staff housing consistent with other government housing programs and encourage the development of private housing markets.

Members will be asked to consider both of these initiatives early in the current session.

Mr. Speaker, we have also had a few set-backs, particularly in the area of national constitutional reform. With the Charlottetown Agreement we were one step away from meeting the objectives of the Special Committee on Constitutional Reform, including the entrenchment of an inherent right to aboriginal self-government.

Canadians said "no" to the agreement. However, they have stated quite clearly since the vote that the results should not be viewed as a rejection of aboriginal concerns and northern aspirations.

In effect the territories have gained considerable public recognition and from now on it will be politically difficult to ignore our legitimate constitutional ambitions.

Whether many of those concerns, particularly aboriginal self-government at a national level, will be satisfied through constitutional or political accords is a matter of debate. Fortunately in the Northwest Territories the political climate is far different than it is in southern jurisdictions.

We can continue to make progress. For instance, the plebiscite last May produced an agreement on a boundary to divide the Northwest Territories; the signing of the Nunavut Political Accord and last week's overwhelming ratification of the Nunavut Land Claim are a clear signal that major progress is possible.

In addition, the Gwich'in are in the final stages of having their regional claim and self-government framework proclaimed in federal legislation, we hope before the end of the year. The Sahtu have made progress on their regional claim and it looks like the Dogrib, Deh Cho and Treaty Eight First Nations will soon be making decisions on their approach to negotiating regional claims and self-government agreements.

Finally, during this session Members are scheduled to discuss the next step in the development of a constitution for a new western territory.

These, Mr. Speaker, are not small matters. Government and Members of the Legislature have supported them, while at the same time ensuring fiscal integrity and initiating fundamental changes to government structures and operations.

In conclusion, I stated earlier this year that decisions to carry out significant changes during the term of government would have to be made during the first 18 months of our term in order to meet government budget cycles and administrative capability.

Mr. Speaker, the nature of our session this month and the changes we have accomplished since last November indicate that we are on target. Thank you.

---Applause

The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

Item 3, Ministers' Statements. Mr. Pollard.

Minister's Statement 002-12(3): Budget Address
Item 3: Ministers' Statements

Page 2

John Pollard Hay River

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I give notice that on Thursday, November 19, 1992, I will deliver the capital budget address. Thank you.

Minister's Statement 002-12(3): Budget Address
Item 3: Ministers' Statements

Page 2

The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

Item 3, Ministers' Statements. Item 4, Members' Statements. Mr. Ningark.

Nunavut Land Claim Ratification
Item 4: Members' Statements

Page 2

John Ningark Natilikmiot

(Translation) Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On November 3, 4 and 5 the Inuit of Nunavut voted on the ratification of their land claim. They were not only voting to accept the claim but were confirming yet again their desire to create a new territory above the tree line to be called Nunavut.

On behalf of the Nunavut Caucus I would like to state that we will work with the members of T.F.N. and their successor organization, Nunavut-Tungavik, with the Members of this Assembly and with the federal government towards an orderly and fair establishment of this new territory.

In the Nunavut Political Accord, which was signed in Iqaluit on October 30 by the T.F.N., the federal and territorial governments set out the process to be followed by the parties in splitting the Northwest Territories into its two new components. The Nunavut Caucus pledges to work towards an equitable distribution of the resources between the two territories. However, we will not be satisfied until sufficient resources are made available to the new Nunavut government in order for it to have a chance to survive and prosper. We believe that there is much to be done and to this end we encourage the early creation of the Nunavut Implementation Commission, whose task it will be to set the framework of the new eastern territory.

Nunavut Land Claim Ratification
Item 4: Members' Statements

Page 2

The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

Mr. Ningark your allotted time has lapsed. Would you please turn on your microphone Mr. Ningark so the request can be on record.

Nunavut Land Claim Ratification
Item 4: Members' Statements

Page 2

John Ningark Natilikmiot

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I and the rest of the Members of the Nunavut Caucus look forward with much anticipation...

Nunavut Land Claim Ratification
Item 4: Members' Statements

Page 3

The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

Sorry Mr. Ningark. I missed your actual request for unanimous consent because your microphone was not turned on. Could you please seek unanimous consent and then conclude your statement.

Nunavut Land Claim Ratification
Item 4: Members' Statements

Page 3

John Ningark Natilikmiot

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Nunavut Land Claim Ratification
Item 4: Members' Statements

Page 3

The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

The honourable Member is seeking unanimous consent. Are there any nays? There are no nays, please proceed Mr. Ningark.

Nunavut Land Claim Ratification
Item 4: Members' Statements

Page 3

John Ningark Natilikmiot

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you, my colleagues. I and the rest of the Nunavut Caucus look forward with much anticipation to the exciting days which lie ahead. As we work toward 1999 and the creation of Nunavut we realise that there will be much work for us all before the territory is established. As we strive towards this day we pledge to the western Members of this House that we will work cooperatively with you in order to demonstrate to the other region of the country that although we may split the territory in two, Mr. Speaker, we can still work together. We can put our individual agendas aside in order for the people of the Northwest Territories to benefit from new and better government in our homeland. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Nunavut Land Claim Ratification
Item 4: Members' Statements

Page 3

The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

Thank you, Mr. Ningark. Item 4, Members' Statements. Mr. Allooloo.

The Nunavut Land Claim Ratification
Item 4: Members' Statements

Page 3

Titus Allooloo Amittuq

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is with great pleasure and pride that I stand here today in this House to say congratulations to all Inuit of the Northwest Territories for the successful ratification of our land claim. I want to thank our Creator and everyone who has contributed to this accomplishment, including the T.F.N., the federal and territorial government negotiators, my fellow M.L.A.s and staff of all organizations of the governments involved and all of the Inuit who voted in favour of the agreement.

To those Inuit who did not vote or who voted against the agreement I want to say that now that the majority of our people have accepted this agreement we will all work very hard to ensure that your concerns are taken into consideration in the implementation process.

The Inuit have demonstrated with this ratification what can be achieved when native people work together. We encountered many stumbling blocks along the way but because of our unity we were able to overcome all of these difficulties to reach this point.

It was obvious from the results of the vote that people put aside their regional interests and voted for an agreement which brings us together as one people. Although a major step has been taken in the political development of Inuit, we are once again at the starting point. We have to work just as hard at the implementation stage. Many more Inuit will be involved in the process. I would like to say to our young people in Nunavut, you now have a brighter future to look forward to. You can look to creating your own form of government. You have many opportunities to play a vital role in determining your destiny. You now have a strong reason for completing your education, for becoming aware of the needs and desires of your people and for wanting to be involved in making government responsible to the people of Nunavut.

The Nunavut Land Claim Ratification
Item 4: Members' Statements

Page 3

The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

Mr. Allooloo, your allotted time has expired.

The Nunavut Land Claim Ratification
Item 4: Members' Statements

Page 3

Titus Allooloo Amittuq

I am seeking unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

The Nunavut Land Claim Ratification
Item 4: Members' Statements

Page 3

The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

The honourable Member is seeking unanimous consent. Are there any nays? There are no nays, proceed Mr. Allooloo.

The Nunavut Land Claim Ratification
Item 4: Members' Statements

Page 3

Titus Allooloo Amittuq

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To all the elders I would like to say that you can be proud of your young people for making your dream a reality. They will be looking to you for guidance in the development of new government and they will try very hard to incorporate the values that you have always tried to teach them, such as working together, sharing knowledge, being kind to one another and to look out for each other. You have taught us to welcome people from other places into our land and because of this we will be -- I just lost my line -- the government for all people in Nunavut. We will continue to benefit from the skills and knowledge of all those newcomers. You have taught us to be adaptable and to keep an open mind and for this I say thank you. We will try our best to maintain the traditions that you have taught us. We will try to pass on those values and traditions to our young people as you have taught us. Thank you.

The Nunavut Land Claim Ratification
Item 4: Members' Statements

Page 3

The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

Members' Statements. Mr. Zoe.

Nunavut Land Claim Ratification
Item 4: Members' Statements

Page 3

Henry Zoe

Henry Zoe North Slave

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate, on behalf of myself and the people who I represent in the North Slave region, the Tungavik Federation of Nunavut and all of the Inuit people of the Northwest Territories on the successful ratification of their land claim agreement with Canada. Mr. Speaker, for the Inuit people of the Northwest Territories this must surely be an historic and exciting time. I am fully confident that they will implement and administer their land claims in a manner that will guarantee the future of their people for generations to come. Mr. Speaker, as you are aware, the Dogrib Treaty II Council has a mandate to negotiate with the federal government on the land claim for the North Slave region. It is our hope that through tough negotiations and hard work, such as my Inuit colleagues have just accomplished, we will also be able to reach a land claim agreement with the Government of Canada that will guarantee the future of the Dogrib people. Mahsi.