Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to comment on the government's position which believes compromise as public accountability and our commitment to open government.
On February 25, 1992, my honourable colleague from Kitikmeot asked some important written questions from the Minister of Justice. He requested a list showing the participants and dates of all training initiatives undertaken by Judges of the Territorial Court. The response received from the Hon. Dennis Patterson was not satisfactory. The former Minister stated that, "training is something with which the judiciary administers by itself."
On September 30, 1992, I rose this issue myself with the current Minister of Justice, the Hon. Stephen Kakfwi. At that time, the Minister stated that all we do is provide monies for them to run a justice system. I think we provide an amount of money for them to take training and those things they deem, for themselves, necessary to carry out their judicial duties.
Mr. Speaker, I fully understand the principle that the judiciary must be independent from the Legislative Assembly, at least in terms of its ability to make judgements on matters of law.
What we are talking about here, Mr. Speaker, is not the same thing. We are talking about an expenditure of public money and I believe that the public has a right to know how all its money is being used by government and that includes knowing where, and what amounts, the Department of Justice has spent on training activities for each of the judges.
I can neither understand, nor agree with the prevailing position in the Department of Justice that expenditures in this area must be kept secret from the Legislative Assembly and the public.
I want to state clearly that I have no evidence, at the present time, that these training funds are being abused by the judges but I think it is an important principle that information about expenditure made in this area should be available for review in order to assure accountability.
I want to give you notice today that, unless this House is provided with a list showing how previous year's training dollars have been spent, I will oppose further appropriation for judges to attain...