This is page numbers 193 - 215 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 chairman.

Topics

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, Mr. Dennis Patterson, Hon. John Pollard, Mr. Pudlat, Mr. Pudluk, Hon. Tony Whitford, Mr. Zoe

---Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

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The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

Good afternoon. Item 2, Ministers' Statements.

Stephen Kakfwi

Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Mr. Speaker, last week I tabled the community transfer initiative implementation plan, which represents the government's commitment to recognize and encourage community self-government.

The initiative will transfer government programs and responsibility for decision-making closer to the people, so that program design and delivery will more clearly reflect local needs and traditions. Community governments must be able to decide for themselves what is important and what needs to be done to solve local problems.

In February the government tabled the report entitled "Reshaping Northern Government", which stated that a process needs to be developed for communities to determine if they are ready and able to take on the responsibilities they want. Mr. Speaker, the community transfer initiative implementation plan includes a description of the process which will be used to achieve the goal of transfers to those communities which indicate a desire to take on greater levels of responsibility. The process represents a broad and flexible approach which will allow communities to proceed at the pace, and on the level best suited to their individual and unique needs. I must say again that this is a voluntary process and the initiative to become involved must come from the communities themselves. So far, over twenty communities from across the territories have expressed an interest in beginning transfer talks. Officials have conducted workshops in a number of communities and for the Keewatin Regional Council, and officials are available to conduct further workshops on request.

The process described in the community transfer initiative implementation plan makes frequent reference to the involvement of M.L.A.s. We welcome involvement from all M.L.A.s and I can assure you that I will keep you informed of requests and transfer talks being considered or conducted in your constituencies. I want to be certain that you are aware of and support the decisions being made. I may need the help of the Members to decide which communities in their constituencies should go first if there are more requests than we can handle at any one time.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I can assure the Members that the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs, through both its headquarters and regional staff, will be closely involved in all transfers to communities. The implementation plan calls for the setting up of a steering committee to oversee the headquarters and technical aspects of transfers. M.A.C.A. will be a permanent member of that steering committee. Regional committees, chaired by regional directors and including M.A.C.A. representatives, will also be established. The communities and the government recognize M.A.C.A.'s expertise as essential during the self-assessment phase of the transfer process. The role of Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs is one of coordination and, if necessary, that of a referee. Departmental Ministers will retain their accountability and responsibility throughout the process.

Mr. Speaker, the community transfer initiative is a cooperative partnership process which involves communities and government on an equal basis. I look forward to getting on with transfer talks with interested communities. Thank you.

The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

Ministers' Statements. Mr. Kakfwi.

Stephen Kakfwi

Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Mr. Speaker, I tabled a master development plan, prepared by an independent consultant group for the Department of Justice, which reviews the present correctional system in the Northwest Territories, and makes recommendations regarding its direction to the year 2006.

The master development plan takes into account and considers in its recommendations the current and projected population of the Northwest Territories, rates of crime, types of crime and offender issues specific to our jurisdiction. It looks at rates and types of sentencing as provided by the courts, socio-economic trend data as well as the projected useful life of all of our existing correctional facilities.

The conclusions of the master development plan recommend a broad range of needs and requirements for the correctional system here in the Northwest Territories. Briefly, these recommendations include increases to the fiscal resources, a shifting from high cost custodial services to more effective community corrections, vastly improved information management and staff training services, improved institutional and community programming and the repatriation from southern Canada of all federally sentenced territorial citizens back to correctional centres nearer their home communities.

The common theme of the solutions proposed in the master development plan is the necessity to expand community correctional facilities and open custody release facilities. It is suggested that this overall approach occur as quickly as practicable in order to avoid the much greater costs of institution-based expansions in the future for both adult and young offender populations. Obviously, this extensive report and recommendations, prepared after a broad-based 18 month review process, will require careful analysis by the department, in the context of the overall justice plan which this Assembly recommended to be completed for next October.

That analysis has begun, Mr. Speaker, and I will welcome comments from the Members of this House and from the communities and the public as we proceed. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

Ministers' Statements. Item 3, Members' Statements.

Appreciation Of Mr. Dennis Patterson, M.l.a.
Item 3: Members' Statements

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John Ningark Natilikmiot

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As the Chairman of the Nunavut caucus, I would like to extend to Mr. Patterson our appreciation for the hard work he has performed as a Cabinet Minister for over 10 years.

---Applause

He has helped the government carry out many significant initiatives during the time he spent on the Cabinet and has aided the Nunavut caucus with his wise advice.

With reference to the replacement of Mr. Patterson on Cabinet, the Nunavut Caucus will be prepared to participate in the selection of a new Cabinet Minister later this week. Mr. Speaker, a number of Members have indicated their interest in standing for a Cabinet position. The preference of the caucus is to discuss this matter later this week after allowing Members time to confirm their interest. Thank you.

Appreciation Of Mr. Dennis Patterson, M.l.a.
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

Members' Statement. Mr. Patterson.

Thanking Mr. Ningark For His Appreciation
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Dennis Patterson Iqaluit

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to thank my honourable colleague for his kind words. Mr. Speaker, I noticed the view from this side is quite different. I feel a little bit more secure over here.

---Applause

---Laughter

Of course, Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to be sitting alongside my elder and the dean of this Legislature, Mr. Pudluk, who I know will help me through the adjustments I will have to make, after 11 years as a Minister on the other side of this Legislature. I have been made to feel very welcome at my first meeting of the Ordinary Members' Caucus this morning, which I found very interesting.

Mr. Speaker, I know that I will get assistance from our capable staff in making this adjustment. In closing, Mr. Speaker, I just want to share a thought I had today as I sat down in this new seat with a new view. Today, for the first time in over a year, I will be relaxed and enjoying myself during question period. I promise not to ask any questions. Qujannamiik.

---Laughter

Thanking Mr. Ningark For His Appreciation
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

Members' Statements. Mr. Pudluk.

Tribute To Mr. Timotee Idlout
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Ludy Pudluk High Arctic

(Translation) Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My statement will be brief. I stand today to send my condolences concerning an elder in his 80s, Timotee Idlout. This man is well known by many people in my constituency. He is a wise man and he did not believe in living in a large community. During the days when people were living in outpost camps and they were sending them to the larger communities, he did not change his mind and he stayed at the outpost camp. He stayed at the camp until the end. His family also stayed with him in his camp. He had no desire to move into the larger community. Although his mind was always at the camp, due to medical problems he had to move to a larger community where medical facilities are available. He is a well-known man and has helped many people by hunting and feeding the larger communities. This man will be greatly missed and will be remembered for a long time in our future. We send our condolences and sympathies to the family and friends. He has lived to an old age and God will bless the family.

Tribute To Mr. Timotee Idlout
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

Member's statements. Mr. Pudlat.

Support For Mr. Dennis Patterson, M.l.a.
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Kenoayoak Pudlat Baffin South

(Translation) Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I stand today to say a very short statement. We would like to welcome Mr. Patterson. He has not sat on this side with the ordinary M.L.A.s for many years, but we will be supportive, and work together. It is a good feeling to have him sitting on our side. I will want his support and I will request this from him. I do not want to prolong this, but I would like to welcome him and work with him. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Support For Mr. Dennis Patterson, M.l.a.
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

Member's statements. Mr. Koe.

Inuvik Municipal Election
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Fred Koe Inuvik

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, Inuvik's municipal elections were held in October. The voters elected a new mayor and almost a totally new council; only one incumbent councillor was re-elected. This election is similar to national trends and to other recent elections and votes which were held, which I think gave politicians a clear message to either change the way in which they behave and the way in which they deal with issues, or be replaced. The public is not happy with the status quo.

The new town council has begun its work with vigour and has developed an open door policy of working with the community, the government and the aboriginal organizations. The new council also recognizes that Inuvik is the regional centre and must cater to and be responsive to the needs of the surrounding communities.

I would like to congratulate all the elected Members of the Inuvik Town Council, especially the mayor elect, Mr. Paul Komaromi. I would also like to congratulate the newly elected Members of the community education council and the new chairperson, Mr. Lloyd Binder. With strong leadership and by working together, Inuvik can become a model community, representative of its multicultural base. The Inuvik Town Council will be aggressive in proposing to this government initiatives for decentralization and for more control over local decision-making. I, for one, will be supporting and assisting the council in seeking, through special initiatives and projects, greater autonomy for Inuvik and region. Mahsi.

Inuvik Municipal Election
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

Members' statements. Mr. Arngna'naaq.

Nauhaaq Food Bank In Baker Lake
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Silas Arngna'naaq Kivallivik

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wanted to discuss a presentation which was made to the Royal Commission on aboriginal people in Rankin Inlet by a person from Baker Lake, regarding the Nauhaaq Food Bank. I think the presentation made by this lady was very good. She starts off talking about the kinds of problems that ordinary people would have in the community of Baker Lake. I will quote some words that she used, because I think that the presentation was made very well.

I quote, "there are very few wage jobs in Baker Lake and the unemployment is around 80 per cent. It is really hard on people. Most of the men are hunters hunting caribou to feed their families, and it is our tradition to share what we have with people who do not have enough for themselves and their children. There are people in Baker Lake who make good salaries, and there are a few people, kabloona business men, who are getting rich. Many, many people can barely afford to feed their families from one week to the next."

She then goes on to describe the "walk of love" which I made a statement, on February 14, 1992, where she walked from the community of Baker Lake to the hill across the lake.

Further into her presentation, she went on to say, "We have gone on the radio asking for donations of country food and people have given us caribou to distribute. We have to give some people caribou because many people cannot afford to hunt for themselves. It costs money to operate the ski-doo, to buy gas and bullets. People get in a trap when they are on welfare. They are not allowed to spend welfare money on their ski-doo, and so, they cannot afford to hunt for themselves. They have no choice but to stay on welfare and even though they have nothing much to do, it is difficult for them to hunt for meat for their family".

She then goes on to give the reason why they now have the Nauhaaq Food Bank; there are a number of reasons why people need this kind of emergency food. People on welfare simply do not have enough money to make it through the entire month, especially if they have a large families and luxuries like a telephone to pay for, and if you have tried your hardest to make...

Nauhaaq Food Bank In Baker Lake
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

Mr. Arngna'naaq, your allotted time has lapsed. Mr. Arngna'naaq.

Nauhaaq Food Bank In Baker Lake
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Silas Arngna'naaq Kivallivik

Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to continue with my statement.

Nauhaaq Food Bank In Baker Lake
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

The honourable Member is seeking unanimous consent. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Please proceed, Mr. Arngna'naaq.

Nauhaaq Food Bank In Baker Lake
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Silas Arngna'naaq Kivallivik

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, honourable colleagues. If you have tried your hardest to make your money last, but still you run out four days before the next welfare day, you are in trouble, because they will not give you any more money, period. I guess those are the rules.

She has further descriptions of the different kinds of income that are received, such as pensions and G.S.T. returns. They are written out for people who have low income. She goes on to say, "It is also hard for families like mine which depend on pension cheques. The pension cheques are very small because most people who are old today have worked outside the wage economy most of their lives, and the amount of pension they receive depends on the amount they paid into the pension plan through their work.

For all of these reasons, we give emergency food to 30 people every week. We have had to limit our hours because we cannot afford to help everyone we want to. We do not receive any support from any level of government, and I am not aware that any government representative has ever visited our food bank. We have budgeted $350 per month for purchasing dry goods, but already our account is down to $2,353.97. If we do not do a lot of fund raising, we will soon be out of money." She describes how they raise funds, and then she goes on to talk about the people who are in senior positions, people who are her representatives, such as me. "If I knew how to speak English, I would tell important people about the problems that people in Baker Lake and other communities are having. I would invite the Minister of Social Services to let us take him through the people's homes in Baker Lake. If Social Services is not aware of the problems people are having and of the kind of help they and their families need to survive, then we could show them."

I experienced hunger myself many years ago, before we moved into the community. Game was scarce, and there was no welfare to help people out. Many people were very hungry then, but it is really frustrating today to see people trapped in the community who are willing, but not able, to hunt and unable to make it to the end of the month on what they get from welfare. I have been told that you would like to hear recommendations about how aboriginal people's lives could be improved. I guess I could suggest that governments should support food banks like ours. That would not really solve anything. Instead, I want to tell governments to raise welfare and pension levels so that people in Baker Lake and other communities can at least feed their families without having to go to a food bank. I think it is a disgrace that there have to be food banks in such a rich country as Canada. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Nauhaaq Food Bank In Baker Lake
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

Item 3, Members' Statements. Mr. Nerysoo.

Bella Alexie Turning 100 Years Old
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wanted to draw the attention of my colleagues here to a celebration that took place in Fort McPherson on Friday, which I did not have the opportunity to attend because of some other factors here in this Assembly. Mr. Speaker, we have another elder who has reached the century mark. Bella Alexie turned 100 years old on Friday.

---Applause

I do not really know what it is, Mr. Speaker, that we feed our people in Fort McPherson, but it seems that they eat properly because they live a long life. We are one of the very few communities that seems to continually celebrate individuals and elders who turn 100. For that we are fortunate, but I do want to say that this elder is also the sister of a recently deceased lady by the name of Charlotte Vehus who was 96 years old. I wanted to draw your attention to the celebration that took place. I want to thank Robert Alexie Sr., who is the sub-chief, and the son of Bella Alexie, who invited me to the celebrations, but again, I was unable to attend. I just want to say congratulations to Bella Alexie. I know that her family, Ann Walter, Robert, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren and probably her great-great-grandchildren all would want me to say how proud we are of the elder, Bella Alexie. I would like to thank the chief in council, the mayor, and the hamlet council and all those who participated in preparing for the festivities that took place. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Bella Alexie Turning 100 Years Old
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Michael Ballantyne

Item 3, Members' Statements. Item 4, Returns to Oral Questions. Mr. Allooloo.