Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today, to say that I am disappointed, and appalled, with the way that the Department of Justice has mishandled a project known as Family Law Review.
This initiative was established way back in 1988, four years ago, and was supposed to result in a major reform of the territorial legislation in the field of family law. We were promised that this would result in family law, which reflects aboriginal traditions and values. We have been repeatedly promised that it would bring seriously outdated legislation up to current standards. This promise has not been kept.
Over and over, three successive Ministers of Justice have told us that we will soon be seeing the report, but still the project is not completed. Never in the history of the government, of the Northwest Territories, has a department initiative been so badly bungled.
The contract and procedures, and overall costs of the project, have been treated secretively, ever since it began. Apparently high priced consultants have left the Northwest Territories without meeting contract conditions. The so-called working group of community representatives, seems to have changed membership every six to nine months.
In short, the official management of this critical initiative is nothing short of a major embarrassment for the territorial Department of Justice, and the Government of the Northwest Territories.
Sadly, aboriginal families have waited for years, and years, to see traditional principles surrounding custom adoption established, and legislation has been treated as a back burner priority.
Further, women and men of all cultural backgrounds have been forced to resort to costly and protracted court actions, because of the absence of the enforceable marital property laws.
Perhaps, most shameful of all is this state of current Child Welfare Act legislation, which I believe could be the most ineffective in Canada.
Mr. Speaker, the government should just forget about the failed initiative now, and find an alternative strategy for fast tracking the development of legislation, before even one more dollar is spent on the consultants, officials, and committees that have delayed the process so long.
I trust that our new Minister...