This is page numbers 365 - 396 of the Hansard for the 12th Assembly, 6th 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

Mr. Allooloo, Mr. Antoine, Hon. Silas Arngna'naaq, Mr. Arvaluk, Mr. Ballantyne, Hon. Nellie Cournoyea, Mr. Dent, Mr. Gargan, Hon. Stephen Kakfwi, Mr. Koe, Mr. Lewis, Hon. Jeannie Marie-Jewell, Hon. Rebecca Mike, Hon. Don Morin, Hon. Richard Nerysoo, Mr. Ng, Mr. Ningark, Mr. Patterson, Hon. John Pollard, Mr. Pudlat, Mr. Pudluk, Hon. John Todd, Mr. Whitford, Mr. Zoe

---Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 365

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Good afternoon. Welcome back, Mr. Lewis. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Yellowknife Frame Lake, Mr. Dent.

Zero Tolerance Towards Violence
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, this Legislative Assembly took a very big and a very important step when it adopted a policy of zero tolerance towards violence. People of the Northwest Territories are now looking to us to provide such leadership. They want more than words or policies. They want to see concrete action.

Family violence is a very real problem in the Northwest Territories, one we must deal with as a priority in any strategy towards zero tolerance towards violence. Key in dealing with this problem are the workers in the 12 family violence prevention projects across the Northwest Territories. About 94 full and part-time staff are employed in these projects and in 1993 they offered shelter and support services to 2,541 people.

Madam Speaker, given the importance of the work of family violence workers and the stress of the job, it would reasonable to assume that these workers would be very well paid. Sadly, this is not the case. Many of these dedicated individuals are earning as little as half of what comparable staff in government positions earn. On top of that, few have any housing or settlement allowances.

Madam Speaker, I understand that there has been no increase in funding for agencies such as the women's shelter in Yellowknife, the Alison McAteer House, since the program started in 1986-87. This means that, in order to allow for inflationary staff increments, just to keep salaries comparable to the insufficient level they've started at, cuts have had to be made to programs.

In other centres across the territories, shelters are having trouble meeting their rent obligations or purchasing groceries. If stopping violence in our communities is truly a priority, we must ensure front-line workers are compensated in a way which is consistent with their skills and the important service they bring to communities. We need continuity and workers who are committed to working against violence, rather than being tempted to move on to better paying government jobs.

Madam Speaker, I urge the government and the Minister of Health and Social Services to find a way to address this salary and benefits concern as part of the government's response to the family violence problem. In March, representatives from every family violence prevention project will be meeting in Yellowknife. I hope before then, Madam Speaker, the concern about wages for these workers will be dealt with...

Zero Tolerance Towards Violence
Item 3: Members' Statements

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An Hon. Member

Hear, hear.

Zero Tolerance Towards Violence
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

So these workers will be able to focus their energies on strategies for dealing with family violence...

Zero Tolerance Towards Violence
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Sorry, your time is up.

Zero Tolerance Towards Violence
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Madam Speaker, I request unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Zero Tolerance Towards Violence
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. The honourable Member is seeking unanimous consent to continue. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Please proceed, Mr. Dent.

Zero Tolerance Towards Violence
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Thank you, honourable Members. As I was saying, Madam Speaker, I hope that before the meetings in March the concern about wages for these workers will be dealt with so that they will be able to focus their energies on strategies for dealing with family violence, rather than how to retain staff at low wages. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Zero Tolerance Towards Violence
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Inuvik, Mr. Koe.

Cdsc's First Constitutional Conference
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 365

Fred Koe Inuvik

Mahsi, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I rise today in my capacity as chairman of the Constitutional Development Steering Committee to provide an update to this House on constitutional development for the new western territory. The acronym for the Constitutional Development Steering Committee is CDSC. I will be using that quite a bit.

CDSC members have agreed to postpone the first constitutional conference by two months, holding the conference in Yellowknife on January 19 to 22, 1995, instead of in late November. That will allow for better preparation for community information meetings and briefing of participants who will attend the conference. As many of you will have heard, the CDSC is honoured that the Right Honourable Joe Clark has agreed to chair the conference. Northern leaders who saw Mr. Clark in action during the Charlottetown accord talks, came to respect his ability to quickly grasp and fairly represent the divergent views, both aboriginal and non-aboriginal around the table.

He will bring great skill to the process of developing a consensus on a new form of government for a new western territory. The CDSC is now well on its way with planning and preparation for the conference. Approximately 150 leaders and public participants will discuss the themes and issues that have emerged from the public consultation to date and from further research.

They will compare viewpoints and see where there is common ground, where there are differences and where there is more work to be done. Their major task will be to make recommendations on principles and options for a new constitution and structure of government, and on how the remaining stages of the constitutional process should be completed.

I expect to announce the formula for selecting conference participants by the end of this month. A significant portion must be from the general public, so there is public ownership and involvement in the process. Madam Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to complete my statement.

Cdsc's First Constitutional Conference
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. The honourable Member is seeking unanimous consent. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Please proceed, Mr. Koe.

Cdsc's First Constitutional Conference
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Fred Koe Inuvik

Mahsi, Madam Speaker. There must also be balanced representation of men and women, aboriginal and non-aboriginal people and involvement of youth and elders. In the next few weeks, the CDSC will conduct a round of public information meetings in 34 communities. At these meetings, CDSC members will provide information about the constitutional development process, the purpose of the first constitutional conference and the themes and issues that will be discussed.

We want people to understand the incredible opportunity we have to create a new system of government, which truly reflects the needs and aspirations of all our people. I encourage the western Members of this House to help provide a territory-wide perspective by attending as many of the public information meetings as possible, not just in your own constituencies, but in other regions as well. Mahsi cho. Qujannamiik.

---Applause

Cdsc's First Constitutional Conference
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Aivilik, Mr. Arvaluk.