This is page numbers 397 - 428 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 community.

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. 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 397

The Deputy Speaker Brian Lewis

Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Mr. Nerysoo.

Minister's Statement 28-12(6): Developments In Income Support Reform In The Nwt
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 397

Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On October 6th, I informed this Assembly about the release of the federal discussion paper, Improving Social Security in Canada, and I referred Members to our own discussion paper, Creating Choices: Solving the Income Support Puzzle, which was released for public comment last July. I will be tabling our discussion paper later today.

As you know, income support reform is a complex issue which is being considered across Canada. To make sure that this reform proceeds in a way which respects the priorities and needs of northerners, we have developed four principles to guide us. In our paper, Creating Choices, we said that income support reform must:

1. link jobs and training, and encourage people to make responsible choices;

2. respect northern culture, community direction and the integrity of families;

3. make the best use of available money and federal cost-sharing opportunities; and,

4. be fair and easily accessible by people in the communities.

Since the release of our paper last July, we have been researching social security programs in Canada, and have been consulting with our partners in Health and Social Services, Executive, Renewable Resources, Finance and the NWT Housing Corporation.

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources Development is undertaking cross-Canada consultations on social security reform, and is planning a number of town hall meetings. The Secretary of State for training and youth, the Honourable Ethel Blondin-Andrew is already travelling in the north and social security reform is on her agenda. Ms. Blondin-Andrew will be consulting northerners specifically on social assistance issues as related to the aboriginal community.

Madam Speaker, these consultations need to be coordinated with this government's discussions on income support reform. I have written to the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy and stated that consultation on this critical reform initiative must be undertaken as a joint process, and that this government needs to be fully involved in any consultations in this area.

Consultations that are taking place with the Honourable Ethel Blondin-Andrew need to be aligned with this government's consultations. I have advised Mr. Axworthy that northerners are eager to express their views on income security reform and that these views must be heard. I further advised him that I would be planning to attend these town hall meetings and that some of my honourable colleagues in the Legislative Assembly would likely be interested in attending as well. I propose that the parliamentary standing committee meetings scheduled for Yellowknife and Iqaluit later this fall be held jointly with this government.

Madam Speaker, a consultation process that targets large southern constituencies and discusses largely southern issues will not suffice in the north. Consultation in the north will need to be a joint territorial/federal effort to ensure that northern social security reform has a made-in-the-north stamp on it. Therefore, I am proposing to this House that our government undertake the following consultation process with respect to income support reform.

I am proposing that a six-member Ministers' forum on income support reform be established in early November to provide advice to this government on reform and involve northerners in developing a northern agenda for change. This forum would include representatives from business, labour and individuals involved in social reform.

The forum would lead focus groups to be organized in the five regional centres to provide face to face information to people, involve community people in discussions and get first-hand public opinion and advice on the issues. The forum would conclude by providing its findings and recommendations for this Assembly at its February sitting. I further propose that a debate on social security reform be held early in the February sitting of the Assembly.

Madam Speaker, this highlights our proposed consultation strategy and the developments of income support reform. Mr. Speaker, we must continue to make every effort to ensure that this reform effort has a northern face. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 28-12(6): Developments In Income Support Reform In The Nwt
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 398

The Deputy Speaker Brian Lewis

Thank you, Mr. Nerysoo. I am not Madam, Mr. Nerysoo.

---Laughter

Item 2, Ministers' statements. Ms. Mike.

Minister's Statement 29-12(6): Department Initiative In Preparation For Devolution Of Land Administration
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 398

Rebecca Mike Baffin Central

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to advise this House of a cornerstone program of my department's strategy to develop the capabilities of community governments to take on greater responsibilities with respect to the management of public lands within their boundaries.

The Department of Municipal and Community Affairs and Arctic College Nunatta Campus have agreed to start a one-year certificate program in community land administration. This program is a fundamental element in assisting community governments to be ready to accept the devolution of land administration from the Government of the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, the program will start in January 1995 and be offered through the Nunatta Campus in Iqaluit. Future courses will be offered at other Arctic College campuses as the demand warrants.

In the program at Nunatta Campus, three six-week semesters will be offered. After each semester the student will return to his or her home community for a six-week practicum. Students sponsored by community governments will serve their practicums in the municipal office. This is the training approach most mayors favoured when my department discussed the options with them. I believe this combination of classroom and work experience will provide the best learning opportunity for the students and achieve the highest success rate of students who enrol and graduate.

The program will include courses in land administration, community planning, surveying, contracts and property law, communications and computers. The program has been initiated by my department with funding set aside as part of the implementation of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act. Although initially this program will assist community governments, the program could eventually form the basis of an Arctic College program to assist other land management agencies requiring trained northern staff.

I encourage all community governments to take advantage of this opportunity and to prepare for the devolution of land administration responsibilities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 29-12(6): Department Initiative In Preparation For Devolution Of Land Administration
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 398

The Deputy Speaker Brian Lewis

Qujannamiik, Ms. Mike. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Madam Premier.

Minister's Statement 29-12(6): Department Initiative In Preparation For Devolution Of Land Administration
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to advise the House of a cornerstone program of the department's strategy to develop the capabilities of community governments...Sorry, I have the wrong one here.

---Laughter

Minister's Statement 29-12(6): Department Initiative In Preparation For Devolution Of Land Administration
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 398

An Hon. Member

(Microphone turned off)

Minister's Statement 30-12(6): Consolidation Action Plan
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Sorry, Mr. Speaker. Later today, I will be tabling an action plan for the consolidation of the departments of Health and Social Services. The plan includes a functional organization chart for the newly approved headquarters structure, which will be fully implemented by January 31, 1995. The integration of the headquarters operation has resulted in a significant downsizing of the management team from 18 to a total of 10 managers in Yellowknife.

The consolidation at the regional and community levels will occur in two phases following the headquarters reorganization. Much work has already been done with boards and senior staff of Social Services to explore the opportunities for integration of both program and staff resources. Health boards appear to be receptive to the variety of options that have already been discussed and it should be possible to move fairly quickly with the changes that are identified through continuing consultation.

It is clear that solutions cannot be the same in all parts of the territories. For example, some innovative approaches will be necessary in the South Mackenzie. The Health and Social Services operations do not cover the same geographical areas, as is the case in the other regions. However, this consolidation gives us the opportunity to rationalize resources in this area and to move staff closer to the people they serve. This is particularly true of Mackenzie health services, which currently operate out of Yellowknife, but whose clients are primarily in the Deh Cho and Dogrib areas.

There are some good opportunities to bring jobs to smaller communities through decentralization and I will be providing regular reports to this House to keep Members up to date on the progress of consolidation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 30-12(6): Consolidation Action Plan
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Deputy Speaker Brian Lewis

Thank you, Madam Premier. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Patterson.

Health Care System In The Nwt
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 398

Dennis Patterson Iqaluit

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Laughter

Mr. Speaker, continuing on a positive note, I would like to talk about an event that befell me last summer, following the Baffin regional consultations on the new social housing rent scale in Pond Inlet. I took a trip to Iqaluit, a beautiful area about 50 miles from Pond Inlet -- that is the other Iqaluit, Mr. Speaker. We travelled on the sea ice by snowmobile and when I got there, I was welcomed by Mr. Allooloo and his constituents.

On the way back, Mr. Speaker, I had a mishap. While manoeuvring past some deep cracks in the sea ice, I failed to notice that the heavy komatik I was pulling had gotten stuck on a piece of ice. The komatik stopped, but my snowmobile kept going. The rope stretched and my snowmobile stopped suddenly. I was thrown forward and ended up with a rather deep gash on my face when I hit the snowmobile. Dumb qallunaaq.

---Laughter

By the time we got into Pond Inlet, it was 7:00 that night. I called the health centre and explained the situation. I was told to come up right away. I was given immediate and careful attention from Theresa, the nurse on call, who very carefully cleaned the wound and then called on a visiting physician, Dr. Rob Driscoll, to assist with stitching me up.

Even though I had been out on the sea ice for seven or eight hours before I got treatment, the wound healed well and I have been left with a barely noticeable scar.

I was very grateful for the prompt attention I was given, even though I know my call interrupted supper after a long day of clinic for the health centre staff. Mr. Speaker, I wanted to relate this story, not because it was outstanding or exceptional, but simply because this is the kind of cheerful, prompt and quality treatment our people are accustomed to receiving from our dedicated health care professionals in our communities.

---Applause

Although there are always problems and things to be critical about in our health system and improvements that can be found, I want to thank the health centre staff in Pond Inlet for looking after me so well when I needed treatment. I want to state my belief that considering we live in a very remote part of the circumpolar world, we should still be grateful that we have a health care system that is second to none. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Health Care System In The Nwt
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 399

The Deputy Speaker Brian Lewis

Thank you. Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Gargan.

Contractors Under Bip
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 399

Samuel Gargan Deh Cho

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in this House today to offer my thanks and support for the commitment the Minister of Public Works and Services made yesterday to monitor contractors in compliance with the provisions of the business incentive policy.

I think the Members will agree that we have seen too many of these parachute contractors who promise the world when bidding on the contract, but when the work starts, the vast majority of employees are from the south.

Ensuring compliance with the contract and possibly even revoking the contract is a positive step and will make these parachute contractors take notice. I would also like to thank the Department of Transportation for negotiating the right-of-way brush clearing contract with the local of Fort Providence aboriginally-owned contractors both this year and over the last

several years. This is an important contract to my constituents and I appreciate it.

However, Mr. Speaker, I do have some concerns about highway contractors working in the Fort Providence area that I would like to address. Last summer, a contractor who was doing work over 50 kilometres from Fort Providence did hire a lot of members from my community to start the project to work on the highway. However, Mr. Speaker, as I drove back and forth to Yellowknife on business over the summer, I was dismayed to see less and less of my people employed on the construction. There are probably lots of reasons this happened, Mr. Speaker, or, Madam Speaker...

---Laughter

Contractors Under Bip
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 399

Michael Ballantyne Yellowknife North

They just change like that.