This is page numbers 549 - 580 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 housing.

Topics

Members Present

Mr. Antoine, Hon. Silas Arngna'naaq, 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, Hon. John Pollard, Mr. Pudlat, Mr. Pudluk, Mr. Whitford, Mr. Zoe

---Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 549

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Good afternoon. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Member for Sahtu, Mr. Kakfwi.

Minister's Statement 42-12(6): Appointment Of Ms. Mary Simon As Canada's First Circumpolar Ambassador
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 549

Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to congratulate Ms. Mary Simon on the occasion of her appointment as Canada's first circumpolar ambassador. The announcement was made jointly by the federal Foreign Affairs Minister, Andre Ouellette, and the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Ron Irwin, late last week. Dr. Simon, who is the first Inuit to hold an ambassadorial position in Canada, will assume this position on October 31, 1994, on Monday.

Ms. Simon is known for her dedication, her impressive list of accomplishments and for creating awareness about and generating action about northern issues, particularly as they relate to the concerns of northern aboriginal peoples. Ms. Simon was born in northern Quebec and worked for CBC Northern Service until 1973, including responsibilities as a producer and announcer for Inuktitut radio and television.

She has held a number of positions with the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada and has been a member of the board since 1991. In 1979, Dr. Simon served as first vice-president of the Makavik Corporation and was elected president in 1982. From 1980 to 1983 she was an executive council member of the Inuit circumpolar conference and served as its president from 1986 to 1992. Since then, she has been the special envoy to the Inuit circumpolar conference, dealing with many important issues such as fur harvesting.

In 1992, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from McGill University and was appointed a year later as co-director of policy and commission secretary for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. In 1994, she was appointed as a member of the Nunavut implementation commission.

Mary Simon has been honoured for her work through appointments to the Order of Canada, the National Order of Quebec and the Gold Order of Greenland. Circumpolar ambassador, Dr. Simon will report to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. As well as representing Canada at international meetings on circumpolar issues, she will coordinate federal efforts on circumpolar issues, including the implementation of a Canadian proposal to create an Arctic council, a fulfilment of Canada's policy with respect to Antarctica and Canada's participation in the eight-nation Arctic environmental protection strategy. The next ministerial conference on the Arctic environmental protection strategy is scheduled for the spring of 1996, and it is to be hosted by Canada in Iqaluit.

Madam Speaker, I've had the pleasure of working with Mary Simon in the past on a number of issues of importance to the north. Her keen interest in addressing and motivating action in critical areas such as the environment and political development has provided a strong voice for northern people. Her appointment as Canada's first circumpolar ambassador will continue to provide an effective role in international recognition for northerners in areas within her mandate. I'm particularly pleased that the federal government has not only acknowledged the significant contribution of Mary Simon to the advancement of circumpolar and aboriginal issues, but Ottawa has also recognized that a northern aboriginal person can most effectively represent Canada's as its first circumpolar ambassador.

The Premier and I both have written to Ms. Simon on behalf of the Government of the Northwest Territories to congratulate her on her appointment. Dr. Simon has been invited to meet with the Government of the Northwest Territories and Members of this Assembly at her earliest convenience to review northern matters related to her mandate and to determine how we can provide assistance and support for her important work. Thank you.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 42-12(6): Appointment Of Ms. Mary Simon As Canada's First Circumpolar Ambassador
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 549

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Yellowknife Frame Lake, Mr. Dent.

Transfer Of Sir John Franklin High School
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 549

Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, on June 30th of this year, the government dissolved the board of secondary education here in Yellowknife. This opened the way for the long-awaited transfer of responsibility for Sir John Franklin High School to the Yellowknife Education District No. 1. Naturally, district No. 1 considers the management of Sir John to be a great responsibility. Not only is the district taking

over responsibility for an important part of our public education system, it is also taking over a large, aging school building.

Madam Speaker, the district is understandably concerned about this responsibility. They are understandably anxious to avoid adding to the property tax burden of Yellowknife ratepayers, who already pay more than their fair share of education taxes.

The district has tried to address these concerns by drafting a memorandum of agreement between the district and the government. The chair of the district board, Wendy Bisaro, sent this memorandum to the Minister of Education on August 17th for his signature. The Minister responded in September by saying he had difficulty with signing the agreement. The Minister's letter went on to describe the issues outstanding and the government's position on those issues, which appeared the same as what was set out in the memorandum of agreement of August 17th.

Madam Speaker, Yellowknife Education District No. 1 is concerned about the Sir John transfer. Taxes collected from Yellowknife ratepayers are already far higher than those collected elsewhere in the Northwest Territories compared to the total funding of local schools. The average Yellowknife home owner pays four to seven times as much education tax as does the average NWT home owner outside of Yellowknife. The percentage of total school funding, paid by education property taxes, is 10 times higher in Yellowknife than the rest of the NWT on average.

Madam Speaker, for instance, an average three-bedroom house in Rankin Inlet -- say the type that an MLA might live in -- will be assessed in 1994 annual school taxes of $118.14. A similar house in Cambridge Bay would be assessed at $116.55. In Iqaluit, the owner of such a house will pay $189.62 this year. Madam Speaker, I am about to run out of time, so I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Transfer Of Sir John Franklin High School
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 550

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

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

Transfer Of Sir John Franklin High School
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 550

Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Thank you, honourable Members. As I was saying, a home owner in Fort Smith or Hay River will pay approximately $225 in school taxes. In Inuvik, a home owner will pay the comparatively high amount of about $250. However, Madam Speaker, in Yellowknife, the owner of a similar home would pay a whopping $878.88.

Madam Speaker, given these comparisons, it is no wonder that Yellowknife Education District No. 1 is concerned that without a firm agreement with the Minister of Education, residents of Yellowknife might have to pay even higher taxes to cover the cost of operating and maintaining Sir John. This is especially important given the extensive and expensive renovations planned for the school over the next few years.

Madam Speaker, I hope that the Minister of Education will consider this issue carefully. Not only must he provide a way of reassuring Yellowknife Education District No. 1 that they will not be left holding the bag for Sir John, but they must also consider the issue of equitable school taxes in Yellowknife and the rest of the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Transfer Of Sir John Franklin High School
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 550

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Deh Cho, Mr. Gargan.

Environmental Review Process
Item 3: Members' Statements

October 27th, 1994

Page 550

Samuel Gargan Deh Cho

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, as Members may be aware, the federal government is presently conducting an environmental review into the impact of low-level flights in the Goose Bay/Labrador area. Apparently, a leading anthropologist from the Arctic Institute of North America, Ms. Carol Brice-Bennett was commissioned to study the potential impact of these flights and present them to the review panel at the public hearings.

It is my understanding that during her presentation, she was attempting to comment on the review process itself, the nature of the panel and the scope of the issues being addressed in order to put her findings into context. Again, as I understand it, the chair of the panel didn't allow Ms. Brice-Bennett to continue in this manner and, in effect, ruled that her presentation would not be heard.

This disturbed me greatly, Madam Speaker. As we all know, the north has been the centre of such environmental reviews in the past and will be again in the near future. In fact, a similar occurrence was experienced not long ago during the scoping hearings in Sanikiluaq for the Great Whale hydro project. Apparently, the chair of the federal panel cut the meeting short because of bad weather approaching and they did not want to get weathered in. At that point, a number of residents had still not had the opportunity to make a presentation to the panel. They were advised to submit their views to the panel in writing. This is unfortunate, Madam Speaker, because as Members know, the way we do business and address our concerns in the north is face to face, in person. This is especially true of our elders who do not have the formal education to express themselves in writing. Needless to say, those written submissions, if they were sent, could not have had the same impact or been given the same consideration as oral presentations.

There is another concern that I have, Madam Speaker. This has to do with the environmental assessment and the review process itself. It concerns me that the process seems to be set up so that it allows the federal environmental assessment review...

Environmental Review Process
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 550

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Mr. Gargan, your time is up. The honourable Member for Deh Cho, Mr. Gargan.

Environmental Review Process
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 550

Samuel Gargan Deh Cho

Madam Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to continue my statement.

Environmental Review Process
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 550

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

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

Environmental Review Process
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 550

Samuel Gargan Deh Cho

Thank you, Madam Speaker, and honourable Members. ...the federal environmental assessment review

office, FEARO, to establish a panel and conduct public hearings into the initiative of other federal agencies or departments. I am not saying there is anything wrong going on. But appearances are important. As we believe in this House, justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done.

This concerns me for another reason, Madam Speaker. In the Northwest Territories, we have not established our own environmental assessment and review process. As it stands, we fall under the federal process. We, in the north, are very aware of and concerned with the environmental impact of development projects. When the time comes, it won't be long now, we will want our voices to be heard when decisions about our future and the future of our land are to be made. We want to be in possession of all the facts, including the opinions of experts. We do not want rules of process or procedures to interfere with our ability to make informed decisions. We do not want what happened to Ms. Brice-Bennett or the unfortunate people of Sanikiluaq to happen here.

Therefore, Madam Speaker, I submit that it is time for all governments, particularly the federal government, to take a long close look at the entire process to ensure it is as effective as possible, as independent as possible and as fair as possible. They are called "public hearings," Madam Speaker, so let the public be heard. Mahsi cho.

---Applause

Environmental Review Process
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 551

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Yellowknife Centre, Mr. Lewis.