This is page numbers 78 - 106 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 standing.

Topics

Members Present

Mr. Allooloo, 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, Mr. Patterson, Hon. John Pollard, Mr. Pudlat, Mr. Whitford, Mr. Zoe

---Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 78

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

I want to welcome Members back for the reconvening of the Sixth Session. I trust that you've all had an enjoyable summer and were able to spend some valuable time with your families. I want to thank the Members for the amount of work you have done during the past several months on our standing committees which have met in communities all across the north.

I was honoured to welcome Queen Elizabeth and His Royal Highness Prince Philip to this chamber on August 21st. It was my understanding that their visit to Yellowknife, Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit was well received and much appreciated by northerners. Her Majesty has advised me that her visit to the territories, only the second time she has been here, was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Members, as you know, this is the final day of service for our Commissioner, Mr. Norris, who has served the people of the north faithfully for the past 5 years. I hope you will join me in wishing him, his wife Margaret and their family, all the very best in the coming years.

---Applause

At this time, I would like to recognize the acting Commissioner, Mrs. Helen Maksagak, in the Speaker's gallery.

---Applause

She is accompanied by her husband, Mr. Maksagak. Welcome to our Assembly. I hope Members will join me in expressing gratitude to a former staff member. After five years of service as our Clerk Assistant, Rhoda Perkison, has decided to return with her family to her original home in Baker Lake. We wish her well and thank her for her years of service.

---Applause

Members will note that they have a new Sergeant-at-Arms, Robert Atkinson. He has taken over for Martin Vickers, who we thank for the service he provided since we moved to our new building.

---Applause

I am pleased to advise Members that I, along with the honourable Member for Mackenzie Delta, officially launched the Legislative Assembly's education program last month. As part of our responsibility to involve all sectors of society in our unique form of government, this education program will be taught in grades six, seven and eight in all schools of the Northwest Territories.

Members are aware that for the first time, this session is being aired live on northern television. I hope this will allow viewers yet another opportunity to see how their elected representatives carry out business on their behalf.

I want to conclude my remarks by paying tribute to the many noted elders who passed away during the past several months. Without naming any of them specifically, I am sure Members and others will appreciate the legacy of wisdom they have left behind.

There is still a great deal to accomplish as we move into the final year of the life of the 12th Assembly and I wish for all Members an enjoyable and productive Assembly. Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' Statements. Madam Premier.

Minister's Statement 11-12(6): Return To Session
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 78

Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Members back to the Sixth Session of the Legislative Assembly. I know it was a busy summer for Cabinet and also for committees of this House. Madam Speaker, the $10.8 million federal/territorial infrastructure program was finalized and is being implemented. An $8 million investing in people initiative was signed with the Secretary of State to provide social assistance recipients with specialized counselling, career and employment development, life skills and education opportunities.

As well, a public review of the Liquor Act has been conducted and a legislative action paper is being prepared. In response to the Special Committee on Health and Social Services, the consolidation of the two departments of Health and Social Services is well under way and is reflected in the capital budget. The Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources is working towards finalizing a northern consensus on the energy and minerals accord.

In addition, an ambitious committee schedule during the summer months has placed us in good position to consider the capital estimates for 1995-96 and the Standing Committee on Legislation was particularly helpful in its review of bills to be presented to this House.

Madam Speaker, while considerable progress has been made during the term of this Assembly, there are still many challenges to be met. We are at a crossroads and our ability to continue making progress will largely depend on maintaining our fiscal integrity and on the development of a common vision shared by the federal and territorial governments, aboriginal organizations and residents of the Northwest Territories. As you know, an enormous agenda for political and constitutional change involving a large number of groups with different objectives is being discussed and negotiated in the Northwest Territories. The challenges relating to constitutional reform are difficult and require a climate of financial stability and common purpose.

As it heads into its final year of office, the government is particularly anxious to introduce some certainty into the complex issues relating to the financing of division, development of a new western constitution, the settlement of land claims and implementation and negotiation of aboriginal self-government. We are also concerned that various federal government statements regarding self-government and treaty land entitlement in the western NWT have meant different things to different people and are creating a wide range of expectations. We need a greater degree of clarity and certainty about these matters.

The need for Ottawa to explain its position on a number of matters within the context of today's fiscal reality was discussed during our last strategic planning workshop in Fort Smith. Since that time, I've had an opportunity to present our concerns in separate meetings with Prime Minister Chretien and Indian Affairs and Northern Development Minister, Mr. Irwin. As a result of these discussions, Mr. Irwin has indicated that he would be willing to make a statement to the Legislative Assembly that would set out broad principles and provide clarification of federal policies as they relate to public and aboriginal government in the Northwest Territories, to devolution and the federal government's commitment to division.

At the appropriate time, the Minister of Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs will be presenting a motion which seeks the necessary approval to have Mr. Irwin address the Assembly during the current session. Madam Speaker, it is important to seek clarification of federal positions, as we move towards development of a constitution for the western territory and the formation of Nunavut by 1999.

The need for a common vision and realistic expectations is extremely important, particularly because of federal program and budget reductions. Signals from Ottawa concerning Finance Minister Paul Martin's economic statement, scheduled for mid-October, leaves us to believe that there will be more cuts in federal spending and transfer payments, and that the Northwest Territories will not be able to escape that impact.

As you know, we have already lost nearly $550 million in federal money because of changes made by Ottawa, when it introduced our current five-year formula financing agreement. That number doesn't include over $45 million that was cut in the area of new social housing, the money owed to us under the health billings dispute and the potential of a 38 per cent reduction in the level of federal funding for French and aboriginal language services in the territories.

This will amount to a loss of over $10 million during the next three-year period, if we are not able to persuade Ottawa to restore its contribution to at least the 1993-94 levels. There will have to be significant cuts to existing language programs. Discussions are continuing on this matter and I intend to keep the Assembly and various language interest groups briefed on developments. The Honourable John Pollard will have more to say on the state of the federal/territorial fiscal situation when he presents an economic overview and the government's capital estimates on Friday.

In addition, the Honourable Richard Nerysoo will be providing the House with an analysis of the federal government's proposals of reforming national social programs. The Minister is currently developing our own program of change and will be consulting with his federal counterparts on the impact of the federal proposals on our social income reform initiatives.

In conclusion, it is appropriate at this time to recognize the work of Mr. Daniel Norris, who has served as Commissioner of the Northwest Territories since October of 1989. Mr. Norris considered himself honoured to have been chosen to serve in this capacity and was particularly proud to be the first Commissioner chosen from the aboriginal people of the north.

On behalf of the residents of the Northwest Territories, I want to take this opportunity to thank him for taking on this responsibility and to invite Members to join me in recognizing his years of dedicated effort and service.

---Applause

Madam Speaker, the appreciation of Members should also be extended to the committee Members and hundreds of volunteers in Yellowknife, Rankin and Iqaluit, who organized this summer's visit of the Queen and Prince Philip. Without their assistance, the royal visit would not have been the success it was. On this note, thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 11-12(6): Return To Session
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 79

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The Honourable Rebecca Mike.

Minister's Statement 12-12(6): Meeting With Editor
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 79

Rebecca Mike Baffin Central

(Translation) Thank you, Madam Speaker. I want to take this opportunity to apologize for any embarrassment a recent editorial in Nunatsiaq News may have caused the government, my colleagues and Members of this Assembly.

I want to assure Members that my remarks during a dinner with news editor, Todd Phillips, and Iqaluit businessman, Jim Currie, were not intended as a threat, implied or otherwise, that I agree with the principles of free press and that it was wrong of me to suggest that I felt like withholding advertising from the newspaper.

It is regrettable that the full context of my comments and my offer of cooperation in helping the editor of the newspaper communicate with my office was not reported. Later today, I will be tabling a letter relating to this matter that was sent to the publisher of Nunatsiaq News by Mr. Currie. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Minister's Statement 12-12(6): Meeting With Editor
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 80

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Madam Premier.

Minister's Statement 13-12(6): Minister Absent From The House
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 80

Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Madam Speaker, I wish to advise Members of the House that the Honourable John Todd will be absent from the House today to attend a meeting with the Council of Transportation Ministers, to discuss the national highways policy. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Minister's Statement 13-12(6): Minister Absent From The House
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 80

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The Honourable Member for Hay River, Mr. Pollard.

Minister's Statement 14-12(6): Budget Address
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 80

John Pollard Hay River

Thank you, Madam Speaker, good afternoon. Madam Speaker, I give notice that on Friday, October 7, 1994, I will deliver the capital budget address. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Minister's Statement 14-12(6): Budget Address
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 80

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

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

Motion To Move Minister's Statement 11-12(6): To Committee Of The Whole, Carried
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 80

Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Madam Speaker, with permission, I would like to make a motion to move the Premier's return to session statement into committee of the whole. Therefore, Madam Premier, I move, seconded by the Member for Natilikmiot, that Minister's Statement 11-12(6) be moved into committee of the whole.

Motion To Move Minister's Statement 11-12(6): To Committee Of The Whole, Carried
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 80

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. The motion is in order.

Motion To Move Minister's Statement 11-12(6): To Committee Of The Whole, Carried
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 80

An Hon. Member

Question.

Motion To Move Minister's Statement 11-12(6): To Committee Of The Whole, Carried
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 80

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Question has been called. All those in favour? All those opposed? Motion is carried.

---Carried

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