This is page numbers 903 - 952 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, Mr. Dent, Mr. Gargan, Mr. Koe, Mr. Lewis, Hon. Jeannie Marie-Jewell, Hon. Rebecca Mike, Hon. Don Morin, Hon. Richard Nerysoo, 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

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Good morning. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Deh Cho, Mr. Gargan.

Absence Of Scol Chairman During Debate On Bill 7
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Samuel Gargan Deh Cho

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, every four years the people of the Northwest Territories exercise their democratic right and elect to this Legislature Members who they trust with the representation of their interests and matters that concern their welfare.

Upon entering these hallowed halls, each Member further serves the public by participating in the deliberation of standing and special committees. These committees are one of the means by which Members can hold this government accountable. Madam Speaker, it is my opinion that one of the most important obligations we undertake when we are elected is the responsibility of legislators. Making decisions about the laws that govern this territory is an awesome responsibility because a decision we make regarding legislation affects all people who must live under these laws.

In the past, decisions were made to create, for the purpose of reviewing important legislation, the Standing Committee on Legislation. This standing committee is committed to determining the will of the people with regard to proposed legislation, reviewing the legislation to ensure that laws of the Northwest Territories are not restricting upon the people of this territory and making recommendations to the House on legislation.

Madam Speaker, I was very disappointed that the debate surrounding Bill 7, An Act to Amend the Arctic College Act, was concluded in the absence of the chairman of the standing committee that reviewed the proposed legislation. The committee report on the review of Bill 7 did not recommend support for the proposed amendment. It is my belief that the committee report reflected the will of the people of the Northwest Territories. Further, the chairman of each committee of this Legislature receives information from the people who we were elected to serve. Although this information is not always received during deliberations of standing committees, a chairman can bring forward these interests during the debates on issues in committee of the whole.

Therefore, I feel it is important that Members ensure that the chairman of the standing committee is present during the debate on issues that have been before the committee. By providing this courtesy, we appear to represent the interests of the people...

Absence Of Scol Chairman During Debate On Bill 7
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Mr. Gargan.

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Samuel Gargan Deh Cho

Madam Speaker, I would like to get unanimous consent to complete my last paragraph.

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

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

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Samuel Gargan Deh Cho

Thank you, Madam Speaker, honourable Members. By providing this courtesy, we appear to represent the interests of the people who elected us to these positions and not to institutions that govern. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

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

Resignation Of Directors Of Awg International Committee
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Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs told this House in a Minister's statement that the deputy minister of her department had approached the NWT Arctic Winter Games directors to ask them to consider resigning as a sign of protest over the matter in which Inuvik was disqualified as host community in its bid for the 1998 Arctic Winter Games.

Madam Speaker, I think this action was despicable. The Arctic Winter Games board is specifically set up at arm's length from the government to avoid political interference. Having been set up this way, it was completely out of line for the Minister and her department to politicize, after the fact, the decision made by the Arctic Winter Games International Committee. Yet, Madam Speaker, she chose to do so by having the deputy minister approach our dedicated and hard-working board members who had nothing to do with the decision.

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Some Hon. Members

Shame.

Madam Speaker, this government had an opportunity to provide political direction if the Minister had decided that the 1988 games should be awarded to Inuvik. The Arctic Winter Games International Committee, before considering either bid, asked MACA whether they wished to provide political direction on the awarding of the 1998 games and were apparently told no. The international committee was told by MACA to evaluate the bids without any bias for one location over another.

Madam Speaker, once a decision has been announced, for a deputy minister to suggest that our representatives should resign in protest is a shabby way to divert the heat, heat that the Minister obviously expected over the decision, away from herself. If the Minister is not happy with the Arctic Winter Games International Committee's decision, she has no one to blame but herself, and should not have directed her deputy minister to suggest to Mr. Cooper and Mr. Legaree that they resign.

Madam Speaker, Mr. Cooper has dedicated 10 years of volunteer service as director and, most recently, president of the Arctic Winter Games Corporation. Mr. Legaree was a director for four years and, I understand, very active in helping Inuvik prepare their bid for the games. Have we heard any thanks from the government for their dedication and time served? No. Instead, we hear the government suggest they resign in a political gesture.

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Some Hon. Members

Shame.

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Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

That is totally unfair and deprives the NWT of their strong contribution to the Arctic Winter Games.

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

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

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

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Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker, honourable Members. Madam Speaker, as I understand it, the Arctic Winter Games International Committee felt that Inuvik would have trouble because of the size of the games. Has this government provided political direction to the directors from the NWT to suggest that the size of the games needed to be reduced? In fact, I think the government supported expansion of the games to include Alberta, Greenland and the Soviet republics. I haven't heard this government suggest that senior sports be eliminated from the games, or that the number of sports should be reduced.

Madam Speaker, the Minister of MACA should have accepted the responsibility that goes with the job when you accept a position on Cabinet, and not have tried to shift the blame by having a deputy minister ask Mr. Cooper and Mr. Legaree to resign. That was a corrupt use of government power.