This is page numbers 1 - 23 of the Hansard for the 12th Assembly, 7th 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 communities.

Topics

Members Present

Mr. Allooloo, Mr. Antoine, 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, Hon. John Pollard, Mr. Pudlat, Mr. Pudluk, Hon. John Todd, Mr. Whitford, Mr. Zoe

---O Canada

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 1

Father Mousseau

As this Seventh Assembly is about to open, we turn to God for his guidance, wisdom and blessing. Let us pray. Ever-living God, your spirit leaves us, your children, confident to call you Father. Increase your spirit within us. Guide the Members of this Seventh Assembly and help them to work together for the good of all the people of the north. Bless their plans and their deliberations and bring them to success.

---English not provided

Father, we ask this, our grace, through Christ our Lord, amen.

---Drum Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 1

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

It is my understanding that the Deputy Commissioner of the Northwest Territories is prepared to enter the chamber to open this session. Mr. Clerk, would you ascertain if Her Honour, the Deputy Commissioner, is available and prepared to enter the chamber and present her opening address?

Item 2: Opening Address
Item 2: Opening Address

Page 1

Deputy Commissioner Mrs. Maksagak

Please be seated. Madam Speaker, honoured guests and Members of the Legislative Assembly, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the Seventh Session of the 12th Legislative Assembly. This is the start of the 12th Assembly's final budget session. The session will be recessed later this week until February, when the Minister of Finance will present the government's operation and maintenance budget for 1995-96.

During this session, your government will also be presenting documents dealing with matters that must be addressed in order for the Northwest Territories to take advantage of its human and economic potential. Of particular importance are proposals designed to help restore human values, dignity and a sense of community wellness.

Madam Speaker, during the past few years, your government has changed the way it is organized and does business so that people at the community level have more control. It has also taken steps to make sure capital projects maximize northern jobs, training and business opportunities. Change has been difficult in many areas because of the impact on our budget of federal cutbacks and the threat of further reductions in the new year. In addition, we have a financing agreement with Ottawa that does not provide the territories with the tools to achieve a greater degree of self-sufficiency. Regardless, we have made considerable progress and we still have many economic opportunities, particularly in the area of the non-renewable resource sector.

But, all the efforts we are making in order to reach our economic potential won't mean anything unless we develop a consensus on how we want to see these resources controlled, managed and developed. The money and the jobs have to stay in the north and benefit our economy.

Madam Speaker, the population of the Northwest Territories is very small, compared to other parts of Canada, and we cannot afford to be fragmented in our approach or in the direction we are heading. Leadership in the territories must demonstrate a strong commitment towards working together to prepare for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, as this is a time for partnerships, trust and certainty. Individual interests are important, but they must be advanced in a manner that serves a common goal.

Madam Speaker, your government knows that it cannot afford to have a single focus in its approach to improving the economic well being of the Northwest Territories. Serious social problems have to be resolved in order to end the cycle of wasted potential and missed opportunity. The status quo is not an option. As a result, your government has an ambitious social agenda.

It includes income support reform; family law reform; a strategy to promote zero tolerance for violence and community wellness; steps to improve the delivery of child care and health services; and, initiatives to make sure communities can have greater control over government programs and services so they can solve the problems that are most important to them.

In addition, your government is mindful of the terrible impact of liquor abuse in the Northwest Territories and the need to replace an outdated liquor law that was created 25 years ago, and is difficult to understand and complex to administer.

As a result, a legislative action paper on rewriting liquor laws in the Northwest Territories has been prepared. The document is a result of a liquor law review that has involved extensive consultation in all regions of the territories. The review has listened carefully to northern residents, organizations and interest groups on how government legislation can be improved to help end the abuse and the resulting tragedies that are becoming far too frequent in the Northwest Territories.

Madam Speaker, social problems in the Northwest Territories are not being tackled in isolation of each other.

The community wellness strategy is an unprecedented partnership in the territories that is being developed by a broad coalition of 30 social agencies, aboriginal and cultural organizations, women's groups, mental health services providers and government departments.

The departments of Health and Social Services; Justice; Education, Culture and Employment; Municipal and Community Affairs; Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs; and, the NWT Housing Corporation are working closely together in this process with the overall direction provided by the coalition.

These groups, despite their various mandates, share a common understanding about the seriousness of the problems faced by individuals, families and communities in the Northwest Territories. There is a shared vision of the direction in which we all would like to go in moving towards achieving healthier communities. One of those visions is the reform of our income support system.

Madam Speaker, income support reform is a complex issue that is being driven at a national level by a federal government that is determined to reduce expenditures and introduce efficiencies. The systems that are in place need to be reformed in order to end waste and to make sure they no longer create barriers to work and training opportunities.

Our system must give people the help they need to get back to work or into the workforce for the first time.

To make sure that this reform develops in a way that respects the priorities and needs of northerners, your government has established a number of principles to guide reform in the Northwest Territories.

Income support reform must link jobs and training, and encourage people to make responsible choices. It must respect northern culture, community direction and the integrity of families. And the reform must make the best use of available money, federal cost-sharing opportunities, and be fair and easy to access by people in communities.

Part of the work in the area of income support reform is in response to recommendations from the Special Committee on Health and Social Services. The next step is creation of a Ministers' forum on income support reform.

The forum will include representatives from business, labour and individuals involved in social reform. It will lead focus groups in the five regional centres to provide information, involve community people in discussions, and get public opinion and advice on the issues. It will conclude by providing its findings and recommendations to the Assembly at its February sitting.

Madam Speaker, social reform and making sure that residents can take the opportunities that are available to them requires an education system that opens the doors to opportunities.

A discussion paper that outlines a strategy to guide the development and delivery of education, culture and employment programs to the year 2010 and another paper seeking public input into creation of a new Education Act have already been tabled in the House.

In addition, the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment will table a legislative discussion paper on the draft of a new Education Act this week. The paper will be used for further consultation and be followed by the presentation of a new Education Act.

Madam Speaker, all of these initiatives will have an impact on addressing many of the social problems that must be resolved in order to move towards a greater sense of self-sufficiency.

No single individual or organization can solve the problems of today's society. The challenge is to work together in a positive fashion to make sure the potential of our human resources is realized and contributes to a sense of community wellness, dignity and personal accomplishment.

That is why your government's social agenda is based on a process of partnership -- a process of listening, learning and leadership.

On a personal note, Madam Speaker, over 20 years ago the Commissioner's Award for Bravery was established to recognize the sacrifices and heroic efforts of people who voluntarily place themselves in danger to help others.

I would like to take the opportunity to announce the names of 10 residents who have been recognized for acts of bravery in the Northwest Territories.

- Moses Aliyak of Rankin Inlet received the Commissioner's Award for Bravery at the Highest Level for rescuing his wife and nephew from a polar bear attack near their summer camp in July 1994;

- Three Cambridge Bay residents, Peter Evalik, Richard Evalik and Grant Corey, received the Commissioner's Award for Bravery at the Highest Level for saving Theresa Keadjuk and Mary Kilaodluk on January 1, 1993. The three men crawled through a smoke-filled house to find the women and drag them to safety;

- Peter Moosenose and Frankie Nitsiza of Wha Ti received the Commissioner's Award for Bravery at the Second Level for saving 11-year-old Larry Flunkie from drowning in Lac La Martre on August 12, 1993;

- Alfred Nitsiza and Lloyd Bishop received letters of commendation for their part in the rescue of Larry Flunkie. Mr. Nitsiza and Mr. Bishop performed two-man CPR on the boy when he was brought to shore; and,

- Dennis Klengenberg and Kevin Niptanatiak of Coppermine received letters of commendation for rescuing each other after their snow machine broke through the ice near the mouth of the Coppermine River on November 7, 1993.

Finally, Madam Speaker, during this session, a legislative program including the following bills will be introduced for your consideration. Amendments to the following acts will be advanced: the Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Act; the Co-operative Associations Act; the Dental Mechanics Act; the Elections Act; the Fair Practices Act; the Income Tax Act; the Judicature Act; the Legal Profession Act; the Limitation of Actions Act; the Liquor Act; the Maintenance Act; and, the Petroleum Products Tax Act.

New bills include Appropriation Act, No. 2, 1995-96 and the Miscellaneous Statutes Amending Act. Your government considers these bills essential to the good conduct of government business and I recommend passage of each of these acts.

Madam Speaker, I would now like to commend to you for your earnest consideration and wise judgement, the business of this House as I declare open the Seventh Session of the 12th Assembly of the Northwest Territories. Thank you.

---Applause

Item 2: Opening Address
Item 2: Opening Address

Page 3

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Please be seated. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Father Mousseau for acting as chaplin today and for giving us his blessing. I would like to thank the choir from Mildred Hall under the directorship of Mr. Bill Gilday. I would also like to extend our appreciation for the participation of the Tree of Peace drummers. We will have an opportunity to hear them and the choir during the Deputy Commissioner's opening day reception later on this afternoon in the great hall.

I would also like to welcome the guests and the general public who have joined us today to mark the opening of the seventh session of this Legislature. Now I will commence orders of the day. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Madam Premier.

Minister's Statement 1-12(7): Minister Absent From The House
Item 3: Ministers' Statements

Page 3

Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Madam Speaker, I wish to advise Members that the Honourable Silas Arngna'naaq will be absent from the House today, tomorrow and Wednesday to attend a meeting of the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board in Arviat. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Minister's Statement 1-12(7): Minister Absent From The House
Item 3: Ministers' Statements

Page 3

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 3, Ministers' statements. The honourable Member for Mackenzie Delta, Mr. Nerysoo.

Minister's Statement 2-12(7): Legislative Discussion Paper On The Draft Of The New Education Act
Item 3: Ministers' Statements

Page 3

Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I am pleased, Madam Speaker, to make this statement in light of the presence of young people, both from the friendship centre and from Mildred Hall School.

Madam Speaker, the strategy for Education, Culture and Employment to 2010 is titled, People: Our Focus for the Future. Our future depends on our children and their ability to learn and make learning a part of their lives. They need to stay in school and be successful, and we, as parents and political leaders, need to support and encourage them.

We also need a system of education which emphasizes and enables the measurement of standards and quality in education. We need a system which enables collaborative decision-making at the school level, and supports communities to develop a vision for their schools and for their children's learning. We need to open up the education system through progressive legislative change.

The current Education Act, written in 1977, established a system of education, administered by government, which enabled communities to provide advice and make decisions through local education authorities. The Special Committee on Education in 1982 said that "the educational system shall provide the means for and assist in the development of programs to meet the educational goals of every community. Elected representatives responsible for education within the communities shall determine these goals."

As a result, the Education Act was amended to provide for divisional boards of education and community education councils. Since then, the act has been amended eight times and, still, parents and communities are saying that they are not really able to participate in the many important decisions made about their children's learning and in the decisions about the programs offered in their schools. Educators are saying that they need more training and more support to be effective in the classroom. Students are saying that they, too, have a role to play in their learning. Our education system needs to involve all partners in the learning process.

Madam Speaker, we have developed a legislative discussion paper on the draft of the new Education Act, which I will be tabling today for consideration and comment. It strives to balance the overall controls necessary to ensure educational quality and standards throughout the system, with local autonomy for the delivery of education. It builds an education model which is centred on students and learning, and emphasizes partnerships. The preliminary draft of this new act provides for a more flexible system of governance that strengthens decision-making in communities and improves accountability. This draft also recognizes that language and culture is the foundation of education.

Madam Speaker, a legislative proposal to develop a new Education Act was first approved in 1988, recognizing that this act was outdated. Research on legislative change in education and schools' acts across Canada began that year. Consultation on the changes NWT residents wanted to see in the new Education Act began in 1990 with the release of the discussion paper Help Improve the Education Act. This paper provided plain explanations of the legislation and asked people for their general comments.

The department held workshops for each board and divisional board of education, and each board continued to consult with people in the communities within their jurisdictions. The responses received, together with the findings of the research and a review of court decisions in the area of education as a result of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of Canada, provided direction for the preparation of the next consultation document.

Voices: Direction for Improving the Education Act was tabled in March, 1994. This paper made 50 proposals for change, and people were again asked to consider them and provide their comments. Detailed responses were received from 26 organizations and 35 individuals. In addition, about 15 general letters were received and comments were also provided by participants in focus groups for the development of the strategic plan and through other education conferences and meetings. Madam Speaker, we are still receiving comments on the proposals made in the last consultation paper. Consultation on the development of a new Education Act, has really been ongoing since the Special Committee on Education was established in 1980.

This legislative discussion paper on the draft of the new Education Act contains a preliminary draft of the legislation for comment. It also contains notes which summarize the purpose and content of each section of the draft act. The draft act begins with a preamble, then addresses students and parents, educators, communities' cultural diversity and governance, and concludes with the finance and administration of the education system.

Madam Speaker, the act proposed that it would introduce access to an education program as an entitlement for students age five to age 21. It proposes to introduce student responsibilities as well as the entitlements and responsibilities of parents.

It introduces a new section on language of instruction and language taught for discussion, and it recognizes section 23 of the Charter of Rights of Canada. As well, it introduces new structures of governance.

The paper proposes to simplify education structures by establishing an authority for a district or community called a "district education authority," and a structure for a division called a "divisional education council." The duties and powers of these education bodies are outlined, and each district education authority and divisional education council and its specific duties and powers would be established in regulation. A sample regulation is included in the appendix.

Madam Speaker, this is a consultation paper designed to encourage discussion and provide further direction to improve this piece of legislation. Before the Education Act is introduced, Members of the Legislative Assembly, education agencies and northerners need time to consider the changes and to review the legislation in draft form. This act is of interest to many individuals and organizations.

We recognize that it may be difficult to get a consensus on the details of the act, as most individuals have opinions on education. But it should be possible to develop consensus around the main themes of change which emphasize students, partnership, language and culture, local autonomy for the delivery of education, standards and improved accountability.

Madam Speaker, this Assembly has stated that education is a priority and I believe that developing and considering this legislative discussion paper on the draft of the new Education Act demonstrates that priority. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 2-12(7): Legislative Discussion Paper On The Draft Of The New Education Act
Item 3: Ministers' Statements

Page 4

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Before we go to the next Minister, I would like to recognize the MP for Nunatsiaq, Mr. Jack Anawak, in the gallery. Welcome to our Assembly.

---Applause

Item 3, Ministers' statements. The honourable Member for Mackenzie Delta, Mr. Nerysoo.

Minister's Statement 3-12(7): Rewriting Liquor Laws In The Northwest Territories
Item 3: Ministers' Statements

Page 4

Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Again it is my honour to get up and speak about the whole matter of rewriting of liquor laws in the Northwest Territories, particularly in the presence of our Deputy Commissioner, Madam Speaker, because she and her husband have worked tremendously hard over the past several years to encourage the reduction of liquor abuse and use in communities.

Madam Speaker, later today I will be tabling a legislative action paper entitled, "Rewriting Liquor Laws in the Northwest Territories." I am pleased to bring this document forward during Addictions Awareness Week, when thoughts are already focused on finding ways to minimize alcohol abuse in our northern communities.

Today's legislative action paper is a result of the comprehensive review of territorial liquor laws initiated in December 1993 by the Department of Safety and Public Services. Public consultation has been a key feature of this initiative. Individuals and groups in all regions have made suggestions for improving the way liquor should be regulated in the Northwest Territories. These ideas have now been summarized in the legislative action paper.

Madam Speaker, I should stress that the completion of this document does not represent a conclusion of the liquor law review, but rather a focusing on the continuing discussions now under way to plan our new liquor laws.

Madam Speaker, the legislative action paper sets out five guiding principles that this government believes should form the framework for our new liquor laws.

First and foremost, new legislation should make it clear that liquor is a regulated product that can only be used according to conditions laid out in the Liquor Act and regulations.

Second, our new liquor legislation should not be developed in isolation. An effective liquor control system is one of the many factors that can contribute to community wellness and its impacts on health and social policy, community development and many other areas.

A third principle emerging from the liquor law review emphasizes the importance of finding "made-in-the-NWT" solutions to northern problems. We should not be trying to copy regulatory models from other provinces' legislation.

Fourth, a priority should be placed on ensuring that our legislation is effective. This means that liquor control measures must be regularly evaluated to ensure they are working. It should reflect community priorities and empower local measures for liquor control.

Finally, new legislation should be balanced. It has to be recognized that for many northerners, liquor is seen as an incidental, pleasurable and self-controlled part of one's social life. For others, it can come to represent only helplessness, fear and despair.

New liquor laws will need to respect the lifestyle differences and the varying personal needs that exist in northern society.

---Applause

Madam Speaker, these five principles will guide the development of our new Liquor Act. In addition, public consultation identified many new approaches, strategies and systems that could be incorporated into that guiding framework. These public recommendations are outlined in the legislative action paper, not as government plans, but as options that might be considered by the Legislative Assembly and its committees during the review of this document.

Many of these public recommendations would represent significant change to the way liquor is regulated in the Northwest Territories and would involve the reform of our liquor control agencies. Decisions on which specific measures should be incorporated in the new act will depend largely on feedback received from the review of the legislative action paper.

Madam Speaker, this new legislation will have to set out all the definitions, systems, institutions, standards, general procedures, offences and penalties necessary for liquor control framework in the Northwest Territories. In working toward this goal, we will continue to listen carefully to northerners' ideas about improving the regulation of liquor. We still have a big job ahead of us; yet, it is a task that I look forward to sharing with the Legislative Assembly and its committees.

We will need the recommendations and support of honourable Members in order to create a better Liquor Act. By continuing to work together, in communities and in this House, I am certain we will succeed in developing legislation that is effective, balanced and reflective of northern priorities. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 3-12(7): Rewriting Liquor Laws In The Northwest Territories
Item 3: Ministers' Statements

Page 5

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 3, Ministers' statements. The honourable Member for Keewatin Central, Mr. Todd.

Minister's Statement 4-12(7): Northern Accord
Item 3: Ministers' Statements

Page 5

John Todd Keewatin Central

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Since the Prime Minister's strong statement of support for further devolution to the Government of the Northwest Territories, Members of this House have expressed a great deal of interest in the status of the northern accord. I would like to take this opportunity to update the Members on the most recent developments on this important initiative.

Over the past several months, I have met individually with the leadership of all major aboriginal groups in the Northwest Territories: Nunavut Tunngavik; the Deh Cho First Nations; NWT Treaty 8 Council; Dogrib Treaty 11 Tribal Council; Metis Nation; the Sahtu Secretariat; the Gwich'in Tribal Council; and, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation.

I am pleased to inform this House that all of these organizations have agreed to meet in Yellowknife on December 14, 1994 to begin formal discussions on the northern accord to determine if we can reach a common position that we can move forward on with the federal government. The purpose of the initial meeting was to decide goals and objectives of the discussions between the Government of the Northwest Territories and aboriginal organizations, to outline guidelines and procedures for future meetings and to establish a more formalized process to encourage aboriginal involvement in the northern accord.

It is our hope we can reach a common position with all aboriginal groups on the northern accord early in the new year. We would then be in a position to submit a formal proposal to the federal government for devolution of these responsibilities to the people of the Northwest Territories.

Madam Speaker, I would like to assure the Members of this House that the Government of the Northwest Territories is committed to taking responsibility for non-renewable resource development in the Northwest Territories, while at the same time respecting aboriginal and treaty rights. We hope to accomplish this through negotiation of a northern accord with the federal government. I will keep Members of this House informed as the process unfolds.

In conclusion, Madam Speaker, I would like to express my personal appreciation to all the leaders of those aboriginal organizations for agreeing to meet to determine if we can move forward on this important initiative in a spirit of cooperation and trust. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 4-12(7): Northern Accord
Item 3: Ministers' Statements

Page 5

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 3, Ministers' statements. Item 5, recognition of visitors in the gallery. The honourable Member for Yellowknife Frame Lake, Mr. Dent.

Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 5

Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I wish to recognize four members of Yellowknife city council in the gallery. First of all, the new mayor, Mayor David Lovell.

---Applause

Then there are three aldermen in the gallery, alderman Jo MacQuarrie is a returning alderman.

---Applause

And aldermen Vi Beck and Trevor Kasteel are new aldermen.

---Applause

Sorry, Madam Speaker, another one snuck in while I wasn't looking. Alderman Merlyn Williams is a new alderman as well.

---Applause