This is page numbers 715 - 743 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. 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. Don Morin, Hon. Richard Nerysoo, Mr. Ng, Mr. Ningark, Hon. John Pollard, 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 afternoon. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Madam Premier.

Minister's Statement 51-12(6): Trade Mission
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

This evening, Madam Speaker, I will be leaving Yellowknife to participate in Prime Minister Chretien's trade mission to Asia. Madam Speaker, the purpose of the mission, with visits to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, is to highlight and strengthen Canada's trade relationship with China.

With over 1.2 billion people and an average growth in gross domestic product of over nine per cent in the last 10 years, the Chinese government has shown great interest in developing commercial relations with Canada. The trade mission will allow Canada to cultivate that interest and to examine areas of economic cooperation.

The mission includes a special trade forum, involving the Prime Minister and Premiers, during the annual general meeting of the Canada China Business Council. More than 300 Canadian business people, including Andy Clark of Clark Builders and Canadian International Builders, will be attending the general meeting in Beijing. Mr. Clark's firm has a number of housing projects in Beijing. Another Yellowknife firm, Ferguson, Simek and Clark, is also active in the area.

Madam Speaker, members of the territorial government's delegation include Mr. Roland Bailey, deputy minister of Economic Development and Tourism, and Mr. Geoffery Soh, an economic planner in that department. The plan is to promote northern products and investment opportunities during the many meetings that have been arranged during the 10-day trade mission. We will also be promoting Chinese participation in the prospects north conference to be held in Yellowknife next September. There will also be opportunities for informal discussions on domestic and territorial issues with other Premiers and the Prime Minister.

Madam Speaker, during my absence from Yellowknife, the Hon. John Pollard will be acting Premier and acting Minister responsible for Health and Social Services. The Hon. Stephen Kakfwi will be acting Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Power Corporation. I have asked the Hon. Don

Morin to be the acting Minister responsible for the Women's Directorate. Thank you.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 51-12(6): Trade Mission
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

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

Minister's Statement 52-12(6): Minister Absent From The House
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Madam Speaker, I wish to advise Members that the Honourable Rebecca Mike will be absent from the House today, tomorrow and Monday to represent Cabinet at the memorial service in Iqaluit and to spend some time with the people in the community. Thank you.

Minister's Statement 52-12(6): Minister Absent From The House
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Member for Kivallivik, Mr. Arngna'naaq.

Minister's Statement 53-12(6): Fur Pricing Program
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Silas Arngna'naaq Kivallivik

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I am pleased to announce the start of a new program for fur harvesters. The fur pricing program improves upon and will replace the existing fur incentive subsidy.

The fur pricing program is part of the NWT fur strategy which is based on our harvesters marketing the highest quality fur they can produce. Through the fur pricing policy, the Government of the Northwest Territories will guarantee to pay harvesters a fixed minimum price for pelts that are in good condition and handled properly. The species included in the program for the 1994-95 harvesting season are seal, coloured fox, Arctic fox, marten, mink, muskrat and beaver. These species were selected because their numbers are healthy enough that they can stand the pressure of increased harvesting.

Pelts that are in poor condition, stretched improperly, damaged or poorly skinned will not be eligible for the guaranteed prices, but this fur will continue to be handled through the fur advance program, as has always been the case in the past. The Department of Renewable Resources will offer ongoing harvester education workshops in all regions which cover proper pelt handling techniques.

This new program is slightly different from the initial proposal reviewed by fur harvesters earlier this summer. The new program responds to the request from fur harvesters that the program maintain the fall payment. This means that harvesters will receive a set amount, according to the price schedule, when the pelt is brought in and a second instalment which will be paid just prior to the start of the next harvesting season.

Madam Speaker, as the government supports northern business and at least one-third of raw pelts are marketed through private fur vendors such as cooperatives, we were careful not to disrupt this market with our pricing. We have set the first instalment to harvesters as near to actual free market price for the pelts as possible. The second instalment will be paid to both harvesters who sell their fur through the Department of Renewable Resources and to those who sell their fur privately. In this way, harvesters who sell privately are not penalized and private fur vendors will not be adversely affected by the government's higher prices for raw furs.

Through the fur pricing program, harvesters of good quality fur will receive an increased price for their pelts, whether they sell them through Renewable Resources or a private fur vendor. The objectives of this program are to entice more people to participate in fur harvesting; to promote the harvest of good quality fur to assist in the market of NWT fur as the best money can buy; and, to provide a fair price to Inuit for seal pelts which, since the mid-1980s, they have not received. The guaranteed price schedule will be revised each year after consideration of current harvest levels, fur bearer population levels, market prices and the potential cost of the program.

Madam Speaker, I believe this new program, which goes into effect immediately, will encourage residents to return to the honourable occupation of harvesting fur and ensure the production of good quality fur to expand the NWT fur industry. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 53-12(6): Fur Pricing Program
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

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

Minister's Statement 54-12(6): National Addictions Awareness Week
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to announce that November 13 to 19, 1994 is National Addictions Awareness Week. During this week, events will take place in communities across the Northwest Territories to raise awareness about addictions, advertise programs and services that are available to those who need help dealing with additions issues, and promote activities that are alcohol and drug free.

The problem of addictions in the NWT is becoming more serious and more complex. Cross-addictions, where a person addicted to one substance is also addicted to another or several others, are now appearing. In addition to alcohol, solvents, drugs and tobacco, gambling addiction is an increasing concern. National Addictions Awareness Week provides an opportunity for all of us to consider the impact of addictions on northern families and communities, and to learn about healthier lifestyles.

During National Addictions Awareness Week, community alcohol and drug projects, treatment centres and many other concerned individuals, groups and agencies work together to promote healthy lifestyles that exclude alcohol, other drugs, tobacco and gambling. This year, in recognition of the International Year of the Family, many groups are focusing on healthy family living.

I encourage all NWT residents to get involved in the variety of activities that have been planned in communities throughout the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 54-12(6): National Addictions Awareness Week
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Yellowknife Centre, Mr. Lewis.

Export Of Bear Gallbladders To China
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Brian Lewis Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I've been asked by one of my constituents to raise this issue. Since the Premier is going to China and China is the recipient of the gallbladders of bears, I would like to ask the Minister of Renewable Resources since, according to the record, there have been a large number of bears killed in the barren lands over the years, whether there is any evidence that the gallbladders have been removed from these animals for export to such places as Hong Kong and China.

Export Of Bear Gallbladders To China
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

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

---Laughter

Allocation Of Housing Based On Needs Survey
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Samuel Gargan Deh Cho

Thank you, Madam Speaker. As everyone in the House knows, I have a major concern about the way the Housing Corporation allocates new units to the communities of the Northwest Territories. Madam Speaker, while I appreciate the job the Minister is doing with the limited resources available to this department, I, nonetheless, firmly believe that the allocation of housing according to the 1992 needs survey is flawed.

If, in fact, the allocation of housing is based on the 1992 housing needs survey, it seems to me, Madam Speaker, that the number of houses built in each community each year would remain constant. Every year, Madam Speaker, since we have implemented the allocation of housing based on the needs survey, we have reviewed the number of units that each community was to receive for the upcoming fiscal year. So why is it, Madam Speaker, if the entire process of allocation is based on the 1992 housing needs survey, that when it comes to the actual construction year, the allocations are again changed from the forecast in the main estimates?

Have the housing needs in a given community changed since the 1992 survey? Madam Speaker, how do these allocations change from year to year? If they are building, for example, 13 units in Hay River or three units in Fort Providence, shouldn't the allocations remain the same for the next year, or at least remain constant until the next housing needs survey?

Madam Speaker, the entire process of allocation, particularly in communities where there exists a viable rental market, disturbs me. It is, I believe, the smaller communities and those without a rental market that require our help. As the Minister indicates, there are a number of communities nearing Yellowknife's status as a community that are not eligible for funding under programs available in the NWT Housing Corporation.

I have concerns that these communities will continue to receive units under the Housing Corporation's program, even after they have been designated as having a viable housing market.

Madam Speaker, I would like to get unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Allocation Of Housing Based On Needs Survey
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

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