This is page numbers 745 - 772 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, 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 morning. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Member for Mackenzie Delta, Mr. Nerysoo.

Minister's Statement 55-12(6): Preparing For A Safe Winter Season
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I am sure that we are all very grateful for the wonderful summer and fall weather that we enjoyed this year. However, we all knew that the coming of winter was inevitable. The arrival of winter means that many of us will be able to get back onto the land, even for a short period, and renew our spirits. But in order to make sure that we enjoy and survive the winter, there are a number of safety precautions that we should all be taking now.

Madam Speaker, the Department of Safety and Public Services is mailing information packages to the communities which contain five "infograms" on topics of special interest during the winter season. These infograms are safety tips on the following subjects:

- snowmobile safety

- ice road safety

- heat trace cable (to make sure heat trace cable is properly installed to reduce the risk of fires)

- carbon monoxide poisoning (which can result from faulty furnaces, wood stoves and gas-fired appliances) and

- approved sources of heat for clearing frozen propane lines (no tiger torches, please!).

The infograms on snowmobile safety and ice road safety are available in English, French and Inuktitut, and the others are available in English and French.

I would like to remind Members that the Department of Safety and Public Services staff are very happy to answer any questions about these or other safety issues that the general public may have. I would also like to advise Members and residents of the Northwest Territories that the department has an excellent resources centre located on the first floor of the Northway Building, which carries many different educational aids including brochures, booklets and videos on safety hazards. People in the communities can access the resources centre by calling our resources librarian, Ms. Rita Denneron, at 873-7470. Ms. Denneron provides services in English and Slavey, and there are other departmental staff available who can provide assistance in French and Inuktitut.

Madam Speaker, the Department of Safety and Public Services also provides a wide range of inspection and investigation services. My staff and I sincerely hope that we do not have to conduct investigations of fatalities which occur this winter because of a failure to take safety precautions. I urge all Members and their constituents to take the time to keep informed about basic winter safety precautions. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 55-12(6): Preparing For A Safe Winter Season
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 Deh Cho, Mr. Gargan.

Second Annual Dreamcatchers Conference
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Samuel Gargan Deh Cho

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, today I rise to tell Members about the second annual dreamcatcher aboriginal youth conference held in Edmonton the weekend of November 18 to November 20. Dreamcatchers was started last year by some very dedicated aboriginal students enrolled in Grant McEwan College.

Last year's conference was designed as a forum for the students and faculty of the young and youth care programs to encourage aboriginal students to consider a career in this worthwhile field. Madam Speaker, as usual with great ideas, the concept has snowballed. The response to last year's conference was overwhelmingly positive so that people kept coming up with more and more ideas to incorporate into this year's conference.

The dreamcatchers aboriginal youth conference still encourages young aboriginal students to take up careers in youth and child care. There will be presentations by people in the field of child and youth care who will show students what a rewarding career working for their people could be. But, through the positive feedback that I spoke of earlier, the dreamcatchers conference has become much more than a forum for youth and child care programs at Grant McEwan Community College. It has become a conference for the aboriginal youth of Canada, a conference where they can learn about their own culture and how to incorporate their culture into the Euro-Canadian mainstream without losing sight of their own unique heritage.

Madam Speaker, last year participants, both educators and aboriginal students alike, left the conference feeling recharged, full of new ideas of ways to help people in their own communities. Madam Speaker, I am proud to say that a group of 15 grade 10 students from Deh Gah secondary school in Fort Providence, after starting over $800 in debt, have worked very hard to raise the money to attend this very worthwhile aboriginal youth conference.

However, as usual in the smaller communities, they have come up a little short in their fund-raising. I have sent letters to some of the honourable Ministers across...

Second Annual Dreamcatchers Conference
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Mr. Gargan.

Second Annual Dreamcatchers Conference
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Samuel Gargan Deh Cho

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

Second Annual Dreamcatchers Conference
Item 3: Members' Statements

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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.

Second Annual Dreamcatchers Conference
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Samuel Gargan Deh Cho

Madam Speaker, however, as usual in the smaller communities, they have come up a little short in their fund raising. I have sent letters to some of the honourable Ministers across the way and, as time is of the essence, I urge each one of them to look very seriously at finding a few extra dollars for the youth of my constituency. Mahsi cho.

---Applause

Second Annual Dreamcatchers Conference
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Item 3, Members' statements. Item 4, returns to oral questions. The honourable Member for Hay River, Mr. Pollard.

Return To Question 178-12(6): Wages And Benefits Of Family Violence Workers
Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions
Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions

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John Pollard Hay River

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Good morning. Madam Speaker, I have a return to an oral questions asked of the Premier by Mr. Dent on October 19, 1994. It deals with family violence workers' wages and benefits.

Madam Speaker, the Department of Health and Social Services currently provides contributions to a wide range of community groups to provide health and social services to members of the public. These include alcohol and drug treatment centres, alcohol and drug counselling projects, violence shelters and personal care facilities. In addition, contributions are provided to other community groups which provide less direct services to clients. In total, Madam Speaker, over 305 residents are employed using the funding provided under these contribution agreements. Unfortunately, there has not been enough money to pay these workers at the same level as government employees.

In the past, the department has funded these organizations from a variety of discreet program areas. As a result, the workers provide the services in only one program area and often in isolation of their counterparts who work in other disciplines.

The departments of Health and Social Services were combined to achieve some economies and, as we work our way through the restructuring of the organization, the savings will be quite obvious. The same process needs to occur in the integration of contributions to community groups.

One of the critical projects that is currently under way is the development of a community wellness strategy. This strategy aims at finding innovative ways to help residents deal with a variety of personal issues such as child sexual abuse, spousal abuse and neglect. One of the outcomes of this strategic initiative will be greater involvement by community groups in the determination of how government money will be spent to promote healing and recovery. Ideally, Madam Speaker, communities will explore the mandates of many of the groups currently providing services through government funding with a view towards amalgamation at the community level in an attempt to provide services in a more integrated and more effective manner.

It may be necessary at that point, depending on the priorities set by individual communities, to divert money from some of the programs that have been operating unchanged for many years in an attempt to find more effective ways of healing. At the same time, it may be possible to deal with wage inequities for groups such as family violence workers.

This strategy should be complete for tabling at the winter session of this Assembly. By 1995-96, communities will be empowered to examine all of the relevant resources provided by government to their communities and to set priorities that will address their own unique needs. At that point, Madam Speaker, I am confident that a greater emphasis will be placed on community mental health and combating family violence. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Return To Question 178-12(6): Wages And Benefits Of Family Violence Workers
Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions
Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 4, returns to oral questions. The honourable Member for Hay River, Mr. Pollard.

Return To Question 269-12(6): Difficulties Cashing Social Assistance Cheques In Natilikmiot
Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions
Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions

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John Pollard Hay River

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, this is a reply to a question asked by Mr. Ningark, of the Premier, on October 27, 1994. It deals with social assistance payments for Pelly Bay and Taloyoak.

Madam Speaker, some years ago, at the request of the Kitikmeot Regional Council, the Department of Social Services began limiting the amount of cash that is available to social assistance recipients in the region. Recipients receive $50 in cash each month, and the remainder of their social assistance is paid directly to suppliers on the recipients' behalf.

A request was received this past summer from the community of Pelly Bay, asking that this practice be discontinued. It was arranged for a delegation from the community to meet with one of the department's assistant deputy ministers, along with the director of social assistance. I understand that Mr. Ningark attended the meeting that was held on July 21, 1994. The concern expressed at the meeting was that the limited amount of cash given out was placing hardships on some social assistance recipients.

It was agreed at the meeting that this matter could be addressed by the local Social Assistance Appeal Committee, who have the authority to hear the complaints of any social assistance recipient. It was also agreed that if the appeal committee was not able to resolve the issue, then the department was prepared to re-examine it.

These agreements were outlined in a letter from me to the Speaker of the Kitikmeot Regional Council on September 2, 1994, with copies to the Member, to the mayor of Pelly Bay and to Mr. Ng.

Just recently, I was provided with a copy of a petition signed by members of the Pelly Bay community, addressed on October 7, 1994 to the speaker of the Kitikmeot Regional Council. This petition asks the council to reconsider its position on the issuing of cash in social assistance.

Madam Speaker, this matter has to be resolved. Since the current practice of using vouchers was implemented at the request of the Kitikmeot Regional Council, the ideal way to resolve it would be for the community to come to an agreement with the Kitikmeot Regional Council. Towards this end, I will ask the regional council to give prompt consideration to the petition from the residents of Pelly Bay. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Return To Question 269-12(6): Difficulties Cashing Social Assistance Cheques In Natilikmiot
Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions
Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 4, returns to oral questions. The honourable Member for Tu Nedhe, Mr. Morin.