This is page numbers 825 - 862 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, Hon. Silas Arngna'naaq, Mr. Arvaluk, Mr. Ballantyne, 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. Patterson, Hon. John Pollard, Mr. Pudlat, Mr. Pudluk, Hon. John Todd, Mr. Whitford, Mr. Zoe

---Prayer

Speaker's Ruling

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 825

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Good afternoon. Before we go into proceedings of the day, as I indicated to the House yesterday, I wish to respond to Mr. Gargan's point of order. I've had an opportunity to review unedited Hansard, page 1885 and 1886 on the point of order raised by the Member for Deh Cho, Mr. Gargan, on comments made by the Minister of Transportation, the Honourable John Todd. The Member for Deh Cho's point of order was that the Minister misled the House with his understanding of the comments by the standing committee on its review of Bill 8, An Act to Amend the Public Utilities Act.

The Member for Deh Cho also stated in his point of order that Members should feel free to fully debate all legislation in this House, aggressively if necessary. Members will recall that Mr. Gargan also requested an apology from the Minister, which the Minister, Mr. Todd, offered to the House and which I feel was accepted by the House.

I feel there isn't need to go further with this point of order, as the points raised are a matter of understanding the issue and the House received two points of views. However, as I have ruled before, this is not a point of order unless the point expressly infringes on the specific rule of the House. Thank you.

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 825

Some Hon. Members

(Microphones turned off)

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 825

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

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

Minister's Statement 57-12(6): Meeting Of Fisheries Ministers
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 825

Silas Arngna'naaq Kivallivik

Madam Speaker, last week, I attended the federal/provincial/territorial Fisheries Ministers' meeting in Victoria, British Columbia. The primary purpose of the meeting was to review the federal government's plans to streamline, downsize and reduce the costs of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. I assure you, Madam Speaker, the federal government is determined to reduce the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in overall budget and person years. In doing so, some responsibilities will be transferred to other

federal departments and to the provincial and territorial governments.

I would like to explain some of the measures the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans plans which will impact the Government of the Northwest Territories. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has indicated that the responsibility for freshwater fisheries will be divested. The federal government intends to delegate responsibility for freshwater fisheries management to provinces and territories, and to transfer responsibility for fish habitat and fisheries water quality to the Department of the Environment or, possibly, to provinces or territories.

This transfer will not necessarily come with the full amount of resources necessary to manage the freshwater fisheries, as most jurisdictions would prefer. Failure to accept responsibility may result in poorer management of freshwater fisheries due to a split of responsibilities between the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Department of the Environment. We must examine our options very carefully to manage the impact to the people of the Northwest Territories who rely on fish for subsistence and commercial benefits.

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans stated he is not intending to dismantle the Freshwater Fisheries Marketing Corporation, although, he is not adverse to a restructuring of the mandate and operations of the corporation to meet the changes of the 1990s and the needs of the fishermen who rely on the corporation for fish sales and marketing. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans stated that the department would retain responsibility for marine fisheries and refocus their responsibility for oceans. I emphasized to the Minister that I support the direction he is leading to, but land claims and aboriginal rights must be respected and aboriginal people must be consulted. I further reminded him that there is a third ocean in Canada, the Arctic Ocean...

---Applause

...which deserves recognition and attention similar to that given by the department to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in southern Canada. I recommended that a separate Arctic region be created in the restructuring of his department.

We have for too long had to accept very limited recognition of the Arctic Ocean and had to rely on the goodwill of southern regions for management and scientific assessment of Arctic Ocean resources and fisheries. I strongly believe this is an opportunity for the Northwest Territories to be established as a distinct region for oceans and marine fisheries management, as well as to take responsibility for freshwater fisheries, including Arctic char. A northern region and northern fisheries management can only benefit the people of the Northwest Territories who have had to rely on the management and permission from southern Canada to utilize their own fisheries resources in the Northwest Territories.

Other plans put forward by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans include a reduced, more efficient and practical science program; a coordinated enforcement and vessel utilization between the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the departments of National Defence and Transport or Coast Guard; divestiture and privatization of harbour management; and, new revenue-generating options such as licence fees that are commensurate with the value of the public's fisheries resources which all Canadians, and people of the Northwest Territories in particular, depend on for subsistence, social, cultural and economic benefit.

Provincial/territorial Ministers presented the federal Minister with a consensus document, which I will provide to Members, outlining the concerns and positions of their respective jurisdictions.

Changes to the management of fisheries are necessary for effectiveness and efficiency and offer an opportunity for northern residents to benefit from. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans will trim approximately 40 per cent from its expenditures of approximately $800 million and 6,000 employees across Canada over the next five years. I intend to ensure that this reduction is not off-loaded onto the government and people of the Northwest Territories, and at the same time, work to ensure that the management of fisheries in both the freshwater and marine sectors of the Northwest Territories improves as responsibilities change for the benefit of our people.

Madam Speaker, within the next two or three weeks, deputy ministers of Fisheries from across Canada will meet on these issues. They will first examine the impact of changes in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for their own governments, and work out strategies to manage these changes. Our government will seek to realize the opportunities these changes will create for the benefit of the people of the Northwest Territories. It is my view, Madam Speaker, that we have the opportunity to control our own fisheries management and resources with the support of our people and for the benefit of our people in the north by our own government, if we choose. Qujannamiik.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 57-12(6): Meeting Of Fisheries Ministers
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 826

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Member for Mackenzie Delta, Mr. Nerysoo.

Minister's Statement 58-12(6): Building And Learning Strategy
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 826

Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, in the past, many northerners have had limited local access to high-skilled employment opportunities in the building construction occupations. To address this situation, the building and learning strategy was launched last year as a cooperative initiative by the NWT Housing Corporation, the Department of Public Works and Services and the Department of Education, Culture and Employment. The strategy provides northerners with training and employment opportunities in the building construction industry in their home communities on projects managed by the Housing Corporation and Public Works and Services. I would like to bring Members of this Assembly up to date on the progress made on this initiative.

This fall, more than 95 northern residents are receiving training in a variety of occupations, from trades helpers to project managers. The strategy has been expanded from the original six communities of Gjoa Haven, Pangnirtung, Rankin Inlet, Aklavik, Fort Good Hope and Fort Simpson in 1993-94 to include Baker Lake, Igloolik, Snare Lake, Lac La Martre, Fort Providence and Coppermine in 1994-95. In each location, members of the community form a community training committee to identify long-term construction training goals and to plan, deliver and evaluate the training opportunities. Regional Housing Corporation and Public Works project staff provide technical expertise, while the regional staff of Education, Culture and Employment provide training advice and career counselling support to the communities.

Approximately 30 residents are receiving entry level training as trades helpers, while another 30 are continuing their training received on last year's projects in more specialized areas such as carpenter helpers, plumber helpers and painter helpers. Approximately 10 apprentices are receiving valuable construction experience in carpentry and plumbing. Some residents are receiving training on the job to become supervisors and project managers.

Specialized training opportunities in drywalling, asbestos removal, concrete preparation and energy efficient carpentry are also being offered. These programs will all lead to recognition of skills and experience through certification. In some communities, pre-apprenticeship upgrading will be offered through Arctic College following the construction season to provide access to further training opportunities in future years.

As part of the strategy, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment is analysing the long-term construction training opportunities identified by communities and will be developing curriculum materials to support those needs.

Madam Speaker, in conclusion, I want to thank my honourable colleague, the Honourable Don Morin, for his support and advice in terms of ensuring the success of this particular program. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 58-12(6): Building And Learning Strategy
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 826

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Amittuq, Mr. Allooloo.

Memorial Service For Iqaluit Hunters
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 827

Titus Allooloo Amittuq

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Good afternoon. Madam Speaker, I have just returned from Iqaluit where I, along with several MLAs from the Baffin region, attended a memorial service for eight men who lost their lives in a tragic boating accident in Frobisher Bay last week.

Madam Speaker, it was a time of great sorrow as we joined with families and friends in mourning the loss of their individuals. As with any tragedy, Madam Speaker, there is also a brighter side that can be seen through the sadness and sense of loss. During this past week, the entire region was touched by an incredible sense of unity; as people searched together, played together, rejoiced together and mourned together.

This ability of Inuit to bind together in good times and in troubled times has been what has allowed us to survive as people for many generations. I hope this tradition continues well into the future. The ability to work together, especially to deal with difficult issues.

I would like to thank the people of Iqaluit for their comfort and generosity during my stay. I would like to thank the people from all over the Baffin region who came to Iqaluit to support families and friends of eight hunters. I would also like to thank the people from Ivujivik, Northern Quebec, who came to help as well. I would also like to thank those who could not physically be there, but who offered their prayers and support.

Madam Speaker, although the search has ended and the memorial service is concluded, I would encourage the people of Nunavut, Ivujivik and the entire NWT to continue to support the families of those hunters, since the healing process has just begun. Thank you.

Memorial Service For Iqaluit Hunters
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 827

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Baffin South, Mr. Pudlat.

Memorial Service For Iqaluit Hunters
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 827

Kenoayoak Pudlat Baffin South

(Translation) Thank you, Madam Speaker. I, too, will stand to talk about our visit to Iqaluit. There were many people who were lost; relatives and non-relatives. So we went over to Iqaluit to spend time with them. We managed to make it back safely here. Madam Speaker, although it was important for us to be here at the Assembly, it was also important for us to spend some time for these people who were in mourning. We were given a safe path to get there. It was an important excuse and reason for us to be here.

Like Titus Allooloo just said -- and he expressed it well and there is not too much I can add -- people were very friendly towards us in Iqaluit and the families were well taken care of by people from all over the communities. We ran into and met with many different people who came to help out. We saw a lot of unity, despite racial differences, in that community.

It is difficult to predict what the future will be like, so we have to stay together. We also noticed that it was important for us to unite and stay close to one another because fatalities like that will occur unexpectedly. When we were in Iqaluit, we found many ways to help each other. Our prayers are with the families and friends of the lost hunters and we hope people will continue to help support one another. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Memorial Service For Iqaluit Hunters
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 827

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Iqaluit, Mr. Patterson.

Gratitude For Support For Families Of Deceased In Iqaluit
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 827

Dennis Patterson Iqaluit

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I, too, have just returned from a very moving, emotional visit to my constituency, following the tragedy we learned of earlier last week. Although I came to Iqaluit with the idea of comforting those who lost loved ones, I ended up being comforted by the strength and faith of those families. They all expressed their enormous gratitude for the support they've received from all over the Northwest Territories, and Madam Speaker, that outpouring of support was overwhelming.

People came from Keewatin, from all over Baffin, from the south, and other parts of the territories to be there and offer support for those left behind. I want to especially convey my thanks to my fellow MLAs, Mr. Kenoayoak Pudlat from the neighbouring constituency of Baffin South, the Honourable Rebecca Mike, from the neighbouring constituency of Baffin Central, who also represented the Cabinet, and Mr. Titus Allooloo, MLA for Amittuq, who was also representing the Nunavut Caucus. I know that their taking the time to come to Iqaluit while the Legislature was still in session meant a great deal to the families of the deceased. To all those who came and to all who sent messages, food and other contributions, I wish to express my heartfelt thanks on behalf of my constituents.

I would also like to make special mention of the incredible effort of the Baffin region emergency response committee and rescue coordination centre in Halifax. They spared no effort. Many people put in many long hours on an incredible search effort. For example, immediately following the distress call from down the bay, two vessels which had been winterized and were already beached, were fuelled, had their electronic gears installed again, stores were open for food, a welding crew was assembled to prepare a skid for launching in the rough water, bulldozers were donated, a fuel truck arrived, all so that the Rhonjalee could be launched by 1:00 am. Crew members on the rescue vessels in gale force winds also went through extremely difficult times. Their efforts were critical in saving the two young men.

Plans are already well under way to establish a memorial for those who have been lost and a fund has been established at the Royal Bank in Iqaluit to help the families.

I would request a few moments more to conclude my statement, Madam Speaker.

Gratitude For Support For Families Of Deceased In Iqaluit
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 828

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. Patterson.