This is page numbers 55 - 89 of the Hansard for the 12th Assembly, 5th 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 violence.

Topics

Members Present

Mr. Allooloo, Mr. Antoine, Hon. Silas Arngna'naaq, Mr. Ballantyne, Hon. Nellie Cournoyea, Mr. Dent, Mr. Gargan, Hon. Stephen Kakfwi, Mr. Lewis, Hon. Jeannie Marie-Jewell, Hon. Rebecca Mike, Hon. Don Morin, Mr. Ng, Mr. Ningark, Mr. Patterson, Hon. John Pollard, Mr. Pudlat, Hon. John Todd, Mr. Whitford, Mr. Zoe

---Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

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Madam Speaker

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

The Baffin Leadership Summit
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Titus Allooloo Amittuq

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I rise today to inform the House and the public about the meeting that recently took place in Iqaluit. During the week of January 9 to 14, I had the honour of chairing the Baffin leadership summit which met to discuss issues of regional concern. Attending were MLAs from the Baffin region, mayors from the 13 communities, as well as representatives from the Baffin Regional Inuit Association, Baffin Divisional Board of Education, Kakivak Association, Quikiqtaluk Corporation, Nunavut Arctic College, Baffin Regional Health Board, Baffin Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centre, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated and the Government of the Northwest Territories.

During the intense four-day session, we discussed a wide variety of issues including education, especially getting leaders and the parents more involved in encouraging students to complete their schooling, retaining the name Arctic College for Nunavut campus, the need for family housing units for students, and support for Baffin and Nunavut training strategy and plan.

The second area of concern was economic development, which included a commitment to begin work on a Baffin economic strategy, including developing terms of reference for a regional economic planner position, support for parks and tourism, and ensuring that as much benefit as possible is retained by local people from sport hunting and other ventures.

The third topic was health. The main topic of discussion was support for design and construction of a the new Baffin Regional Hospital. Renewable Resources was a fourth issue. Topics included support for increases in funding for the Baffin Regional Hunters' and Trappers' Committee and requests that Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated ensure that the hunters income support program be put in place as soon as possible.

Madam Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to continue with my statement. Thank you.

The Baffin Leadership Summit
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Madam Speaker

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

The Baffin Leadership Summit
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Titus Allooloo Amittuq

Thank you, Madam Speaker and colleagues. In the area of housing, there was support for development of a strategy to address the urgent need for staff housing for some communities in the Baffin region. The sixth topic was alcohol and drug workers. Support was given for the effort to come up with more funds to address the lack of housing for staff and to supplement salaries and benefits to alcohol and drug workers. Number seven, Nunavut law school, the summit agreed to support the current initiatives to establish the Nunavut law school. The eighth area of concern was the code of conduct. We also committed to develop and adopt a code of conduct for Baffin leaders.

Madam Speaker, in addition, the Baffin Leadership Working Group was established to look into the possibility of creating an organization of Baffin leaders whose main function would be to enable us to cooperate and work together, a new and improved regional leaders forum, so to speak. Finally, Madam Speaker, we decided that the next Baffin leaders summit will be in Cape Dorset this spring. As you know, Cape Dorset is on the leading edge of the community transfer initiative program, and it will give us a chance, for the first time, to look at their progress.

At the appropriate time, Madam Speaker, I will be tabling copies of the 16 resolutions and related correspondence which provide further details of our discussion. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Baffin Leadership Summit
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Madam Speaker

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

Cutting Firewood In The Nwt
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Samuel Gargan Deh Cho

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I recently had a constituent of mine, Mr. Albert Norwegian, attempt to explain to me all the rules and permits necessary to cut firewood for a living in the Northwest Territories. Madam Speaker, in addition to having to comply with a provision of the Motor Vehicles Act, which restricts Mr. Norwegian to only use half the capability of his truck, Mr. Norwegian has to obtain the following permits: the land use permit, timber cutting permit, timber transport permit and a timber road ticket permit. The fees involved are astronomical. Wood cutters pay $950 up front to cut 150 cords of wood; $20 for the application fees; $54 for the stumpage fees; and, $270 for reforestation fees.

Madam Speaker, as most Members are aware, wood cutting contributes to the economy as well as to the environment. Firewood is culled from the forest. There is no clear cutting. The only wood that is used is dead wood. In my opinion, Madam Speaker, the wood cutting by its very nature, encourages the environment by allowing new growth to occur. I can see charging logging company stumpage and reforestation fees, but I do not believe that firewood cutting has the impact upon the environment that warrants the charging of these fees if any wood cutting contributes to the government's reforestation program.

Madam Speaker, the government pays people to cut firebreaks and thin trees in some areas. Why then is the government trying to discourage a small environmentally friendly business that will ultimately contribute to the success of their forestry initiative? Madam Speaker, the government has to take a serious look at its policy for firewood cutting. There has to be a better financial incentive for people to be involved in this industry. The government has over-regulated this industry. I will be pursuing this matter in the weeks to come. Mahsi cho, Madam Speaker.

Cutting Firewood In The Nwt
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Madam Speaker

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

White Cane Week
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Brian Lewis Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Yesterday, Madam Speaker, was the beginning of white cane week. This week is set aside to make the public aware of the challenges of blind people. Lydia Bardak, the executive director of the local branch of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, was here yesterday, and I believe she expected us to mark the beginning of this week. She did so herself yesterday, Madam Speaker, by co-hosting the morning radio show on CBC.

Throughout the country yesterday many people engaged in communications, sports, politics and entertainment to spend some time blindfolded. It gave them a brief experience of what it's like to live without sight.

Those of us who served on the last Assembly had the privilege of working with Charlie Crow, the MLA from Sanikiluaq, who had been blind since childhood and who gave deep insight into the enormous challenges that face blind people.

The CNIB celebrated it's 75th anniversary last year, and many of us took advantage of visiting the travelling exhibition. Canada has played a very important role in developing technology to assist blind people. I know Members will join me in offering best wishes to the CNIB for its successful campaign during this white cane week.

Members have in front of them a small package which contains a little document that tells you what you do when you meet a blind person, an example of Braille and a Braille alphabet bookmark. And, of course, everybody will have a white cane to remember that this is the beginning of white cane week. Thank you.

---Applause

White Cane Week
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Madam Speaker

Thank you. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Kitikmeot, Mr. Ng.

Cibc Installation Of Debit Card Terminals
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Kelvin Ng Kitikmeot

Thank you, Madam Speaker. The GNWT recently announced the awarding of its banking services to CIBC. In the January 18 press release, the Minister of Finance said the decision to remain with the bank was largely based on a combination of the service they will be providing to the government, combined with its branch network in the NWT, plans it has for community banking initiatives and their commitment for hiring more aboriginal staff.

These banking initiatives also confirm an exclusive arrangement CIBC has with the Northwest Company, for the installation of debit card terminals in various Northern Stores. Debit card service will allow card holders to pay directly for merchandise purchases, as well as receive cash from their accounts if they so desire.

Madam Speaker, I wish to point out that this new debit card service that will become available to some communities and to some consumers who have or will be able to obtain debit cards is, in fact, not of great benefit to residents of our communities. The individuals currently owning chequing accounts with banks were able to write cheques for their purchases and, in most cases, receive extra cash if required, so the availability of debit card terminals may add some convenience to the existing system. However, most of our residents will not be able to obtain debit cards or may not necessarily want them.

At this time, I do wish to commend CIBC for their efforts to provide a new service to our communities, in addition to the commercial and residential lending that the bank does in some of our communities.

I, personally, bank with CIBC and in the past have had various corporate accounts with them. From my experience, they have been the most responsive of all banks in addressing banking needs outside of Yellowknife. I look forward to any new initiatives the bank plans on implementing in improving accessibility to banking services in the communities.

Madam Speaker, my main concern with the CIBC banking proposal which has been accepted by the GNWT is the exclusive arrangement the bank has made with the Northwest Company for the installation of debit terminals in their various stores.

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

Cibc Installation Of Debit Card Terminals
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Madam Speaker

Thank you. The honourable Member is seeking unanimous consent to continue with his Member's statement. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Continue, Mr. Ng.

Cibc Installation Of Debit Card Terminals
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Kelvin Ng Kitikmeot

Thank you, Madam Speaker. This exclusive arrangement will be detrimental to all other retailers and competitors of Northern Stores. In the majority of our communities, the main competitor is the locally owned and controlled cooperative. These cooperative stores and other

private operators will lose a significant amount of their business as a result of not having the opportunity to establish debit card terminals in their stores.

Madam Speaker, I hope the GNWT recognizes this important concern and attempts to deal with it in a fair manner. Mahsi.

---Applause

Cibc Installation Of Debit Card Terminals
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Madam Speaker

Thank you. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Yellowknife South, Mr. Whitford.