This is page numbers 89 - 104 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 going.

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

Page 89

Madam Speaker

Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Member for Sahtu, Mr. Kakfwi.

Minister's Statement 8-12(5): European Fur Import Regulation
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 89

Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker. A European community regulation with regard to fur import has the potential to stop the import of any wild fur pelt or product into Europe after 1994. After my meetings with European politicians, bureaucrats and non-government organizations a few weeks ago, I came to the realization that Canada has probably not yet done enough to ensure maintaining the European market for wild fur.

Over 75 per cent of our wild fur is sold to Europe. If we lose this market, we will lose our wild fur industry since no alternative markets exist at this time. This will have a very serious consequence for our trappers, our economy and our northern society.

The Europeans I met knew little about the Northwest Territories and about how we live. I spent a great deal of time talking to people about our communities, our economic options and that we want to be able to make a living from the resources in our backyard. These are the same goals that Europeans have but they do not seem to see this. I also explained that we are as committed to humane trapping methods as they are, or as they think they are. I told them of our programs and our progress. But, the animal welfare groups and the animal activists are very influential, very well organized and they seem to be everywhere. These groups were surprised with the progress we have made toward humane trapping and are now campaigning on several fronts to make the regulations even more strict.

In 1988, long before the European regulation was agreed to, the Canadian Ministers of Wildlife agreed to adopt 12 recommendations made by the Fur Institute of Canada to make trapping more humane. Since then, the Department of Renewable Resources and trappers in the Northwest Territories have been working to learn new ways of trapping that are humane. This has not been an easy change and there are still some who are not convinced that it is necessary. I believe, however, and must emphasize, that it is necessary if we wish to sell our furs in the future.

During this session, I will be tabling a draft Northwest Territories fur strategy. This strategy will show the tremendous opportunities we have to increase our fur industry and provide more benefits to our harvesters and our people who work with furs. I want to make sure that this door remains open.

After I returned from Europe, I immediately wrote to the federal Ministers of Environment, Foreign Affairs, Indian and Northern Affairs and International Trade. I also met with the Honourable Ethel Blondin-Andrews and have written to Mr. Jack Anawak. We have requested that the European fur import regulation become Canada's top trade issue since no other trade issue faces a total embargo. We have also requested that the Minister of Environment, the Honourable Sheila Copps, meet with European Environment Ministers, whose staff are involved in determining how the European fur import regulation will be interpreted.

We have also contacted our provincial counterparts, who are now equally concerned. Environment Canada and all wildlife agencies will be meeting in Ottawa on February 14 to discuss the next steps Canada must take and assess again what is left to do to meet the requirements of the European regulation.

I will keep this Legislative Assembly advised and I have also directed the Department of Renewable Resources to keep trappers and the public on the Northwest Territories advised as events unfold. Thank you.

Minister's Statement 8-12(5): European Fur Import Regulation
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 89

Madam Speaker

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

Yellowknife Inuit Association
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 89

Titus Allooloo Amittuq

(Translation) Thank you, Madam Speaker. During the last session, I informed this House that local Inuit were in the process of forming an Inuit association here in Yellowknife. At that time, I talked about the importance of unity to the Inuit people, and the need for networking amongst Inuit living in Yellowknife. Since then, a dedicated group of volunteers has been working hard behind the scenes to make this new association a reality. (Translation ends)

Madam Speaker, there is a general consensus that the Yellowknife Inuit Association should provide moral support and be the vehicle for social gatherings. The Yellowknife Inuit Association will also, on occasion, contribute to the political process for Nunavut and the NWT in the important years to come.

There is also an agreement that it should not be a strictly ethnic organization, but open to non-Inuit family members on an associate membership basis.

(Translation) Madam Speaker, I would also like to say that I'm very happy to announce that next Tuesday, February 15, 1994, at 7:00 pm, the Inuit of Yellowknife will gather in the great hall of this building to launch the new association. This will be an opportunity for Inuit to register themselves and their families with the association, as well as to kick up their heels at the square dance. In addition, real food such as char, caribou, bannock and tea will be served.

Madam Speaker, I invite all Inuit living in Yellowknife, whether they are Inuvialuit or Inuinnait or if you are just here for that day, along with your families and friends, to attend the joyous occasion and help celebrate the birth of the Yellowknife Inuit Association. Thank you.

---Applause

Yellowknife Inuit Association
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 90

Madam Speaker

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

Non-participation Of Treaty 8 Chiefs In Constitutional Discussions
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 90

Brian Lewis Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Last night, Members had the distinct pleasure of listening to Treaty 8 chiefs in our Caucus room. It was a historic occasion to have native leaders visiting with us in this place of Assembly. However, Madam Speaker, because of the difficult times we are now going through in terms of constitutional development, many problems have been posed in recent weeks because of the position of Treaty 8 chiefs not to participate in further constitutional discussion for the creation of a new Northwest Territories Act or a replacement act to deal with the requirements of the people left over when Nunavut is created in 1999.

I promised my colleagues this morning that I would not make a statement of great substance on this issue today until we've had further discussion among ourselves and also with the people we represent. But it does pose very grave problems for further constitutional debate in the west if some players have decided that they don't want to take part in the process. It seems to me that we could be heading towards the same kind of difficulty that Canada has headed in the past, when it has decided to proceed with constitutional development with the exclusion of Quebec.

For that reason, Madam Speaker, it seems to me we have to take a good look at this process to make sure that whatever steps we take over the next few months are done in the best interests of all the people in the western Arctic. Thank you, very much.

Non-participation Of Treaty 8 Chiefs In Constitutional Discussions
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 90

Madam Speaker

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

A Balanced Budget
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 90

Samuel Gargan Deh Cho

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I rise today, before we begin consideration of the budget on Monday, to bring to the Members' and Ministers' attention a number of concerns I have on the subject of a balanced budget. All of us, as Members of this Legislative Assembly, are aware of the serious shortage of social housing in some of our communities. As all of you also know, this shortage, by the very nature of the problems encountered by the individuals and families affected, contributes to the high costs of social and medical programs. This is an old problem. It is not going to go away. We have to deal with it.

Madam Speaker, the need for adequate housing is not the only priority this government faces in allocating its funding. Along with the age-old problems, which I will not repeat here, we face other new demands upon our finances. Issues that will have to be dealt with in the coming years include shelters for abused women and children, possible restitution for children abused in residential schools, salaries for care givers, gender equality and job equity for government employees.

Madam Speaker, some of these issues, such as pay equity, cannot be avoided. Sooner or later, this government is going to have to pay the piper. Where will this money come from? What programs or services are going to suffer? Sometimes, Madam Speaker, spending money on specific problems is the only way to deal with the larger picture. If we spend, for example, money now on women's shelters and public housing, we would be saving money on social programs in the long run. By helping the victims of abuse now, we prevent their children from becoming abusers themselves.

The business incentive policy and the negotiated contracts are like this. We may pay a little extra to get the job done, but we are helping the unemployed pay their own way.

A Balanced Budget
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 90

An Hon. Member

Hear, hear.

A Balanced Budget
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 90

Samuel Gargan Deh Cho

Which, in turn, saves the government money on social programs. We have difficult choices to make. There are too many programs and services we can no longer put off. For the sake of the next generation, we must take action.

Madam Speaker, the Standing Committee on Finance has given the government little alternative but to present a balanced budget. But, this is part of the latest trend in Canadian politics, which is placing a burden on the subsequent generation. Madam Speaker, right now, I'm more concerned about whether there will be a subsequent generation. I will be tabling a report prepared for me by the research division, outlining budget initiatives in other Canadian jurisdictions. Deficit financing may be the only option. I ask that Members not dismiss this option out of hand. Thank you.

A Balanced Budget
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 90

Madam Speaker

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

Cigarette Taxation
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 90

Dennis Patterson Iqaluit

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I rise to talk about a current national issue and also, unfortunately, an issue that is going to impact the territories

and has already impacted my constituency of Iqaluit. That has to do with the question of tobacco taxes. I would like to make a few comments. Firstly, I'm appalled at the way the federal government has politicized this problem and reacted to political pressures on a very delicate public policy issue.

Secondly, I'm surprised that so far our government hasn't fully indicated where it stands. There was indication -- although the Premier indicated she was not fully briefed on the matter -- the other day that prices wouldn't change. That same day prices did change. They were lowered in my constituency and, I believe, in Yellowknife. I think we have to face reality that wholesalers are advising their customers in Iqaluit that they can and should reduce the price of cigarettes by the amount of the lowered federal tax.

There is some confusion now about just what our government's position is on this issue. In Iqaluit, I'm told by one retailer, whose letter I tabled in the House yesterday, that French cab drivers will be depriving the GNWT of tax revenue in Iqaluit by selling cigarettes and perhaps selling them indiscriminately to minors. I'm advised that cigarettes will be smuggled in, in food orders, and that people will stop or reduce their purchases in my constituency.

Yet, there are other considerations. We have a smoking and lung cancer epidemic in the Northwest Territories. We know that high prices are a deterrent to smoking and have, up to now, in Canada, resulted in a reduction by 40 per cent of the consumption of cigarettes over the last ten years. This is an important issue that should be debated as a matter of public policy and probably in this Legislature. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Cigarette Taxation
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 91

Madam Speaker

Thank you. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Nahendeh, Mr. Antoine.