This is page numbers 155 - 182 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 languages.

Topics

Members Present

Mr. Allooloo, 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. Rebecca Mike, Hon. Richard Nerysoo, Mr. Patterson, Hon. John Pollard, Mr. Pudlat, Mr. Pudluk, Hon. John Todd, Mr. Whitford, Mr. Zoe

---Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 155

Madam Speaker

Good afternoon. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Member for Baffin central, Ms. Mike.

Minister's Statement 14-12(5): Long-term Staff Housing Strategy
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 155

Rebecca Mike Baffin Central

Thank you, Madam Speaker. In March of 1993, this Assembly approved the long-term staff housing strategy.

Contained in the strategy was the decision to dispose of all staff housing in level I communities. Specifically, we agreed to sell all government-owned staff housing units in Yellowknife, Fort Smith and Inuvik. If our staff housing units were leased, we decided we should negotiate with landlords to cancel the leases and allow employee/tenants to become direct tenants with the landlords.

In level II and III communities, employees who were tenants in government-owned staff houses, were given an opportunity to purchase their homes from us. Initially, only employee tenants in single detached units and some of our duplexes were given this opportunity.

Last month, all employee/tenants who were occupying a government-owned staff unit, including multi-family buildings, on December 16, 1993, were given a final opportunity to tell us if they were interested in purchasing their units. If they were interested, they had to advise Personnel before February 11, 1994.

In Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit, employees were given until February 18, 1994 to respond to our offer.

By the end of this week, we will have received all expressions of interest.

The Department of Public Works and Services will arrange for an independent appraiser to prepare property appraisals of each unit where the employee/tenant has indicated an interest to purchase.

Following those appraisals, invitations to purchase will be prepared by Public Works and Services to send to the employees. Sale prices will be based on 90 per cent of the appraised value. Each employee will be given 30 days time to respond with a formal offer.

Cabinet will review all proposed sale prices of multi-family buildings.

Personnel, in conjunction with affected departments, will then assess each community's staff housing needs to determine if there are any units that are surplus to staff needs. During the assessment, we will consider the number of high income employees who live in Housing Corporation units. Sufficient units will be retained to allow these employees to move in if they wish. We will also review the number of staff houses which have been leased to private organizations and non-employees.

When the community assessment is complete, I will meet with individual MLAs and discuss the assessment results, examine each community's needs and review methods of disposal of any surplus units. This consultation process is a critical step in any decision to dispose of units and I am committed to it.

Where the MLA and I agree that there are housing units which are surplus to our staff needs, I will formally advise the Minister of Public Works and Services. His department will remove the units from the staff housing inventory and dispose of them in accordance with the GNWT disposal policy. The disposal policy, which is the responsibility of Public Works and Services, provides for further consultation with MLAs, GNWT agencies and community governments. Under the policy, surplus housing units could be used for public housing, sold to community groups or to the general public.

With regard to future staff housing needs, and in particular, teacher housing needs, the OPPLAN review has already identified which communities will require additional units because of new positions. This includes the extension of grade levels offered in communities.

In July of last year, in addition to the OPPLAN process, the Financial Management Board approved the acquisition of 16 additional units. The majority of these extra housing units were for teachers.

Madam Speaker, the Department of Personnel's role in staff housing is quite specific. Personnel determines how many units are needed in each community. Personnel allocates units to individual staff members. In doing this, the department relies on established guidelines which identify the level of priority for employees based on their family size. The department has also found that regional housing committees, involving at least the regional director and another senior manager, prevent accusations and suggestions of favouritism.

Personnel advises Public Works and Services if any units are surplus to staff needs. Under the long-term staff housing strategy, our role is also quite clear.

Personnel plays the lead role in dealing with tenants on such things as rent, user-pay and eligibility to purchase.

Personnel does not negotiate purchases with tenants. That is the responsibility of Public Works and Services.

Madam Speaker, I hope this statement helps to clarify Personnel's role in the staff housing area. Thank you.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 14-12(5): Long-term Staff Housing Strategy
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Madam Speaker

Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Minister of Education, Communication and Culture, Mr. Nerysoo.

Minister's Statement 15-12(5): Nunavut Education Planning Meeting
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 156

Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I'd like to take this opportunity to report on the Nunavut education planning meeting I attended in Rankin Inlet last week.

This was an inaugural meeting, bringing together various partners in education to consider the matter of education in Nunavut and the development of a Nunavut school system. Planning for this important meeting began almost a year ago, largely at the initiative of Mr. Dennis Lyall, chairperson of Kitikmeot Divisional Board of Education. It was last September when I committed to Mr. Lyall that I would attend this formative meeting.

Twenty-four leaders in education attended, representing the three Nunavut divisional boards of education, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, the Nunavut Implementation Commission, the Nunavut Implementation Training Committee, Arctic College and my department.

At the opening session, the board chairpersons described their concerns that the Nunavut final agreement said little about the school system, about the children of Nunavut and the fact that the children are the future of Nunavut.

Delegates looked at what is happening in each of the boards today and noted that much progress had been made in the past 25 years. They described their vision of schooling in Nunavut, with first language instruction in Inuktitut from kindergarten to grade 12, with the Inuit culture as the first culture and with Inuit teachers and administrators throughout the system. They also examined some of the challenges to achieving that vision. They talked about increasing community control of education and how to meet the needs of children in schools. They asked themselves what should a school look like to make it an Inuit school.

They also noted that community-based education is having a tremendously positive economic impact -- divisional boards of education are often the single largest employer in communities.

Madam Speaker, the people of Nunavut have a vision for their children and their children's education. The proposed transfer of education is scheduled for 2006, but the consensus was that education should be among the first responsibilities of the new government in 1999. They want to begin planning now, and begin acting together now, so that the design and delivery of the education system is in place as soon as possible to support the development of Nunavut and the preparation of the Inuit to run the new government.

Madam Speaker, the divisional boards of education want to be recognized as playing a leadership role in preparing their constituents for the new opportunities of Nunavut. They wish to work together with the rest of the Nunavut leadership at the meeting and with the Nunavut Caucus of this Assembly to develop plans and steps for implementation starting now.

I applaud their vision and their leadership, and along with Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporation and the Nunavut Implementation Committee, representatives present agreed to support a working committee with all key players to continue the planning process. The committee is planning to meet in March.

Madam Speaker, when I receive the minutes from the meeting, I will circulate them to all Members of this House. I then look forward to the coming months and to participation in this absolutely critical matter of moving the development of the people of Nunavut to the forefront for consideration in discussions on division.

At the appropriate time, I will be tabling the agenda of the particular meeting. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Minister's Statement 15-12(5): Nunavut Education Planning Meeting
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 156

Madam Speaker

Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Minister of Education.

Minister's Statement 16-12(5): National Meeting On Income Security Reform
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 156

Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Madam Speaker, at the end of January, the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy, the federal Minister of Human Resource Development, made an announcement on income security reform in the House of Commons. He highlighted the need to restructure the unemployment insurance program and the Canada assistance plan. He also stated the importance of enhancing child care, ensuring basic income security for those in need and improving education and training opportunities for social assistance recipients.

Our government has already begun developing a new approach to income security so that we can use social assistance dollars to invest in people. Many people on social assistance are capable of working and need counselling, upgrading, training and work experience to help them access jobs and become more self-sufficient. We are developing pilot projects with communities and the federal government which we hope will begin in the next fiscal year.

The reform process will take a great deal of commitment if it is to be meaningful. However, the current system was designed in the mid-1940s and is no longer relevant for Canadians. It must be changed, and we will have to devote the needed resources to this project to ensure that the reforms satisfy the unique needs of the Northwest Territories. Following this announcement, a joint meeting of federal/provincial/territorial Labour Market and Social Services Ministers was held in Ottawa, of which I attended, to plan the reform process.

I have just returned from the meeting and was extremely pleased with the outcome. All jurisdictions are committed to the process of national income security reform, and are actively involved in the process of change. Pilot projects have already started in Quebec and New Brunswick to test innovative new approaches to income security and job creation. We have a lot to learn from the work that is going on across the country, but I am confident the approach we have undertaken is consistent with those of other jurisdictions and will allow us to continue existing cost-sharing arrangements with the federal government.

The joint Ministers' meeting resulted in a consensus on the need for reform. An agreement was reached on a cooperative approach to changing the structure of the national safety net. A wide range of activities are planned over the course of the next few months. A steering committee of all federal/provincial/territorial deputy ministers has been established to develop the scope, the principles and the time frame for the reform process. Their work will be done in the next month.

The federal budget scheduled for next week is expected to propose changes to regulations to allow for flexibility in developing and testing innovative cost-shared pilot projects between the different levels of government.

Further, a series of ministerial meetings have been scheduled. The first will be a meeting of education and labour market Ministers held at the end of February to explore the school-to-work transition, to discuss the national apprenticeship program, and to consider additional training initiatives for our workforce.

A second meeting will be held at the end of April to review the work of the deputy ministers' steering committee and to consider recommendations from a task force of eminent Canadians established by Mr. Axworthy. A half-day consultation session has been scheduled to deal specifically with aboriginal issues related to income security. The meeting will result in a plan of action for public input and consultation prior to making legislative and policy changes.

A third meeting will occur in the fall of 1994 and will follow a series of public forums and consultations on a range of potential options. At that point, the federal Minister will involve the provincial/territorial Ministers in making decisions on the development and implementation of new employment and social security legislation to take effect in 1995-96.

Madam Speaker, discussions also have to take place with the federal government over the next few months to work out a suitable process for public participation in all jurisdictions. I am pleased to advise that Mr. Axworthy has agreed to negotiate bilaterally to eliminate overlap and duplication between all levels of government. We will be proposing the idea of co-locating the administrative staff of the federal and territorial governments to more appropriately serve the people of the Northwest Territories.

Madam Speaker, we must be involved in this change and I am confident that we will be able to influence it. My colleague, the Honourable Rebecca Mike, and I will be tabling a discussion paper later this session to outline our approach and the process of income security reform for the Northwest Territories. We would like to again extend the offer to brief the legislative Caucus on the proposed initiative, and we are committed to further involve MLAs and the public in determining the new direction for income support.

Madam Speaker, I intend to continue to participate in the national discussions as they develop, and I will keep the House informed of progress made at the territorial and federal levels. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 16-12(5): National Meeting On Income Security Reform
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 157

Madam Speaker

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

Minister's Statement 17-12(5): Minister Absent From House
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 157

Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Madam Speaker, this is to advise that the Honourable Don Morin will be absent from the House today. His absence is due to attending the annual general meeting of the Kitikmeot Inuit Association in Cambridge Bay. Thank you.

Minister's Statement 17-12(5): Minister Absent From House
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 157

Madam Speaker

Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Before we go to Item 3, Members' statements, the Speaker would like to recognize the university graduates from the Ontario internship program from the Ontario Legislative Assembly, accompanied by Professor Graham White, who is the director of the internship program. Welcome to our Assembly.

---Applause

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

Difficulty Of Deputy Speaker Raising Procedural Issues
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 157

Brian Lewis Yellowknife Centre

Yesterday, in response to Question 83-12(5), Mr. Patterson had asked the Honourable Rebecca Mike about the location of the long-term staff housing policy, where subsequently, Madam Speaker, you recognized the Premier who then proceeded to give a history of the long-term housing strategy of the government from a prepared text, and, in fact, gave us a combination of both the history and the policy of this government as it's been developed over many years, and I rose on a point of order.

I'm new in this job, Madam Speaker. I looked around and saw that many of the Members were quizzical and uncertain as to what was going on, and for that reason I had risen on a point of order. I realized afterwards that I am now one of your officers at this table, three of us, and that I could have been put in the very difficult position, if you had been sick today, of having to rule on my own point of order. So I rise today to inform the House that in future, if I see any procedural problems, I will not stand and raise any procedural issues. Thank you.

Difficulty Of Deputy Speaker Raising Procedural Issues
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 158

Madam Speaker

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

Success Of Yellowknife Inuit Association Celebration
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 158

Titus Allooloo Amittuq

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Yesterday evening, the Inuit of Yellowknife assembled in the great hall of this building to celebrate the beginning of the Yellowknife Inuit Association. I would like to thank you, Madam Speaker, for graciously allowing us the use of this beautiful facility. The event, according to all accounts, was very successful. I am told that 224 people signed up for membership. Including visitors, there were well over 250 people attending the event. We feasted on muktuk, caribou, char, stew and bannock, along with gallons of tea and coffee. The music of Susan Aglukark and Simeonie Keenainak had us enjoying somewhat confused, but very fun-filled square dances. This happened as factions from different regions simultaneously tried to incorporate their local styles into Yellowknife square dance.

---Laughter

We also received some good suggestions for future events and drew up a list of people willing to contribute their time and talent to the organization. A committee of volunteers are at the present time drafting up a process for the election of executive to be held by the end of March 1994.

Madam Speaker, many people contributed a lot of time and effort to last night's event, and I would like to mention the following: Honourable Nellie Cournoyea for her generosity in cooking the caribou roast; Chief Jonas Sangris; Paul Lyall; Nunasi Corporation; Joe Arlooktoo; Becky Mike for soft drinks; Tony Whitford; Gary Perkison; Mikle Langenhan; Dorothy Zoe; Gary Jaeb; and Royal Catering, for contributing to the meal. Pido Productions also contributed the sound system for music. I also want to acknowledge the hard work of the Yellowknife Inuit Association working group that I had the pleasure of working with: Susie Napayok; Victor Tooktoo; Mikle Langenhan. I request unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Success Of Yellowknife Inuit Association Celebration
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Madam Speaker

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