This is page numbers 213 - 241 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 chairman.

Topics

Members Present

Mr. Allooloo, Hon. Silas Arngna'naaq, Mr. Arvaluk, Mr. Ballantyne, Hon. Nellie Cournoyea, 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, Mr. Whitford, Mr. Zoe

---Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

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Madam Speaker

Good morning. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Member for Hay River, Mr. Pollard.

Minister's Statement 21-12(5): Minister Absent From The House
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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John Pollard Hay River

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, the Honourable John Todd will be absent from the House today and Monday on personal business. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Minister's Statement 21-12(5): Minister Absent From The House
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Madam Speaker

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

Payroll Tax
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Fred Koe Inuvik

Mahsi, Madam Speaker. In February 1993, during debate on the proposed payroll tax initiative, the Minister of Finance made many compassionate pleas and arguments regarding the objectives and merits of the payroll tax. The main argument used, in one of the objectives of the payroll tax, is to obtain tax revenues from individuals who work in the Northwest Territories, but do not reside nor pay income tax in the Northwest Territories.

The Minister also stated that after years of study, the payroll tax system was determined to be the only feasible method to meet the objective of taxing temporary and non-resident workers. In the recent budget speech of February 14, the Minister of Finance stated that, "This government remains convinced that all individuals who are employed in the Northwest Territories must share in the tax burden. The payroll tax is the most effective way we have to ensure that such sharing takes place." However, on February 15, 1994, in response to an oral question made by my colleague, Mr. Whitford, the Minister of Finance admitted that not everyone who works in the Northwest Territories has been trapped in the net, for example, self-employed people.

Madam Speaker, these comments and statements give some mixed messages. Initially, when the Minister of Finance was seeking support for the payroll tax bill, he used the argument that the burden be placed on workers from outside of the Northwest Territories. Now he states that this government remains convinced that all individuals who are employed in the Northwest Territories must share in the tax burden, through the payroll tax. Madam Speaker, the public deserves a consistent message. Mahsi.

Payroll Tax
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Madam Speaker

Thank you. The Speaker would like to recognize in the gallery, Lucy Filion, from Edmonton and Diane Wearden, from Peace River and their competitive skipping team representing the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Welcome.

---Applause

Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Yellowknife Frame Lake, Mr. Dent.

Performance Of Ministers
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, on behalf of the Ordinary Members' Caucus, I have been asked to advise the Premier, through you, Madam Speaker, that we have some concerns. Madam Speaker, in December, Members and Ministers were involved in the mid-term review. During that review, the responsiveness of Ministers was a key factor in reviewing their performance. Ministers were told that we expect them to be prepared and to treat ordinary Members with courtesy and respect.

Madam Speaker, since the review, there seems to be a somewhat disturbing trend taking place among some Ministers, especially during question period. More than once, Ministers have not answered questions saying they have not been in the portfolio long enough. I must say, Members on this side feel that after periods of three to six months, we expect Ministers to be prepared for question period.

Sometimes it has been obvious that Ministers have not been paying attention and questions have had to be asked again or Members have had to point out that Ministers are not prepared to hear a question when they don't speak a language in which the question is being posed. Other times, Members have been told that if a Member wants an answer to a question, they could go directly to the department. Madam Speaker, Members have a privilege in this House of asking questions that they believe the Minister should have the knowledge of. Members expect to get an answer from the Ministers. If the Minister isn't prepared to give an answer, he always has the option of taking the question as notice. But it is not considered acceptable, by Members on this side of the House, for a Minister to suggest that a Member should go directly to the department. OMC Members are asking questions which are important to them and to their constituents. Ministers are expected during question period to pay attention and respond as fully as they can. A cooperative relationship will help all of us do a better job for all of our constituents. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Performance Of Ministers
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Madam Speaker

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

Health And Safety Concerns Of People Living In The Bush
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Brian Lewis Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I am not what is called a "linear thinker," Madam Speaker. So I try to get as much in my Member's statement as I possibly can and hope that people can take the messages from it. My statement today owes its origin to three different sources. The fact that we met with the representatives of the Treaty 11 chiefs last night and I had a chance to think about the way things must have been in 1921. This week we also discussed the extension of benefits to hunters and trappers and the fact that there is some concern that perhaps things that go on in the bush are not that serious and we should be looking at their benefits.

Also what prompted my statement today, Madam Speaker, is the continuing debate between smoking and health. I read the other night, Madam Speaker, in the case of snow blindness, many, many years ago it was the custom that if a man were to become snow blind -- on the kinds of days that we're having just about now -- to drag the partner into the bush, open up the eyelids and then proceed to wipe the person's eyeballs with the tongue. That, in fact, cured snow blindness. However, the text I read from by a Metis elder, which was recorded about 100 years ago, was that you don't allow your partner to do that if he is a smoker. Because, if you smoke and you try to cure snow blindness, then the nicotine from your tongue would, in fact, make your eyes even worse than they were before.

The message I'm giving today is that those people who live in the bush really are afraid of becoming sick, they're afraid of injury, they're very careful and this little incident from the past indicates the degree to which people were really concerned about safety and conducting themselves in a way that make their way of life a safe occupation. Thank you.

Health And Safety Concerns Of People Living In The Bush
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Madam Speaker

Thank you. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Sahtu, Mr. Kakfwi.

The Passing Of Wayne Mctaggart
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker. On behalf of myself and my family, I would like to extend my deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and the many friends of Wayne McTaggart of Fort Norman.

Wayne McTaggart committed suicide a few days ago. A young man who has endured many personal tragedies and difficulties during his lifetime. Wayne had always taken a deep personal interest, in all the years I've known him, in advancing the political cause and fighting for the right and recognition of Metis people, and has done extensive work and has involved himself at great length with the development of the Dene/Metis comprehensive claim that took place during the early and late 1980s. He worked tirelessly for the Metis of his community and the Northwest Territories, and has served as a past executive of the Metis Nation.

More recently, he chaired the Sahtu Land Claim Ratification Committee. He was always seen to approach his work with a sense of commitment and a sense of humour. I must say, in spite of the incredibly difficult issues and conflicts that all of us have endured over the years in our work supporting the cause of Metis people, Dene people, Inuit and Inuvialuit, many of us have found sometimes a need to dip into inflicting upon each other some personal pain, some insults and sarcasm. I must say from a personal point of view, Mr. McTaggart was one person who has never, in every instance that I've dealt with him, done that to me. In spite of the differences we've had in the approach we want to take to the work, in spite of all his rough edges and his personal background he has never, in my recollection, taken to personalizing the differences that we've come up to on occasion.

He is one person that I know who I've worked with over the years who always conducted himself professionally in working out the many problems and issues that we had to tackle together.

I wish to let the Members know that I've been very, very shaken with the loss of this man. Thank you.

The Passing Of Wayne Mctaggart
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Madam Speaker

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

Inuit Archaeology Conference
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Titus Allooloo Amittuq

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I would to inform the House of the meeting that recently took place in one of the communities in my constituency, Igloolik.

During the week of February 7, 1994, the first ever conference on Inuit archaeology in Nunavut took place. The name of the conference was "Ittarnisalirijiit," which means those who deal with ancient artifacts, in Inuktitut. The main purpose of the conference was to find a way for Inuit to work more closely with archaeologists and cultural groups, and also to set up guidelines for a conduct for archaeologists working in Inuit lands.

I've been informed by the co-chair of the conference, Deborah Kigjugalik-Webster, that the meeting went extremely well. I will be tabling, later on during this session, the 20 resolutions that were adopted at the conference. These resolutions range from encouraging archaeologists to involve local people in projects, ensuring projects have the approval of the hamlet councils, the involvement of elders, the translation of reports into Inuktitut, the set-up of regional museums and many others.

I encourage the organizers of the conference to continue with the good work started at this first-ever conference of its type in Nunavut. I want to also assure them that I am committed to actively supporting the continuation of this valuable work in the form of ongoing dialogue and future conferences.

For the information of Members of this House and the public, the conference proceedings will be aired on CBC North, Inuktitut Current Affairs program, "Aqsarniit", on February 23. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Inuit Archaeology Conference
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Madam Speaker

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