This is page numbers 339 - 366 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 education.

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. Don Morin, Hon. Richard Nerysoo, Mr. Ng, Mr. Ningark, Hon. John Pollard, Mr. Pudlat, Mr. Pudluk, Hon. John Todd, Mr. Whitford, Mr. Zoe

---Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 339

Madam Speaker

Thank you. Good afternoon. I wish to inform the Assembly that I have received the following message from his Honour, Commissioner Norris: "I wish to advise that I recommend to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories the passage of Bill 13, Supplementary Appropriation Act, No. 3, 1993-94, during the Fifth Session of the 12th Legislative Assembly. Yours truly, D. L. Norris." The letter is dated February 24, 1994.

Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Member for Keewatin Central, Mr. Todd.

Minister's Statement 24-12(5): Cessation Of The Izok Lake Project
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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John Todd Keewatin Central

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, this Monday, Metall Mining informed the GNWT that they will not be proceeding with the development of the Izok Lake project at this time. The company will be stopping the feasibility study, as well as the negotiations with the Kitikmeot Inuit Association on a benefit agreement and the environmental review process. Metall states that the current metal prices, primarily for zinc, are too low and the cost of transportation are too high for the deposit to be economic in the near future.

There appears to be little the government can do to deal with the economic factors that have stopped the project. Metal prices are set on the world market. The price of zinc is close to record lows with large stockpiles.

This delay is deeply disappointing given the large expenditure the company and its investors have made in the project. It is also disappointing given all the hard work the company and the Inuit had put into developing a benefit agreement. This agreement was near completion and would have guaranteed northerners badly needed jobs.

It is important to realize that all the work and effort has not been for nothing. The project can be revitalized when economic factors change. Although this is a setback to the mineral industry in the NWT, the mineral potential that Izok Lake represents remains. This deposit will be one day mined in a way that hopefully contributes to the north's development. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Minister's Statement 24-12(5): Cessation Of The Izok Lake Project
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Madam Speaker

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

Minister's Statement 25-12(5): Towards Excellence, Improving Student Achievement
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I believe that most of the Members of this Assembly are aware that the Department of Education, Culture and Employment is taking part in the school achievement indicators program, a national assessment program coordinated by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada. Over the next few years, 13 year old and 16 year old students across the country will be assessed in the areas of mathematics, reading, writing and science. These subject areas are key to a student's success in a future that will be marked by complex information and technology.

Madam Speaker, one of the greatest benefits of participating in this program is that it improves the department's ability to monitor the success of school programs and to plan for improvements. Assessments will be done in each of the key subject areas in a regular cycle, allowing us to measure the improvements of students and the school system over time.

In December, we received the results of the first mathematics assessment. A group comprised of 13 year old and 16 year old students were tested on their understanding of mathematical content and on their problem-solving skills. The percentage of NWT students achieving at the highest levels was similar to the national results, while a smaller proportion achieved at the middle levels. However, more NWT students achieved at or below the lowest level than their counterparts across Canada.

Madam Speaker, needless to say, I do not find these results acceptable, nor does the Department of Education, Culture and Employment. The department has already developed an initiative to improve the performance of NWT students with the goal of having students achieve at or above the Canadian average by 1997, when the next national mathematics assessment is conducted. This initiative, called "Towards Excellence," focuses on improving students' numeracy and literacy skills and will become a key component of the department's educational quality indicators project.

The first part of the project will focus on improving mathematics skills in kindergarten to grade six, in order to lay a strong numeracy foundation for students. A similar plan of action for improving literacy will be developed along with the administration of the reading and writing assessment, which will be held in April of this year.

Some of the activities under this initiative will be new, while others will involve putting a renewed emphasis on activities and procedures that are already in place. For instance, department staff will review the results of the current mathematics assessment, as well as past assessments, information on student health and other pertinent documents. They will use this information to develop a profile of NWT students to identify areas for improvement. In addition, a new survey for teachers and students regarding the NWT math curriculum will be developed and administered.

Support for standards in mathematics will be strengthened by activities such as facilitating the use of the student evaluation handbook developed by the department and keeping current with developments across Canada and the world.

Teachers play a critical role in providing quality instruction in mathematics. To ensure that new teachers are well prepared to teach math, the department will work with Arctic College to provide support in the area of curriculum, effective teaching strategies and use of resources. Teachers already working in the school system will be offered opportunities for increased training in teaching mathematics and will be kept up to date on the use of technology and other resources in teaching math. The department intends to make use of distance education technologies already in place, such as Television Northern Canada and the north of 60 electronic bulletin board system to accomplish much of this work. In addition, a symposium for mathematics leaders from each board is scheduled for the fall of 1995.

Teachers who contribute significantly to the improvement of math instruction will be recognized and their methods shared with other teachers. With the participation of teachers, the department will assist schools and boards in the development of short and long-term goals and strategies to improve numeracy and literacy skills of students. With the help of our partners in education, the department also plans to establish in-school numeracy and literacy teacher councils for kindergarten to grade three and grades four to six.

Madam Speaker, in light of the results from the school achievement indicators program, I am asking my department and the divisional boards of education to place a renewed emphasis on the amount of classroom time spent on mathematics and language arts. Departmental guidelines specify that 18 per cent of the school day should be spent on math, while 21 per cent is spent on the language of instruction and nine per cent on another language. School programs and outcomes will be closely monitored to ensure these guidelines are followed.

Madam Speaker, NWT students must be prepared for the challenges of post-secondary education and training and for the work place of the future. It is only through a renewed emphasis on key subject areas such as mathematics, reading, writing and science that students will be prepared for the future. I am confident that my department's numeracy and literacy initiative will play an important role in improving students' skills in these important areas. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 25-12(5): Towards Excellence, Improving Student Achievement
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 340

Madam Speaker

Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for North Slave, Mr. Zoe.

Dogrib Treaty 11 Council's Land Claims Negotiations
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Henry Zoe North Slave

Thank you. Madam Speaker, the Minister responsible for Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs, the Honourable Stephen Kakfwi, pointed out in the opening statement to his ministry's O and M budget that the Dogrib Treaty 11 Council will begin its first formal land claims negotiations this week in Rae Lakes. Madam Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House that the Dogrib Treaty 11 Council began its first formal land claims negotiation session with the federal government today.

---Applause

Madam Speaker, for the Dogrib people this is an historic milestone in our long struggle to gain back control over our traditional land. Through this process, I am very optimistic that we can reach a deal that the Dogrib people can live with. We are also pleased that the new Liberal government in Ottawa is committed to changing the comprehensive claim policy to allow for a one-track approach respecting land claims and self-government negotiations.

Madam Speaker, this means our entire self-government agreement, as opposed to the previous case, where it was only the self-government framework agreement, can be constitutionalized. This is very exciting and will be a great step forward. We trust the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs can keep his bureaucracy onside and fulfil his commitment to change the claims policy.

Madam Speaker, you can be assured that the Treaty 11 Council's negotiating team will be guided by the Minister's commitment to reform the comprehensive claim policy.

Madam Speaker, as a general rule, the Treaty 11 Council intends to hold all negotiating sessions in one of the four Dogrib communities. The negotiating team intends to speak in a Dogrib language during these negotiations. This protocol may not seem that important to outsiders, but the Dogrib people at the community level must be intimately involved in all negotiations, every step of the way, and understand fully the negotiations and decisions made at the table.

Madam Speaker, I would like to close by wishing the Treaty 11 negotiating team the best of luck, knowing that they have worked very hard in preparing themselves for this first session of claims negotiations. Thank you.

---Applause

Dogrib Treaty 11 Council's Land Claims Negotiations
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 340

Madam Speaker

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

The Role Of Banks In Today's Economy
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Brian Lewis Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Much has been written, Madam Speaker, about the new economy. Mr. Martin, the federal Minister of Finance, referred to it in his budget speech a few days ago. A recent visitor to Yellowknife and Hay River, Mr. Mazankowski, the former federal Minister of Finance, also referred to the fact that we are living in changing times. We have to look at economics in a new way. Many economists today believe, Madam Speaker, that banks have an important role to play in the transition from an economy based on resources and manufacturing to one based on knowledge and information. It is not only because banks control capital, Madam Speaker, but they have an important role to play. They are a major part of our Canadian culture.

Unfortunately, despite this, banks in the Northwest Territories are, at best, an alien system that is very much on the periphery of many of the things that affect people's lives. We have been unsuccessful, in my opinion, in developing financial institutions, with which you can have a viable economy.

So if there is one thing we do need it is to address the very first recommendation that our Special Committee on Northern Economy made about four years ago, we have to come to terms with the banking problem. Our government has not responded to that in a way that is going to make much difference. Banking is not going to be part of people's lives and until you get personal economy and access to institutions which control, not just capital, but information, we are not going to get a very good economy.

Many of us last night, including Mr. Todd, went to visit with the directors of the Arctic Co-op. They have been pushing for some years to look at the Credit Union system. I urge the government to have another look at it to see if there is one way in which we could support that happening.

The Role Of Banks In Today's Economy
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 341

An Hon. Member

Hear, hear.

---Applause

The Role Of Banks In Today's Economy
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 341

Madam Speaker

Thank you. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for High Arctic, Mr. Pudluk.

Financial Situation Of Resolute Bay
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Ludy Pudluk High Arctic

(Translation) Thank you, Madam Speaker. I want to make a statement today regarding the hamlet of Resolute Bay and its deficit situation. I am informed that the hamlet of Resolute Bay and the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs are currently working on a debt-recovery budget. I want to address how this debt came into being and suggest that the Government of the Northwest Territories is partly to blame for the financial problems. Madam Speaker, the Department of Public Works and Services provides the repair and maintenance service for the hamlet. I will offer a few examples of irresponsible use of public funds by DPW in the course of carrying out their service for the hamlet.

About three years ago, the main water line froze up in Resolute Bay. DPW went ahead and did $238,000 worth of repairs. Equipment and parts were shipped from the south as priority freight, whereas it would not have made a difference to repair if they were on regular freight, although much cheaper. DPW wanted to charter a 748, which is a plane that can carry 52 passengers from Iqaluit to Resolute Bay to ship about 300 pounds of equipment and three people. The hamlet managed to talk them down to using a smaller plane for the 1,000 mile trip.

Madam Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to proceed with my statement.

Financial Situation Of Resolute Bay
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 341

Madam Speaker

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

Financial Situation Of Resolute Bay
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Ludy Pudluk High Arctic

(Translation) Thank you, Madam Speaker and colleagues. The hamlet managed to talk them down to using a small plane for the 1,000 mile trip. However, if they had waited one more day, the equipment and personnel could have arrived on a scheduled flight at a fraction of the cost. The hamlet estimates that $30,000 to $50,000 was spent unnecessarily on the frozen water line affair.

Smaller projects, such as printing and cleaning buildings, are done in elaborate government fashion and billed to the hamlet at the highest rate possible, plus administration and GST charges. My point is that especially in times of financial restraint, the government must work more closely with the hamlet to keep costs down as much as possible. I will be pursuing this matter with the government during this session. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause