This is page numbers 367 - 397 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

Motion 15-12(5): Amended Terms Of Reference For The Advisory Committee On Social Housing
Item 12: Tabling Of Documents

Page 384

Samuel Gargan Deh Cho

Yes, Madam Speaker. With regard to the conflict issue, I have had our legal advisor, Ms. MacPherson, give us an opinion on that. In this case, there is no conflict. Also, I think the Department of Justice was of the same opinion. There is no conflict, even though the Minister is the chair.

Motion 15-12(5): Amended Terms Of Reference For The Advisory Committee On Social Housing
Item 12: Tabling Of Documents

Page 384

Madam Speaker

Thank you.

Motion 15-12(5): Amended Terms Of Reference For The Advisory Committee On Social Housing
Item 12: Tabling Of Documents

Page 384

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Motion 15-12(5): Amended Terms Of Reference For The Advisory Committee On Social Housing
Item 12: Tabling Of Documents

Page 385

Madam Speaker

Question has been called. All those in favour? All those opposed? The motion is carried.

---Carried

Mr. Morin, you voted for and then you abstained.

---Laughter

Motion 15-12(5): Amended Terms Of Reference For The Advisory Committee On Social Housing
Item 12: Tabling Of Documents

Page 385

Madam Speaker

Item 16, first reading of bills. Item 17, second reading of bills. Item 18, consideration in committee of the whole of bills and other matters: Bill 1, Appropriation Act, No. 2, 1994-95; Committee Report 2-12(5), Review of the 1994-95 Main Estimates; Minister's Statement 5-12(5), Session Business; Tabled Document 1-12(5), Towards an NWT Mineral Strategy; Tabled Document 2-12(5), Building and Learning Strategy; Tabled Document 3-12(5), Towards a Strategy to 2010: A Discussion Paper; and, Tabled Document 11-12(5), First Annual Report of the Languages Commissioner of the NWT for the Year 1992-93, with Mr. Whitford in the chair.

Item 18: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 18: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 385

The Chair Tony Whitford

The committee will now come to order. Good afternoon. What is the wish of the committee? Yesterday we were dealing with Bill 1, Committee Report 2-12(5) and Tabled Document 3-12(5). What is the wish of the committee? Mr. Dent.

Item 18: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 18: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 385

Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Mr. Chairman, I recommend that the committee continue with consideration of Bill 1, Committee Report 2-12(5) and Tabled Document 3-12(5) and, in particular, continue with general comments on, Towards a Strategy to 2010: A Discussion Paper.

Item 18: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 18: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 385

The Chair Tony Whitford

Okay. Does the committee agree that we proceed into Tabled Document 3-12(5), Bill 1 and Committee Report 2-12(5)? Agreed?

Item 18: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 18: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 385

Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

---Agreed

Tabled Document 3-12(5): Towards A Strategy To 2010: A Discussion Paper
Item 18: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

February 25th, 1994

Page 385

The Chair Tony Whitford

Does the Minister wish to bring in any witnesses?

Tabled Document 3-12(5): Towards A Strategy To 2010: A Discussion Paper
Item 18: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 385

Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Yes, Mr. Chairman. I would like to bring in witnesses at this time.

Tabled Document 3-12(5): Towards A Strategy To 2010: A Discussion Paper
Item 18: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 385

The Chair Tony Whitford

Sergeant-at-Arms, would you escort the witnesses to the witness table? Mr. Minister, would you introduce your witnesses to the committee?

Tabled Document 3-12(5): Towards A Strategy To 2010: A Discussion Paper
Item 18: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 385

Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. On my left is the deputy minister of Education, Culture and Employment, Mr. Hal Gerein. On my right is Mrs. Helen Balanoff, who is involved in the development of the strategy to 2010.

Tabled Document 3-12(5): Towards A Strategy To 2010: A Discussion Paper
Item 18: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 385

The Chair Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Minister. General comments. Mr. Dent.

General Comments

Tabled Document 3-12(5): Towards A Strategy To 2010: A Discussion Paper
Item 18: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 385

Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I welcome this opportunity to talk about the education strategy. I think it is long overdue, getting a discussion on this subject under way. For the record, I would like to say that I totally agree with my

colleagues from the Standing Committee on Finance that education should be this government's number one priority.

Yesterday, the Minister and Mrs. Balanoff outlined, in some detail, the reasons for the discussion paper being so long in coming and why it is so general. I do have to admit some disappointment that I don't see what we have been presented with as a strategy. I think that was admitted yesterday. It is more a listing of what needs to be considered in the development of the strategy. Given the importance of education, the importance that I put on it and I think this government should, I have to say I had hoped we would be farther along in the process. What I was expecting was that the discussion paper would take positions and present arguments as to why they should be adopted by the department as a road or path to follow as a method of stimulating the discussion.

I hope that we will shortly hear when we can expect that next step to take place. For example, if you take a look at pages 21 to 23 of the discussion paper, we had a clear delineation of what people have apparently expressed as concerns. What I find surprising is if people were expressing these concerns, I would have thought they would have also, at the same time, been expressing some ideas or strategies for dealing with those concerns. I am a bit surprised that they are not listed here.

As well, I think it is unfortunate that too many of the pathways or solutions that are discussed in the paper tend to be bland motherhood statements without recommending a clear direction that gives us anything new to discuss. For instance, a section on using resources for adult education and training, the report suggests that the department could determine our priorities in this area and target our resources to our priorities in partnership with communities and industry. I think that goes without saying. That is something we always knew the department could do and had hoped they were doing.

Another one is the department could find ways to deliver programs more efficiently, particularly by reducing administration costs. Again, I say given the financial situation we have been in for the past few years, I am surprised that we haven't already examined our administration costs and made sure that we have streamlined as much as possible, so we are doing things in the most effective and economic manner. Economic manner would be what I really want to say there.

Not to be overly critical, because we hit an important point yesterday. I think the Minister's statement yesterday is very important. I see it as reflecting a shift in the approach by the department and I welcome and encourage that shift. I really was pleased by the Minister's statement yesterday on excellence and I am encouraged by that shift in philosophy. I have to say on our first reading of this discussion paper, the Members of the Standing Committee on Finance were concerned that we didn't see any reference to excellence in the discussion paper. So having the Minister add that yesterday indicates a very important step has been taken by the department. That is good. As has been said earlier today in the House, rather than dwelling on what should have been done or how we could have gotten farther along in trying to lay blame, we have to take a very positive approach in trying to get things on the road.

In that light, I would like to make some comments that I would hope the department would immediately start to look for areas, for instance, in partnerships. That is one of the areas we have to get moving on very quickly.

When I was chairing the Special Committee on Health and Social Services, and Mrs. Balanoff mentioned yesterday in her presentation the early intervention program that we highlighted in Pelly Bay, this sort of program can make some significant differences. It is unfortunate that program didn't have a formal evaluation. But the informal comments I have heard from people who were involved in the program, tend to indicate that it was extremely successful and the children who were targeted are doing much better than might otherwise have been expected. That sort of program, if this department will cooperate with other departments like Health and Social Services to ensure we get some early intervention, I think offers us the best chance for improving our results overall. I would encourage that that area become a serious focus for examination. Whether it is a "head-start" program or an early intervention program, we have to be looking at the earliest possible intervention. From what I have seen, the earlier you can intervene to improve opportunities for success, the better your chances. That doesn't mean we can get away from the needs of people who may be a little bit on in their years, but still need some help. That is why I hope the Standing Committee on Finance recommendation for the partners for youth program will also be taken as an area for concentration by the department. Again, it requires cooperation from several departments.

In the discussion paper, there is some talk about the need for interdepartmental cooperation between Health, Social Services and Education. It all has to be tied together. There has to be a very broad approach to how we achieve success. In those areas, the department, I hope, sees ways in which to move and will agree to move in them very quickly. You have to do some consultation, you have to work with the boards, you have to work with people in the Northwest Territories, but now you have indicated that you have heard from people. I want to urge the department to get moving. Let's take the next step. Let's set out the priorities, plan and ask for a reaction to that plan. Let's get working to make sure we are providing the best system of education possible for all the people in the Northwest Territories. Mr. Chairman, let's get some results. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.