This is page numbers 621 - 654 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. 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. Ningark, Mr. Patterson, Hon. John Pollard, Mr. Pudlat, Mr. Pudluk, Hon. John Todd, Mr. Whitford, Mr. Zoe

---Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 621

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Good afternoon. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Member for Tu Nedhe, Mr. Morin.

Minister's Statement 47-12(5): Ministers Of Housing Meeting
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 621

Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I wish to provide all Members with a brief report on the meeting of Housing Ministers this week. On Monday, March 14, I attended a meeting in Regina of the special ministerial sub-committee on housing options for northern, remote and rural areas. The purpose of the committee is to examine housing conditions and the extreme depth of need of residents living in these areas across the country. The committee will provide recommendations to all federal, provincial and territorial Housing Ministers on how these needs are best met and funded.

Six provinces and territories plus the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation are participating on the committee. At Monday's meeting, Ministers discussed:

- The severe housing conditions and housing shortfall being experienced by residents living in northern, remote or rural parts of Canada;

- Options and approaches to addressing the needs of these residents as a priority; and,

- Methods of providing assistance to these people which will allow for high levels of community and client involvement, local employment and training and, at the same time, provide assistance at the lowest cost per unit possible.

Based upon the discussions at the Ministers' meeting, officials will be preparing a report and recommendations by early April for review by Ministers participating on the sub-committee and for subsequent discussions and agreement by all jurisdictions.

I am encouraged to see that several other jurisdictions share our concern that the desperate housing conditions of people living in the north need to be addressed immediately. I will keep all Members informed as the work of this sub-committee proceeds. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Minister's Statement 47-12(5): Ministers Of Housing Meeting
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 621

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

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

Minister's Statement 48-12(5): Disposal Of Pcb Wastes To Alberta
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 621

Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Last September, the former Minister of Renewable Resources announced to this Legislative Assembly the successful conclusion of negotiations with Alberta, gaining access for northerners to the special waste management centre at Swan Hills. This agreement has provided a unique opportunity for this government and northern industry to dispose of hazardous wastes at this world-class facility.

I am pleased to inform Members that the departments of Public Works and Services and Renewable Resources have recently negotiated a contract to dispose of government polychlorinated biphenyl, or PCB, wastes at the Swan Hills facility. These wastes result from the operation and maintenance of government property and in other cases, have been found abandoned near our communities with no identifiable owner. In addition to our own government, federal agencies and northern private industry are participating in this program.

Approximately 76 tonnes of PCBs will be transported to Swan Hills for disposal over the next couple of weeks.

---Applause

Department officials are now notifying all territorial communities located along the transport route of the anticipated transport dates. This represents a significant step in managing PCBs in the Northwest Territories. The Department of Renewable Resources wishes to publicly acknowledge Public Works and Services, private industry and federal agencies for their participation in this program. We would also like to acknowledge the spirit of cooperation which has developed between this government and the Government of Alberta on hazardous waste issues. I look forward to its continuance for the benefit of all our residents. Thank you.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 48-12(5): Disposal Of Pcb Wastes To Alberta
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 622

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

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

Member's Statement Re Congratulating Mr. Keyootak On Re-election As President Of Baffin Regional Inuit Association
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 622

Titus Allooloo Amittuq

Thank you, Madam Speaker. On behalf of the Nunavut Caucus, I would like to congratulate Mr. Pauloosie Keyootak on his election Monday as president of the Baffin Regional Inuit Association.

---Applause

Madam Speaker, Mr. Keyootak has served the Inuit of Baffin Island for the last 12 years. I'm pleased he was able to retain his position as president of the important Inuit organization in the largest region of Nunavut. I would also like to congratulate the other candidates who also ran in the election for their participation in the political life of the Baffin region. I, and my colleagues in the Nunavut Caucus, thank Mr. Keyootak for his help in the past and look forward to continuing our long collaboration with him. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Member's Statement Re Congratulating Mr. Keyootak On Re-election As President Of Baffin Regional Inuit Association
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 622

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Baffin South. Mr. Pudlat.

Member's Statement Re Congratulating Mr. Keyootak On Re-election As President Of Baffin Regional Inuit Association
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 622

Kenoayoak Pudlat Baffin South

(Translation) Thank you, Madam Speaker. I, too, would like to congratulate Mr. Pauloosie Keyootak on his re-election as president of the Baffin Regional Inuit Association. I also want to make special mention of the twelve other candidates who were on the ballots. Even though they did not win, the fact that they made themselves available for public service is greatly appreciated. I am happy to see that the Inuit of the region were given such a high number of candidates to choose from for the president. Once again, congratulations to Pauloosie Keyootak and I encourage the others to keep working to keep the Baffin Inuit Association strong. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Member's Statement Re Congratulating Mr. Keyootak On Re-election As President Of Baffin Regional Inuit Association
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 622

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

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

Enforcement Of Laws For Environmental Protection
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 622

Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Mahsi, Madam Speaker. In late 1990, the 11th Legislative Assembly passed two very important bills. The first bill amended the Environmental Protection Act. The Minister of Renewable Resources at the time said that the purpose of the bill was to amend the act in such a manner that it was enforceable. The bill included such measures as raising maximum fines for discharging contaminants to $1 million for repeated offenses.

Later in the same session, the Assembly passed a private Member's bill, the Environmental Rights Act. This act allowed private citizens to lay complaints about environmental damage with the Minister of Renewable Resources and the Minister would then be required to act on the complaint.

Together, these two acts gave the Northwest Territories the appearance of having some of the best laws in the country for protecting our environment. But, I have to question this image. Soon after the Environmental Rights Act was passed, two Yellowknife residents laid a complaint related to emissions of sulphur dioxide and arsenic from Giant Mine. The Department of Renewable Resources completed their report which showed the level of emissions. Specifically, some of the tests in 1992 showed that northerly winds would raise sulphur dioxide levels in downtown Yellowknife above the limits for desirable and acceptable levels according to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

While the environmental health directorate in Ottawa does not feel that these levels represent an imminent health hazard, they do have an adverse effect on northerners' health. As the directorate stated, "These levels of sulphur dioxide can lead to mild reversible respiratory effects in sensitive individuals, particularly asthmatics." I know of at least one Yellowknife resident who suffers severe asthma attacks when she is downtown and the winds blow from the north.

Also, arsenic is a chemical which is known to cause cancer and the directorate said that, "Exposure to arsenic should be reduced to the lowest possible level." It appears that Royal Oak Mines are not interested in voluntarily reducing their emissions. After the department's report was released last year, Royal Oak disputed the figures in the report and stated that installing cleaning technology in their roasting stacks would be too expensive.

Madam Speaker, I'm running out of time and I would like to seek unanimous consent to conclude my statements.

Enforcement Of Laws For Environmental Protection
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 622

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. The honourable Member is seeking unanimous consent to continue. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Continue, Mr. Antoine.

Enforcement Of Laws For Environmental Protection
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 622

Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Thank you, Madam Speaker. The great step forward in environmental legislation that was seen in this House in 1990 will be a wasted step if the government does not use legislation to protect our environment. Why say we will fine offenders up to $1 million if we don't even lay charges. For that matter, how can we lay charges when the government has not developed enforceable guidelines and limits?

Polluters in the north will continue to pollute as long as they think nothing will happen to them. The whole point of these acts is to make sure that something will happen to polluters who don't clean up their act. I suggest that as long as the government does not work with industry, environmental experts, health professionals and the scientific community to develop clear, enforceable, regulatory guidelines, the Environmental Protection Act and the Environmental Rights Act are not worth the paper they are printed on. I urge the Minister of Renewable Resources to use these laws the way they were intended, to persuade polluters to reduce or eliminate their pollution, and I urge him to do that in this case by immediately developing specific guidelines on sulphur dioxide and arsenic emissions. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Enforcement Of Laws For Environmental Protection
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 623

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

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