This is page numbers 655 - 687 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, Mr. Antoine, Hon. Silas Arngna'naaq, Mr. Ballantyne, Hon. Nellie Cournoyea, Mr. Dent, Mr. Gargan, Hon. Stephen Kakfwi, 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

---Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Good afternoon. I have a letter from the Commissioner dated March 17, 1994: "Dear Madam Speaker, I wish to advise that I recommend to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories, the passage of Bill 17, Loan Authorization Act, 1994-95, during the Fifth Session of the 12th Legislative Assembly. Yours truly, D L Norris, Commissioner."

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

Minister's Statement 49-12(5): Transfer Of Sir John Territorial High School
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, the extension of senior secondary grades in each region means that fewer and fewer students are travelling to Yellowknife to attend school. The budget for the department which has gained the agreement of this Assembly included the closure of Akaitcho Hall. In addition, the decrease in the number of regional students attending school in Yellowknife means that the Board of Secondary Education, which has been administering Sir John, is no longer appropriate.

As a result, I am pleased to announce today that it has been agreed by Yellowknife Education District No. 1 and myself that we proceed to negotiate the transfer of responsibility for Sir John Franklin Territorial High School to the public school board, effective July 1.

---Applause

Under the agreement, the Board of Secondary Education will be dissolved on June 30.

For many years, parents of students in the Yellowknife public school system have been asking for direct authority for the education of their children, from kindergarten to grade 12. With the transfer of responsibility for Sir John Franklin, parents will have that authority.

Students from outside Yellowknife who attend high school in the city will be accommodated through agreements developed by their divisional board and either the Yellowknife public school board or the Yellowknife Catholic school board. These agreements will ensure that the needs of regional students are recognized, and will emphasize that divisional boards and community education councils are accountable for the delivery of education for those students, parents and families they represent.

The Yellowknife public school board and the Yellowknife Catholic school board may both participate in the negotiation of agreements with divisional boards for senior secondary education. Both districts will be providing home boarding programs. The Catholic school board is already responsible for programs from kindergarten to grade 12, as will the public school board, starting in July.

My department and Yellowknife Education District No. 1 have agreed that the education district will hire any staff beginning their duties at the high school this fall. Arrangements will be developed to accommodate existing staff who belong to the NWT Teachers' Association and the Union of Northern Workers. It is our target that these arrangements be concluded by July, 1994.

The department and the education district are committed to consulting with the parties affected by the transfer as it progresses. A working committee has begun consultations, as well as drafting the necessary detailed arrangements.

Madam Speaker, it is important that parents have the means to guide the education of their children throughout their school years. I am pleased that the extension of senior secondary grades in each divisional board means that parents across the NWT are able to maintain a closer link to both guide and support the education of their children. I am also pleased that grade extensions have resulted in Yellowknife parents gaining the authority they have been seeking. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 49-12(5): Transfer Of Sir John Territorial High School
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

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

Minister's Statement 50-12(5): Ministers' Absences From The House
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Madam Premier, this statement is with regards to Ministers' absences from the House. The honourable Stephen Kakfwi will be absent from the House the week of March 21, 1994 to attend a federal/provincial/territorial Ministers of Justice meeting in Ottawa. Mr. Kakfwi will depart late Monday afternoon and will be back in Yellowknife on Friday afternoon

.

Madam Speaker, the Honourable John Todd will be absent from the House on Friday, March 25, 1994 to attend the Nunavut trade show and business conference. Mr. Todd will also be attending a meeting of Ministers of Internal Trade in Halifax the week of April 4, 1994. This meeting is of some importance to the NWT because negotiations concerning the reduction of trade barriers between the provinces and territories is at an advanced stage. Mr. Todd will be absent from the House for the planned duration of the Sixth Session in April. Thank you.

Minister's Statement 50-12(5): Ministers' Absences From The House
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Yellowknife Centre, Mr. Lewis.

Recall Of Mlas
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Brian Lewis Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Madam Speaker. For the past several weeks, I've been doing research on the issue of the recall of MLAs. A Gallup poll during February of this year indicated that 75 per cent of Canadians favoured recall. When I first examined the history of recall, I found that objections to recall were based on the fears of abuse by various sectors of the public. Most elected people were against recall because it could be abused by various powerful interest groups. There seemed to be no proposal which provided safeguards that elected people would feel comfortable with.

Although I initially had doubts about recall, and especially about writing recall legislation which would satisfy both the public and politicians, I now believe that recall legislation is both desirable and possible in the Northwest Territories. Across the country, we see political parties adopting codes of conduct and ethics but with no means for Members to be removed if they no longer have the trust of the people who elected them. Governments are reluctant to enact legislation because it could be used against politicians by the vested interests of the rich, powerful or very well-organized interest groups. If politicians don't bow to their demands, they could become the object of recall.

The solution, of course, Madam Speaker, is to find some way of fixing the flaw since recall is a clearly desirable mechanism if appropriate safeguards can be established. I believe that this is possible. I hope to table in the Legislature a paper on recall which I believe will convince Members that recall is both desirable and necessary. I would ask Members to be open-minded about it and request that it be put on the agenda of our strategic workshop in Fort Smith in April. Thank you.

---Applause

Recall Of Mlas
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

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

De Beers' Lawsuit Against Ecology North
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Mahsi, Madam Speaker. Members of this Assembly are, no doubt, aware of the David and Goliath situation that has developed over the past few days, as a result of the giant De Beers diamond company threatening legal action against the northern environmental organization, Ecology North. Because of De Beers' actions, people in Yellowknife have been deprived of an opportunity to see a documentary film entitled The Diamond Empire that was televised on American public broadcasting system only six weeks ago. This was seen by people in the north on the PBS TV channel, already. It is obviously the intention of De Beers to ensure that nobody else in the NWT sees the film.

I understand it is Ecology North's intention to encourage public discussion about the diamond industry by presenting information that the great majority of people in the Northwest Territories have not yet seen. Last week in Yellowknife, a De Beers' representative, Mr. George Burne, showed a promotional video about the diamond industry from the company's point of view. But there are other points of view about the industry, points of view that northerners should know about in order to be fully informed about an industry that could have a very big impact on our lives in the years to come.

I am sure that all my colleagues in this Assembly will agree with me that northerners are certainly intelligent enough to judge for themselves what is true and what is not true. We don't need big international mining companies making up our minds for us by telling us what sorts of information we can or cannot see. If that sort of conduct is typical of the diamond industry, the people of the NWT should think very carefully indeed before giving approval to any diamond mining on our lands.

In closing, Madam Speaker...(microphone turned off)

De Beers' Lawsuit Against Ecology North
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 656

The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Mr. ...

De Beers' Lawsuit Against Ecology North
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Jim Antoine Nahendeh

...full public debate about diamond mining in the NWT by suggesting that this Assembly...

De Beers' Lawsuit Against Ecology North
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

I'm sorry, Mr. Antoine.

De Beers' Lawsuit Against Ecology North
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Madam Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

De Beers' Lawsuit Against Ecology North
Item 3: Members' Statements

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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.