This is page numbers 533 - 559 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 housing.

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. Lewis, 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 533

The Deputy Speaker Brian Lewis

Item 2, Ministers' statements.

Minister's Statement 36-12(5): Assistance For Preparing Income Tax Returns
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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John Pollard Hay River

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good morning. Mr. Speaker, in a Member's statement on February 16, 1994 and again in oral question period on February 18, the honourable Member for Baffin South expressed his concern that, particularly in smaller communities, residents often do not have assistance in preparing their income tax returns. He was concerned as well that, because of this, sometimes tax returns may be prepared inaccurately. We share Mr. Pudlat's concern on this important matter.

As I indicated to him, the Government of the Northwest Territories does not have a program whereby it can send accountants to communities to help with tax return preparation. However, during the tax preparation period, Revenue Canada officials do conduct visits to communities in the Northwest Territories for this purpose. During these visits, Revenue Canada officials normally conduct workshops, after which they make themselves available to provide specialized assistance with individual tax returns. We were also informed that Revenue Canada has planned a series of trips this month to the communities in the eastern Arctic to provide workshops and to provide residents with tax preparation assistance. This week, officials are travelling to Rankin Inlet, Baker Lake, Arviat and Iqaluit.

Mr. Speaker, in our discussions with Revenue Canada, we requested them to make additional, special visits to smaller communities to provide specialized assistance to residents. Following our request, Revenue Canada is planning to include Lake Harbour in their itinerary next week. Additional visits are also planned for Gjoa Haven, Spence Bay, Pelly Bay, Pond Inlet and Cape Dorset before the end of March. Unfortunately, due to repairs made to the only hotel in Sanikiluaq, it will not be possible to visit Sanikiluaq prior to April 30 of this year. Hopefully, a visit can be arranged for the spring of 1995.

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Finance will be following up with Revenue Canada to ensure that they will continue to include Northwest Territories communities in their future visits. I thank Mr. Pudlat for bringing this issue to my attention. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 36-12(5): Assistance For Preparing Income Tax Returns
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Deputy Speaker Brian Lewis

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

Minister's Statement 37-12(5): International Women's Day
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Tuesday, March 8, is International Women's Day.

In the Northwest Territories women have played a strong role in the changes that have taken place socially, economically and politically.

They have been the starting point of many new initiatives that have been taking shape in the Northwest Territories. The revamping of the child care program, declaration of zero tolerance policy and the gender equality review are examples of the work women have initiated.

The role of women in the north has been that of a catalyst for change. At the same time, they continue to provide the kind of support needed to make sure family units and values remain strong in a period of rapid change and competing interests.

Mr. Speaker, International Women's Day is a day for women and men to recognize and celebrate the contributions women have made to society. Northern women, whether they are involved in traditional pursuits or the wage economy, are helping to make a difference in today's world. And they will continue to do so every day of the year.

Minister's Statement 38-12(5): Minister Absent From The House
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to advise the house that the Honourable Rebecca Mike will be absent from the House today on personal business.

Minister's Statement 39-12(5): Housing Ministers' Meeting
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

And, also, Mr. Speaker, the Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation will be away from this House on Monday, March 14, 1994. The Minister will be attending a meeting of Housing Ministers in Regina on that date. Mr. Morin, along with the Ministers from five provinces are participating on a special ministerial subcommittee formed to address the housing needs and conditions of residents living in northern and remote communities.

The committee will be making recommendations to all federal, provincial and territorial Housing Ministers on how these needs can best be met. The Minister will be back in the House on Tuesday, March 15, 1994. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 39-12(5): Housing Ministers' Meeting
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Deputy Speaker Brian Lewis

Thank you, Mr. Premier. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Mr. Nerysoo.

Minister's Statement 40-12(5): Meeting Of Labour Market Ministers
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to advise this House about the meeting of Labour Market Ministers held on the evening of February 28, and on March 1.

The agenda began with an update by the federal government on income security reform. The Minister of Human Resources Canada, the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy, highlighted the $800 million identified in the recent federal budget speech which is set aside for innovative social security reform pilot projects over the next two years.

I believe that the investing in people initiative which we plan to introduce in the next fiscal year, and other possible initiatives to be developed which support this approach, to be candidates for sharing in this opportunity for reform.

By the end of the month, the deputy ministers have been tasked to complete draft guidelines for the scope, principles and qualifications of eligible reform projects, as well as guidelines for approval, evaluation and funding.

The Ministers also discussed the focus paper, "A Study on the Modernization and Restructuring of Canada's Social Security System," released that day by the parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resources Development. The paper called for submissions by March 9, 1994. Mr. Speaker, I will provide a copy of the Federal Government's standing committee paper to all Members of this Assembly.

Following this, the committee plans to produce an interim report on March 25 outlining Canadians' concerns and priorities for income security reform. The committee then plans to consult more broadly across the country and will prepare a final report by September 30, 1994. This report will include a review of the federal government's action plan and recommendations for reform.

Once this report has been released, the federal, provincial and territorial Ministers will meet again to review the recommendations to advise the federal government on legislative reform and to share information about progress on reform in each of their own jurisdictions.

The Honourable Rebecca Mike, Minister of Social Services, and myself are planning to release a territorial preliminary discussion paper on income security reform before the legislature concludes in April of 1994.

Mr. Speaker, during the meeting on March 1, Ministers also discussed such matters as:

-reducing duplication and overlap between governments;

-federal youth initiatives, namely internship and the youth service corps;

-barriers to employment and training;

-labour mobility as part of the interprovincial agreement on reduction of trade barriers;

-standards and interprovincial computerized examinations for the trades; and,

-increasing private sector investment in training.

Mr. Speaker, we also discussed how the forum of Labour Market Ministers might be better organized to respond to today's challenges for change in our unemployment insurance and social assistance programs. We have to meet today's fiscal realities while providing for Canadians to become more productive, and we must continue to provide a social safety net. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 40-12(5): Meeting Of Labour Market Ministers
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Deputy Speaker Brian Lewis

Thank you, Mr. Nerysoo. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Mr. Kakfwi.

Minister's Statement 41-12(5): Family Law Reform
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The reform of NWT family law legislation has been a priority of this government for many years now, and we should acknowledge the contribution of the former Ministers of Justice, Mr. Ballantyne and Mr. Patterson, in this area. It has been acknowledged by them and certainly by us that our legislation is archaic and seriously flawed in many respects. In recognition of this, a working group was formed some time ago to advise the government in this area, and the Family Law Review report was produced.

The departments of Justice and Social Services have analyzed the report, developed responses and are in the process of consulting with groups on proposals for reform.

The Honourable Rebecca Mike and I intend to prepare draft legislation for tabling in the Legislative Assembly before the term of the current government expires. Our target is the winter session of 1995, or approximately one year from now. To meet this objective a massive amount of work is required, which will require additional resources dedicated exclusively to this project.

We are looking at three new pieces of legislation: a Family Law Act; a Children's Law Act; and, a Child Welfare Act. These will replace existing legislation in this area. In addition, we are looking at incidental amendments to other legislation.

Our intention is to complete consultation, prepare drafting instructions and commence drafting as soon as possible.

In our view, the reform of family law legislation is one of the government's priorities. In this area it impacts on the lives of our people on a day-to-day basis and the reform of legislation will have a positive impact for generations to come. It is the duty of this government to do everything within its capabilities to achieve real progress in this area in the lifetime of the current government. Thank you.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 41-12(5): Family Law Reform
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 535

The Deputy Speaker Brian Lewis

Thank you, Mr. Kakfwi. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Dent.

Prospectors' Conference In Toronto
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, starting this weekend there will be a prospectors' conference in Toronto, and a large number of northerners will be attending with the goal of letting mining and exploration companies know about products and services which are available in the north. Representatives of private companies as well as the Yellowknife economic development authority will try to pitch mining and exploration companies on using and buying goods and services in the north.

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Economic Development and Tourism has played an important part in helping coordinate these approaches, and I thank the Minister for his support in this area.

Mr. Speaker, to date, the history of mineral development in the Northwest Territories has shown very limited benefit to northerners. There is relatively little employment of northerners and, according to the response of Mr. Todd to Mr. Pudluk's written question earlier this week, only about ten per cent of those employed in mining in the Northwest Territories are aboriginal. Mr. Speaker, this failure needs to be addressed.

This government has expensive responsibilities in mine safety and inspections, yet receives no royalties; in fact, no tax revenue other than the small amount of payroll tax, unless the employees are northerners or the company chooses to file as an NWT company.

Mr. Speaker, I think it's time to get aggressive in seeking a financial understanding with the federal government, as well as devolution of responsibility over all aspects of mineral development in the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, this government needs to involve all the players, including aboriginal groups in the process. But let's get moving towards an accord on minerals with the federal government...(inaudible). Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Prospectors' Conference In Toronto
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 535

The Deputy Speaker Brian Lewis

Thank you very much, Mr. Dent. Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Pudlat.