This is page numbers 993 - 1026 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. Arvaluk, Mr. Ballantyne, Hon. Nellie Cournoyea, Mr. Dent, Mr. Gargan, 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, Mr. Whitford, Mr. Zoe

---Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Good afternoon. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Member for Hay River, Mr. Pollard.

Minister's Statement 64-12(5): Minister Absent From The House
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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John Pollard Hay River

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Good afternoon. Madam Speaker, I wish to advise Members that the Honourable Stephen Kakfwi is ill and will be absent from the House today. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Minister's Statement 64-12(5): Minister Absent 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 High Arctic, Mr. Pudluk.

Shortage Of Garbage Cans In Legislative Assembly Building
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Ludy Pudluk High Arctic

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Today I would like to make a very simple statement. It cost $25 million to build this Legislative Assembly building. Somehow, we were tight for money and the government put in only $10 million. We had to buy chairs, telephones and a lot of equipment for this building. Also, about 200 garbage cans had to be put into this building. Instead of 200 cans, there are only 199. That is all the government can afford. Today we are short one garbage can. Since we've been here, my neighbour here hasn't had a garbage can.

---Laughter

And we have to share one garbage can. Every time he throws paper into my garbage can, he always touches my knee!

---Laughter

A lot of times, he misses the garbage can and there is a pile of papers under my desk. I went to the dump yesterday and I found a bucket.

---Laughter

So, I would like to give it to him.

---Laughter

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Shortage Of Garbage Cans In Legislative Assembly Building
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Kitikmeot, Mr. Ng.

Proposed Changes To Water And Sewage Services Subsidy Policy
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Kelvin Ng Kitikmeot

Thank you. I would like to thank the honourable Member for the garbage can.

---Laughter

Madam Speaker, I will be speaking today on the policy change for the water and sewage services subsidy program. The honourable Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs advised this House in a statement last Wednesday that the changes to the policy are a result of an issue raised by the NWT Association of Municipalities, the town of Hay River, the village of Fort Simpson and by our honourable colleague, the Member for Nahendeh, Mr. Antoine. Specifically, the issue is the lack of water and sewage services subsidy coverage for residents in most tax-based municipalities.

The Minister has also advised this House that on February 19, 1993, the Minister of Finance in his budget address announced a plan to adjust the rates for subsidization of commercial users and hamlets. He further advised that his predecessor, the Honourable John Todd, on November 24, 1993 again advised the House that amendments had been approved, subject to a final review by FMB, which would extend coverage to all towns and villages.

The Minister has also stated that ongoing consultation by his department has taken place with municipal councils and their administration on the policy. His statement of last Wednesday suggests that municipalities and Members of this House should have expected the amendments to the water and sewage services subsidy policy as a result of these ongoing consultations and previous statements made in this House, one of them which I mentioned was made over a year ago.

Madam Speaker, I wish to point out that I and other Members of this House consider there has been insignificant, if any, consultation with our municipalities, with businesses, with the Association of Municipalities or with Members on the proposed changes to the water and sewage services policy, which will directly affect all our residents, including private home owners and other, non-commercial water users.

In fact, many of us believe the issue would not have been raised during this session by the Minister if it was not for the fact that ordinary Members raised questions on the policy changes. Madam Speaker, I and other Members will be pursuing this issue today to attempt to receive clarification on the many outstanding issues relating to the proposed amendments to the water and sewage policy. If the government has undertaken a proper consultative process, then they should be aware of the issues and concerns respecting the proposed amendments to the water and sewage services subsidy policy and should be able to respond accordingly. Mahsi cho.

---Applause

Proposed Changes To Water And Sewage Services Subsidy Policy
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Thank you. Item 3, Member's statements. The honourable Member for Yellowknife South, Mr. Whitford.

Visit Of High Commissioner Of India To Yellowknife
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Tony Whitford Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, yesterday evening, my two colleagues from Yellowknife, Mr. Lewis, Mr. Dent, and I, were guests of a family in town to welcome to the Northwest Territories the High Commissioner of India in Canada, Mr. Prem K. Budhwar. We had an opportunity there to meet with some members of the Indian community of Yellowknife and to meet the High Commissioner and his wife and to welcome them to the north. A few moments ago, I also had the pleasure of touring the High Commissioner and his wife around our Legislative Assembly. I showed them as much of the building as I could.

I also had an opportunity yesterday to describe to them the uniqueness of the form of government that we have, our consensus government, and the make up of the Members and the communities that they represent. It is interesting to note -- and I'll get to the good food in a minute -- that the size of the Northwest Territories was quite impressive to the High Commissioner. I think it is roughly the same size as India and, yet, they have hundreds of millions of people whereas we have 57,000, in the summer anyway.

We also had an opportunity to sample some Indian food, curries and other very delicious dishes, as my two colleagues will attest to. It was an excellent evening and I certainly wanted to extend a welcome to the High Commissioner to the Northwest Territories. He'll be visiting other parts of our city today. Unfortunately, his tour will not be able to take him into the High Arctic at this time, but on behalf of my colleagues, I extended to him a warm welcome and an invitation to come back and see the rest of the territories when time allows. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Visit Of High Commissioner Of India To Yellowknife
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

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

Changes To Water And Sewage Subsidy Policy
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Henry Zoe North Slave

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, I, too, want to raise the issue of the water and sewer services subsidy policy that my colleague for Kitikmeot has raised this afternoon.

Madam Speaker, the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs announced, last week, changes to the water and sewer subsidy policy. These changes, Madam Speaker, decrease the subsidy, in effect increasing the cost to users.

Madam Speaker, the issue of these increases was discussed by the Association of Municipalities last week, when their executive met here in Yellowknife. This topic was discussed and a number of concerns were raised. It's my understanding, Madam Speaker, the Association of Municipalities is currently canvassing all their member municipalities with regard to these policy changes to see what effect it will have on them. Some of the concerns that were raised, Madam Speaker, was the lack of consultation with affected communities and municipalities on the specific changes being proposed prior to the announcement of these amendments. Madam Speaker, general discussion of the policy is not sufficient consultation when these types of changes are being proposed. It's important to review the actual changes, and ensure all issues and concerns have been identified.

Madam Speaker, due to the timing of the proposed changes there is also concern about the impact of the new rates on municipalities, which are currently in a deficit position in their water and sewage program. I understand, Madam Speaker, there may be as many as ten municipalities in this position.

Another concern that was raised, Madam Speaker, is the budget of the municipal corporation that we have across the territories. They've already set their 1994-95 budget for this coming year. Madam Speaker, in addition to that is the concern raised with regard to the overall effect it's going to have on the users in their communities.

Madam Speaker, I'm not pleased with the lack of consideration given to municipalities by the Minister.

Changes To Water And Sewage Subsidy Policy
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

Excuse me, Mr. Zoe. Your time has lapsed for Members' statements.

Changes To Water And Sewage Subsidy Policy
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Henry Zoe North Slave

Madam Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude.

Changes To Water And Sewage Subsidy Policy
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jeannie Marie-Jewell

The honourable Member is seeking unanimous consent to continue. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Continue.