This is page numbers 1 - 15 of the Hansard for the 13th Assembly, 1st 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 years.

Topics

Members Present

Mr. Antoine, Mr. Arlooktoo, Mr. Barnabas, Mr. Dent, Mr. Enuaraq, Mr. Erasmus, Mr. Evaloarjuk, Hon. Sam Gargan, Mrs. Groenewegen, Mr. Henry, Mr. Kakfwi, Mr. Krutko, Mr. Miltenberger, Mr. Morin, Mr. Ng, Mr. Ningark, Mr. O'Brien, Mr. Ootes, Mr. Picco, Mr. Rabesca, Mr. Roland, Mr. Steen, Mrs. Thompson, Mr. Todd

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

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Clerk Of The House Mr. David Hamilton

I would like to call upon Captain Al Hoeft to lead us in prayer, followed by the drum prayer by the Dettah Drummers. During the drum prayer, Mrs. Louise Evaloarjuk will light the kudlik. Captain Hoeft.

---Prayer

---Drum Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

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Clerk Of The House Mr. David Hamilton

Please be seated. It is my duty to inform the House that the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, the Honourable Helen Maksagak, is not prepared to address the Assembly until a Speaker has been elected. I would now call for a motion to elect the Speaker. The honourable Member for Baffin Central.

Motion 1-13(1): Election Of Speaker, Carried
Item 2: Election Of Speaker

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Tommy Enuaraq Baffin Central

Mr. Clerk, I move, seconded by the honourable Member for Hay River, that Mr. Sam Gargan of the electoral district of Deh Cho do take the Chair of this House as Speaker.

Motion 1-13(1): Election Of Speaker, Carried
Item 2: Election Of Speaker

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Clerk Of The House Mr. David Hamilton

Thank you. Are there any further nominations? Being that there are no further nominations, I therefore declare that the honourable Member for Deh Cho, Mr. Gargan, has been elected Speaker of the House.

---Carried

I would request the mover and the seconder of the motion to escort the Speaker to the Chair.

---Applause

Item 3: Remarks By Speaker
Item 3: Remarks By Speaker

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Clerk Of The House Mr. David Hamilton

Speaker's Opening Remarks

Item 3: Remarks By Speaker
Item 3: Remarks By Speaker

November 22nd, 1995

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Honourable Members of the 13th Legislative Assembly, let me begin by thanking you all for the confidence and trust you have placed in me in selecting me to act as your Speaker. As we all have made a commitment to represent our constituents to the best of our ability, I will now give you my commitment to ensure that the rights and privileges of all Members are upheld so that you are able to fulfil your duties. It is my responsibility as Speaker to see that everyone can speak freely, without constraint, within the rules of this House. I can assure you that I will rule fairly and impartially in accordance with the principles of the bureaucracy and the rules and practises of this Legislative Assembly.

On this opening day of the 13th and last Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories, I am mindful of the challenges we will face over the next four years. Many of these challenges have been faced by the Members of previous assemblies. Many are new and formidable as the North moves rapidly towards division in 1999. However, with great challenges comes great risk. The pressures and pitfalls along the road to success and the realization of our aspirations are many. You have all been chosen by your constituents to represent their interests in this House, and they have great expectations of you. You no doubt have great expectations of yourselves and each other as well.

As a somewhat experienced Member and dean of this House, I can assure you that you will face some very trying times in the near future. You may find some difficulty in striking that allusive balance between your work and your family. The stress and anxiety that comes with pursuing such a balance can often seem overwhelming. In meeting this particular challenge, we must remember to treat each other with respect and compassion, always. The demand on our time and our energy will severely test our commitment to move forward for a common agenda for the benefit of all northerners. Our constituents, in placing us here, believe we will not fail that task. Their patience and understanding are also crucial elements which affect our ability to effectively deal with the pressures and often conflicting demands placed on Members of this Legislative Assembly, the trust that we will continue to enjoy the support of our constituents as we work to fulfil our expectations for the people and of ourselves in a spirit of mutual respect, openness and honesty.

As I speak of commitment and expectations, it brings to mind a code of conduct developed and adopted by the 12th Assembly to guide Members' actions and to remind all Members that they represent and speak for many people. As Members of the 13th Legislative Assembly, our actions and conduct, both within and outside this House, reflect upon ourselves, our colleagues and our constituents. The code of conduct places the responsibility for sound judgement on the shoulders of each Member individually. Personal conflict involves personal choice. As these choices are made, there must be a clear understanding of the consequence. Your commitment to conduct yourself appropriately will also serve as your commitment to upholding the code of conduct. Collectively you have the responsibility for ensuring that, with respect to the application of the code, all Members are treated equally and fairly.

You and I are fortunate to be here as the chosen representative of our constituents. It is an honour that is bestowed on very few people. As we have accepted the responsibility to work to make a better life for the people in our communities, we must decide, each in our own way, whether we will merely make decisions on their behalf or provide the kind of leadership that goes beyond words to give our people and our children hope for a better future.

As I address you here today, I realize that these are only words. The true commitment will be reflected and realized in our actions. As we begin our journey together, we must be mindful that the foundation upon which we build our successes is our commitment to work together for the common good of our people.

As I look around the Chamber, I know you will all represent your people fairly, honestly and to the best of your ability with integrity, sound personal judgement and a commitment to conduct yourself in a manner that justifies the trust placed in you all. Mahsi cho, qujannamiik.

---Applause

Mr. Clerk, will you ascertain if Her Honour, the Commissioner, is prepared to enter the Chamber and address the Legislative Assembly?

Item 4: Entry Of Commissioner And Playing Of O Canada
Item 4: Entry Of Commissioner And Playing Of O Canada

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

---O Canada

Item 5: Opening Address By Commissioner
Item 5: Opening Address By Commissioner

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Commissioner's Opening Remarks

Item 5: Opening Address By Commissioner
Item 5: Opening Address By Commissioner

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Commissioner Maksagak

Mr. Speaker, honoured guests, Members of the Legislature, I am pleased to welcome you to the opening session of the 13th Assembly.

First of all, Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate you on being returned to this important position.

I also want to congratulate the Premier-elect, those of you elected to serve as Ministers of the government and other Members of this House, all of whom were elected to represent the interests of the people during this particularly important phase of our constitutional history.

The people have put their trust in this Assembly. They have given you the responsibility because they believe your leadership and your record of hard work are needed to make the decisions that are necessary today and those that will be required as we move towards division of the Northwest Territories.

There will be many frustrations and demands during your term of office. But, I am sure that you will also have considerable satisfaction as you help to guide the North towards increasing levels of responsible government.

Mr. Speaker, our thoughts should also include those Members of the previous Assembly who did not get re-elected. I am sure this Legislature will join me, on behalf of residents of the Northwest Territories, in recognizing their years of dedicated effort and service.

I particularly want to recognize the contributions made by long-serving Members Ludy Pudluk, Nellie Cournoyea, Dennis Patterson, Mike Ballantyne, Brian Lewis and John Pollard. All of them decided to retire at the close of the 12th Assembly. They had a combined total of 80 years of experience with this Legislative Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, as the term of the 13th Assembly begins, it is appropriate to note that the challenges facing the Northwest Territories are significant. And the amount of time to meet these challenges is extremely tight. If anything, the next few years will test the effectiveness of consensus government.

The people who elected this Legislative Assembly want certainty and an action plan. They want long-standing problems solved. And while constitutional matters are extremely important, they don't want government to lose sight of the need to make sure there is help and assistance provided to residents who need it the most.

Obviously, priorities will have to be established because there is not enough money to do everything. Getting the job done will need the cooperation of all residents and organizations in the Northwest Territories, not just the 24 Members of this Legislature.

Because of this, it is time for everyone to think about their positions and to seek some common ground on the many issues that are facing us today.

It is time to demonstrate that the Territories is united in common purpose and that institutions and organizations trust each other and have the ability and a strong desire to work together.

Mr. Speaker, I want to urge all residents to have a great deal of understanding about the financial circumstances and the difficult social and economic agenda facing the new Legislative Assembly.

Tough decisions will have to be made. And they won't always be popular with everyone.

There is no other way to make sure that basic social programs are maintained, that job opportunities are available in areas where they are needed the most, and that the transition to two new territories 40 months from now proceeds in an orderly fashion.

Members sitting in the House today need no reminder about what lies ahead. Last week, they sat through five days of briefings on the various issues they will be facing during their terms of office.

They know the severe impact federal reductions have had on our operating budgets over the past fours years and the legislated requirement to return to a balanced budget. They also know the health and social problems of the Northwest Territories and that our population is much younger than any other jurisdiction in Canada.

And Members know that the population is growing at a rate that is more than two-and-a-half times the national average and that demands for schools, housing, health services, municipal infrastructure, employment and welfare assistance are all growing as fast and, in some cases, faster.

They also understand that the recent Quebec referendum is bringing significant pressure for a change in the division of responsibilities between Ottawa and the provinces and territories, and that federal attempts to reduce its deficit are continuing to put pressure on the territorial government to fund areas traditionally supported by Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker, it is against this backdrop that Members begin the work of the 13th Assembly.

Fortunately, the Northwest Territories has always been a place for new ideas and new ways of getting things done. It also offers exciting economic opportunities in the non-renewable resource sector, particularly if the Territories gains control over their management and a share in the revenues they generate.

Mr. Speaker, all of us want a better future; a Territories with a greater degree of self-sufficiency and self-determination and a Legislative Assembly that leads by example and makes sure that choices and opportunities for a meaningful life are available to all residents.

As we begin the First Session of the 13th Assembly, it is my belief that a stronger, more confident Northwest Territories is well within reach if everyone is prepared to work for it. Along the way, all of us must accept the fact that there will be differences on various issues but that decisions must be made for the long-range future of the Northwest Territories, not for the short-term gain.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, getting the job done will require strong leadership, a common purpose and a willingness to make hard choices. We must plan and manage better to do what matters most. And all of us will have to revise our expectations that government has the capacity to meet the needs of everyone.

Mr. Speaker, as Commissioner, I want to offer you and this Legislature my full support as you continue the tradition of consensus and representative government and work towards social, economic and constitutional reforms.

I also want you to know that I will continue to do my best to be a worthy ambassador and to serve our Legislative Assembly and the people of the Northwest Territories to the best of my abilities.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I now declare open the First Session of the 13th Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories.

---Applause

Item 5: Opening Address By Commissioner
Item 5: Opening Address By Commissioner

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The House will come back to order. Good afternoon to the Members and to people in the gallery. The task ahead for the next four years is going to be quite difficult, so I would like to ask the people in the gallery to give applause to the newly-elected Members for encouragement.

---Applause

We are on item 6, Members' statements. Mr. Ootes.

Item 5: Opening Address By Commissioner
Item 5: Opening Address By Commissioner

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Jake Ootes Yellowknife Centre

Mr. Speaker, I request unanimous consent to waive Rule 36(a) to permit Members' statements for today to not exceed five minutes.

Item 5: Opening Address By Commissioner
Item 5: Opening Address By Commissioner

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. The Member for Yellowknife Centre is seeking unanimous consent. Do we have any nays? There are no nays. Proceed, Mr. Ootes.

Responsible Leadership For The Nwt
Item 6: Members' Statements

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Jake Ootes Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for this opportunity to speak today. First of all, I want to express my gratitude for the privilege given to me to be able to serve in this, the 13th Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. I also want to congratulate the honourable Member for Tu Nedhe, Mr. Morin, on his election as Premier, and I wish to congratulate those who were elected yesterday to be our representatives on the Executive Council.

We are a historic group, the last leaders of the Northwest Territories as it exists today. In four years' time, some Members of this joint body of individuals will become responsible for the political leadership of Nunavut in the East, and the other Members will become responsible for the political leadership of the new territory in the West.

I am, personally, very pleased with the leadership that we have chosen and I am impressed with the capability of the individuals. We have the leadership and experience of Mr. Morin; the administrative skills of Mr. Todd; the capable abilities of Mr. Ng; and the wisdom, strength and forthrightness of Mr. Kakfwi; and, we have the freshness of new ideas in the new Members of Cabinet: Mrs. Thompson; Mr. Arlooktoo; Mr. Dent; and, Mr. Antoine.

We all have big responsibilities to fulfil and the challenges are tremendous. We have spoken together over the last few days about the heavy workload facing our Premier and the Ministers, the demands on their time and the stress on their jobs. It is important, therefore, for those of us not on Cabinet, to offer our time and to offer to share the workload, and it's time for us to all dig in. We want to be part of the team; that is what consensus is all about: It is about teamwork. The success of consensus government will be measured in the years to come by how well we all participated in the decision-making process.

We will face momentous changes in the next four years. Let us make solid and sound footprints in new snow -- if I may be permitted to borrow a phrase from the Nunavut Implementation Commission's report -- so that in four years we will have achieved responsible division of the NWT and created two new territories to the complete satisfaction of all northerners; that our young people can see a bright and healthy future with lots of job opportunities; that our communities and people are more successfully empowering themselves to find solutions to their drastic economic and social problems; that we have a balanced budget and put our financial house in order; and, demonstrated to our residents that we, too, have been financially responsible by having reduced our own salaries and benefits.

Northerners are looking to us for direction and example. Let us be healthy and responsible leaders, especially for our young people. Being a great role model is our collective responsibility. This is what I will do for my leaders, the people who were elected by us yesterday and the day before. If I am asked, I will help you make collective decisions so that your duties...and we can make the decisions not in isolation when it comes to major and difficult decisions. I will promise to be available, I will live by the code of conduct and I will work hard. Thank you.

---Applause

Responsible Leadership For The Nwt
Item 6: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Ootes. Item 6, Members' statements. Are there any further Members' statements? Mr. Arlooktoo.