This is page numbers 309 - 336 of the Hansard for the 12th Assembly, 7th 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 development.

Topics

Members Present

Mr. Allooloo, Mr. Antoine, Mr. Ballantyne, Hon. Nellie Cournoyea, Mr. Dent, Hon. Samuel Gargan, Hon. Stephen Kakfwi, Mr. Koe, Mr. Lewis, Mrs. Marie-Jewell, Hon. Don Morin, Hon. Richard Nerysoo, Hon. Kelvin Ng, Mr. Ningark, Hon. John Pollard, Mr. Pudlat, Mr. Pudluk, Hon. John Todd, Mr. Whitford, Mr. Zoe

---Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 309

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Good afternoon. I would like to welcome some of the eastern Members back from the meeting in Iqaluit. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Mr. Ng.

Minister's Statement 22-12(7): 1995 Canada Winter Games
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Kelvin Ng Kitikmeot

Mr. Speaker, as Members know from the Member for Yellowknife South's earlier statement in the House, the 15th Canada Winter Games are being held in Grande Prairie, Alberta.

As we have done since the first games in 1967 in Quebec City, the Northwest Territories has a team participating in Grande Prairie. Our NWT team numbers 110 athletes, coaches and managers in the sports of badminton, biathlon, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, ringette, shooting, speed skating and squash.

Mr. Speaker, the games in Grande Prairie have reached their half-way point and our athletes in the sports of badminton, cross-country skiing, speed skating and ringette have now completed their competitions and returned home. I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate these athletes, many of whom achieved their personal best and all of whom were true ambassadors for the NWT, demonstrating good sportsmanship and fair play. Particular recognition should be given to speed skater, David McCann, who had excellent performances and placed 12th in a field of 40 competitors in the 777-metre event in short-track speed skating.

Our government was represented, Mr. Speaker, by my colleague, the Honourable Richard Nerysoo, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, who attended meetings with federal/provincial/territorial Ministers responsible for fitness, recreation and sport, as well as meeting with Ministers from western Canada to discuss the Western Canada Games being held this summer in Abbotsford, British Columbia. While in Grande Prairie, Minister Nerysoo also had discussions on the Arctic Winter Games with Ministers from Yukon and Alberta and I look forward to providing information to Members on these initiatives later this week.

Mr. Speaker, I have provided to Members today, a list of all Team NWT members, by MLA constituency, and a copy of the NWT media guide publication with individual pictures and biographies of all team members. Please join me in congratulating those who have competed and in wishing good luck to those beginning their competitions this week in Grand Prairie at the 15th Canada Winter Games. Thank you.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 22-12(7): 1995 Canada Winter Games
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Minister's Statement 23-12(7): Defence Of Extreme Drunkenness
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 309

Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that on Friday, February 24, 1995, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General for Canada, Allan Rock, tabled amendments to the Criminal Code, providing that extreme intoxication which is self-induced is not a defence to crimes of violence.

---Applause

In doing this, the Minister of Justice is responding to widespread concern from across Canada, and certainly from the Northwest Territories, that was provoked by the Daviault decision of the Supreme Court of Canada. This case introduced for the first time into Canadian law, that extreme drunkenness in the nature of automatism and insanity, was a defence to assault; in that case the sexual assault of an elderly lady in a wheelchair. The results of the decision were widely criticized, particularly by women's groups, and, as a result, the Minister undertook a consultation with women's groups, representatives of the defence bar, legal academics and provincial and territorial governments.

Mr. Rock has done what most of us advised him to do, and I congratulate and thank him for doing so. It is my hope that Parliament will also see the wisdom of this approach and pass the amendment as soon as possible. I am sure that the Minister realizes that even after this amendment is passed, there will undoubtedly be challenges to the amendment under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, because the Daviault decision was based on an interpretation of section 7, which gives everyone the right not to be deprived of their right to life, liberty and security of the person, except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. However, the argument against the challenge to the amendment will be that the removal of the defence is demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society and, as such, is protected by section 1 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Later in this session, I will be introducing a motion which will demonstrate the conviction of this Legislative Assembly that the defence of extreme drunkenness is a threat to the peace and security of our society, and particularly the women of the Northwest Territories, who are all too frequently the victims of assault committed in a state of extreme intoxication. Its removal, therefore, is clearly justifiable.

In passing such a motion, the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories will be doing its share to support and sustain this welcome amendment to the Criminal Code and protect it from challenges based on section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Thank you.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 23-12(7): Defence Of Extreme Drunkenness
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Minister's Statement 24-12(7): Minister's Absence From The House
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Mr. Speaker, I wish to advise the Members that the Honourable Silas Arngna'naaq will be absent from the House today to attend to personal business. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 24-12(7): Minister's Absence From The House
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Extreme Drunkenness Defence
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Tony Whitford Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Last fall the Supreme Court of Canada brought down its controversial ruling on the extreme drunkenness defence. This judgment appalled many Canadians, including myself. However, at the time, it appeared that the court's direction that such a defence would only be appropriate in extremely rare cases would ensure that this defence would not be abused.

In the months since, however, a number of accused persons have tried to use this defence to excuse criminal behaviour. As a matter of fact, there is a trial going on right here in Yellowknife as we speak, in which a man accused of a vicious assault is trying to use this as a defence. Mr. Speaker, I think most Canadians and northerners will agree with me when I say extreme drunkenness is not acceptable behaviour and is especially not an appropriate defence for violence. I'm appalled that this defence is being used by more and more accused persons and I am especially appalled that this irresponsible notion has made its way into the courts here in the Northwest Territories.

The Government of Canada and the Justice Minister, the Honourable Allan Rock, agree that most Canadians find this unacceptable. On Friday, Mr. Rock introduced amendments to the Criminal Code which would restrict the use of this defence. Mr. Speaker, the amendments would introduce into the Criminal Code the concept of a standard of reasonable care. This standard suggests, and rightly so I might add, that it is unacceptable for someone to be in a state of self-induced intoxication such as they are unaware or incapable of consciously controlling their behaviour, to prevent them from interfering or threatening to interfere with the bodily integrity of another person.

In short, getting so drunk that you can't stop yourself from hurting someone or threatening to hurt someone is unacceptable and the Criminal Code of Canada will reflect that fact. This is an important step, Mr. Speaker, and I applaud Mr. Rock for making this effort to ensure that this belief will now be incorporated into our justice system.

Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude.

Extreme Drunkenness Defence
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 310

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Mr. Whitford is seeking unanimous consent to conclude his statement. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Please proceed, Mr. Whitford.

Extreme Drunkenness Defence
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Tony Whitford Yellowknife South

Thank you, colleagues, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, however, I still have some concerns about this legislation. When the amendment refers to consciously controlling one's behaviour, does that leave open a loophole where an unscrupulous accused could still find a way to get away with drunken violence? Could an accused find a middle ground between the standard of reasonable care and the early Supreme Court ruling that would enable them to get past this amendment? Finally, what if the Supreme Court rules that this amendment is a violation of the Charter of Rights of an accused?

This amendment is not a cure-all, Mr. Speaker. Violence, whether intoxication is involved or not, will continue to be one of the greatest threats against our society and our families. Even after this amendment is passed, we still have to teach our children that violence is unacceptable; that drugs and alcohol are not to be abused; and that families should be a safe place, not a place of fear or of violence. As leaders of our society, we, here in this House, have to provide impeccable examples to our neighbours. I hope that all of us continue to progress in this campaign against violence to help make our society here in the Northwest Territories a safer place for everyone. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Extreme Drunkenness Defence
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 310

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Whitford. Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Dent.

Lack Of Speech Therapy Services For School-age Children
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 310

Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the ability to communicate is crucial in our world today. You can't buy milk, meet a friend or share an experience if you can't communicate. Most of us communicate through the use of speech and language. Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, there are

many young people in the Northwest Territories and in Yellowknife who have difficulty with speech and language. Without help, these children can face problems in school and ridicule of their peers.

Fortunately, there are trained specialists who can work with these children. Stanton Hospital has two speech language pathologists on staff. The problem is that these staff are expected to deal with all of the children with speech and language problems in the western Arctic. Speech therapy is not a matter of seeing a person once and sending them away with the answer. For many children, there is a need for regular therapy to work on the problem. As a result, the two pathologists just can't keep up with the workload.

In October, ordinary Members raised the concern that school-age children had been cut off from speech therapy services at Stanton hospital for close to a year. At that time, the Minister of Health and Social Services confirmed that her ministry was responsible for providing speech therapy services for school-age children. The Minister also said, and I quote: "The speech therapists we presently have are tremendously overburdened and not all students requiring speech therapy are able to be seen. I would like to confirm that we are doing everything we can to resolve that particular situation with the acknowledgement that we know we are understaffed in that area."

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the Minister that they are understaffed. The Yukon government, serving the same population as Stanton, has six speech therapists on staff and also calls on a private clinic, as required. The Minister also said on Monday, October 31st, and I quote: "I will try my best to look at the resources we have during the next couple of months to see where resources can be deployed and where we can set priorities on areas of major concern."

Mr. Speaker, it is now February and there are still no services for school-age children needing speech therapy services through the Department of Health and Social Services. A small amount of funding was supplied to local school boards but it only covered some training for teachers and a handful of assessments. There is still no therapy for these students.

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

Lack Of Speech Therapy Services For School-age Children
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 311

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Member for Yellowknife Frame Lake is seeking unanimous consent to conclude his statement. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Please proceed, Mr. Dent.