This is page numbers 337 - 368 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 budget.

Topics

Members Present

Mr. Allooloo, Mr. Antoine, Hon. Silas Arngna'naaq, Mr. Ballantyne, Hon. Nellie Cournoyea, Mr. Dent, Hon. Samuel Gargan, Hon. Stephen Kakfwi, Mr. Koe, Mr. Lewis, Mrs. Marie-Jewell, Ms. Mike, Hon. Don Morin, Hon. Richard Nerysoo, Hon. Kelvin 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 337

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Allooloo. Orders of the Day. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Mr. Todd.

Minister's Statement 25-12(7): New Diamond Discovery
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 337

John Todd Keewatin Central

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have two Minister's statements I would like to make today.

Mr. Speaker, in this time of fiscal concerns and increasing costs, it is not often enough that we hear success stories.

Today, I wish to inform the House of a good news story.

Recently, an announcement was made concerning a new diamond discovery in the Keewatin region, between Baker Lake and the centre of the universe, Rankin Inlet. Cumberland Resources Ltd. reported that an exceptionally promising diamond discovery on the Parker Lake property has been identified. A total of 1509 micro-diamonds and two macro-diamonds were found in a 22 kg sample.

This discovery is of great interest and importance for a number of reasons:

Firstly, the diamonds were found in a different type of rock than those in the Slave province, north of Yellowknife. Now geologists are going to have to consider looking at other rock types for diamonds.

Secondly, this diamond discovery is in an area of the NWT that has not seen much diamond exploration. It opens up a whole new area of the NWT for diamond exploration.

Thirdly, the initial discovery of these diamonds was funded under the mineral initiatives of the Canada-NWT economic development agreement.

This recent diamond discovery at Parker Lake, while still in the initial stages, will increase the mineral exploration activity in the Keewatin, providing employment and business opportunities for the residents of the area. Perhaps in the future, it could lead to a diamond mine. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 25-12(7): New Diamond Discovery
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 337

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Minister's Statement 26-12(7): Fisheries Strategy
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 337

John Todd Keewatin Central

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In January 1993, the Standing Committee on Finance requested that Economic Development and Tourism develop a fisheries plan emphasizing potential for increased processing in the NWT. This task was used to tie together several initiatives and programs which were under development at the time, which would form a strategy for the development of the Northwest Territories fishing industry. On January 17th of this year, I indicated to the standing committee that the strategy was being finalized.

On February 8th, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans tabled a report entitled "Review of the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation." The recommendations in the report place the future of the corporation in doubt.

The Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation was originally created to consolidate production from many small isolated fisheries under a single agency, to increase the selling power of the fishermen and to increase their returns. The corporation was given a near monopoly over the processing and marketing of freshwater fish from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Northwest Territories and northwestern Ontario. There are strongly divergent views in the industry on the "single desk" selling mandate of the corporation.

The parliamentary committee recommendations, if accepted by the Government of Canada, will bring an end to the freshwater fish market as we know it today.

The committee recommends that in the short term provisions should be made for fishermen to opt out of the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation. Fishermen opting out would then be able to sell their fish to other companies.

In the longer term, it is recommended that the federal government enter into negotiations with the provinces and the Northwest Territories and other stakeholders, with the objective of transferring responsibility for processing and marketing freshwater fish from the FFMC to each jurisdiction now covered by the corporation. As jurisdictions implement programs for marketing and selling fish, it is recommended that they be exempted from the Freshwater Fish Marketing Act. When all jurisdictions have programs in place, no later than the 1997-98 fiscal year, the Freshwater Fish Marketing Act would be repealed and the FFMC would not longer exist as a Crown corporation.

Accordingly, for the present, existing policies and programs will be maintained. Subsidies to the winter fishery on Great Slave Lake will remain as set, at 10 cents per pound. The subsidy for the summer fishery will be set in the spring.

The Government of the Northwest Territories will consult with the fishermen on the committee's report and respond to the federal government. When the direction of the federal government is clear, we will return to the development of the fisheries strategy. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 26-12(7): Fisheries Strategy
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 338

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Recall Of Mlas
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 338

Brian Lewis Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Members receive survey sheets as part of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business regular poll of political and business leaders on matters of interest to the public.

This week I received results of Mandate West's survey number 174 which was published on February 2nd of this year. I don't always respond to the survey, Mr. Speaker, but I found the results of this one very interesting. One of the four questions on survey number 174 dealt with the issue of the recall of MLAs by their constituents. The question on the survey was: Should the Legislature adopt a system enabling voters to recall their MLAs?

Only people in the Northwest Territories were asked to respond to this particular question, Mr. Speaker. The response was yes, 63 per cent; no, 29 per cent; undecided, eight per cent; no interest on this issue, zero per cent. So everybody was interested.

There is clearly a continuing interest in this issue in the north, Mr. Speaker. I spent the past year working on the recall bill. I've said previously that there is a problem with our current consensus government. I shall be introducing the bill in this session since I believe there is an accountability problem we must all tackle.

Members were uncertain on how to proceed with recall a year ago when I first discussed it with my colleagues. Since then, Mr. Speaker, British Columbia has passed legislation and recall is no longer a strange or unusual concept. Thank you.

---Applause

Recall Of Mlas
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 338

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Urgent Need For Implementation Of Diving Regulations
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 338

Tony Whitford Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good afternoon. Mr. Speaker, there is an urgent need for the Government of the Northwest Territories to draft effective regulations for northern divers, and to implement diving standards for any contract involving underwater work anywhere in our territorial jurisdiction, inclusive of fresh water and salt water. Of special importance is the need for a clear definition between the areas of commercial divers and sport divers. Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, we have witnessed the deaths of four divers in the north since 1985, and we can no longer afford to wait for the federal government to set national standards.

At present, most provinces have their own diving regulations and although there is a wide variation between provinces, they have at least attempted to protect their respective residents with some sort of regulatory measures.

It should also be noted, Mr. Speaker, that northern commercial divers face special dangers unique to our sub Arctic conditions and Arctic coastal waters which present specific hazards. Added to this, of course, is the rather northern job of diving beneath the ice. Despite these significant obstacles, qualified commercial divers are both fearful and frustrated by incidents of sport divers who, believing they are qualified to deal with these conditions, apply for any type of diving job and literally risk their lives with each diving operation.

In view of all this, Mr. Speaker, it really is shameful that this government has not yet even drafted comprehensive regulations to deal with this issue. I think this government should act quickly and do everything possible to rectify, to date, what can only be viewed as a lack of responsibility in this matter. Thank you.

---Applause

Urgent Need For Implementation Of Diving Regulations
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 338

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Concerns Of Aboriginal People In Quebec
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 339

Ludy Pudluk High Arctic

(Translation) Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity, through my Member's statement, to talk about the aboriginal people of Nunavik in northern Quebec. The aboriginal people are very concerned right now in Nunavik about the issue of separation of Quebec because they are one of the original peoples of Canada and are aboriginal people. The Premier of Quebec is really pushing for Quebec separation from the rest of Canada so, for this reason, the aboriginal people of northern Quebec are very concerned. They are working towards staying in Canada. They want to belong to the rest of Canada as aboriginal people.

There is going to be a referendum very shortly in Quebec to decide whether or not Quebec will be separating from the rest of Canada. Because Nunavik aboriginal people are our family -- I have family members there because my wife is from there -- they want to have easy access to the rest of Canada. The residents are very scared that Quebec is going to separate from Canada. I rise today to say we support the aboriginal people of Quebec to stay in Canada. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Concerns Of Aboriginal People In Quebec
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 339

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Pudluk. Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Ng.

Appreciation Of Mr. Larry Aknavigak
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 339

Kelvin Ng Kitikmeot

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to speak about a good friend of mine. His Worship Larry Aknavigak took office as mayor of Cambridge Bay in January of 1994. Recently, on February 16th, he resigned to assume his new full-time responsibilities as chairman of the Nunavut Impact Review Board. At this time, on behalf of my constituents and myself, I would like to thank him for his contribution and service to the residents of Cambridge Bay and the region. In establishing an excellent working relationship that I have had with him, I would like to recognize him sitting in the gallery and ask Members to join me in wishing him all the best in his new capacity as well.

Finally, I would like to wish the new mayor of Cambridge Bay, Mr. Michael O'Gorman, best success in his endeavours. I hope that I will be able to establish just as good a relationship with him as I was able to with the former mayor. Thank you.

---Applause

Appreciation Of Mr. Larry Aknavigak
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 339

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Antoine.