This is page numbers 711 - 742 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 chairman.

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

---Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 711

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Good afternoon. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Mr. Arngna'naaq.

Minister's Statement 53-12(7): Global Climate Change
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 711

Silas Arngna'naaq Kivallivik

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to advise Members that Canada's Environment and Energy Ministers met in February and approved a national action program on climate change. This program describes the steps that federal, provincial and territorial governments are beginning to take to control the emission of gases which cause warming of the earth's atmosphere. These gases are commonly known as greenhouse gases.

Carbon dioxide, released during the burning of fossil fuels, is the most significant of these gases. Along with water vapour in clouds, the gases trap the sun's energy and keep the atmosphere warm. Now, human activities around the world are releasing so much of these gases that the earth's climate is beginning to change.

The national action program that Canada's Environment and Energy Ministers approved depends heavily on organizations adopting voluntary actions to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. In the Northwest Territories, the departments of Renewable Resources, Energy Mines and Petroleum Resources and others are developing programs to encourage northerners to take the necessary voluntary actions.

Some of these actions include:

-Renewable Resources is participating in the Mackenzie Basin impact study to help understand anticipated changes to the north's climate which will result from these emissions.

-Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources has completed an inventory of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by people in the Northwest Territories. They found that most of our emissions come from burning petroleum products for energy, transportation, heating and making electricity. The Department of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources is also managing energy efficiency programs and renewable energy initiatives as well as working towards the expansion of waste heat use from diesel generators.

-The Power Corporation and the Department of Public Works started recovering waste heat from diesel generators 10 years ago.

-A new wind generator system to make electricity has been installed in Cambridge Bay and two other units are currently being tested in Igloolik.

-Private companies in the Northwest Territories are supplying solar and wind energy systems to northerners.

These are just some examples of actions that will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and reduce fuel consumption. Another important benefit will be the saving of money.

Mr. Speaker, climate change is a problem that the Department of Renewable Resources takes seriously. It is a problem that we are just beginning to understand and it is a problem that will be with us for a long time. Renewable Resources will continue to work to develop a better understanding of what the impacts on the northern environment will be and will continue to work with others to control our own greenhouse gas emissions. Thank you.

Minister's Statement 53-12(7): Global Climate Change
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Healing Workshop In Resolute Bay
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Ludy Pudluk High Arctic

(Translation) Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have mentioned this before briefly in the House and I would like to mention it again. Quite some time ago, the federal government started going to the northern communities. The aboriginal people's lives were really changed. Recently, they haven't been sure what to do about it. Some aboriginal people have lost their culture. There is a high rate of suicide. There was a high rate of sexual assault by teachers when people were young. These are some of the things that have really hurt the feelings of the aboriginal people. Today, they are starting to find out for themselves exactly how much they have been hurt. Now, we're starting to deal with the healing process.

Last year, there was a healing process in Resolute Bay, there were healing workshops, and they were very helpful for the people; next month, they will have another healing workshop in Resolute Bay. I know there are going to be a lot of people from the communities in the north wanting to attend the healing process.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement. Thank you.

Healing Workshop In Resolute Bay
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. The Member for High Arctic is seeking unanimous consent to conclude his statement. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Please proceed, Mr. Pudluk.

Healing Workshop In Resolute Bay
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 712

Ludy Pudluk High Arctic

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, sisters and brothers. The healing workshop that was held in Resolute Bay was very helpful to the people. Next month, I'm sure there will be a lot of people attending the clinic and there are going to be a lot of volunteers. The people who want to attend the workshop will be supported by some organizations and some airlines will also support the people who want to attend. I appreciate that very much.

Inuit know they will not go back to their traditional way of living but they know they are not going to lose their cultures or traditions. Their way of life is changing because a lot of people have moved away from their culture and traditions. For this reason, it's very important that they have a healing workshop. The group that is going to be holding the healing clinic in Resolute Bay is requesting that the NWT government provide interpreters for use during the healing clinics so people can understand each other in the workshop. Mr. Speaker, this is what I wanted to make a statement on because I feel it's very helpful for people to have. Thank you.

---Applause

Healing Workshop In Resolute Bay
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Recall Legislation
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Brian Lewis Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For more than seven years, the major criticism of this Assembly is its lack of accountability. We have a fixed term of four years, with no mandate from the public other than election promises to work hard on certain issues and to be a good representative of the people. As individuals, we are free to vote in any way we please as we have no party discipline to direct us.

The major public concern I heard expressed, however, is that we're very good at making speeches, full of good intentions but we are reluctant to enforce on ourselves any standard of accountability or discipline. We make many laws that regulate the activities of other people but make few laws to enforce discipline on ourselves. Three years ago when I first began reading material on the issue of recalling elected Members, I had an open mind, Mr. Speaker. Over a period of three years, however, it has become more clear to me that the Legislature needed to do something more than make fine declarations against violence and adopt guidelines for the conduct and behaviour of Members.

Where political parties exist, very clear discipline is exercised over Members and there are consequences for breaking the rules. Since we're elected as individuals by our constituents, our accountability is very clearly to the electorate. If recall is appropriate anywhere in the world, Mr. Speaker, it is appropriate in the Northwest Territories, where we follow a consensus form of government and are not bound by party discipline. If it weren't for the fact that we follow a parliamentary system of government with a set of rules and

conventions, there would be a very undisciplined rabble in this Assembly, Mr. Speaker, I can assure Members.

At least for our behaviour in this Chamber, we have rules to follow and there are penalties for breaking them. As we all know, they are your responsibility, Mr. Speaker. Now that we've adopted so many principles to guide us in our work outside this chamber, we need some mechanism to make Members accountable. Today, I shall give first reading to Bill 31, Recall Act, and I urge Members to read the bill with an open mind since the bill will be in your books after I give it first reading today. I will have no fear in serving in this Legislature if this bill were in force. Thank you.

-Applause

Recall Legislation
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Congratulating Tep Graduates From Beaufort/delta Communities
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Fred Koe Inuvik

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

I'm very pleased to be back. I really missed you guys.

---Laughter

Just kidding. Today, Mr. Speaker, I wish to acknowledge the achievements of two people from the Beaufort/Delta communities. We have two graduates of the Beaufort/Delta teacher education program who just graduated in the last two months. Ida Thrasher is from Aklavik and presently teaches in the Moose Kerr school, which is my alma mater. Ida entered the field-based program at the Inuvik centre a number of years ago and decided to continue her studies in the education field when the program was made available in the region. Ida was able to add diversity to her experience through her practicum sessions in Inuvik and in Tuktoyaktuk. She completed her studies on January 27, 1995 and plans on continuing her studies at the University of Saskatchewan.

The other graduate is Betty Elias who lives and teaches in Tuktoyaktuk. She began her studies through the field-based teacher education program also and attained the aboriginal language specialist certificate in 1992. She has worked as a classroom assistant and as a bilingual teacher at Mangilaluk School for a number of years. Her experience in these areas has proven very beneficial in her course of studies. Betty completed her studies on March 4, 1995.

I wish to offer my sincere congratulations to these two graduates and I wish all the best to all the other teacher education program students in the Beaufort Delta communities and throughout the Northwest Territories. Mahsi cho.

---Applause

Congratulating Tep Graduates From Beaufort/delta Communities
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Whitford.

Poor Air Quality In Yellowknife
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 713

Tony Whitford Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Some things never change, Mr. Speaker, and it appears to me that this probably still applies to the unacceptable level of sulphur dioxide originating from the Giant Mine smokestacks. Yellowknifers have had to put up with uncertainty and some degree of fear related to the quality of air we've been breathing here in this city since the 1970s. It's a lot like shadow boxing, living with Yellowknife's air quality. It is hard to prove who the bad guy is and even when we finally get some real concrete evidence, it takes far too long to find workable solutions.

In the meantime, we Yellowknifers are almost forced to continue this balancing act, weighing questions that may affect people's health against a fear of job losses and further economic decline. Mr. Speaker, in February 1990, I asked the then Minister of Renewable Resources when we could expect the application of a monitoring system to measure emissions coming from heavy industry in this city. The Minister assured me that the matter would be taken under advisement. A recent document circulated by that same department states that sulphur dioxide, SO2, has been monitored in downtown Yellowknife since 1992. The point I am making, Mr. Speaker, is not directed towards any individual, but is directed to the length of time that it has taken to make progress in this important matter.

I am not convinced that the progress we have made is good enough for the people in this city. The latest reports I have read state that dust continues to be a problem. Ten samples of total suspended particles show levels above the NWT 24-hour air quality standard. Arsenic levels showed an increase over the previous few years and SO2 is still too high. Would health and environmental authorities in southern Canada, the United States or western European countries accept these kinds of findings? I am not so sure other population centres would be so patient as we have been.

In fall fairness, I understand that this is a difficult situation. That, aside from questions of health, involves the complex issue related to industrial profitability, shareholders' returns and job security. There are no easy answers.

Having said that, however...Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude.

Poor Air Quality In Yellowknife
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Member for Yellowknife South is seeking unanimous consent. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Please proceed, Mr. Whitford.