This is page numbers 489 - 520 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 rent.

Topics

Members Present

Mr. Allooloo, Mr. Antoine, Hon. Silas Arngna'naaq, 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, Mr. Whitford

---Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Good afternoon. Before we begin, I would like to recognize some students from Fort Providence. Their teacher is Gordon Walters. They are grade 10 students who came in yesterday and are going back this afternoon some time. I told them to take a minute to sit in the gallery so they could be recognized.

---Applause

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

Minister's Statement 32-12(7): Slave Geological Province Regional Study
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Silas Arngna'naaq Kivallivik

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good afternoon. Mr. Speaker, the first workshop for the Slave geological province regional study occurred on February 28th and March 1st and 2nd. This workshop brought together representatives from aboriginal groups, industry, environmental groups and government. The basic objective of the study is to develop an environmental and socio-economic information base for the area that geologists refer to as the Slave geological province.

Prior to this workshop, there were discussions with these groups on a bilateral basis. This workshop was the first opportunity for all groups to express their vision, interests and concerns surrounding the sustainable development of the Slave geological province. The main purpose of the workshop was to build a partnership among all parties, as the Slave geological province regional study must reflect the priorities of all partners so that mineral development can proceed responsibly.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House that after three days of hard work and considerable discussion by 50 to 60 participants, there was consensus on a course of action for the next stages of the study. A working group has been established consisting of a representative from Nunavut, Treaty 8, Treaty 11, Metis Nation, NWT Chamber of Mines, DIAND, GNWT, the guiding and outfitting industry and the environmental organizations. This working group will be responsible for refining the terms of reference for the study and organizing future planning meetings.

Mr. Speaker, it was also decided that the GNWT and DIAND would lead in bringing together all existing information, in order that the study address information gaps and not duplicate work that has already been done. Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased with the progress that was made at this first workshop. There has been a clear indication that all stakeholders are willing to work together in designing an environmental and socio-economic study for the Slave geological province.

Mr. Speaker, this workshop was the first time all stakeholders, including Dene elders and political leaders, major mining companies, small industry, Inuit representatives, Metis, our government, the federal government and environmental organizations have met around a table to work toward a consensus. I look forward to many more successful meetings. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 32-12(7): Slave Geological Province Regional Study
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 2, Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Ningark.

New Rent Scale
Item 3: Members' Statements

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John Ningark Natilikmiot

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, when the staff housing strategy was implemented three years ago, the government was very careful to follow its own law. This law requires that individuals receive formal notice of rent change three months before the new rent takes effect. This law is in place for good reasons. With the high cost of living in the north, many northerners don't have a great deal of disposable income.

The three months' notice gives people a chance to plan for expenses and figure out where the money will come from for rent. It also gives people time to look for alternative accommodation if they just won't be able to pay for the rent. This can mean finding a new place to live or making arrangements to share housing.

Mr. Speaker, the government gave this consideration of notice to its staff when it increased staff housing rents and even then, people had difficulties. It is amazing to the ordinary Members that the government does not feel it must show the same consideration to people in public housing units. We find it hard to accept that the Minister of Housing can apply something different for public housing tenants than the law which applies to everyone else. The issue is not whether the law allows the Minister to do this, but whether it is acceptable to apply a different standard for public housing tenants.

Over the past few days, the ordinary Members have been trying to get detailed information from the Minister of Housing regarding the notice of April 1st for rent changes. Yesterday, in his statement, the Minister indicated that every tenant will be individually informed about the new rent scale. Given that the rent changes are now less than a month away, this means, Mr. Speaker, there are still many tenants who are confused and don't know what this really means for them.

Mr. Speaker, this is of grave concern to Members. Once again, the corporation shows that it has different rules than everyone else. Just as it remains a corporation without the need of a board, it can implement rent changes in a way which is totally unacceptable for other NWT residents. Members will be pursuing this issue further during question period. Thank you.

---Applause

New Rent Scale
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Visit To Inuvik
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Fred Koe Inuvik

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, over the weekend, I was in Inuvik for a constituency visit. Somebody mentioned that I was in the real western Arctic. The sun was shining and it was fairly warm, compared to weather in Yellowknife.

There were lots of activities going on in Inuvik during the weekend. There was a Royal Canadian Legion rally. All the NWT branches were represented there and they were having their meetings at the legion. The Pauktuutit Inuit Women's Association were gathering for their annual general meeting. There were a lot of young athletes in town who were participating in the Inuvik regional winter games training and development camps. The dart league was having a casino; there were the usual bingos; the government had a curling funspiel; there was old timers' hockey in Aklavik; and, even on Saturday night, there was a business meeting of tourism people led by a person from Calgary starting a study on tourism organizations. For a Saturday night, they had over 20 people at the meeting.

I also had lots of opportunities to meet and talk with people. There were a lot of issues and concerns brought up by people, a lot of them revolve around government, social and health issues, education issues and housing issues. My colleagues have been raising issues about the new rent scale and the lack of information. It's no different with some tenants up there, that they're not getting complete information on the proposals.

I've also observed that there's a different air in Inuvik. The businesses seem to be thriving, they're active, there's a period of stabilization and some growth. So all these are real good signs. If we can keep the winter roads open as late as possible this year, it will continue to help the economy of Inuvik.

I just appreciate this chance to talk about my brief visit to my community and note the activities going on there. Mahsi.

---Applause

Visit To Inuvik
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Development Of Aboriginal Businesses In Small Communities
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. During the past several months, a number of interesting business developments have occurred in Fort Resolution. The Deninu K'ue Development Corporation, which is a commercial arm of the local First Nations, has four new projects under way. The largest deals with manufacturing of fibreglass products. The Deninu K'ue First Nation was the successful proponent of a public proposal call for bathtubs and tub-surrounds. They won that and are now building bathtubs and tub-surrounds. They have already produced the tubs and the tub-surrounds and have delivered them to the Housing Corporation. My understanding is that they are very good quality and the people doing the work are very proud of their accomplishments. It means two full-time jobs to Fort Resolution, as well as six training positions.

There is also a training program being carried out to try to teach those people to work with fibreglass. There are also three other small projects in progress as a result of the corporation's efforts to get money from the federal government. They developed what they call a "SMART program," which is an abbreviation for sensible management and real training. Their approach to that was to actually develop businesses and get them up and running in Fort Resolution.

There were three project groups. The first was made up of Paul Boucher and Monica Klugie. What they came up with was fashion, and design of fashion wear. They designed T-shirts and sweatshirts. All Members have a T-shirt. It says "Eschia" -- take it easy. Those T-shirts and sweatshirts are selling as fast as they can come off the press.

The other item they came up with is dear to the young crowd, they're bluejeans and they're supposed to be fashion bluejeans. They're called "Bare-Butt" bluejeans. They have the polar bear which is the traditional emblem of the Northwest Territories. These will be embroidered on the back with a hole in the centre so shorts can show through. That's how young people like to wear their pants nowadays, I understand. Those are coming into production and will be on the market fairly soon.

The second project group was made up of Annie Balsillie, Marilyn Martin and Irvin Norn. As Members know...

Development Of Aboriginal Businesses In Small Communities
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 491

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mr. Morin, your time is up.

Development Of Aboriginal Businesses In Small Communities
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Don Morin Tu Nedhe

I seek unanimous consent to conclude my Member's statement.

Development Of Aboriginal Businesses In Small Communities
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Member for Tu Nedhe is requesting unanimous consent. Do we have any nays? There are no nays. Mr. Morin, conclude your statement.

Development Of Aboriginal Businesses In Small Communities
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you, Members. The second project group is made up of Annie Balsillie, Marilyn Martin and Irvin Norn. They took on the task of finding new markets for traditional handicrafts and traditional native crafts which people have tried to market in many different ways. What they did is designed the product and geared their product to a fairly narrow market, and that is to people who are in the United States that belong to the Black Powder Association. They have a magazine called "The Muzzel Blast," and there are over 30,000 readers to this magazine. So they've marketed directly to them. What they sell are authentic items from the year 1700, such as gun cases, jackets, gloves and complete outfits traditionally tanned. They also have orders in already. They've also designed their own marketing material that is in The Muzzel Blast magazine in the United States. So that looks like it's going to take off and pay dividends to this group.

The key thing that Members have to remember is that this was all brought about...and for each one of these projects they spent $3,000, for a total of $9,000. They managed to achieve these things with very limited resources. So it does show that our aboriginal people in our small communities can achieve things with the help of other people. They should be commended on their efforts and their achievement. I would also like to thank Norm Zigarlick and Vicki Blahun for their efforts and their help in developing this. I ask Members to wear their T-shirts and support small aboriginal businesses in the small communities. Thank you.

---Applause

Development Of Aboriginal Businesses In Small Communities
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Morin. Mr. Morin, you might want to share with the Members later on, who was the winner of the game.