This is page numbers 549 - 579 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 education.

Topics

Members Present

Mr. Antoine, Hon. Silas Arngna'naaq, 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 549

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 2, Ministers' statements.

Minister's Statement 37-12(7): Tabling Of Note
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 549

Kelvin Ng Kitikmeot

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, yesterday afternoon, the honourable Member for Baffin Central tabled a personal note that I sent to her. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the Member for any unparliamentary language the note may have contained or for any offence which may have been taken to its contents. Thank you.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 37-12(7): Tabling Of Note
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 549

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 2, Ministers' statements. Mr. Morin.

Minister's Statement 38-12(7): Rent Scale Implementation
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 549

Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Over the past few days, there have been a number of concerns raised by MLAs about the implementation of the rent scale. I would like to make a statement today about the rent scale implementation and to assure Members that we are hearing their concerns, and acting on them as we become aware of them.

The implementation of the new rent scale is a very big job. There are approximately 5,600 tenant households in 50 communities across the NWT whose rents have to be assessed. The old rent scale had not been updated since 1983 and needed to be changed. CMHC, our federal funding partner, advised us that change was needed or they were going to cut almost $6 million annually from our funding. The new rent scale received the broadest consultation of any Housing Corporation or government policy. It was reviewed with community groups, housing associations and authorities, mayors, MLAs and was discussed with the Special Committee on Social Housing made up of Members of this Assembly.

Notices of the change to the rent scale have gone out, as required under the Residential Tenancies Act, one month prior to implementation. Members of this Assembly have stated that some constituents are having trouble understanding the notice. There seems to be a difference of opinion on the translation of the document. Where it has been determined that a tenant has not understood the notice because of translation problems, a further one month's notice will be allowed.

---Applause

The tenant will receive counselling in the language they prefer so they fully understand the rent scale changes. We anticipated that all tenants would have to be individually counselled. This is why we have put notices in the newspapers, on TV and on the radio. To date, approximately 50 per cent of the 5,600 households have been counselled and this number is increasing rapidly. Staff from the local housing organizations have reported that tenants are coming in for counselling and to have their new rents assessed. Our local housing authority staff have been asked to make a special effort to ensure that Inuktitut speakers fully understand the new rent scale.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 38-12(7): Rent Scale Implementation
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 549

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 2, Ministers' statements. Mr. Todd.

Minister's Statement 39-12(7): Winter Road Season Extension
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 549

John Todd Keewatin Central

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, last week my colleagues in this House impressed upon me their concern over the scheduled closing dates for the winter roads. I committed to reviewing their concerns with the department and modifying the schedule of dates, if appropriate.

As I advised the Members at that time, the decision to close the roads earlier than normal was mainly a financial one. That hasn't changed, so any modification to the schedule must minimize the expenditure of funds. With this understanding, I am prepared in several locations to provide a short extension to the season.

---Applause

On the winter road to Rae Lakes and Lac La Martre, the department will remove its heavy equipment but leave the road open to travel for an additional 10 days, to March 25th, unless the weather forces an earlier closure. This will allow an additional window for moving in materials for a number of Economic Development projects that are planned for this year.

---Applause

On the roads to Aklavik and Tuktoyaktuk, the department will remove its heavy equipment but leave the road open to travel for an additional three days, to April 24th, weather permitting. This will allow intercommunity travel for the purpose of attending community carnivals scheduled for that weekend.

On the roads linking Norman Wells, Fort Good Hope and Fort Franklin, the department will remove its heavy equipment but leave the road open to travel for an additional 10 days, to March 25th, unless the weather forces an earlier closure. This will allow an additional period for intercommunity travel.

Spring road conditions in the southern Mackenzie Valley are more difficult than on other sections of the system. There is more risk of environmental damage at stream crossings and the effort required to maintain and then close the road is greater. The clean-up will require stable road conditions to complete and must therefore be carried out before the road begins to deteriorate. I am therefore unable to make any changes to the closing date for the section of road between Wrigley and Fort Norman.

The access roads to Jean Marie River, Nahanni Butte and Trout Lake already enjoy some of the longest operating seasons on the winter road season. With this year's early opening, Jean Marie River's season has only been reduced by a couple of days and Nahanni Butte's season is a week and a half longer than normal. Nevertheless, I am prepared to extend the season by 10 days, to March 25th. Again, heavy equipment will be removed, but the road left open for travel.

I hope that these changes, while not perfect, will help to alleviate some of the concerns that the Members have raised.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 39-12(7): Winter Road Season Extension
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 550

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Commercial Fishing Of Turbot
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 550

Dennis Patterson Iqaluit

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to make a statement about a flat fish with funny eyes called a turbot, or Greenland halibut. This fish is very important to Canada these days because there are no cod left but turbot still exits in some abundance in deep, cold Canadian waters. This is a fish that has been especially significant for the people and fishery of Pangnirtung in recent years.

Mr. Speaker, these days, the Honourable Brian Tobin, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans for Canada is making big waves in the international community, fighting foreign fishermen who are invading our waters to take Canadian turbot. Mr. Tobin is getting tough with these foreign fishermen and yesterday they were driven off by his threats that they would be boarded and seized by Canadian naval vessels if they try to catch our turbot.

Today, I would like Mr. Tobin to understand how my Inuit constituents and other Inuit who want to fish for turbot in the Baffin see the turbot fishery and see his heroic fight against the aggressors from away. Last year, eight Inuit HTAs and Inuit companies from the Baffin region applied for new licences to catch turbot in their coastal Arctic waters, relying on the clear Inuit preference to adjacent fishery resources spelled out in the Inuit land claims agreement. They, too, were competing with an invasion, however, but an invasion of a different sort: applications for turbot licences in Arctic waters from within Canada. What did Mr. Tobin do to protect the Inuit applicants from an invasion from southern Canadian fishermen? Not one of the new Inuit licence applications was approved.

Mr. Speaker, when Inuit from Baffin Island asked for protection from an invasion of southern Canadian license applications to fish turbot in their waters, they got no protection. The southern Canadian applicants received preference to come up and fish in our waters. Most were from the Minister's own home region of Newfoundland and Labrador. Of the licences given out for fishing 5,500 tonnes of turbot in Arctic waters last year, existing Inuit licence holders from Baffin and northern Quebec got 1,250 tonnes. The remainder of 4,250 tonnes went to southern Canadian invaders.

I'll ask for a bit more time, Mr. Speaker.

Commercial Fishing Of Turbot
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 550

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Member for Iqaluit is requesting unanimous consent. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Complete your statement, Mr. Patterson.

Commercial Fishing Of Turbot
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 550

Dennis Patterson Iqaluit

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and Members. When these valuable licences were given to southern Canadian fishermen to catch turbot in our Arctic waters, my Inuit constituents felt the same way as I believe Mr. Tobin and many Canadians feel now about foreign fishermen exploiting Canadian resources off the Grand Banks.

I want to say I applaud Mr. Tobin for his aggressive stance with the foreign invaders, but this coming year let him apply that same zeal to respect the Inuit land claim and allow Inuit applicants from communities with high unemployment to be protected from having outside companies move in to harvest our turbot in our Arctic waters.

---Applause

Thank you. I fervently hope that in future, Mr. Tobin will be as aggressive in fighting for the rights of indigenous Inuit licence applicants to fish turbot in Arctic waters as he has been aggressive in fighting foreign turbot fishermen invading Canadian waters. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Commercial Fishing Of Turbot
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 550

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 3, Members' statements.

Comments Made During Debate On Nursing Profession Act
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 551

Brian Lewis Yellowknife Centre

Yesterday, Mr. Speaker, Mrs. Marie-Jewell made these remarks while dealing with the Nursing Profession Act, and I quote, "There have been comments that the timing is right for this bill because it's International Women's Day. I found those comments to be a little bit chauvinistic."

I admit, Mr. Speaker, I was one of those Members guilty of pushing to deal with this bill yesterday. Although I have not been accused of being chauvinistic, I admit to making the comment that we should accomplish something concrete and practical as a Legislature on International Women's Day. My comment may have sounded chauvinistic. However, there are 28 women in a program right now who depend on the passage of the Nursing Profession Act. Ten of those women are living in my constituency, Mr. Speaker. They wrote me a letter urging me to push for quick passage of this bill and they are: Sharon Nahanni, Olga Mercredi, Debra Wilson, Christine Brewster, Jason Nault, Della Napayok-Ell, Lucy Tulugarjuk, Margaret Baker, Jennifer Menzies and Catherine Lauzon.

---Applause

Mr. Speaker, every day we hear criticism of our parliamentary system of government; it's no good, it can't do anything. I think yesterday will show that we are a very responsive Legislature. If it simply needs to be done, we can get it done in a speedy and responsible manner. I don't believe it matters to our students what process or what arguments are ever used to achieve the passage of a bill that people would like to have. And if it takes chauvinism to make 28 women happy, it's a very small price to pay.

The 28 students can now relax and give their full attention to their studies and not have to worry any more about what we do in this House...

Comments Made During Debate On Nursing Profession Act
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 551

An Hon. Member

Hear, hear.