This is page numbers 1017 - 1040 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. Ballantyne, Hon. Nellie Cournoyea, Mr. Dent, Hon. Samuel Gargan, Ms. Mike, Hon. Richard Nerysoo, Hon. Kelvin Ng, Hon. John Pollard, Mr. Pudlat, Mr. Pudluk, Hon. John Todd, Mr. Whitford, Mr. Zoe

---Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 1017

Speaker

Good afternoon. Orders of the day. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Mr. Nerysoo.

Minister's Statement 71-12(7): Brighter Futures Funding
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1017

Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you. It's been a long time. Mr. Speaker, early childhood is the most critical stage in a person's development. It is during these years that the foundations of lifelong competencies and skills are established for children. The Department of Education, Culture and Employment's strategic plan points to the importance of community-based early childhood programs to help children learn and develop.

Some children not only benefit from early childhood programming, they require it. Early intervention is needed to help children with physical and mental conditions or who live in poverty develop to their full potential. Today, I am pleased to announce an initiative that will help communities develop and carry out early intervention projects. Health Canada has established the Brighter Futures program and the community action program for children, which fund projects that focus on issues such as mental health, child development, injury prevention, healthy babies and solvent abuse.

To assist community groups in developing early intervention strategies and to help them access these funds, the NWT Counselling Association has established a position for an early intervention coordinator for a one-year term, starting March 1, 1995. The coordinator is working out of the student support division of the Department of Education, Culture and Employment, which is providing office space and administrative support. The funding for this position has been provided by Health Canada under the Brighter Futures initiative.

The early intervention coordinator is helping distribute information on Brighter Futures, the community action program for children and other funding sources. The coordinator is also helping communities in developing early intervention proposals and establishing programs that meet community needs. Since the activities are closely related to health and social services issues, the early intervention coordinator and the staff of the Department of Health and Social Services keep each other up to date on activities.

Mr. Speaker, early childhood programs and early intervention initiatives have a great potential for improving a child's success in schools, in post-secondary training and in the workplace. I am pleased that the NWT Counselling Association and the department are partners in establishing the early intervention coordinator position and helping NWT communities in establishing these important projects. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 71-12(7): Brighter Futures Funding
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1017

Speaker

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

National Volunteer Week
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1017

Tony Whitford Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to remind Members that this is National Volunteer Week. Every year it gives me a great deal of pleasure to acknowledge all of those volunteers who do so much to enhance other people's lives. The volunteer sector of Yellowknife publishes a newsletter called "Happenings" and I have borrowed some information from it. For instance, in Canada, 13 million Canadians volunteer their time, thus contributing over 1 billion hours to various organizations and community groups.

Those volunteer hours are equivalent to 617,000 full-time positions which, based on the average wage, would exceed some $16 billion a year. If we were to compare the actual hours of work contributed by volunteers, it would top those hours worked in Canada in leading industries such as mining, agriculture and forestry. Those are, indeed, some very staggering figures. It is almost impossible to imagine what our country would be like without volunteers, were they not such a big part of our everyday life. In Canada, we are proud to be known throughout the world as a caring society and it is certainly fitting for all of us to honour our volunteers who are largely responsible for giving Canada this fine reputation.

For most of us in the north, however, we usually just have to walk down the street in our community to spot many of our volunteers. They go about their lives quietly doing, without fanfare, and believing in what they are doing. I am told that this year, Helene Usherwood, a resident of Yellowknife, is the winner of the 1995 outstanding volunteer of the year service award. This is a prime example of volunteer spirit. Every year MACA presents some very deserving volunteers with this special award. I believe Ms. Usherwood is being honoured tomorrow at a volunteer reception. I offer my sincere congratulations to Ms. Usherwood and would like to recognize the many, many, many local volunteers who richly deserve our acknowledgement during this special week for the very real difference that they make to all our lives. Thank you.

National Volunteer Week
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1018

Speaker

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

Recognition Of Heroic Rescue Efforts In Wha Ti
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1018

Henry Zoe North Slave

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to give recognition to four residents of the community of Wha Ti for the role they played in the rescue and resuscitation of a friend from the bottom of the Wha Ti, formerly known as Lac La Martre. Mr. Speaker, Frankie Nitsiza and Peter Moosenose were presented with the Commissioner's Award for Bravery and Alfred Nitsiza and Lloyd Bishop received letters of commendation for the part they played in the rescue. Mr. Speaker, the awards were presented by Commissioner Helen Maksagak yesterday at a special ceremony in the community of Wha Ti.

The rescue took place on August 12, 1993, when wind and wave conditions prevented Andrew Beaverho, 9, and Larry Flunkie, 11, from paddling a makeshift raft back to shore. Both boys abandoned the platform and attempted to swim approximately 150 feet to the community dock. Mr. Speaker, Mr. Beaverho reached the dock but Mr. Flunkie had to be pulled from the bottom by Peter Moosenose who had dived from a boat piloted by Alfred Nitsiza. Mr. Flunkie was reported to have been underwater for approximately five minutes. Mr. Flunkie was revived after two-man CPR was performed by Mr. Nitsiza and Mr. Lloyd Bishop. He was subsequently taken to the nursing clinic and transported to Stanton Yellowknife Hospital for treatment and observation.

Mr. Speaker, I want to again commend these four individuals for the superhuman effort they displayed in saving the life of Mr. Flunkie. Mahsi.

---Applause

Recognition Of Heroic Rescue Efforts In Wha Ti
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1018

Speaker

Thank you, Mr. Zoe. Item 3, Members' statement. Mr. Pudluk.

Dangers To Polar Bears From Tracking Collars
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1018

Ludy Pudluk High Arctic

(Translation) Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will be talking about polar bears today. When they started studying polar bears, they put collars on them. They have been using these collars for quite a while now. It was known to the Inuit that this was dangerous to the polar bears. We know that with either caribou or muskox, it doesn't matter too much if you put collars on them but it's very dangerous to put collars on polar bears because they are hunters; they rely on prey and that is how they survive. This disables the polar bear because the collar is very hard and it's heavy and it barely fits around the neck.

People have spotted polar bears that have died or have lost a lot of weight because they had collars on them. This is not very good to see especially when we try and manage our wildlife carefully. If the bears are dying away because of this, then we have to start looking at better ways of managing our polar bears, without putting collars on them. It's too dangerous to put collars on polar bears. I urge the government to look at alternative options that will not put our wildlife in danger. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Dangers To Polar Bears From Tracking Collars
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1018

Speaker

Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Ballantyne.

Bill C-68, An Act Respecting Firearms And Other Weapons
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1018

Michael Ballantyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I rise to support our colleagues in Ottawa and make a statement about Bill C-68. I want to add a little different perspective than the eloquent statements that we've heard here in the House.

Mr. Speaker, I have the deepest sympathy for victims of suicide, accidents and criminal attacks where guns are misused. Any thinking person with an ounce of compassion would agree that steps must be taken to lessen the awful cost to society of violence and of despair. This bill, in my opinion, will not achieve the noble objectives it sets out to accomplish. It seems to me to be a sincere effort by government to try to alleviate the real fears of many people, especially in big cities close to the United States deluged daily by media saturation of murders and violence.

Unfortunately, there is no magic in life or in politics. Violence is glorified in television and in the movies. The social fabric of the country is undergoing tremendous stress with all the casualties that go with it. Politicians are under tremendous pressure to do something about it. Guns are an easy and sometimes legitimate target on which to focus the anxiety of Canadians increasingly fearful for their safety and for the security of themselves and of their family.

I don't feel that Canada will be a safer place after this bill is passed. The millions of dollars that it will cost could be better spent on victims' programs which, ironically, the federal government is cutting back on as well as on firearms education and safety programs.

There are certainly positive aspects of the bill: criminal activity involving the use of weapons must be punished harshly. Making criminals of law-abiding people who aren't able to comply with the bill works against the philosophy of the bill which is to safeguard the public, not to punish it.

Education is the key to the safe use of firearms and legislation should support the transfer of knowledge and experience from one generation to the next without creating bureaucratic barriers which make that transfer more difficult. Responsible hunters, collectors, competition shooters and outfitters have respect and understand the safe handling of firearms much better than any well-meaning civil servant in Ottawa and should be recognized and utilized fully in the design and implementation of any firearms legislation.

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

Bill C-68, An Act Respecting Firearms And Other Weapons
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1018

Speaker

The Member for Yellowknife North is seeking unanimous consent. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Conclude your statement, Mr. Ballantyne.

Bill C-68, An Act Respecting Firearms And Other Weapons
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1018

Michael Ballantyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Instead, Mr. Speaker, they are made to feel that they are somehow the enemy who are being punished because of the actions of

criminals and a small minority of careless and thoughtless gun owners.

Firearms legislation should protect the public. It should not incriminate responsible Canadians for procedural errors or omissions. It should not threaten the economics of sport hunting. It should not threaten the livelihood of subsistence hunters. It should not make more difficult the use of firearms at shooting competitions. Members are aware that our shooters have done very well at international competitions. And fundamentally, it shouldn't threaten the traditional way of aboriginal people. This legislation, if passed, will force police officers or wildlife officers into conflict with our communities. Mr. Speaker, despite the best of intentions, Bill C-68 in the Northwest Territories, and in much of Canada, fails the test. Thank you very much.

---Applause

Bill C-68, An Act Respecting Firearms And Other Weapons
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1019

Speaker

Thank you, Mr. Ballantyne. Item 3, Members' statements. Ms. Mike.