This is page numbers 1075 - 1108 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, Mr. Ballantyne, Hon. Nellie Cournoyea, Mr. Dent, Hon. Samuel Gargan, Hon. Stephen Kakfwi, Mr. Koe, Mrs. Marie-Jewell, Ms. Mike, Hon. Richard Nerysoo, Hon. Kelvin Ng, Mr. Ningark, Mr. Patterson, Hon. John Pollard, Mr. Pudluk, Hon. John Todd, Mr. Whitford, Mr. Zoe

---Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 1075

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Antoine. Good afternoon. Orders of the day. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Mr. Ng.

Minister's Statement 74-12(7): Review Of Municipal Legislation
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1075

Kelvin Ng Kitikmeot

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in May of 1983 the Government of the Northwest Territories issued a paper titled "Design for Devolution," to promote public discussion on proposed new local government legislation to replace the municipal ordinance.

In 1987, after broad public consultation and the drafting of new legislation, this Legislative Assembly gave consideration to a number of community government bills, including the:

- Settlements Act;

- Hamlets Act;

- Charter Communities Act;

- Cities, Towns and Villages Act;

- Local Authorities Elections Act; and,

- Property Assessment and Taxation Act.

Royal Assent was given these new acts in late 1987 and the legislation came into force January 1, 1988.

This new legislation has served well both this government and all levels of community government for over seven years, Mr. Speaker. Three charter communities now exist and others are actively considering this level of incorporation, which attests to the success of the Charter Communities Act. This act addresses the circumstances of municipal authorities governing in a cooperative association with local band councils in accordance with a community-developed charter.

As with any municipal legislation, Mr. Speaker, changes are necessary to keep it current with new developing circumstances. Since our government's municipal legislation was first introduced, a number of amendments have been presented and approved by this Assembly. The need for legislative amendments has accelerated in recent years. Concerns have been raised by individual municipal councils, senior administrative officers and the Northwest Territories Association of Municipalities. The department has also identified a number of needed changes to conclusively address issues affecting community governments.

Mr. Speaker, the observations and concerns raised by the users of our legislation are a clear indication of the need to carry out a broad legislative review of all necessary changes.

I am, therefore, pleased to announce that a review committee will be appointed to undertake a review of necessary amendments to the:

- Cities, Towns and Villages Act;

- Hamlets Act;

- Charter Communities Act;

- Settlements Act;

- Local Authorities Elections Act; and,

- Property Assessment and Taxation Act.

The review committee will consist of representatives from:

- the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs;

- the Department of Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs;

- the Northwest Territories Association of Municipalities; and,

- the Association of Municipal Administrators of the Northwest Territories.

The associations will be asked to submit names from their respective membership for appointment to the review committee. Mr. Speaker, the committee will have a balance of those who monitor and maintain the legislation and those who would be most affected by any changes.

The focus of the review will be to identify those areas of the legislation which currently cause the most concern to users, consider the options for change and make recommendations. The committee will recommend wording changes to eliminate or reduce interpretive difficulties and consider options to allow community governments greater flexibility in decision-making.

As well, Mr. Speaker, the review committee will be directed to consider the benefits of separate acts or the amalgamation into a single government act of the:

- Cities, Towns and Villages Act;

- Hamlets Act;

- Charter Communities Act; and,

- Settlements Act.

The review committee, in making its recommendation will take into consideration the historical significance behind the establishment of the legislation as it exists today.

The review committee, in addition to meeting as a working group, will be expected to seek the input of municipal councils and receive and consider written submissions. Every effort will be made to hear or receive comment from concerned councils, individuals, groups and associations.

The review committee terms of reference are being prepared and I expect that the committee will hold its first meeting in late June or early July. It is anticipated that the review committee will submit their recommendations to the Minister by the end of 1995, allowing new or amended legislation to be submitted to this House for consideration in 1996.

Mr. Speaker, the establishment of the review committee clearly demonstrates the continued commitment of this government to the development of government at the community level. Thank you.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 74-12(7): Review Of Municipal Legislation
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1076

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

The Important Role Of Interpreters
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1076

Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Today, I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the important role of interpreters. Mr. Speaker, in the past, the issue of interpreters has been raised in the House. The funding cuts to the interpreter program has caused a strong response, and justifiably so. I would like to continue to stress to this House the vital role interpreting plays today.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to put this into perspective for those who use English as their first language. This language is straightforward but, at the same time, this language can be very confusing, especially for translating. In addition, Mr. Speaker, aboriginal languages are based on experience of situations and description of traditional lifestyles. When one translates English into their respective aboriginal language, you simply cannot translate word for word. Interpreting involves translating English into situations and concepts and/or describing a particular word.

For example, for the statement "computer-generated" in my language, which is South Slavey, a computer would be described something like a machine that types words or letters. Another example used extensively is the word "government." In my language, you would say a body in charge of the land. Interpreting effectively is a constant learning process. Simultaneous translation is not only difficult but can be very stressful at times, stressful because of technical difficulties, speed-readers, and the use of phrases unheard of in any aboriginal language.

Experiencing difficulty on a daily basis is common for interpreters. For example, when some of my colleagues in this House use poems or acronyms and so forth, the interpreters have difficulty dealing with that. In addition, Mr. Speaker, these people realize the importance of their jobs and, more importantly, they are there as representatives of their people.

Mr. Speaker, the activity that takes place in this House every day has a significant impact on the people in the north. At one time, the aboriginal people of the north were without input into their future. However, Mr. Speaker, since interpreters have been used, people have been made aware of issues and activities that affect them. As a result, concerns were raised, issues addressed and solutions generated.

Mr. Speaker, there is no question, interpreters have contributed to the effectiveness of this government and I would like to take this time to acknowledge and recognize the essential role of interpreters in our society today. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

The Important Role Of Interpreters
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1076

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

National Day Of Mourning For Workers Killed And Injured On The Job
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1076

Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want, Mr. Speaker, to make Members aware that tomorrow, April 28th, is the National Day of Mourning for Workers Killed and Injured on the Job. This year across Canada, workers and their families, as well as representatives of government, agencies and corporations, will join to remember those workers who were injured or killed in the performance of their duties.

In the Northwest Territories last year, 15 workers died while on the job. A total of 11 of those 15 were harvesters, one was a mechanic, one was a dental assistant, one was a construction worker, and one was a miner. It is clear that there are occupational hazards associated with virtually every field of endeavour and we must do all we can to eliminate or minimize those hazards.

Mr. Speaker, work-related injuries and fatalities are occurrences which can be prevented. As legislators, we, in this House, must do all we can to ensure we have occupational health and safety systems that protect the lives and well-being of working people. As elected representatives of our various constituencies, we know the devastating effects that serious injuries and deaths have on the closely-knit communities of the north and recognize the need to create an environment which emphasizes workplace safety to prevent the upheavals which occur in families and communities when workers are injured and cannot continue to be breadwinners.

Mr. Speaker, as the Member who is elected by the Premier to be responsible for the Department of Safety and Public Services, I want to assure Members of this House and the general public that I and my staff are doing all we can with available resources to ensure the regulatory systems concerned with occupational health and safety that we administer are as up to date and reasonable as possible.

Mr. Speaker, I want to say that, as Members, we should remember individuals who have been killed and injured on the job and the effects on their families, friends and communities.

We should also remember that the day of mourning is an opportunity for all of us to renew our commitment to regulate workplace safety fairly and to ensure that workers and employers...

Speaker's Ruling

National Day Of Mourning For Workers Killed And Injured On The Job
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Nerysoo. Mr. Nerysoo, with regard to your statement, under Rule 36(4), a Minister may make a statement in accordance with Rule 36(1) but the statement must not relate to his or her responsibility as a Minister. Under the item Members' statements, a Member may make a statement on any other matter so I would like to say, Mr. Nerysoo, that your statement is out of order. Mr. Minister, I don't know whether this is a Minister's statement or a Member's statement. Mr. Nerysoo.

Point Of Order

National Day Of Mourning For Workers Killed And Injured On The Job
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1077

Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If I could ask on a point of order that, at some time, you review the matter of how Ministers can make statements so you can clearly articulate those guidelines. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

National Day Of Mourning For Workers Killed And Injured On The Job
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1077

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mr. Nerysoo, the rules are quite clear with regard to Members' statements and also with regard to Ministers' statements. The statement that you are making is more within your responsibility as a Minister and that's the point that I'm making right now. Mr. Nerysoo, yes, I will clarify that, but until I do, you can continue your statement under Members' statements.

National Day Of Mourning For Workers Killed And Injured On The Job
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Mr. Speaker, you've made a ruling on it already, so I'll sit down.

National Day Of Mourning For Workers Killed And Injured On The Job
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1077

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Koe.

Support For Western Constitutional Process
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1077

Fred Koe Inuvik

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, later today I will be introducing a motion seeking support for the western constitutional process. The western constitutional process is headed up by a committee called the Constitutional Development Steering Committee. This committee has been working for several years and a few months ago submitted a workplan and a budget for the 1995-96 fiscal year to enable the western process to continue its consultative and development work. It now needs approval and support from both the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Government of Canada to continue this work. We all know that for division to happen, we need the full support of this Assembly; and, as such, for the western process to continue, we need support of this Assembly.

The process, as it exists, has been supported and endorsed by the participants at the first western constitutional conference which was held in February. When I introduce the motion today, I would appreciate the support of all Members in this House. Mahsi.

Support For Western Constitutional Process
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1077

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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