This is page numbers 793 - 819 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 services.

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, Mr. Pudlat, Mr. Pudluk, Hon. John Todd, Mr. Whitford, Mr. Zoe

---Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Minister's Statement 57-12(7): Air Tankers
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the Legislative Assembly that on Friday, March 31, 1995, Transport Canada issued dry leases to Buffalo Airways Limited for the four federally-owned CL-215 water bomber air tankers.

Buffalo Airways Limited will staff, operate and maintain these aircraft under a separate contract with the Government of the Northwest Territories for a period of five years. Buffalo Airways took possession in Abbotsford, BC, and the first aircraft was ferried to Red Deer, Alberta, on Sunday afternoon.

The three remaining air tankers are presently being prepared. The transfer process is expected to be completed by next weekend. The CL-215s will then be positioned at their bases during the third week in April. They will be ready for the May 1st availability date as required by the contract.

Mr. Speaker, I am also pleased to inform the House that Buffalo Airways intends to subcontract Bird Dog support services jointly between Landa Aviation of Hay River and Northwestern Air Lease of Fort Smith. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 57-12(7): Air Tankers
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Nahanni Ram Tourism Association Funding Cutbacks
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today, I would like to talk about tourism in the Nahendeh region. Mr. Speaker, the general consensus of the tourism industry in the north is no secret. This industry is fast becoming one of the areas targeted as a revenue generating vehicle for the Government of the Northwest Territories. In the Nahendeh region, the tourism industry has seen its share of activity. People have

identified the opportunities that are in our backyard and that are worth marketing to the rest of the world.

As a result of zone contribution cutbacks, NRTA and its objectives are in jeopardy. With a reduction of $200,000 in zone contributions this year, the NRTA will have this year's proposed contribution, or 60 per cent of its budget, slashed by almost $23,000, or almost 48 per cent of this year's total contribution. Of the eight tourism zones affected by contribution reductions, the NRTA will see the biggest cuts.

Mr. Speaker, I'm running out of time. I seek unanimous consent to finish my statement. Mahsi.

Nahanni Ram Tourism Association Funding Cutbacks
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The honourable Member is seeking unanimous consent to conclude his statement. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Please proceed, Mr. Antoine.

Nahanni Ram Tourism Association Funding Cutbacks
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. The NRTA has made great strides in the last few years and, as a result, the industry is growing, the economy is benefitting, and the whole region is beginning to realize the significance of the Nahanni Ram Tourism Association. I would like to take this time to mention some important accomplishments.

For the first time, the board of directors of the Nahanni Ram Tourism Association is an all-native board. The NRTA has its first native outfitter, North Nahanni Naturalist Lodge, which is owned by Loyal and Rea Letcher. Development of tourism infrastructure by the communities reflects a new era of cooperation of community involvement. NRTA has started networking with other native organizations across Canada to integrate plans with proven and established resources.

The NRTA cooperative marketing initiative for the fiscal year 1994-95 is the highest in history, reflecting an increase in membership. NRTA's focus on cultural interactive tours reflects cultural enhancement as a viable product and marketing strategy. Mr. Speaker, this last point is a key point and the benefits are twofold; these traditional skills can be passed on to the younger generation and, at the same time, contribute to providing a product for this emerging industry in the Deh Cho region.

With even more initiatives in the works, Mr. Speaker, and a positive revenue-generating potential clearly identified, it does not make any sense to reduce core funding to this particular zone. In line with NRTA's directive, the federal government places tourism as a high priority item for increased funding. Mr. Speaker, in Prime Minister Jean Chretien's speech to the tourism industry association in Vancouver last October, he recognized the industry. Last year, the federal government committed $15 million to tourism promotion and realized its potential plans to increase tourism funding to $50 million this year.

---Applause

Nahanni Ram Tourism Association Funding Cutbacks
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Negotiations To Amend The Migratory Birds Convention
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Henry Zoe North Slave

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. As most Members are aware, in 1916 a conservation agreement called "The Migratory Birds Convention" was developed to protect and manage, on a sustainable basis, those birds that migrate between Canada and the United States. Under the convention, both countries enacted laws and regulated the hunting of migratory birds by aboriginal people and sports hunters.

As I understand it, Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Wildlife Services of Environment Canada led a series of consultations across the country and the Northwest Territories between 1991 and 1993 to amend the Migratory Birds Convention Act. The act was then amended in 1994 to include a non-derogation provision to secure aboriginal and treaty rights with respect to migratory birds. Now, in 1995, the convention is in the process of being changed to recognize these treaty and aboriginal rights, consistent with section 35(1) of the Constitution Act of 1982 of Canada.

The federal government is presently set to begin the final negotiations with the United States to amend the convention. I've been communicating directly with one of the aboriginal representatives on the Canadian negotiating team on this important issue, Mr. Speaker, in an attempt to put forth the concern and represent the issues of my constituents. I won't go into the details at this time, but I will say that the Dogrib Treaty 11 Council and the people of the North Slave region generally have a number of concerns with the federal government's latest proposal for change.

The point I would like to make, Mr. Speaker, is that if our government, namely the Department of Renewable Resources, has a position on the proposed amendments and the impending negotiation, we, in the North Slave, are not aware of it. While I recognize and acknowledge the role and contribution of the department representing the views of all territorial residents in providing input into the revision of the act, I'm at a loss to determine their role in representing those same interests in the negotiations to amend the convention, itself.

The people of the North Slave and the Dogrib Treaty 11 Council need to be assured that their aboriginal and treaty rights are protected and that, in an effort to remove barriers to harvesting, new ones are not being created that could impact on future generations.

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

Negotiations To Amend The Migratory Birds Convention
Item 3: Members' Statements

April 4th, 1995

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Member for North Slave is seeking unanimous consent to conclude his statement. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Please proceed, Mr. Zoe.

Negotiations To Amend The Migratory Birds Convention
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Henry Zoe North Slave

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. As I indicated, the federal government is presently set to make these changes and the people of the North Slave and the Dogrib Treaty 11 Council need to be assured that their aboriginal and treaty rights are protected and that, in an effort to remove barriers to harvesting, new ones are not being created that could impact on future generations.

These are important developments, Mr. Speaker, and I will be following up with some questions for the Minister of Renewable Resources on this issue later during question period. Mahsi.

Negotiations To Amend The Migratory Birds Convention
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Concerns With The Labour Standards Act
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I was recently talking to the president of the Chamber of Commerce who told me of some concerns held by the business community about our Labour Standards Act. He suggested that labour standards should be easy to understand, equally applied and vigorously enforced. Right now, the feeling is that our labour legislation is complex, unsuited for many business sectors and is not monitored at all.

Following that conversation, Mr. Speaker, I called the president of the Federation of Labour and found labour concerns to be remarkably similar. The federation's position is that our current act is outdated and in urgent need of being updated. In fact, they tell me they have met twice this year with the Minister to press for action on our current legislation.

Mr. Speaker, it is not every day that business and labour groups agree so wholeheartedly on an issue. Not that there won't be differing opinions among business and labour about some of the changes needed, but it is noteworthy that they both feel the urgent need to address our current labour standards legislation.

Mr. Speaker, both groups are also disappointed that there has not been more action resulting from the recommendation of the report of the labour standards law review panel into employment standards in the NWT, which was commissioned by the Government of the Northwest Territories and tabled in the Legislature in October of 1990.

Mr. Speaker, neither group is, at this time, recommending a $1 million plus commission, like the Northern Workplace Commission earlier proposed by this government. Whether or not this government should take over labour relations from the federal government is something that can be considered later. What is needed now is some action on labour standards, an area which is already within this government's jurisdiction.

Mr. Speaker, given the time left before an election and our current fiscal situation, we need a relatively quick and inexpensive solution. I note that the Minister has already committed to review the minimum wage; this is just one small part of the labour standards issue. Why not approach business and labour asking them to each put a representative forward to work on a bipartite committee with an impartial chair, and use the report, which was tabled in 1990 in the Legislature, as a starting point?

Mr. Speaker, I see that I am going to run out of time. I would like to seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Concerns With The Labour Standards Act
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. The Member for Yellowknife Frame Lake is requesting unanimous consent. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Conclude your statement, Mr. Dent.