This is page numbers 853 - 883 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 recall.

Topics

Members Present

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, Hon. John Pollard, 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. Patterson. Good afternoon. Orders of the day. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Ms. Cournoyea.

Minister's Statement 60-12(7): Tribute To The Norris Family
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform the Members of this House of the contribution to the administration of justice being made by a remarkable northern family.

On December 4, 1994, Constable Adolphus Norris became a member of the RCMP and joined his two brothers, Wayne and Fred, who became members in 1986 and 1988 respectively.

Constable Wayne Norris and Constable Fred Norris are currently serving here in Yellowknife, while Constable Adolphus Norris has been posted to Fort McPherson.

Mr. Speaker, the Norris brothers are the children of Eunice Norris, who currently lives in Inuvik. Their father, Fred Norris Sr., who moved to Inuvik from Fort McMurray in 1930, passed away in 1981.

In addition to the contributions of the three brothers to the RCMP, the Norris family is also represented in the Department of Justice by their sister, Vina Norris, who is the executive secretary to the assistant deputy minister responsible for the Solicitor General branch.

Mr. Speaker, the Norris family has been, and still are, strong role models for northern families and young people in particular, in demonstrating that they should be looking to the justice system in their search for careers. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 60-12(7): Tribute To The Norris Family
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Proposed Recall Legislation
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Brian Lewis Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I hear many muted mutterings about the dangers of the Recall Act. Some people are talking as though it is an outlandish idea, even though it has been considered seriously as a contribution to the accountability of politicians.

I find it especially unusual that some of the mutterings are coming from Cabinet Ministers, not ordinary Members. I find this very unusual. The only people who are not subject to recall in this House, at the moment, are ordinary Members. I found general support among ordinary Members for the principle of the bill.

Every day when we are sitting in this Chamber, Mr. Speaker, Cabinet Ministers are subject to recall. On any one day, a Member of Cabinet could be removed by a simple majority of Members in this Chamber. That is a form of recall. And I don't think it is unconstitutional, but maybe the government wants to look at that too. It is very simple, very transparent, all Members in the House can vote, there is no secret ballot. If the majority of Members want a Cabinet Minister to join the ranks of the ordinary Members, all Members have to do is to stick up their hands in support of the motion to remove a Minister and that Minister is history -- at least for the moment.

No one seems to question this practice. It seems to be accepted as an entrenched part of our system. Even in the various proposals to legislate more powers for the Premier, recall, unfortunately, would still exist. Even if she wanted to keep a Minister, there is nothing planned in the legislation to remove the power of the Members to still recall if they wanted to. We already have recall, at least the principle of it, Mr. Speaker, so I wonder why we're muttering about it.

Even in the legislation to give powers to the Premier to remove a Member, the House would still have to be brought together to choose a new Member and there would be nothing stopping Members from putting the same Member back into the Cabinet that the Premier just removed.

The only real power in this House is the will of the majority of the Members and that's the basic principle behind recall. Whoever gives you power has the right to take it away. The only way to be accountable in this Assembly would be to...

Proposed Recall Legislation
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mr. Lewis, your time is up. Mr. Lewis.

Proposed Recall Legislation
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Brian Lewis Yellowknife Centre

Mr. Speaker, it is very unusual that I ask for the indulgence of Members but I would like to have permission to finish my statement.

Proposed Recall Legislation
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Member for Yellowknife Centre is seeking unanimous consent. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Please proceed, Mr. Lewis.

Proposed Recall Legislation
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Brian Lewis Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We've been talking about accountability for a long time, Mr. Speaker, and the only way of improving accountability in this Assembly is to give the Premier power to choose Members of Cabinet and to fire Members of Cabinet. The principle would remain the same then because whoever gives the power would then have the right to take it away. You would still have the principle but at least you would know exactly what the principle is. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Proposed Recall Legislation
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Item 3, Members' statements.

Success Of First Constitutional Conference For The New Western Territory
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Fred Koe Inuvik

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, later today, I will be tabling the report of the first constitutional conference for the new western territory. The conference, which took place from the 18th to the 22nd of January was an enormous success. It generated a spirit of mutual respect and willingness to work together among people from all 34 communities of the western Northwest Territories, men and women, aboriginal and non-aboriginal people, young and old.

It was a big step closer to creating a new constitution and system of government for the western territories. It also sent a strong message to the federal and territorial governments that the people in the west are united in our purpose. The Constitutional Development Steering Committee received a clear mandate to continue to guide the western constitutional process to a second constitutional conference.

As chair of the Constitutional Development Steering Committee, I would like to advise this House that we are now in the process of negotiating our funding for this fiscal year with the federal and territorial governments. Despite economic realities, and we know money is very tight for both the federal and territorial governments, I am confident we can reach a funding agreement that will allow the CDSC to effectively continue the constitutional process.

In the meantime, the federal government has agreed to provide interim funding for the months of April and May while we continue negotiating. I take this as a very positive sign that there is federal support for our process. In the first six to nine months of this year, the CDSC will be coordinating the constitutional research that was identified at the conference. From this research, a constitutional options paper will be produced. It will be the main focus of discussion at the second constitutional conference.

We are planning to involve public advisory groups in the research process to ensure that the research reflects northern realities and includes northern input.

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

Success Of First Constitutional Conference For The New Western Territory
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Member for Inuvik is seeking unanimous consent. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Please proceed, Mr. Koe.

Success Of First Constitutional Conference For The New Western Territory
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Fred Koe Inuvik

Mahsi. The constitutional options paper will be available well in advance of the conference so regions, communities and individuals can become familiar with it and have a chance to discuss it. Throughout the coming year, there will be regular public information as research information becomes available. CDSC member groups will also be involved in helping to keep people in the western Northwest Territories informed.

I would like to thank the western Members of this House for their active involvement in the first conference and their contribution to its success. I would also like to thank the Nunavut Members for their continuing support. Mahsi cho.

---Applause

Success Of First Constitutional Conference For The New Western Territory
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Patterson.