This is page numbers 1279 - 1309 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. 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, Hon. John Pollard, Mr. Pudlat, Mr. Pudluk, Mrs. Thompson, 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. Koe. Good afternoon. I wish to inform the House that I have received the following message from Her Honour, the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories:

Dear Mr. Speaker: I wish to advise that I recommend to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories the passage of Bill 34, Supplementary Appropriation Act, No. 1, 1995-96, during the Seventh Session of the 12th Legislative Assembly." It was signed by Helen Maksagak, Commissioner.

---Applause

Orders of the day, Item 1, Ministers' statements. Point of privilege, Ms. Mike.

Point Of Privilege

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

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Rebecca Mike Baffin Central

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will try and do this in monotone. Mr. Speaker, I have a point of privilege pursuant to Rule 20(1), and, with your permission, I would like to rise on a point of privilege to clarify a matter that was reported on the 7:30 a.m. newscast on CBC Mackenzie.

Mr. Speaker, during question period yesterday, I was raising questions to the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment concerning the Minister's responses to the recommendations of the Nunavut leaders summit on education issues. In the heat of the questions and the Minister's answers, I tried to raise a point of order concerning the Minister referring to the report of the Nunavut Implementation Commission.

My point of privilege is the manner in which the CBC reported the events. The news report indicated that I, and I quote: "Baffin Central MLA, Rebecca Mike, had to be told to calm down in the Legislative Assembly yesterday." It also went on to indicate, and I further quote: "She interrupted Nerysoo twice, the first time pointing, raising her voice and hitting her desk until the Speaker told her to sit down."

Mr. Speaker, CBC is radio, not television, and if television had been the reporting media, it would have shown that I did not hit my desk; and you, Mr. Speaker, did not tell me to sit down. Mr. Speaker, you were here and know that the facts were not reported correctly. Once again, the CBC has failed to report accurately the proceedings of this Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, I wanted to advise the House of this issue and trust that CBC in the future will make every effort to report accurate proceedings and comments and not sensationalize issues.

Thank you.

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

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An Hon. Member

Hear! Hear!

---Applause

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Ms. Mike. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Mr. Morin.

Minister's Statement 90-12(7): Norman Wells Fire
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to advise Members today that the Norman Wells fire continues to be held and the fire guards are well secured. As I told you yesterday, crews have been back burning at Vermilion Creek for the past several days. That task is now generally completed, and the wildfire and back burns have met in some spots. With the changing weather conditions, it is difficult to predict when the fire might be out.

Mr. Speaker, the community leaders and crews who have worked on the fires deserve a lot of credit. I am especially pleased that we have managed both the Fort Norman and Norman Wells fire situations with the crews and equipment we already have on contract. As I have said before, these are largely our own people and resources. So far, we have done the job without bringing in a lot of southern equipment and experts.

I am optimistic that I can continue to bring good news on these fires but stress that the entire western Arctic is extremely hot, with very little rain predicted.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 90-12(7): Norman Wells Fire
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Third Reading Of Bill C-68
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Dennis Patterson Iqaluit

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today, as a result of a motion limiting debate, Bill C-68 will be given third reading in the House of Commons. Two amendments have been introduced by our MP, Jack Anawak, who says he will vote in favour of the bill, and by Minister of Justice, Allan Rock.

One amendment made by Mr. Rock will exempt Inuit subsistence hunters from the borrowing or lending provisions of the bill. Although it goes a little way towards recognizing the way northern people hunt, often as a collective enterprise, this amendment still leaves us with many problems.

First of all, it is only subsistence hunters who will not be charged for borrowing or lending a firearm. To date, subsistence hunting has been very narrowly defined by the courts and by officials. Many of our aboriginal constituents are active hunters but they are not classified as subsistence hunters because they have jobs where they earn more than $30,000 a year.

Secondly, another class of northern hunters, non-native hunters, many of whom live with and hunt with aboriginal people, are completely left out of this amendment.

The end result of this amendment is that it will create three classes of hunters in the NWT: aboriginal subsistence hunters who will be lucky enough not to be charged for borrowing or lending firearms, although they still will not be exempt from registering their guns; and, aboriginal hunters who have jobs, who, along with non-native hunters, will be charged for loaning or borrowing firearms without permits and permission. Three classes of hunters, two sets of rules.

A more serious problem is that even if a hunter is lucky enough to be in the narrow class of people who will be exempt from the rules for borrowing or lending, no aboriginal hunter will be exempt from the requirement to register rifles and have a permit to buy a rifle. My constituents consider these compulsory registration provisions to be a major infringement on their ability to hunt and pursue a life on the land. For families who own a lot of firearms for the various seasons and species they hunt, compulsory registration will be a major hassle. It is misleading to pretend that it will not be a major inconvenience and interference with the traditional outdoor lifestyle and the ability to purchase and sell firearms as tools used in pursuit of the renewable resources economy. This amendment does nothing about compulsory registration and the huge amounts of money which will have to be spent so wastefully in the north trying to make an unworkable system work.

The other amendment made by Mr. Anawak adds a new clause stating that Bill C-68 does not take away from aboriginal or treaty rights. Mr. Speaker, I don't want my constituents to think that this amendment will save them from the application of Bill C-68. I would like to be, with unanimous consent, allowed to conclude my statement today.

Third Reading Of Bill C-68
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Member for Iqaluit is seeking unanimous consent to complete his statement. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Mr. Patterson, conclude your statement.

Third Reading Of Bill C-68
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Dennis Patterson Iqaluit

It will still force them to register their firearms and be licensed to purchase a firearm.

The effect of the new clause in the bill is unclear. Aboriginal people who are charged may be able to use this clause to defend themselves, but they will have to rely on an expensive and time-consuming and frustrating court process to do so. Federal Crown prosecutors will be fighting to uphold Bill C-68, we can be sure. The only people who will profit from this clause will be defence lawyers, Crown prosecutors and judges. This non-derogation clause will not give the Inuit the clear protection and complete exemption from the application of the bill which they want and deserve.

Mr. Speaker, I want to say as clearly as I can to my constituents, don't let anyone fool you into thinking that the Inuit land claim agreement will protect you from the effects of this invasive law. Don't be misled into thinking that a new clause in the bill paying lip service to aboriginal and treaty rights will protect you from this invasive law, either.

This bill is no good for us. It won't work; it won't be respected; it will be a colossal waste of money much better spent on community justice priorities, including more police officers. These feeble amendments have not dealt with the fundamental problems we face with this bill in the north. Qujannamiik, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Third Reading Of Bill C-68
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Item 3, Members' statements. Mrs. Thompson.

Position Of NWT Mps On Bill C-68
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Manitok Thompson Aivilik

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is with a heavy heart that I rise in this House today. I have heard that Bill C-68 will have its final reading in the House of Commons and then be referred to the Senate for their review. Mr. Speaker, it is obvious to all Members of this Assembly that the federal government consultation process on this bill was nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

It is truly unfortunate, Mr. Speaker, that the federal government has decided to ignore the needs of the people we are privileged to represent. This bill and it's provisions will create undue hardship for those who rely on guns as a tool to feed their families, protect themselves and maintain their lifestyles.

Mr. Speaker, as an aboriginal woman of Inuit descent, I have seen the effects of well-meaning kabloona on the welfare of my people. I strongly believe, Mr. Speaker, that this bill, Bill C-68, will create the same types of hardship for my people as the Greenpeace people did over the seal hunt.

Position Of NWT Mps On Bill C-68
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Dennis Patterson Iqaluit

Shame.

Position Of NWT Mps On Bill C-68
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Manitok Thompson Aivilik

In this crucial time leading up to division, we have enough on our plates in Nunavut and in the western Arctic without having to implement and enforce laws that do not represent our constituents' needs.

The federal government has said that the implementation and enforcement of the provisions of the Gun Control Act will be provincial or territorial responsibilities. Where will we get the money? As I speak, Mr. Speaker, the western Arctic is well on its way to the worst fire season ever. In Nunavut, there are still serious housing shortages that need to be addressed. The federal government has consistently cut back the money they give us to administer these programs and yet, by the same token, Mr. Speaker, expect our government to take on more responsibility with less money.

Mr. Speaker, I would like consent from my colleagues to continue.