This is page numbers 1311 - 1340 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

Third Reading Of Federal Firearms Legislation
Members Present

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Fred Koe Inuvik

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to offer some comments and opinions about Bill C-68, the gun control legislation. There have been a lot of eloquent statements made by my colleagues in this House about the events and negotiations leading up to the gun control legislation, which was passed yesterday. I was very dismayed and appalled that Bill C-68 did get passed by the House of Commons yesterday. I believe the amendments to the bill do not go far enough in terms of dealing with the issues raised by people in the north.

Of special concern are issues raised by aboriginal people with respect to their rights to hunt, trap and fish and to use firearms for their livelihood. The other areas are outlined in some of the claim agreements and have to do with the levying of fees for registering and getting certificates and licenses. The two agreements I'm familiar with -- the Inuvialuit final agreement and the Gwich'in settlement agreement -- have statements in them that protect the rights of these people. They should not have to pay for permits, licenses or other authorizations. The gun control bill comes under that.

Also, in terms of the consultation process, the latest committee that went around went to Inuvik, Tsiigehtchic and Fort McPherson. The response the committee received there was very similar to what they heard across the territories: our people were very upset at the short notice and the type of consultation they came to do. I believe the bill has now gone up to the Senate, and we should continue our lobbying efforts as hard as possible. Mahsi.

--- Applause

Third Reading Of Federal Firearms Legislation
Members Present

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Koe. Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Patterson.

Further Gun Control

Third Reading Of Federal Firearms Legislation
Members Present

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Dennis Patterson Iqaluit

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I, too, am not surprised but distressed by the passage of Bill C-68 which was given third reading in the House of Commons yesterday.

I would like to take this opportunity, Mr. Speaker -- I commented on the feeble amendments that were introduced yesterday -- to announce the formation of the new Nunatsiaq Coalition against further gun controls. This organization, Mr. Speaker, has sprung into existence out of the strong and deeply-felt concern against this new federal gun control law. The objects of this new organization are to oppose further gun controls which say are intrusive, unfair and unreasonable to the legitimate aspirations of law-abiding, responsible firearms owners and users. The coalition is working very hard to demand accountability of their elected representatives.

Although newly organized, they have sought support and received extensive support for a petition which has been circulated through the good offices of hunters' and trappers' organizations from Kitikmeot to Keewatin and Baffin. The petition, which I'll table later today, has 1,000 names on it and is growing by the day. The coalition represents aboriginal and non-aboriginal hunters and firearms owners in Nunatsiaq. It is strong and determined.

Mr. Speaker, I know that the MP for the Western Arctic today in a radio interview stated that there may be a silent majority in her riding who support the new gun control bill. I feel very confident in saying, and I know the Nunatsiaq coalition against further gun controls proves, that is certainly not the case in Nunatsiaq riding. This remains a very serious issue, and the last won't be heard of it from the passage of this bill. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Third Reading Of Federal Firearms Legislation
Members Present

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Lewis.

Study Of Sports In The Northwest Territories
Members Present

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Brian Lewis Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. When I see that the government is conducting a study on this subject or that subject, then I first of all ask myself what the purpose of the study is.

I know that there is an individual who is trying to gauge how important sport is to the people of the Northwest Territories. He has talked to several Members today. A study on sport, whenever you see it come out of the blue like this, makes you think that here is one more thing, maybe, that's being examined as a frill. Maybe we could save some money it we don't do this or we can cut it back.

I would like to say something about that, Mr. Speaker, publicly, because all my life, and as I get older, I have become even more convinced that one of the ways in which young people grow is to really become involved in some kind of physical activity, whether an individual sport or a team sport, because in the long run, your society is going to depend on the health, the fitness and the vigour of your young people. Member's Statement On Nunatsiaq Coalition Against I see the huge changes that have taken place in the Northwest Territories, from camp life where people were very active and engaged and busy all the time, to urban life where there are different challenges. When you see young people getting. involved in vigorous activity, you realize that this is one way in which young people develop, learn all the values of cooperation, competition and associating with people, achieving goals and objectives that you set for yourselves; sport has always done that. At every school I have ever worked over a long career, Mr. Speaker, I found that it went together. You could get kids up at six o'clock in the morning to go to train or practice for some important events. You

couldn't get them out for an early math class but you could certainly get them out for something like that.

I would be very disappointed if this government sees the opportunity to save a few dollars by taking away something which is very valuable for young people in the development of their personalities and their lifestyles. I would hate to see us drawing support from it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--- Applause

Study Of Sports In The Northwest Territories
Members Present

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Lewis. Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Pudlat.

Improvements Required To Lake Harbour Airstrip
Members Present

June 14th, 1995

Page 1314

Kenoayoak Pudlat Baffin South

(Translation) Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In this House, we have heard a lot in the past few years about the subject I am going to be talking about. I want to bring this up again while I am still a Member of this Assembly.

There is a very short airstrip in my constituency. It's in between hills and mountains. As we all know, Mr. Speaker, we are aware that there was going to be an improvement there in 1987 when we still had the BRC in the region at the time. There was going to be an improvement made to that airstrip.

I think this is very important to the safety of the community and to the aircraft that travel to and from the community. We are all aware that there has been no major mishap, but when the windis blowing from the south, you have to go straight towards a hilly area to take off and to land.

Mr. Speaker, I want to remind this government that they owe these small communities and my community of Lake Harbour for improvement of airstrips and to remind the Minister of Transportation that they have to service all of the communities, even if they are small and poor, to prevent mishaps or accidents in the future.

There have been funding cuts. We all know that, but I think that we owe our people good facilities so that they'll be safer and so we don't have to spend further money in the future. I just wanted to remind the Members that this is still a concern in my constituency. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Improvements Required To Lake Harbour Airstrip
Members Present

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Ballantyne.

Need For Yellowknife To Embrace Impending Changes
Members Present

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Michael Ballantyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Northwest Territories as we know it is changing quickly. Yellowknife, as the capital city, must embrace those changes. I have been in politics for 17 years and there have been tremendous changes here in Yellowknife. The infrastructure that is in place now, the opportunities that are in place now in Yellowknife are so much greater than they were 17 years ago.

A lot of people who ave worked very hard in building Yellowknife deserve a lot of credit for the effort that has gone Into it. Today we have a city that we can be very proud of and a city that has no equal for its size anywhere in the country.

I hear criticisms from some people in Yellowknife. Some don't think they are well looked after. They don't think that they have everything that they want. But the reality is, Mr. Speaker, most of those criticisms come from people who have just come to Yellowknife in recent years. Those who have been here a long time recognize the support that Yellowknife has had from the Legislative Assembly and from successive governments in order to build that infrastructure. Yellowknife has done very well by this Legislative Assembly over the years. I just wanted to put that on the public record.

The face of Yellowknife is changing rapidly. I would say that close to 25 per cent of the population today is aboriginal, and probably by the year 2000 closer to 50 per cent of the Yellowknife population will be aboriginal. Young people tend to gravitate towards larger centres, so I see the political dynamics in the western Arctic changing significantly over the next five to 10 years, where aboriginal people will start to embrace Yellowknife as their city.

As I said, over the years, Yellowknife MLAs, with the support of this Assembly, have been able to bring a lot of infrastructure into Yellowknife, have been able to protect jobs in Yellowknife; but times are changing, Mr. Speaker. Division, the impending federal government cutbacks and the stronger regions in the western Arctic will bring sweeping changes to the structure and size of government across the territories, especially here in Yellowknife.

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

Need For Yellowknife To Embrace Impending Changes
Members Present

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Need For Yellowknife To Embrace Impending Changes
Members Present

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Michael Ballantyne Yellowknife North

I think it's incumbent upon me as an MLA to say to the people of Yellowknife that things will change. The Yellowknife that we know is going to be changing rapidly, and we have to start preparing for that change. To try to put our head in the sand and say somehow the status quo will be maintained I think is misleading and dishonest to our constituents.

Having said that, Mr. Speaker, I think the western Arctic and Yellowknife have a tremendous future. We have everything going for us. There are only 40,000 people with vast resources. I think we have a very skilled population. Though we argue amongst ourselves, at the end of the day I'm convinced we'll come together and we're going to make it work.

In the future, I think Yellowknife has to draw upon its strengths. As I said before, it has unmatched infrastructure here in the territories. It has a trained workforce. It has a critical mass of population whereby you can have investment opportunity, whereby you can bring in the larger opportunities from southern Canada, where you can bring in the banking and financial institutions. So I think it's very important for the western Arctic to have a Yellowknife. It's also very important for Yellowknife to recognize that without the support and the interaction with the rest of the western Arctic, Yellowknife can't thrive.

I think that Yellowknife has to get back to its roots. It started off as a very important mining centre, and I see the potential in mining as tremendous. I'm happy to see this mayor and city council are trying to take advantage of that, and are out there pursuing opportunities in mining.

I also see Yellowknife having to really improve their relationship with regions. All too often, Yellowknife has sat in splendid isolation. We, in this House, have heard many times some of the frustration by people across the territories. I think it's time for Yellowknife -- and the mayor and council are starting on this-- to embrace the regions. I think that Yellowknife in partnership with the regions strengthens everybody.

So, Mr. Speaker, I think that at the end of the day if there is proper planning, if there is leadership, creativity and goodwill, I think the people of Yellowknife can move towards 2000 with a lot of confidence and a lot of energy. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

--- Applause

Need For Yellowknife To Embrace Impending Changes
Members Present

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

--- Interruption in Proceedings

Would the Sergeant-at-Arms request that the gentleman leave.

--- Interruption in Proceedings

--- SHORT RECESS

Need For Yellowknife To Embrace Impending Changes
Members Present

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The House will come back to order. We're still on item 3, Members' statements. Mrs. Marie-Jewell.

Concerns With Implementation Of Bill 32
Members Present

Page 1315

Jeannie Marie-Jewell Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate my honourable colleague for Yellowknife Frame Lake, Mr. Dent, on what I expect to be the imminent passage of Bill 32.

--- Applause

As you know from your own experience as a Member, Mr. Speaker, it's not always easy to bring forward a private Member's bill and I applaud Mr. Dent's effort and conviction in doing so.

At the same time, though, Mr. Speaker, I remain troubled as I see this bill go on to third reading.

Mr. Speaker, I will always support any endeavour which serves to preserve and enhance the integrity of this House. In retrospect, I believe that Bill 32 will do that. But I remain very concerned about a loophole that exists with regard to Members who may receive a conditional discharge, and I am certain that the legal profession will make every effort to capitalize on it.

I am also concerned, as I stated during standing committee hearings and again during debate in this House, that Mr. Dent's initiative does not go far enough. I believe that there is a far broader range of offences, including bootlegging, impaired driving, illegal possession of drugs, fraud and others that should have been included. I believe that any Member found guilty of these should not be allowed to sit in this House.

I have already stated my concerns over the potential interpretation of threatened violence or attempted assault, and I wonder what our constituents must think when we become so buried in legal definitions and case law that we're not even sure whether our laws reflect what we mean.

But, Mr. Speaker, what troubles me most about seeing Bill 32 passed through this Legislature is that just one more signal of a disturbing trend in Canada; a trend that is pushing all difficult decisions into the courts to decide.

Mr. Speaker, while I applaud Mr. Dent's efforts, this bill runs contrary to the basic belief that I have in our democratic system. It is my belief that it should be up to the people who decide when an elected representative is to be removed, not an outcome of a sentencing hearing in a court. Decisions to expel a Member should occur through an election or when other elected Members choose to exercise the rules of the House.

I am troubled by the increasing Canadian trend of pushing almost every decision into the courts through Charter challenges, constitutional interpretations and so forth. We will take a 10-minute break, please. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to continue.

Concerns With Implementation Of Bill 32
Members Present

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Member for Thebacha is seeking unanimous consent. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Conclude your statement, Mrs. Marie-Jewell.