This is page numbers 1341 - 1373 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, 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

Page 1341

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Allooloo. Good afternoon. Orders of the day; item 2, Ministers' statements. Mr. Morin.

Minister's Statement 92-12(7): Sahtu Residents Return Home
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1341

Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today, residents of Fort Norman and Norman Wells are returning home.

---Applause

Although the forest fire which forced the evacuation continues to burn, it is not a threat to the communities at this time. The caterpillar tractors are completing a fireguard between the fire and the communities and the perimeter of the fire is being closely monitored. An infrared scanner is being used to find hot spots which must be dug up and watered down to be put out. Over the next 10 days, the fireguard will be completed and fire crews and air tankers will remain on site to help put out hot spots.

Now that the communities are no longer threatened, this will be my final statement on the Sahtu forest fire. Once again, I would like to thank the fire crews who continue their hard work, those people who helped and opened their homes to the evacuees, and the residents of Fort Norman and Norman Wells for their patience and cooperation. As the weather forecast continues to be for hot and dry conditions, I remind everyone, as the weekend approaches, to be careful when out on the land. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 92-12(7): Sahtu Residents Return Home
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1341

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Ms. Cournoyea.

Minister's Statement 93-12(7): Family Law Legislation
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1341

Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, later today I will be tabling two proposed acts: the Child and Family Services Act and the Adoption Act. The draft legislation is based on recommendations made by Members of the family law review committee. This group recommended substantial changes to the Child Welfare Act, many of which are incorporated into the proposed acts.

Our current Child Welfare Act was drafted in the 1960s. It is outdated and no longer meets our needs. It is time to bring forward legislation that supports and strengthens family ties and enables communities to become more involved in child and family service matters. Tabling these documents now will enable further dialogue about family law and child welfare issues that are of major concern to all residents of the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, it is anticipated that this next phase of the consultation process will involve seeking ideas from young people, parents, helping agencies, aboriginal groups, women's groups and other interested persons. Finding a balance between the roles and responsibilities of government and of parents in raising and protecting children, especially children at risk, is a difficult task. There are bound to be some parts of these proposed acts that are controversial and it will not be possible for everybody to agree. The important thing, however, is to start exploring these issues and to involve the public in the discussion.

These legislative initiatives will be dealt with by the Members of the next Legislative Assembly. Meanwhile, public consultation that is needed to move towards a family-based, service-oriented child welfare system will continue. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 93-12(7): Family Law Legislation
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1341

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Madam Premier. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Mr. Kakfwi.

Minister's Statement 94-12(7): Family Law Legislation
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1341

Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Mr. Speaker, later today it will be my pleasure to table two proposed acts in the area of family law reform: a proposed Children's Law Act and a proposed Family Law Act.

The tabling of these proposed acts is for the purpose of facilitating the next stage of public consultation in the process of family law reform, which began back in December of 1988, when the Ministers of Justice and Social Services commissioned an eight-member working group to review family law in the Northwest Territories and to make recommendations for change. The working group included representatives from a number of interested organizations. Their work resulted in the family law review report received in September, 1992.

The report of the working group has provided guidance to the Department of Justice in our work on legislative reform. The Department of Justice developed a discussion paper in response to the family law report and circulated the discussion paper to interest groups in 1994. It received positive comments.

Throughout the process, the departments of Justice and Health and Social Services have been coordinating their efforts. Following the completion of the last round of consultation, the departments proceeded to draft four new proposed acts. As Minister of Justice, I will be tabling two of these proposed acts and, as announced, the Minister of Health and Social Services will be tabling the other two.

The proposed Children's Law Act covers the legal status of children, the establishment of parentage, custody of and access to children, support for children, and guardianship of a child's estate. The proposed Family Law Act covers the division of family property, the rights of spouses in a family home, support for spouses and other dependants, and domestic contracts.

The Department of Justice, in cooperation with the Department of Health and Social Services, will be continuing its consultation, using these proposed acts as a foundation for discussion. Some of the areas of law are complex, and review of the proposed acts as a package will assist people in placing the proposals in context.

I am looking forward to receiving comments from the public so that the government can proceed with the development of legislation for consideration by the 13th Legislative Assembly. Mr. Speaker, family law reform is a huge undertaking for a government and the people of a province or territory. The tabling of the proposed acts today demonstrates that significant progress has been made by this Legislature. Thank you.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 94-12(7): Family Law Legislation
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1342

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Kakfwi. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Ms. Cournoyea.

Minister's Statement 95-12(7): Dismissal Of Employees
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1342

Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Mr. Speaker, I have reviewed the procedures relating to termination proceedings against the assistant manager of air operations and an air attack officer stationed in Fort Smith. I am satisfied the government has handled this matter properly and that there has been no political interference.

I understand the secretariat has now sent letters to both employees that officially advise them of the recommendation and allow them five days to respond. In addition, an investigation is being carried out by labour relations. Following a review of the employees' submissions and the completion of the investigation, this matter will be determined and the employees will be notified. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 95-12(7): Dismissal Of Employees
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1342

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 2, Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Whitford.

Benefits Of NWT Mines
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1342

Tony Whitford Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, Members will notice the items on their desk, and it is probably not necessary to remind everybody that June 12th to June 18th of this year is Mining Week. Since prospectors arrived here on their way to and from the Yukon gold rush -- at least in Yellowknife -- found rich gold samples, the toil and dreams related to mining in this region began.

CM&S, now Miramar Mine, poured it's first brick back in August of 1938 and the little town of Yellowknife has since grown to the point of crowding mining property lines. In 1986, Giant Mine poured it's 10,000th gold brick, one of the very few gold mines in the world to reach that level of production. Of course, the latest hope are the diamond fields that lay beyond the Canadian Shield in the Slave province. As the highest-priced commodity in the world, it is estimated that one high-yielding diamond region would have the economic potential to equal ten Yellowknife gold mines.

Pine Point was responsible for the construction of the third hydro plant in the Northwest Territories in the Taltson River. Great Bear Lake's Eldorado Mine initiated river shipping and Eldorado's need for fuel was instrumental in bringing the Norman Wells oil fields into current production. The Mackenzie Highway was constructed to reach the gold mining town of Yellowknife, long before it became a government centre. The territories' only rail road was built in 1964 to service Pine Point and it's world-class deposit of lead and zinc ore.

Mr. Speaker, I seek consent to continue.

Benefits Of NWT Mines
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1342

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Benefits Of NWT Mines
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1342

Tony Whitford Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker; thank you, colleagues. More recently, the MV Arctic, the world's only icebreaker ore-carrying ship was built to service the Nanisivik and Polaris Mines. The mining industry also offers significant employment opportunities for our aboriginal population. The Colomac Mine has already formed a comprehensive employment agreement with local communities, as did Echo

Bay's Lupin Mine.

On the other side of the coin, our modern mining must also respond to the new environmental standards that meet the expectations of our aboriginal communities and the people of the Northwest Territories government's regulations. Ongoing environmental assessments will monitor the impact of any change, such as caribou migration or air pollution. All things considered, we may all agree with the mining industry's claim that mining is helping to dig Canada out of debt. It certainly has contributed largely to our economy here in the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Benefits Of NWT Mines
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1343

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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