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

Committee Motion 69-12(7): To Amend Clause 1 Of Bill 25, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1367

Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Everybody in this House has clearly indicated the need to recognize the official languages and to ensure that those students that want to receive educational programs and services in other than French and English certainly have the right to do so under this present legislation. In fact, it's more specific in some cases. In my view, I have to say to the honourable Member that I do not agree with his interpretation that it is restrictive. In fact, what is occurring is we are recognizing those rights that exist under the official languages legislation.

Not only that, we are now permitting the delivery of programs in aboriginal languages that we did not do previously. We, as a government and as an Assembly, permitting the district education authorities to make that determination. I have tried to encourage people to stay out of the daily business of the district educational authority and the divisional boards. It's no different here, I guess, that as we debate this issue, it seems that we want more restrictions rather than less. We're not intending to be restrictive, we're trying to be more permissive in the ability to use languages.

However, there has to be some basis for delivery of language programs. That is on the quality of the educator, the quality of the curriculum, the quality of the service and the quality of the facilities that are being used to offer the program. If none of those are factors then the arguments that the honourable Member raised in his opening statement about how we deal with quality programming, is not relevant. I agree with the honourable Member about quality and those are the quality standards and criteria that guide us in the ability of the aboriginal community to deliver those programs.

I think what we're trying to do is be permissive, but also set some specific standards and criteria which -- as the honourable Member has articulated quite clearly in this House -- need to be a part of the delivery of the services and programs. I agree with the honourable Member, it's not intended to be restrictive. In fact, we're trying to be as permissive as possible but there has to be some limitations on quality in terms of standards and criteria.

Committee Motion 69-12(7): To Amend Clause 1 Of Bill 25, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1367

The Chair Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Minister. Mr. Koe.

Committee Motion 69-12(7): To Amend Clause 1 Of Bill 25, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1367

Fred Koe Inuvik

Thank you. I fully appreciate the magnitude of the problems and the difficulty in dealing with aboriginal rights and treaty rights. I'm trying to get some definition, but these are concerns raised by people across the north and, as I've mentioned and other people have mentioned, they haven't been resolved. So I think it's incumbent to raise these and try to get some clarification as to what is happening so that people do understand and can hear publicly what these things mean.

The whole issue that the Minister raised is...and we'll deal with it when we get to clause 90. That is where we talk about dealing with languages, especially aboriginal languages and the district authority. That's where I meant there are limitations. The words "significant demand," "sufficient, fluent teachers" and, "sufficient and suitable program materials." Those are the criteria used; if those things are all available, then we can do certain things. You can teach it. But those items are going to be determined by the department. So we don't teach aboriginal languages to teachers. If we don't provide access for them to get their certificates, then we don't have fluent instructors. Then who's to determine what fluent is? Again, we have to discuss these things.

What does it mean if we have sufficient and suitable program materials? Again, it's the department that has funded or is supposed to provide those materials. So on one hand, we're saying we can do it, but here are some criteria that we have to meet. It's up to the department to do those things in terms of the partnerships of other organizations. So it's a catch-22, sometimes.

I'm just raising these issues because these are issues that not only myself, but the people I represent want some clarification on. They're issues that have been brought up, as I mentioned, by people in a lot of communities. So I raise that and the Minister can respond if he wishes.

But the other point I want to raise is that the Minister stated that he will be consulting with the Federation Franco-TeNoise in terms of the French language issue. Will the Minister also be consulting with the aboriginal organizations in terms of aboriginal language issues?

Committee Motion 69-12(7): To Amend Clause 1 Of Bill 25, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1367

The Chair Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Koe. Mr. Minister.

Committee Motion 69-12(7): To Amend Clause 1 Of Bill 25, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1367

Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Certainly, the recommendation allows for permissive consultations. If they're interested, we would gladly consult. But I do want to say this: that it is important that when you deal with aboriginal organizations, we have to deal with it in the context of ensuring that those organizations that represent the language groups are the ones consulted. Not just simply the territorial organizations, because there are language centres that are involved in this business, there are agreements -- which I know the honourable Member is aware of -- in three or four instances where there are educational/cultural institutes, including the Dene Cultural Institute, that are involved in this issue of cultural education. We also have language centres which are associated with language groups. So there are organizations that are involved.

But I do want to say this as well: we have teaching and learning centres that are developing program material. I don't want anyone to get the impression that somehow we don't have enough materials out in the regions. I can speak from my own regional experience, the Gwich'in Language Centre; in my view, I'm proud of those people for the amount of work that they've done in developing the language, helping in the development of curriculum. I'm proud of people like Mary Effie Snowshoe and people like Hannah Alexie who used to teach in the McPherson school, and I'm also proud of the teachers we're training today; not only the teachers, but the teachers who are specifically dealing with aboriginal language education. In other words, they're the language specialists.

I have to say that I don't want people to be left with the impression that somehow the department or this government or this Assembly has not done anything positive. We've done a lot of good things, but that doesn't mean we stop here. Our target for the year 2000 of 50 per cent aboriginal teachers, I think helps us address the issues the honourable Member has raised. I know I've had the support of the honourable Member, but we have to maintain always, as the honourable Member has said, certain standards and quality in the programs we offer. Part of that includes the development of materials in conjunction with the aboriginal language groups that are involved. I know the honourable Member has supported that on a number of occasions. Experience has taught us that we've done a good job. Obviously, we have a lot more to do but I think we've done quite a bit. In education, nothing is ever perfect and everything needs to be improved. I take note of the comments of the honourable Member.

Clause By Clause

Committee Motion 69-12(7): To Amend Clause 1 Of Bill 25, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1368

The Chair Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Minister. Any other comments? Clause 2.

Committee Motion 69-12(7): To Amend Clause 1 Of Bill 25, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1368

Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

---Agreed

Committee Motion 69-12(7): To Amend Clause 1 Of Bill 25, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1368

The Chair Tony Whitford

Thank you. Clause 3. Mr. Koe.

Committee Motion 69-12(7): To Amend Clause 1 Of Bill 25, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1368

Fred Koe Inuvik

Just a question. Again, I know there is a lot of work to be done in the regulations, but I'm just trying to get clarification of the clauses. Clause 3.(2) talks about an agreement in prescribed form. I assume the prescribed form is going to be detailed in the regulations, or is there a form already available?

Committee Motion 69-12(7): To Amend Clause 1 Of Bill 25, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1368

The Chair Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Koe. Mr. Minister.

Committee Motion 69-12(7): To Amend Clause 1 Of Bill 25, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1368

Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you. The word "prescribed" means within the regulations. Wherever that word is used, it is in regulations.

Committee Motion 69-12(7): To Amend Clause 1 Of Bill 25, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1368

The Chair Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Minister. Clause 3.

Committee Motion 69-12(7): To Amend Clause 1 Of Bill 25, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1368

Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

---Agreed

Committee Motion 69-12(7): To Amend Clause 1 Of Bill 25, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1368

The Chair Tony Whitford

Thank you. Clause 4.

Committee Motion 69-12(7): To Amend Clause 1 Of Bill 25, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 1368

Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

---Agreed