This is page numbers 1374 - 1400 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 assembly.

Topics

Importance Of Mlas' Team Unity
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1376

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. The Member for Yellowknife Centre is seeking unanimous consent. Do we have any nays? There are no nays. Mr. Lewis, conclude your statement.

Importance Of Mlas' Team Unity
Item 3: Members' Statements

June 16th, 1995

Page 1376

Brian Lewis Yellowknife Centre

Mr. Speaker, my honourable colleague from Yellowknife South, Mr. Dent, has talked about the necessity of a cohesive team approach. The Member for Iqaluit, Mr. Patterson, has mentioned team politics. I agree with these statements, Mr. Speaker, and I think we should start working on it right now before the next Media Sharks charity hockey game. That maybe is the secret. If we can get this House to work as a team for the first time to beat the media, by working cohesively perhaps it could be the seeds of a new approach to politics in the Northwest Territories where we suddenly arrive at the formula to be successful. Who knows, Mr. Speaker? If we do it right, this may become an election issue and people can begin training right now so that in the next Assembly we can get a really good team to beat our traditional enemy at this well-known Canadian game. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Importance Of Mlas' Team Unity
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1376

An Hon. Member

Hear! Hear!

---Applause

Importance Of Mlas' Team Unity
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1376

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Potential Of The NWT Mining Industry
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1376

Michael Ballantyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As my colleague, Mr. Whitford, said in his Member's statement yesterday, this is Mining Week here in the Northwest Territories. Mining has played a very important part in the economy of the Northwest Territories for many years, and it has been a key part of Yellowknife. In my constituency, Giant Mine has provided employment and business opportunities for decades. It has been a very important part of the community.

My understanding is that last year, mining provided some 75 per cent of the goods produced in the Northwest Territories, and actually provided 25 per cent of the GDP of the Northwest Territories. So it's a very, very important component of our economy. As the federal cutbacks become more and more of a factor, I think we're going to have to look at the potential that we have. To me, mining is going to provide some of the greatest potential here in the Northwest Territories.

Members are aware that there has been concern by governments right across the country that the mining industry has been leaving Canada. For many reasons, the mining industry has not found Canada to be very supportive of mining, even though, in many ways, the Canadian economy and the very high quality of life that we've enjoyed in Canada has been an important part on mining. But the other governments in Canada are coming around. There are major endeavours now to support mining. In fact, the big find in Newfoundland in Voisey Bay with Diamond Fields Company, could turn around the economy of Newfoundland. It could go from being a very, very poor province with a tremendously high number of unemployed people, to being a self-sufficient province. I think that's a lesson for us, because if we, especially here in the west, don't take advantage of that mining opportunity, and as the federal government cuts back, we're going to have serious economic problems. So I look to the future with a lot of optimism because of the potential in mining.

This weekend, the Chamber of Mines has many events. The mine rescue competition will be at the Yellowknife arena over the next couple of days.

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

Potential Of The NWT Mining Industry
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1376

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Potential Of The NWT Mining Industry
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1376

Michael Ballantyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's a good opportunity for Members to become more familiar with mining and I hope that Members take advantage of this opportunity, get out and talk to the miners and see what they're doing here in the Northwest Territories. I think all of us should remember, although there are very legitimate concerns right now about the environment and very legitimate concerns about self-government, at the end of the day, the mineral wealth of the western Arctic is going to be what we need to sustain us. There is really no other way around that.

So, I think our challenge together is to find a way to ensure that responsible mining responds to the needs of the Northwest Territories -- especially for us over here in the western Arctic -- including environmental concerns. I think we have to get more aggressive and take control over our destiny. At the end of the day, the only way we're going to receive the full benefits of mining is if we control the agenda. Hopefully, the discussions taking place right now on the mining accord will come to some resolution and we, collectively, in the western Arctic can ensure that mining takes place in a responsible way, and can enjoy the full benefits of mining opportunities. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Potential Of The NWT Mining Industry
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1377

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Appreciation Of Members' Efforts Relaying NWT Concerns Re Bill C-68
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1377

Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, we've had an opportunity in this House on a number of occasions to discuss Bill C-68. I want to personally, Mr. Speaker, thank on behalf of my constituents, the Honourable Stephen Kakfwi, Jeannie Marie-Jewell, Dennis Patterson, Jim Antoine, Fred Koe and, especially, John Ningark for having represented the interests of the people of the Northwest Territories and this Assembly in bringing forward our concerns as they relate to Bill C-68.

It is my impression that they have contributed significantly, from at least hearing the comments of Mr. Ningark who brought forward his personal experiences as an aboriginal person to the Canadian public about the relationship of aboriginal people and the use of firearms -- not for the purpose of abusing them but for the purpose of carrying on a life that has been historic.

So, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank again the Honourable Stephen Kakfwi, Jeannie Marie-Jewell and Dennis Patterson, for venturing into our capital city of Ottawa to express their concerns. I hope others will accept the challenge. I want to say to them, thank you for the work that you've done and thank you for the ongoing work that you will do during the next several weeks. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Appreciation Of Members' Efforts Relaying NWT Concerns Re Bill C-68
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1377

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Kakfwi.

New Community-oriented Approach To Firefighting In The Nwt
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1377

Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In the knowledge of the Dene and Metis of the Sahtu, we recall that the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s was a time when the approach of the federal governments of the day regarding firefighting was very much an approach of using manpower at the ground level. We have come to a stage where, last summer, our people realized that we spend excessive amounts of money fighting fires. Last summer, I believe, we spent in excess of $25 million. Most of the fires in the Sahtu were extensive. Huge areas of land were burned and scorched, in spite of the high-tech approach we took. In spite of the bombers and huge numbers of aircraft and people involved, the land burned anyway.

People have asked over the last two winters, what difference does it really make whether we have bombers? The land didn't all burn during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Last year, in spite of the great support given to firefighting by bombers and choppers, there were huge tracts of land which burned anyway. As the MLA for the Sahtu, I know that many of the people at the community level would welcome any change to give people at the community level an avenue through which their suggestions for change and observations on how to get a more community-oriented approach to dealing with fires, would be related to the government.

It is this message that has been getting through to our communities, particularly in the last three weeks: that there are possibilities for change, where we don't have to feel that the drier our country gets, the more broke this government is going to get; and the more our country burns, the less money we'll have for other essential services because of the high-costing, but ineffective, means we take to fight fires. Thank you.

New Community-oriented Approach To Firefighting In The Nwt
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1377

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Kakfwi. Item 3, Members' statements. Mrs. Marie-Jewell.

Work Of Bird Dog Officers
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1377

Jeannie Marie-Jewell Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As the Member for Thebacha, my constituents are very concerned about the way we address fires, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, many northern residents at times, I believe, don't fully understand the responsibility of an air attack officer, better known as Bird Dog officers. I'm going to attempt to explain some of the working conditions they have to work under.

When the Bird Dog aircraft flies ahead of DC-4s or CL-215s, they assist the pilots in fire attacks. For example, when the Bird Dog is five minutes back from the fire, the air attack officer will contact the fire boss and any aircraft in the area to notify them that the Bird Dogs are now controlling the fire space and to start making arrangements to clear the area for the tanker group. The air attack officer is responsible for the safe operation of the air tanker group and, as such, may remove crews from the fire if he deems it hazardous to life or property, either people on the ground or in aircraft.

Mr. Speaker, the air attack officer works under very difficult conditions. Remember, smoke could be very dense from a fire; and, there could be very hot conditions which create hot air pockets so planes could lose altitude very quickly. There are, at times, turbulence, prevailing winds, down drafts and lack of visibility, no doubt from the amount of smoke.

Mr. Speaker, I was saddened to hear that there were lay-off notices given to two air attack officers, including the assistant air operator, Jack Bird. Jack Bird was raised in Hay River and also Yellowknife. I recall, quite vividly, going to school with Jack here in Yellowknife. Jack Bird started in Inuvik in 1974 as a firefighter. He completed training in resource management in February 1975. He was based in Yellowknife until 1980 as an assistant resource management officer, where he was responsible for the supervision of ground crews. He also has worked as an air attack officer since 1980. He has been on loan to most agencies in Canada, the United States and in Mexico.

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

Work Of Bird Dog Officers
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1378

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Work Of Bird Dog Officers
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1378

Jeannie Marie-Jewell Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I want the House to note that Jack Bird, was the first and only native to be nationally certified in Canada. Incidentally, the only other native was from the NWT, Fred Lepine, from Hay River. In 1989, Jack Bird moved a step ahead in his career and was able to achieve the assistant manager of air operations until Wednesday, where his

responsibilities, including supervision of the air attack officers, had been questionable.

In addition, Mr. Speaker, another air attack officer, Mr. Jeff Austin, who is a certified air attack officer with 16 seasons of active fire suppression, who also lives in Hay River also has been given notice. I will be seeking clarification from the Minister responsible for the Financial Management Board with regard to these two lay-off notices, particularly with respect to what the Premier had announced in this House yesterday. I will also be requesting further clarification from the Minister of Public Works and Safety. I did invite Mr. Jack Bird, Jeff Austin to this House today. I will be pleased, at a later point in time, to recognize them, along with their regional vice-president, Mr. Keith Dowling. Thank you.

---Applause