This is page numbers 1441 - 1471 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 know.

Topics

Members Present

Mr. Antoine, Mr. Ballantyne, Hon. Nellie Cournoyea, Mr. Dent, Hon. Samuel Gargan, Mr. Koe, Mr. Lewis, Mrs. Marie-Jewell, Ms. Mike, Hon. Don Morin, Hon. Richard Nerysoo, Hon. Kelvin Ng, Mr. Ningark, 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. Pudlat. Good afternoon. Orders of the day. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Ms. Cournoyea.

Minister's Statement 102-12(7): Nunavut Visit By Prime Minister And German Chancellor
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, over the weekend, three Nunavut communities hosted Prime Minister Chretien and German Chancellor Kohl. The people of Cape Dorset, Pangnirtung and Iqaluit are to be commended for their hospitality and the way they provided the Canadian and German delegations with a brief but memorable experience of life in communities and on the land in Nunavut.

However, even before it started, the visit to the Arctic by these two world leaders was seen as an opportunity to present a very important message to both Canada and Europe. Mr. Speaker, Members are aware that in recent months, the federal government has been taking an aggressive role at the international level in defence of the Canadian fur industry. The visit to Nunavut by Germany's Chancellor provided both Canada and the NWT with an excellent forum to reinforce our messages, particularly with respect to the devastating economic effects of the European ban on sealskin imports and further damage which the proposed ban on leghold traps will have on the traditional harvesting economy.

Mr. Speaker, in personal conversations with the Prime Minister and Chancellor Kohl, I was assured that both will continue to take steps to bring some common sense to the way in which their governments deal with decisions on the fur trade. Members should also be aware that the Chancellor gave a number of interviews with the German press in which he expressed concerns about the impact of the animal rights/anti-trapping lobby on the traditional harvesting economy of aboriginal peoples. In addition, the Prime Minister advised that he spoke personally to European leaders about the fur issue at the recent Halifax G-7 summit.

One other important product of the Nunavut visit was the exposure that Baffin Island and the Northwest Territories received on national and international television during the last four days. Moreover, having millions of people around the world hear Chancellor Kohl promote the environment, cultures, people and communities of the Arctic is an unexpected bonus for our tourism industry.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 102-12(7): Nunavut Visit By Prime Minister And German Chancellor
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 2, Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. Ms. Cournoyea.

Minister's Statement 103-12(7): Minister Absent From The House
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Mr. Speaker, I wish to advise Members that the Honourable Silas Arngna'naaq is ill and will be absent from the House today. Thank you.

Minister's Statement 103-12(7): Minister Absent From The House
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Approval Of Gun Registration Fee By Federal Government
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Ludy Pudluk High Arctic

(Translation) Last Friday, I heard a program on the radio from Iqaluit about the proposed gun control legislation. They interviewed Jack Anawak and it was a phone-in show. He was asked questions about the registration, about having to pay $50 to get a certificate. When he asked why this was the case, he answered that it was approved by the territorial government. I want the Inuit to understand fully that this gun control legislation was not introduced by the territorial government and is very much opposed by northerners.

The fee they have to pay, the $50, was established by the federal government. The federal government introduced this fee and I just want to make this clear to northerners. If I didn't misunderstand, the Member of Parliament said this was the case, but it wasn't introduced by the territorial government; it was introduced by the federal government. I just wanted to make that clear. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Approval Of Gun Registration Fee By Federal Government
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Importance Of Community Radio Stations
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Manitok Thompson Aivilik

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Community-run radio stations are a lifeline for most remote settlements in the Arctic. They rely heavily on these stations to provide them with local, national and international news. For many people, especially unilingual Inuit, the radio is the only source for news and information.

The Government of the Northwest Territories has been an important player in ensuring that even the smaller communities have basic radio service; however, in many of these communities, the equipment is outdated and, as a result, there are frequent interruptions in service. The company contracted to keep these stations operational and to repair equipment has a local contact person in most communities who has received basic training on the equipment by the contractor. However, Mr. Speaker, the training provided is so basic that often the individual is not able to make even basic repairs. Locating parts for such old equipment and delays in shipping can often lead to a community having to go without radio service for weeks, sometimes months.

I realize that delivering such a service to a small community is a complex and costly venture, but if the Government of the Northwest Territories is going to remain involved in funding these stations, better coordination is needed to ensure that the best possible service is provided. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Importance Of Community Radio Stations
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Forest Fire Suppression
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Henry Zoe North Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As we all know, last year was a very bad year for forest fires in the north, and this year is shaping up to be as bad or even worse. But I'm glad to see, Mr. Speaker, that the Minister responsible for forest fire management is acting decisively to respond to the situation. We all applauded his announcement yesterday of a 31 per cent raise to certified firefighters' wages with good reason, although the other part of his announcement was just as important. Many of my constituents have complained in the past about compensation when their cabins or traplines were destroyed by fire. The increased compensation announced yesterday by the honourable Minister will go a long way towards addressing their concerns.

Mr. Speaker, increased community involvement is the other important part of these new initiatives. Involving community leaders about how to fight forest fires is a common-sense solution which will help us use our limited resources better and more efficiently. I hope the government and the Minister will work hard to help communities take action now to build fire breaks, develop an action plan or do whatever needs to be done to protect our communities from fires.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I am glad to see that it is a cool, wet day again today. I know many of us look forward to sunshine in the summer, but with the forest being so dry, we need all the rain we can get. I hope we get enough to make this summer a safe and happy one for all northerners. Mahsi.

Forest Fire Suppression
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Some Hon. Members

Hear! Hear!

---Applause

Forest Fire Suppression
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Item 3, Members' statements. Are there any further Members' statements? Mr. Ballantyne.

Financial Implications Of Division
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Michael Ballantyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I want to talk about a serious developing problem in the Northwest Territories. We are heading into a period of major financial uncertainty. The Northwest Territories is a very difficult region to govern at the best of times. It is a huge area with many different languages and cultures and a very small, scattered population. We have the youngest population in the country and the highest unemployment. We have terrible social problems. The political, economic and social fabric of our society is very fragile. The federal government has raised high expectations in the areas of division and of self-government.

Mr. Speaker, here in this House we should talk about how we are going to deal with those expectations in the years to come. I think this government has done a good job to protect the resources we have. I think the Minister of Finance has done the best job he could do, but the reality is the problems that are facing us in the next four or five years are immense. The federal government has to be held accountable because of the expectation they have raised. They have let every region think that self-government is just around the corner and that they will pay the incremental costs of division. I see signs more and more that that isn't the case.

The real danger for us, unless we deal with these problems and unless the federal government lives up to its expectations, is we in the Northwest Territories will turn against one another. I see that potential with every passing day as being a possibility. Today, Mr. Speaker, I will be asking the Minister of Finance some questions about his ideas of how we should try to approach this. I think as we head into an election, we have to be very clear and honest with our constituents; the future won't be the same as it was in the past. We won't have as much money, we won't be able to meet everyone's expectations. I think that all of us have a responsibility to be very realistic of what we can achieve in the next four years.

So I hope in the dying days of this Assembly, that the government and MLAs try to make it very clear to their constituents that we are heading for tough times. The federal government is struggling with a huge deficit and debt problem. I have no doubt that part of the solution is going to be more cutbacks in the Northwest Territories. If there isn't enough money to do things properly, then we have to work...