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

Page 1441

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

Page 1441

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

Page 1441

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

Page 1441

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

Page 1441

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

Page 1441

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

Page 1441

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Importance Of Community Radio Stations
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1442

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

Page 1442

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Forest Fire Suppression
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1442

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

Page 1442

Some Hon. Members

Hear! Hear!

---Applause

Forest Fire Suppression
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1442

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

Page 1442

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...

Financial Implications Of Division
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1442

Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

---Applause

Financial Implications Of Division
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1443

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Financial Implications Of Division
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1443

Michael Ballantyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We have some difficult times ahead. I think we have the capacity and will in this House to deal with those times. It is very important that we remember that the federal government has the ultimate responsibility to live up to their commitments. For the rest of us, the name of the game is we hang together, do our best and that will get us through these tough times. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Financial Implications Of Division
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1443

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Koe.

Appreciation To Assembly Staff For Preparation Of Educational Material
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1443

Fred Koe Inuvik

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I have a good-news statement. Periodically, when I go to Inuvik, I get invited to talk to students in the schools. They want me to talk about politics and government systems. A few months ago, I met with the senior students in SAMS Elementary School. At that time, I used the information and educational package that was prepared by the Legislative Assembly. When I was in Inuvik, I met one of the teachers whose classes I talked to. I handed this material out at the end of my talk and they used it in their discussions afterward. She said the students were very pleased with the information that was provided to them. It was very concise and useful information.

So I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of those students and instructors, to thank the Speakers who have been involved in preparing this information and thank the staff of the Legislative Assembly for doing a very good job. Mahsi.

---Applause

Appreciation To Assembly Staff For Preparation Of Educational Material
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1443

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Todd.

Appreciation To Assembly Staff For Preparation Of Educational Material
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1443

John Todd Keewatin Central

Mr. Speaker, could I seek unanimous consent to return to item 2. I apologize for missing that.

Appreciation To Assembly Staff For Preparation Of Educational Material
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1443

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Member for Keewatin Central is seeking unanimous consent to return to item 2, Ministers' statements. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Mr. Todd.

Minister's Statement 104-12(7): Business Corporations Act
Revert To Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1443

John Todd Keewatin Central

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you, honourable colleagues. Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Justice, I would like to provide an update on the commercial law reforms. While much work remains to be done, it is timely to summarize the progress which has been made to date.

1. After over 25 years of attempts to complete the job, the transfer of the land titles program was completed in the summer of 1993.

2. The Personal Property Security Act was first tabled in 1993 and eventually passed in 1994. Regulations are now being drafted and the computer program and public relations materials necessary to implement the act will soon be developed. It is anticipated that this act will come into force in early 1996.

3. Amendments to the Partnership Act were passed and came into force on January 1st of this year.

4. Amendments to the Co-operative Associations Act were passed earlier in the current session and changes to the regulations necessary to bring the amendments into force are now being drafted.

5. Amendments to the Land Titles Act were passed in April, some of which are already in force. To bring into force the remaining amendments, regulations are now being drafted.

At the appropriate time later today, I will table a consultation draft of a Business Corporations Act. This draft is being circulated to the business community and the legal and accounting professions for their comments. This act would replace the present Companies Act and Companies Winding-up Act.

The current Companies Act closely resembles the Companies Act of Alberta, which they replaced more than 10 years ago. It has not been adapted to current commercial practices and in a number of areas overlaps with personal property security legislation and securities legislation. In the past 15 years, most of the provinces and the Yukon have adopted legislation based upon the Canada Business Corporations Act.

A Business Corporations Act would strike an appropriate balance between the interests of the majority and minority shareholders, creditors and the public dealing with companies. At the same time, it would simplify procedures, eliminate unnecessary applications to the court and eliminate areas of duplication with other legislation.

Specifically, the new act would:

1. Simplify the procedure for incorporation, including elimination of the requirement to specify the objectives of the company and the requirement that each company have at least two shareholders.

2. Improve the process for the approval of company names.

3. Provide greater flexibility in the share structure and in the relations between shareholders.

4. Simplify the procedure for amendments to the corporations share capital and for amalgamations, including reducing the requirements for court approval of these fundamental changes. This is achieved in part by providing for specific rights for minority shareholders who are not in agreement with the fundamental changes.

5. Simplify the procedures for dissolving and reviving companies, including dispensing with the requirement for court approval in most instances.

6. Eliminate unnecessary applications to the court while allowing recourse to the courts in the case of legitimate problems. The Companies Act now provides that almost all fundamental changes to a corporation require the approval of the court, even where there are no shareholders who disagree with the changes. In other cases, the legitimate concerns of minority shareholders are not adequately addressed.

Once all comments are received from the public, the bill will be prepared, Mr. Speaker, for consideration by the 13th Legislative Assembly. Thank you.

Minister's Statement 104-12(7): Business Corporations Act
Revert To Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1444

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Minister's Statement 105-12(7): Territorial Court Act
Revert To Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1444

Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Mr. Speaker, later today on behalf of the Honourable Stephen Kakfwi, Minister of Justice, I will table a document which identifies proposed amendments to the Territorial Court Act. This document has been prepared for the purposes of public consultation over the summer.

Members will recall that in 1992 the NWT Court of Appeal, in its judgment in the "Temela" group of cases, urged the government to undertake reforms to the act because of the potential for ministerial interference in the discipline of judges in ways which would violate the right under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to be tried by an independent and impartial tribunal.

If these proposed changes became law in the NWT, we will be in line with a trend that commenced in Ontario and Manitoba. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 105-12(7): Territorial Court Act
Revert To Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1444

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. Item 4, returns to oral questions. Ms. Cournoyea.

Further Return To Question 592-12(7): Consultation For Development Of Official Languages Handbook
Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions
Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions

Page 1444

Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Mr. Speaker, I have a return to an oral question asked by Mr. Allooloo on June 13th regarding consultation for development of the official languages handbook. Mr. Allooloo asked if the Premier would be able to provide the Legislative Assembly the list of aboriginal groups who had general discussions with the officials of the department. During the fall and winter, the assistant deputy minister of official languages met or had phone conversations with the following:

- representatives from the Dene Cultural Institute;

- representatives from the Inuit Cultural Institute;

- representatives from the Baffin Regional Inuit Association;

- Languages Commissioner;

- representatives from the Federation Franco-TéNOise;

- representatives from the Nunavut Implementation Committee;

- representatives from the Hay River Treatment Centre;

- representatives from the Hay River Friendship Centre; and,

- representatives from the Fort Smith Friendship Centre

The purpose of those consultations was to ascertain the areas where the GNWT should focus its language resources on. The community representatives consulted stressed that funding should be directed at community-based initiatives for enhancement, maintenance and revitalization of languages. These comments played an important role in the development of official languages guidelines.

Further Return To Question 589-12(7): Number Of GNWT Lay-offs Due To Language Funding Cuts
Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions
Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions

Page 1444

Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Mr. Speaker, I have another return to an oral question asked by Mr. Ningark on June 13th, regarding the number of GNWT layoffs due to the language funding cuts. Mr. Speaker, employment entitlements are not determined by the source of funding for their position. Government staff are hired pursuant to the Public Service Act and their terms and conditions of employment are determined by the act and are applicable to collective agreements and government policies. Whether an employee's position is funded from either vote 1 or vote 4 resources, their entitlements would not be affected. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Further Return To Question 589-12(7): Number Of GNWT Lay-offs Due To Language Funding Cuts
Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions
Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions

Page 1444

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 4, returns to oral questions. Item 5, recognition of visitors in the gallery. Item 6, oral questions. Mr. Ballantyne.

Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1444

Michael Ballantyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister of Finance. Mr. Speaker, I think all Members and most of the public are aware of the problems that this Legislative Assembly and this government have had to grapple with because of cutbacks in areas such as housing, official languages and health care. I think up to this time, we've done a pretty good job to stay the course. But as I said in my Member's statement, I do have serious concerns about the future. I wonder if the Minister of Finance could share with us his views about the medium and long-term hope for us, financially, between now and 1999. Thank you.

Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1444

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Minister of Finance, Mr. Pollard.

Return To Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1444

John Pollard Hay River

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good afternoon. In the short term, Mr. Speaker, it is not a very good scenario. Mr. Ballantyne, in his Member's statement today, mentioned the cutbacks the federal government is making. I think we have to be realistic and realize there may be more of those cuts coming ahead. We're still going to be wrestling with the fact that we're going to have to cut next year in order to balance our budget. So, in the short term, it doesn't look very good.

If you factor into that some of the other issues that Mr. Ballantyne raised in his Member's statement with regard to division, the federal government has yet to agree that they will pay the incremental costs of division. Maybe there have been some hints on the capital side, of course there is some disagreement on the costs of that capital, but much more on the O and M side, which is funded through the grant from Canada, we have been unsuccessful in getting the federal government to admit that it is going to cost more money to run two territories than it is to run one. Therefore, that unknown is hanging out there.

When you start looking at the medium term, Mr. Speaker, if we can resolve those particular issues with Canada and encourage the federal government to resolve the issue of self-government -- which is another issue that may come on the table and cost this government financially, as the federal government would presumably take from us and give to a region of this territory to run their own affairs -- if we can get through those things and realize that perhaps we should be working together instead of trying to work against each other, as Mr. Ballantyne was saying, if Mr. Todd is successful in getting his northern accord -- and I want to say that's extremely important to the Finance department, Mr. Speaker, simply because we can then see some new revenues coming into the Northwest Territories that are going to be desperately required in the medium term -- then things will look brighter.

I think the answer is the short-term is the roughest part, that's where we have to make some decisions. If we can make those decisions, agree to work cooperatively and get into the medium term and get developments going, in the long term I see a successful story for the Northwest Territories.

Sorry to have been so long, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

Return To Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1445

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Supplementary, Mr. Ballantyne.

Supplementary To Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1445

Michael Ballantyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the Minister for that response. Mr. Speaker, the issue of division has been with us for many, many years and the expectations in Nunavut are gigantic. My fear is, if the federal government doesn't live up to it's commitments for incremental funding or, when it comes right down to it, if they cut the base by 20 per cent and give us one per cent incremental funding, we still have a huge problem. Does the Minister of Finance see a strategy whereby this government can start a process with the federal government so we don't end up with a major battle between the eastern part of the Northwest Territories and the western part over diminished resources?

Supplementary To Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1445

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mr. Pollard.

Further Return To Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1445

John Pollard Hay River

Mr. Speaker, we've already had some initial discussions with the federal government with regard to this particular issue. We tried, at the urging of the Standing Committee on Finance, to get that into the formula financing agreement that we're negotiating right now. The federal government was not keen on getting into the detail. One of the reasons was that they didn't have any numbers and they had not even put it into their projects; and they weren't out that far, as Mr. Martin said.

They were amenable to amending the formula financing agreement to put a clause in there that recognized that this agreement may have to go shorter or longer, depending on what happens with division. That's as far as we've gotten.

I think it's going to take some time for all the federal departments to catch up to the fact that there is going to be division in 1999, and I think the strategy has to be that we have to impress upon them in all of the departments that there's going to be a substantial change. My suggestions are going to be left in the transition document that the Premier is collating for the next government; but I will be saying to the next government and the next Finance Minister, that he or she should be immediately putting those things on the table and start negotiating a new formula financing agreement that will come into effect in 1999 as soon as possible in the next year. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Further Return To Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1445

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Supplementary, Mr. Ballantyne.

Supplementary To Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1445

Michael Ballantyne Yellowknife North

I thank the Minister of Finance. Mr. Speaker, another area where the expectations are very, very high is the area of self-government. The Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs has made a number of promises to aboriginal leaders in the western Arctic, and they have, I think, every right to expect some movement in the whole area of self-government. But, Mr. Speaker, I think the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs has been caught, the same way that Mr. Axworthy has been caught, where the major priority of the federal government now seems to be deficit reduction. What is it that our government and the Legislative Assembly can do to get these self-government talks going again, so that again we don't start having problems amongst ourselves here in the west? We all have to stay on the same team, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

Supplementary To Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1445

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mr. Pollard.

Further Return To Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1445

John Pollard Hay River

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think Mr. Kakfwi has addressed this issue a number of times, and I think what really needs to happen is for the federal government to just define what aboriginal self-government is and how far they're prepared to go. If we did have that definition, at least we would have a document to be working from, the aboriginal groups would have documents to be working from, and we would be able to start attaching some costs to those particular things that aboriginal groups may be allowed to do within the confines of that self-government agreement. That's really what we don't know right now: how far is it going to go?

I would say we need to get the federal government to define that, we need to get aboriginal groups to agree to that, then we can start defining what the costs are going to be, and that may change some people's minds when they see how three or four groups doing the same thing is going to be probably more expensive than the territorial government trying to deliver. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Further Return To Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1446

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Final supplementary, Mr. Ballantyne.

Supplementary To Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1446

Michael Ballantyne Yellowknife North

In the west, flawed though it may be, we really only have one process where many of the groups, either as full participants or observers, are working together; that's the CDSC process. Without that, we have a major vacuum. I know there's a lot of frustration now. Mr. Koe, as the chair, Mr. Kakfwi and this government have approached the federal government. I wonder what more we can do as a Legislative Assembly or a government to impress upon Mr. Irwin the importance of funding this process. Because without it, we have a vacuum; without it, we don't have any mechanism where we all work together. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Supplementary To Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1446

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mr. Pollard.

Further Return To Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1446

John Pollard Hay River

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Irwin has told me that he reads the pertinent parts of the debates and questions and answers that occur in this Legislative Assembly, so I would suggest to the Member that he's made his point. Mr. Irwin will read it and perhaps understand the importance of this particular issue. Thank you.

Further Return To Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Question 657-12(7): GNWT Financial Projections To 1999
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1446

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 6, oral questions. Mrs. Marie-Jewell.

Question 658-12(7): Development On Agricultural Policy
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1446

Jeannie Marie-Jewell Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to ask the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism what progress he has made with respect to the development of an agricultural policy. Thank you.

Question 658-12(7): Development On Agricultural Policy
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1446

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, Mr. Todd.

Return To Question 658-12(7): Development On Agricultural Policy
Question 658-12(7): Development On Agricultural Policy
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1446

John Todd Keewatin Central

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Agriculture policy, yes. Discussions are currently under way with the people directly involved in the farming community in Mrs. Marie-Jewell's area, and we're optimistic that we can come to some conclusion by the fall. Thank you.

Return To Question 658-12(7): Development On Agricultural Policy
Question 658-12(7): Development On Agricultural Policy
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1446

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 6, oral questions. Mrs. Thompson.

Question 659-12(7): Improvements To Communications Systems Infrastructure
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1446

Manitok Thompson Aivilik

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment. Today in my Member's statement I referred to the challenges involved in providing radio service to the communities in the Arctic, especially to the people of my riding. In a letter to the Honourable John Todd on this very issue, Mr. Nerysoo states, and I quote: "My staff is working with the TVNC aboriginal broadcasters, the federal Department of Heritage, the CRTC, Telesat Canada, NorthwesTel, cable system owners and CBC North to attempt to rationalize the present often duplicated systems, and to jointly provide for a more efficient and economical communications infrastructure using new digital technologies." My question to the Minister is: will the Minister update this House on how discussions are going with these various groups and what, if any, progress is being made?

Question 659-12(7): Improvements To Communications Systems Infrastructure
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1446

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, Mr. Nerysoo.

Return To Question 659-12(7): Improvements To Communications Systems Infrastructure
Question 659-12(7): Improvements To Communications Systems Infrastructure
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1446

Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I agree with the honourable Member of the importance of the communications infrastructure in the Northwest Territories and the importance to her constituency. I want to advise the honourable Member that approximately two weeks ago I had an opportunity to meet with the board of TVNC here in the Legislative Assembly. We had a number of discussions about the directions that they wish to go in a number of areas in terms of communications infrastructure, generally, in the north. It was intended that the board of TVNC would be meeting with NorthwesTel, the cable companies and I believe CBC, last week. From that, there would be an indication as to whether or not there could be a partnership developed amongst all those agencies to ensure that we had a consistent approach to communication systems across the Northwest Territories.

I have not heard the results of those meetings, but I indicated to them that the government's position is that we would encourage partnership from all those groups who were involved in communications in the Northwest Territories, and we would support a cooperative approach in resolving some of these particular issues. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Return To Question 659-12(7): Improvements To Communications Systems Infrastructure
Question 659-12(7): Improvements To Communications Systems Infrastructure
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1446

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Item 6, oral questions. Mr. Whitford.

Question 660-12(7): Response Time To Constituents' Concerns
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1446

Tony Whitford Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I have a question I would like to direct to the Minister responsible for Municipal and Community Affairs. Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Minister whether his department has a policy for turnaround time for letters or concerns that are brought to his department. I have a constituent who wrote over three months ago and is still awaiting a reply. They received a form letter that says yes, we got your letter, thank you; but they're still waiting for a reply and it has been almost a week ago since I brought this to the Minister's attention. I would like to know whether his department has a policy as to turnaround time for things in his department.

Question 660-12(7): Response Time To Constituents' Concerns
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1446

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs, Mr. Ng.

Return To Question 660-12(7): Response Time To Constituents' Concerns
Question 660-12(7): Response Time To Constituents' Concerns
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1447

Kelvin Ng Kitikmeot

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the department doesn't have a policy in place for the turnaround time for responses. However, I would like to say that we try to get responses out in a fairly reasonable time. With respect to the issue that Mr. Whitford has brought forward from one of his concerned constituents, I would like to say that the department and I try to accommodate the concerns that are brought forward, first by Members of this Assembly; and, second, from political representatives elected at large through municipalities and organizations; and, third, concerns brought forward by constituents. Members of the general public at large voice a lot of concerns to my department with respect to decisions made by municipalities.

The life of politics, as we all know, is a tough business. Decisions that we make as politicians are always questioned, and it's no different in municipal politics. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Return To Question 660-12(7): Response Time To Constituents' Concerns
Question 660-12(7): Response Time To Constituents' Concerns
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1447

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Supplementary, Mr. Whitford.

Supplementary To Question 660-12(7): Response Time To Constituents' Concerns
Question 660-12(7): Response Time To Constituents' Concerns
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1447

Tony Whitford Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Three months is a long time, three months plus is an even longer time. I can understand the frustration he may have in receiving many enquiries et cetera, but I'm sure the Minister can understand the frustration that Members face when their constituents don't get answers from our government. I would like to ask the Minister if he would be so kind as to address some of these things, and give an update after a period of time has elapsed, because three months is a long time. Could they give an update to the effect that they're at least working on something, or something like that, and not leave people in limbo?

Supplementary To Question 660-12(7): Response Time To Constituents' Concerns
Question 660-12(7): Response Time To Constituents' Concerns
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1447

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mr. Ng.

Further Return To Question 660-12(7): Response Time To Constituents' Concerns
Question 660-12(7): Response Time To Constituents' Concerns
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1447

Kelvin Ng Kitikmeot

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, after the honourable Member brought forward his concern about the timing of response to his constituent's issue, I directed the department to forward a letter to the individual. It is in the process right now, Mr. Speaker, thank you.

Further Return To Question 660-12(7): Response Time To Constituents' Concerns
Question 660-12(7): Response Time To Constituents' Concerns
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1447

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Supplementary, Mr. Whitford.

Supplementary To Question 660-12(7): Response Time To Constituents' Concerns
Question 660-12(7): Response Time To Constituents' Concerns
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1447

Tony Whitford Yellowknife South

Thank you. I appreciate the Minister's position but I would certainly like to receive from him his assurance that this won't go on beyond another week before a letter is received, at least a letter, in not more than one more week.

Supplementary To Question 660-12(7): Response Time To Constituents' Concerns
Question 660-12(7): Response Time To Constituents' Concerns
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1447

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mr. Ng.

Further Return To Question 660-12(7): Response Time To Constituents' Concerns
Question 660-12(7): Response Time To Constituents' Concerns
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1447

Kelvin Ng Kitikmeot

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, Mr. Speaker, I can commit to that.

Further Return To Question 660-12(7): Response Time To Constituents' Concerns
Question 660-12(7): Response Time To Constituents' Concerns
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1447

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 6, oral questions. Mr. Koe.

Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1447

Fred Koe Inuvik

Koana, Uqaqtii.

---Applause

I have a question for the Minister of Health and Social Services. On May 30, 1995, the standards for medevac personnel for the Government of the Northwest Territories was signed off and approved by yourself, as Premier. I would like to ask, what is the status of the work now for setting standards for air medevac carriers.

Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1447

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Minister of Health and Social Services, Ms. Cournoyea.

Return To Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers
Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1447

Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Mr. Speaker, the work has been completed and I wanted to look at it a final time before we proceed with the standards. The work has been completed and it should go through the process in a very short period of time, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

Return To Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers
Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1447

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Supplementary, Mr. Koe.

Supplementary To Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers
Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1447

Fred Koe Inuvik

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. One of the concerns leading up to the review and the work that is being done is where the control is going to be for authorizing medevac air carriers. Is it this government's intention to centralize control for authorizing the use of air carriers for medevacs, or will the control be at the regional health board levels?

Supplementary To Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers
Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1447

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Ms. Cournoyea.

Further Return To Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers
Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1447

Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Mr. Speaker, the document that we're dealing with talks about the standards for a certain type of medical travel. It doesn't not take away any of the decisions at the regional level. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Further Return To Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers
Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1447

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Supplementary, Mr. Koe.

Supplementary To Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers
Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1447

Fred Koe Inuvik

Koana. Can we be assured, then, that decisions for use of air carriers for medevac purposes will remain in the control of regional health boards?

Supplementary To Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers
Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1447

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Ms. Cournoyea.

Further Return To Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers
Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1448

Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Mr. Speaker, the issue of medevac services deals with services that will be required in extreme cases where the type of aircraft probably would be more centralized because of use and the requirement of highly sophisticated medevac technology. So, therefore, in general, the use of airlines or travel still rests with regional decision-makers. However, in terms of the intensive care part of the operation, when there is a need that is fairly sophisticated, this is what we're dealing with. But, it does not change the use of regional carriers. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Further Return To Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers
Question 661-12(7): Standards For Air Medevac Carriers
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1448

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 6, oral questions. Mrs. Marie-Jewell.

Question 662-12(7): Reduction To Divisional Board Funding
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1448

Jeannie Marie-Jewell Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment. Mr. Speaker, when Members reviewed the budget of the education boards earlier this year, it appeared on the surface that the budgets were essentially the same as for previous years. However, on closer examination, there were two factors which affect the real impact on school programs. Hidden in the budget are the reductions of 2.5 per cent of the budget and increases for forced growth. This means that for about the same dollars as last year, boards were dealing with more children, and there must be a negative impact on school programs when schools were asked to do more for less. In effect, the dollars per student have been cut, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to ask the Minister if he can explain how the different boards are dealing with these cuts to dollars per student in their budgets. Thank you.

Question 662-12(7): Reduction To Divisional Board Funding
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1448

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, Mr. Nerysoo.

Return To Question 662-12(7): Reduction To Divisional Board Funding
Question 662-12(7): Reduction To Divisional Board Funding
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1448

Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This matter was actually raised by the honourable Member for Yellowknife Frame Lake and I tried to explain to him during the budget session the purposes for which the reductions occurred. The indications are that there is a change in reductions in the formula, but the overall increase for education generally was about four and half per cent. The concern that the honourable Member has also raised is one we that was worked out by arrangement. We began the year with a ten per cent reduction and we ended up coming to an agreement on two and a half per cent. I know this matter has caused some concern with some of the boards, particularly those boards with a deficit in this year, so I understand the concerns the honourable Member has raised.

Return To Question 662-12(7): Reduction To Divisional Board Funding
Question 662-12(7): Reduction To Divisional Board Funding
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1448

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Supplementary, Mrs. Marie-Jewell.

Supplementary To Question 662-12(7): Reduction To Divisional Board Funding
Question 662-12(7): Reduction To Divisional Board Funding
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1448

Jeannie Marie-Jewell Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Since the Minister understands the concerns, can the Minister indicate whether or not his department has taken any measures to address these concerns that have been expressed by many of the schools across the territories? Thank you.

Supplementary To Question 662-12(7): Reduction To Divisional Board Funding
Question 662-12(7): Reduction To Divisional Board Funding
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1448

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mr. Nerysoo.

Further Return To Question 662-12(7): Reduction To Divisional Board Funding
Question 662-12(7): Reduction To Divisional Board Funding
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1448

Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Not all schools across the territories have raised this as a major concern, but there has been a concern about the reduction of resources generally. On the other hand, some regions have indicated that they are satisfied with the increases in their budgets in other program areas. I just want to advise the honourable Member that when there is a change in the school-age population, we subsequently introduce a request to the Cabinet for increases in the resources to respond to the increased school-age population. So on one hand, one may believe there is no consideration, but we do consider it. There are a number of factors that have caused some concern in the regions. Unfortunately, in some cases, it is a result of overexpenditures. In others, it is a situation where there are more PYs in a particular region. It should be based on the formula already in existence. When we deal with additional population, we provide the resources once we know what the population increase is in each particular divisional board.

Further Return To Question 662-12(7): Reduction To Divisional Board Funding
Question 662-12(7): Reduction To Divisional Board Funding
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1448

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Supplementary, Mrs. Marie-Jewell.

Supplementary To Question 662-12(7): Reduction To Divisional Board Funding
Question 662-12(7): Reduction To Divisional Board Funding
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1448

Jeannie Marie-Jewell Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I recognize what the Minister is stating; however, the reality is there are some boards in a deficit situation. I look particularly at my riding and how it has affected and placed serious concerns on how this will affect the quality of education to the students who are being taught. What measures are the Minister's department taking to alleviate this fear to ensure that the Department of Education, Culture and Employment is maintaining the same quality of education that it has granted over the years?

Supplementary To Question 662-12(7): Reduction To Divisional Board Funding
Question 662-12(7): Reduction To Divisional Board Funding
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1448

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mr. Nerysoo.

Further Return To Question 662-12(7): Reduction To Divisional Board Funding
Question 662-12(7): Reduction To Divisional Board Funding
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1448

Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as I indicated in the public meetings in Fort Smith about a month ago, I advised them that I would have the departmental officials work with the South Slave Divisional Board of Education. For the last year, we have been working to try to find solutions to the deficit problem. We have been working in conjunction to find program initiatives and, in some instances, funding program initiatives that were in addition to the fiscal resources that were provided for. So we are trying to

find ways to support and help the divisional boards that do have fiscal problems.

I have advised Hay River and Fort Resolution, in my recent visit with the Honourable Don Morin, that I would give updates and information on the formula financing arrangement, so we could understand the basis on which the formula is provided to communities. Based on that, we can ensure that the best support was given to the communities. We are interested in working with communities. I have said so for several years now. I would advise the Member that we will continue to work with the South Slave Divisional Board of Education to make certain that if there are any major problems, we will try to find ways to support that board, and any other board that finds themselves in a fiscal situation as a result of those reductions. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Further Return To Question 662-12(7): Reduction To Divisional Board Funding
Question 662-12(7): Reduction To Divisional Board Funding
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1449

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Item 6, oral questions. Mr. Whitford.

Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airports
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1449

Tony Whitford Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question I would like to direct to the Minister of Transportation. Just recently, the Minister announced the final takeover of the airports which includes Yellowknife, Fort Smith, Hay River and Iqaluit airports. These are Arctic A airports. I had raised the issue some time ago, Mr. Speaker, concerning the paid parking at the Yellowknife airport. It is quite inconvenient for the public, in some instances. There are several machines they have to use in order to enter the parking lot and pay their fee, including a change machine. When I raised the issue before, Mr. Speaker, I asked if there were other airports in the territories that had paid parking. Is Yellowknife the only airport that has paid parking?

Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airports
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1449

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Minister of Transportation, Mr. Todd.

Return To Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airport
Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airports
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1449

John Todd Keewatin Central

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, I believe my honourable colleague is correct. Yellowknife, in the centre of the territories, is the only airport that has paid parking. Thank you.

Return To Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airport
Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airports
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1449

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Supplementary, Mr. Whitford.

Supplementary To Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airport
Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airports
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1449

Tony Whitford Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Will the Minister's department be looking at making the parking situation uniform with the Arctic A airports? Inuvik has the same type of parking as Yellowknife, yet there appears to be free parking there. So does Iqaluit, Hay River and Fort Smith. Will there be any change in the policy that will affect those other airports as well as ours?

Supplementary To Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airport
Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airports
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1449

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mr. Todd.

Further Return To Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airport
Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airports
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1449

John Todd Keewatin Central

Mr. Speaker, it isn't our intention at this time to institute any additional parking fees in any of the airports at this time, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.

Further Return To Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airport
Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airports
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1449

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Supplementary, Mr. Whitford.

Supplementary To Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airport
Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airports
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1449

Tony Whitford Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Then I would ask a further question. Has the department considered removing the barriers that restrict parking in our Yellowknife airport? Will he make this more equitable?

Supplementary To Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airport
Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airports
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1449

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mr. Todd.

Further Return To Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airport
Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airports
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1449

John Todd Keewatin Central

It isn't our intention at this time to make any changes to the current policy as it relates to parking fees at the Yellowknife airport. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Further Return To Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airport
Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airports
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1449

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Item 6, oral questions.

Further Return To Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airport
Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airports
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1449

An Hon. Member

(Microphone turned off)

Further Return To Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airport
Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airports
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1449

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Final supplementary, Mr. Whitford.

Supplementary To Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airport
Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airports
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1449

Tony Whitford Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. What kind of revenue would he generate from this kind of a system that isn't working half of the time; that is very inconvenient to the public. What kind of revenue are we talking about here?

Supplementary To Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airport
Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airports
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1449

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mr. Todd.

Further Return To Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airport
Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airports
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1449

John Todd Keewatin Central

I am not sure of the revenue associated with the parking fees at the airport, Mr. Speaker. However, I will look into the matter and report back to the honourable Member on this important revenue initiative. Thank you.

Further Return To Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airport
Question 663-12(7): Parking Fees At Arctic A Airports
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 1449

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Item 6, oral questions. Are there further oral questions? Item 7, written questions. Item 8, returns to written questions. Mr. Nerysoo.

Return To Written Question 31-12(7): Funds Transferred From The Inuktitut Literacy Training Program
Item 8: Returns To Written Questions

Page 1449

Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

I am pleased to respond to the written questions asked by Mr. Patterson on June 13, 1995.

1. Who authorized this decision? Nunavut Arctic College received $150,000 last year and this year through the official languages agreement to provide interpreter/translator training. Funds for a number of other programs provided through the agreement, however, were reduced significantly this year.

When Nunavut Arctic College was notified about the official languages agreement funding for 1995-96, Education, Culture and Employment advised the college that the delivery of the interpreter/translator training program, and specifically the medical and legal modules of this program, must be given funding priority.

Nunavut Arctic College could also use official languages agreement funding for literacy training, once this priority has been met.

2. Why wasn't the college board or the college vice-president or the affected MLAs consulted about this significant change?

There has not been a change from 1994-95 in funding support from Education, Culture and Employment for this program. Inuktitut literacy is not one of the established programs and services approved by the department for ongoing support. Historically, the college has used a number of funding sources to support Inuktitut literacy activities. Several of these sources, including the use of existing instructional staff at the college, remain available to the college. As well, once program delivery plans for the interpreter/translator training program have been confirmed for 1995-96, some funding may be available through the official languages agreement for Inuktitut literacy.

3. Does the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment believe that the interpreter/translator training program is more important than the Inuktitut literacy program?

Both of these programs are important. As resources become more restrained, it is also important to identify priorities for training. As noted above, Education, Culture and Employment directed the college to give priority to the delivery of the interpreter/translator training program, particularly of the medical and legal modules of this program.

The board of governors and the college have achieved excellent results in program delivery in the past. They will need to continue to work with other partners in education and to use innovative approaches to deliver programs to meet the needs of college students across Nunavut, as well as students at Nunatta Campus.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Return To Written Question 31-12(7): Funds Transferred From The Inuktitut Literacy Training Program
Item 8: Returns To Written Questions

Page 1450

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Item 8, returns to written questions. Item 9, replies to opening address. Mrs. Marie-Jewell.

Item 9: Replies To Opening Address
Item 9: Replies To Opening Address

Page 1450

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mrs. Marie-Jewell's Reply

Item 9: Replies To Opening Address
Item 9: Replies To Opening Address

Page 1450

Jeannie Marie-Jewell Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I have been looking forward to the opportunity to make my reply to the Commissioner's address for some time, and I have indicated to the Members that it is going to be a fairly lengthy one, so feel free, when you think we need a break, to give us a break.

---Laughter

Mr. Speaker, this, as some other Members have pointed out, is one time in this House when we can comment on broader issues that are important to the people of our constituency and also to all residents of the Northwest Territories. Mr. Speaker, this afternoon, I want to comment on a number of those broader issues as well as certain matters that will be of particular concern to the people of Fort Smith. I also want to reflect on the last four years to take a look at what we, as an Assembly, and what I, as a Member, wanted to achieve and what we, as an Assembly, were able to achieve. Now that we are close to concluding what is likely to be the last session of the 12th Legislative Assembly, it's a good time to reflect on exactly what we have accomplished and to identify priorities that still need to be met.

I will also be commenting about my decision to leave the Speaker's chair, a decision that I felt personally was quite difficult, at times, for me to make, and about the government's action that prompted this decision on my part. As well, Mr. Speaker, I want to share my assessment of the Cabinet and its performance and to briefly review the successes and failures of several government departments. And, before closing, I want to do what my honourable colleague from Yellowknife North has done on a couple of occasions and highlight a few transition issues that will be important for the new Legislative Assembly to address following the fall election.

Mr. Speaker, as we near the end of the current term of this Assembly, it is a good time to think back over our past four years as Members of this House, and no one can deny that those four years have certainly been eventful ones. I can recall sometimes the enthusiasm that surrounded our first few months as Members were sworn in. The Executive Council, the Cabinet, was selected for the first time with the leadership committee process that took our deliberations out of the back rooms of the Caucus from the last Assembly that I was first elected to, and into the full view of the public. Then committees were formed and began doing their important work. I don't know if there has ever been more work or substantial work carried out in the Northwest Territories Legislature. During the first couple of years alone, there were major initiatives undertaken by standing committees to review the Workers' Compensation Board, to review a major report with regard to the Department of Health and to revise and update the rules of the Legislative Assembly. In addition, we also had the report of the Special Committee on Health and Social Services.

So when people look back at the 12th Assembly, Mr. Speaker, not only will they remember this Assembly as building the new building, but they will also recall that this was the term when bills were first reviewed in the standing committee, reviewed in the public, mainly by the Standing Committee on Legislation, with interested groups and individuals given an opportunity to attend and to participate in public hearings, not behind closed doors as in previous Assemblies. They will recall that this was the term when they finally saw the long-awaited passage of access to information and protection of privacy legislation; certainly a goal, I believe, to which you contributed greatly during the time you sat as an ordinary Member. They will also recall the Members of this Assembly took great strides in adopting a code of conduct and making a declaration of zero tolerance for violence. They'll remember the feeling of satisfaction when we finally moved to this new home in this building and of significant changes. However, I did want to address that further on in my reply.

So, Mr. Speaker, when northerners look back on the 12th Assembly, they'll remember some of these positive and significant accomplishments that we have made. These are accomplishments which reflect the continuing political evolution of the Northwest Territories, and they are achievements in which I believe all Members can take some pride.

At the same time, though, people will also remember the 12th Assembly for a number of other reasons. They'll recall the frequent turnover of Cabinet Ministers as one failure after another; note-passing incidents; misleading comments in the House; legal difficulties and so on which led to endless portfolio shuffles and the replacement of Ministers. Regrettably, they may even call some of the events that have arisen from the action of individual Ministers, and I have numbered some of them, at many times even within the Caucus. The people of the north, I know, will remember the growing fiscal deficit, the missed financial projection and the payroll tax that we have created. They may look at the last four years as a period in which the federal government and the rest of Canada began to lose some of its fascination with northern development, and they may wonder why more wasn't done to enhance our profile at the national level to make more progress in resolving fiscal irritants and federal funding arrangements or to contribute towards the development of aboriginal self-government.

The last four years certainly have been eventful ones, and I am certain that each Member of this House will have his or her own memories and recollections. For myself, Mr. Speaker, I know that I will remember this Assembly for a number of reasons, not the least which is the honour of being selected by my colleagues to serve this House as Speaker, because I know when I first assumed the Speaker's chair, many people expressed some surprise towards me and they basically asked the question, why would I be even remotely interested in removing myself from debates in the committees and from question period in order to become Speaker? Certainly, that question was never hard for me to answer. As we sit as Members, we know the parliamentary traditions, the rules and conventions and the progress of responsible government in the north became important, and I certainly recognize the importance of the Speaker's chair as one who guards these traditions and who guides the life of this House. You know as well as I know, Mr. Speaker, to be elected by one's peers as the person to take on those important responsibilities is something that is meaningful to any parliamentarian, and when this House expressed its confidence in my ability to serve as Speaker, I was certainly honoured. As well, I took some pride in the fact that this was the first time in Canadian history that an aboriginal woman had assumed Speaker's chair. I think that it was an important message for this House to send to the people of the Northwest Territories and to Canadians everywhere.

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An Hon. Member

Hear! Hear!

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Jeannie Marie-Jewell Thebacha

Too often in our history, it seems as though women of Metis, Dene and Inuit descent have been viewed as not quite equal and too often this conviction has been very present in the political atmosphere. It seems through the years though, we have two strikes against us when we first come to participate in the political affairs of this country: first, because we are aboriginal; and second, because we are women.

Mr. Speaker, I think that all Members can take pride in the fact that at one point during the 12th Assembly, our federal Member of Parliament, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the Premier, a Cabinet Minister and even a Deputy Clerk were all aboriginal women. I think that is significant progress for the north. Unfortunately, that only lasted for a short time, but it set a precedent for the future. It sends out a positive message to young aboriginal women in the Northwest Territories. Like my daughters and your daughters, Mr. Speaker, they certainly don't have to take a back seat to anyone.

I can say that I did enjoy my short year of tenure as Speaker. I did enjoy the time frame that I spent. At the time, I felt I was able to attain a successful protocol with the Premier to ensure the interest of Thebacha constituents could be met. I was pleased that the Premier came to Fort Smith back in December of 1993, last June of 1994 and again in December of 1994. Each time the Premier comes to Fort Smith, I know the residents of Fort Smith certainly enjoy having her visit us and they certainly are interested in hearing what she has to say.

Mr. Speaker, I want to state that at no time have I ever taken proceedings of the House or discuss matters pertaining to House business through other Members with respect to the protocol I established with the Premier.

Mr. Speaker, we know back in 1993, the new Legislative Assembly was officially opened. We certainly had changes. It was quite a change for the staff. It was quite a significant change for Mr. Hamilton and I think he served Members well through the transition period. I know that when we had the Prime Minister of Canada, The Right Honourable Jean Chretien, address this House and be here with us on opening day, it gave particular significance to the north. It indicated to Canadians that we were not only proud of our home, but we were able to recognize the importance to southern Canadians of having the Prime Minister come in and open our home.

and talk to the Royal couple. I believe that we should all acknowledge the hard work and thoughtful planning that was carried out by Russ Look, David Hamilton and the numerous volunteers who worked with them in Yellowknife, Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit for making it such a success.

---Applause

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, I found my time in the chair to be both challenging and rewarding. I know that you will already understand this yourself, Mr. Speaker, and I wish you the very best as you serve all Members in your role as Speaker. I know that you will always do everything that you can to preserve and protect the integrity of the Speaker's chair.

However, when all things are said and done, this concern for the integrity of the House was the same concern that led to my decision to step down from the chair earlier this year. Honourable Members know that a commitment to build a tanker base previously made to the people of Fort Smith by the Premier is still unfulfilled. They will know as well that I have legitimate concerns about the manner in which the air tanker base fire suppression contract had been tendered by the Minister of Public Works and Services. I will have more to say on both of those issues later in my reply.

For the time being, Mr. Speaker, I want to note that when these issues began to develop, I became increasingly aware that it would not be possible for me to remain silent. I recognized that the stakes were too high for my constituents, but in realizing that I also accepted the fact that because of the high esteem which I hold in the integrity of the Speaker's chair, it would be inappropriate for me to attempt to retain that office, if I were to address Cabinet's failures to treat my constituency appropriately.

That was not an easy decision and it was one that I contemplated carefully. In fact, there were several occasions when I mentioned my concern to the Premier and told her that I would always need to priorize the interest of my constituency over my own continuation as Speaker. I urged her at the time, Mr. Speaker, to bring the matter of the air tanker base to a constructive conclusion, but she failed to respond.

I told her that if the uncertainty over this matter were to continue, I would have to return to my place on the floor of this House, but there was not even a hint of progress at the time. I believe that some of Cabinet felt they had gotten me safely out of the way and that my interest in serving this House as Speaker would override my commitment to my constituency. Mr. Speaker, they were wrong.

In the end, I realized that I really had only one choice. The people of Thebacha had elected me to represent their interests and to speak up on their behalf under circumstances when they were being treated unfairly by government. I realized that with the information I had on hand, I would also have to allege conflict of interest on the part of a territorial Cabinet Minister. At the same time, I realized that it would be critical to uphold the impartiality of the chair. To do that, I knew that I would have to vacate the Speaker's chair and that, in the end, was the path I chose to follow.

Mr. Speaker, once I made that decision, I can honestly state not one moment of my time has been to regret that particular decision. I have never regretted resigning as Speaker, although at times it has been hard to hear some of the comments that Cabinet Ministers and others have made. I know one Cabinet Minister who, at times during Christmas while handing out oranges at a constituency gathering had made comments such as we paid her big bucks to keep her quiet; although, the actual words were much harsher and I recognize the parliamentary language we have adopted in this House. There were other comments made and they quickly got back to me.

Mr. Speaker, I am not going to indicate which Cabinet Minister made these remarks because I consider them undignified and regrettable. It should be left as a matter between the Member and the Member's conscience.

I will, however, acknowledge that that sort of reaction did cause some concerns, both at a personal level, because it does hurt to hear a colleague make remarks like that, and as a northern leader. Have we really come to the point where this sort of conduct has become part of the territorial leadership style? I certainly hope not, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, one of the regrets that I did have while sitting as Speaker was that I was not able to participate when Ordinary Members' Caucus reviewed the Cabinet. I watched with interest as honourable Members advised the Cabinet about their respective successes and failures and gave them each a letter grade. Mr. Speaker, you know I missed out on that process, but I strongly felt that it is never too late to follow up on a good idea.

So this afternoon I would like to offer my own assessment of Cabinet Members and to provide my own grading of their performance. Mr. Speaker, I will begin with my assessment of our Premier, the Honourable Nellie Cournoyea. I should tell Members that I once had an enormous amount of respect for the Premier. Unfortunately, some of those feelings have eroded over the past year. I am very concerned that many of the details that are not coming out about the CL-215 base are not represented in a manner that is entirely consistent with the facts. My constituency is eager to know the truth about whether it will receive the long-awaited tanker base and the reasons for the delay. And I think it's only fair that the government has the courtesy to tell them.

As Premier, Ms. Cournoyea made statements way back on June 16, 1992, which she titled "New Directions." At that time, she announced a number of key decentralization initiatives. Mr. Speaker, the Premier made the following promises:

- transportation programs would be moved to Fort Simpson, Norman Wells and Baker Lake to take advantage of existing infrastructure and support services;

- Arctic College headquarters would be moved to Iqaluit and Fort Smith;

- in recognition of distinct supply routes for products delivered by POL, it's headquarters operations were to be placed in Rankin Inlet and Fort Simpson;

- given the availability of the necessary communication-processing facilities and infrastructure, the health insurance section which primarily processes health billings would be located to Inuvik and Rankin Inlet, which it has been over the last year -- I can say that Inuvik and Rankin Inlet really did well when it comes to decentralization, particularly Rankin Inlet;

- the Science Institute was to be moved to its laboratory and research facilities in Inuvik and Igloolik;

- recognizing the predominance of a transport and utility company in Hay River, the Highway Transport Board and the Public Utilities Board would be moved there, which has happened; and,

- in order to capture economic benefits of government spending, Cabinet indicated it would support the location of an aircraft maintenance facility in Fort Smith for its fleet of water bombers that would develop a training component, in conjunction with Arctic College.

She promised that all these decentralization initiatives would be completed by April, 1994. It's now June, 1995 and Fort Smith still just has a sign there saying, "This is going to be the home of the aircraft maintenance facility."

Mr. Speaker, each of these commitments, each of the promises she has made, has been fulfilled; except for the commitment for the Fort Smith tanker base. Rankin Inlet has its POL operation and health billings office, Hay River has its Public Utilities Board, the Science Institute is long gone from Yellowknife but still, over three years after the Premier made her original announcement about the heavy aircraft maintenance facility and over a year after the initiative was supposed to have been completed, there is only confusion and uncertainty about the development of the air tanker base in Fort Smith. It has left my constituents wondering why.

And it has left them questioning the credibility of the Premier; when she gives her word on something, Mr. Speaker, can we expect her to keep it? I think this is a question of leadership, Mr. Speaker. When the Premier announces that Cabinet will support a particular initiative, I think most people understand that she means all Cabinet Ministers. Why has she allowed one department to throw an important component of her "New Directions" initiative into doubt? Frankly, I think it has been clear from the start that this Premier has difficulty in providing positive leadership for her Ministers.

The interdepartmental coordination that we will need to carry us through the difficult upcoming fiscal crisis has still not been achieved. There have been a lot of jobs taken on but too many of them are still only half done. Part of this may be due to the fact that the Premier is a woman who simply takes on too much. It seems like she doesn't like to delegate and she gets too focused on specific matters. This has resulted in her often appearing very tired and hurried, compared to all other provincial premiers and aboriginal leaders. She certainly seems energetic all right, but not vibrant. Perhaps this is part of the reason that we have sometimes been kicked around at the national level.

I'm concerned about the way that she has led her Ministers in voting as a block, most recently against last Friday's motion on whether to allow western aboriginal leaders to appear before committee of the whole. I'm also concerned about the stand she took with respect to the private Member's bill on recall that my honourable colleague for Yellowknife Centre brought forward earlier this session. The Premier should know that, regardless of her personal views, the people of the Northwest Territories should have been given an opportunity to discuss the principle of recall in public hearings, rather than having the rug pulled out from under them at second reading.

I'm also concerned about the manner in which the Premier has dealt with the matter of her former Minister, the honourable Member for Baffin Central. I believe that Ms. Mike was not treated fairly by the Premier and her senior Cabinet officials. No one likes to see a colleague railroaded into resignation, and in looking at that situation, I believe that is what happened. I know that at least some northern women have been asking themselves, would Ms. Mike have been forced to resign if she had been a male? Would she have been forced to resign if she had been non-native? I guess we'll never know those answers, Mr. Speaker, but I am troubled that the Premier's handling of this matter has left the door open for those kinds of questions.

However, on a more positive note, Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to see that decisions about the use of power surpluses from the Pine Point shutdown are now going to be looked at. As you know, I have always said there are opportunities to maximize power delivery at lower rates for the people of Fort Smith and I'm glad to see the Premier, in her capacity as Minister responsible for the NWT Power Corporation, finally starting to examine this question. But, Mr. Speaker, I wonder since Pine Point shut down a few years ago now, what took her so long in the first place?

I would like to comment favourably on what I perceive to be something of a turnaround in the Department of Health and Social Services. You'll remember, Mr. Speaker, that at some points during this Assembly there have been times when the Department of Health came in for some serious criticism. I think the Auditor General of Canada, in fact, pointed out a number of major shortcomings in the department's operation and there were frequent criticisms of its relations with regional health and hospital boards. I know I became very frustrated with the manner in which it dealt with a respected doctor who worked in Fort Smith for years. In fact, that doctor still lives in Fort Smith and Fort Smith still has a rash of doctors coming in and out, trying to address my constituency's health problems. But they go away just as quick as they come in. That's unfortunate, because there's no stability in our health care system as a result of that.

Over the past year, I believe many of the problems have shown signs of significant improvement. I believe that the amalgamation of the departments of Health and Social Services have been fairly successful and there will be some real benefits for the people of the Northwest Territories as a result. I certainly give the Premier, in her capacity as the Minister of Health and Social Services, a lot of credit for this particular progress. But, I also think she should be very grateful to several hard-working officials. Without them, these gains could not have been accomplished.

I would especially like to acknowledge her deputy minister, Ken Lovely, whose appointment brought some stability and a new corporate approach to the operation of the department. I also think the Minister should be grateful to Penny Ballantyne, who assumed the challenge of the assistant deputy minister of Social Services. As someone raised in the north and as someone I went to school with, I believe that Mrs. Ballantyne is particularly sensitive to the social needs of northerners. This is reflected in the thoughtful priorities that have been set for this department since she has joined the directorate.

Mr. Speaker, as the former Minister of Social Services, I know that there are many other hard-working officials who are deserving of recognition, but today I would like to make mention of one of them: John Campbell of Yellowknife, who I think stands out in the contributions he has been making to people in the north to assist in addressing the alcoholism problem we have. Many honourable Members are aware that Mr. Campbell has worked for many years to coordinate alcohol and drug treatment programs. Frequently, he's a person to whom our constituents turn for assistance, with treatment referrals or to solve problems in the funding of addiction agencies. I believe he's a public servant who has a lot of experience and a great deal of knowledge in the field of addiction around this country. But he approaches his job in such a down-to-earth, open-minded way that people just want to talk to him, no matter how much pressure they might be under, and I think that's perhaps what makes him such an effective and valuable public servant. But I hear that Mr. Campbell may be coming close to his retirement, and I know that all Members will wish him the very best when he decides to retire.

So, Mr. Speaker, with the assistance of the officials I mentioned and many others, I believe that the honourable Member for Nunakput has performed well as Minister of Health and Social Services, certainly one of the toughest portfolios in the Cabinet.

But in my books, even that performance isn't enough to outweigh her lacklustre record in dealing with global issues, in failing to provide strong leadership to the Cabinet and in failing to live up to her commitment about the Fort Smith tanker base. So, for that reason, I feel that Ms. Cournoyea should receive an A-minus for her efforts, not exactly the sort of northern leadership that I believe we were hoping for at the outset of this term.

Before moving on, however, I want to note that, even despite the concerns existing about her failure to follow through with her commitment, many people in Fort Smith continue to have high hopes for the Premier, and I really believe that if she can fulfil the earlier promise about the tanker base and if she can quit letting her Ministers place her in embarrassing situations, I am certain that the people of Fort Smith would see her mark improve to an A-plus...

---Applause

...and might even feel comfortable about having her express an interest in returning as Premier after the fall election.

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An Hon. Member

Wow.

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Jeannie Marie-Jewell Thebacha

That's providing, though, Mr. Speaker, she pays concern to my comments.

Mr. Speaker, those are my comments with respect to the work that the Premier has done. I do want to state that I appreciate her hard work that she has done to serve this Assembly. I know that she works tirelessly but, at the same time, I think sometimes she gets lost in the paper that's created by the bureaucracy and by the Cabinet process.

I strongly urge her to start taking time for herself because in everything we do in life there is a balance, and I don't think she balances out her life sometimes with taking it easy or taking a rest. All she does is work, work, work, and it creates an imbalance in her life.

Mr. Speaker, now I want to talk a little bit about the Honourable Stephen Kakfwi. Members know that I don't like talking behind their backs, but this will be in the records so he can read it, and it's unfortunate that he's not here today.

Whenever I hear people in my constituency talk about this Minister, they sometimes seem to be questioning whether he really knows what the issues are. They comment that he seems to have an attitude problem, that he's aloof, that he comes across as being self-righteous, that he's so defensive and they wonder if he's really as superior as he lets on. But more importantly, they ask what he has accomplished?

I have a hard time responding to those comments and questions, Mr. Speaker, and I would like to be able to say, no, Mr. Kakfwi's a pretty good guy, he can be a lot of fun under the right circumstances and he really cares deeply about the underdog. But that's hard to do because it's so tough to come up with real examples of times when he has been able to take real, down-to-earth, practical, sensitive approaches to the issues. It sometimes seems like he's more a reflection of his bureaucrats than of himself.

What progress has he made? That's a tough one, too, Mr. Speaker. There has been a lot of talk about family law reform but only some minor amendments and a bill that was too little, too late for this Assembly.

There has been a lot of talk about creating an aboriginal justice system but there has been very little systematic change; in fact, I believe, almost none.

The needs of victims' organizations were ignored until brought up in this House, and I would like to credit my honourable colleague for Frame Lake for pursuing this issue so effectively. Even now, though, the funding levels that are being considered remain inadequate. Without money, these services cannot have the impact that northerners are counting on, no matter how committed the individual staff might be.

For years, Mr. Speaker, many of us looked forward to the time when corrections would be transferred to the Department of Justice, and now we wonder why this has happened. In fact, some times it seems that the only change to the corrections system has been the construction of that colourful -- I don't know if I can call it that; actually, I think it's quite ugly -- fence that goes part of the way around the Yellowknife Correctional Centre.

But I don't see many indications of new programs for aboriginal people and I don't see new models for community corrections. I don't see a marked increase in the number of correctional officers who are aboriginal people. How many shift supervisors at YCC are of aboriginal descent? Not too many, let me tell you. I don't see much growth in institutional programs geared towards traditional knowledge or native spirituality. The on-the-land program at Baffin Correctional Centre was a successful pilot project, but how many similar programs exist in the west? Inmates should be allowed to do more to prepare themselves for a successful reintegration into society than to watch TV at YCC or cut wood in Hay River.

I also want to indicate that I was pleased to hear that they are going to be training YCC inmates to help with the fire situation in the north. I thought that was very creative, and I commend YCC officials for thinking of that idea.

Mr. Speaker, the maintenance enforcement program is a great idea and, admittedly, it does have committed staff, but what is the point if you are only going to get a recorded message each time you phone? I asked the Minister about this several days ago. There's still a recorded message and there are still constituents who are attempting to reach the maintenance enforcement program. I think we've got to do more than just pay lip-service to the victims who are suffering from lack of continued support to the maintenance enforcement program.

So, Mr. Speaker, there is still a lot that needs to be done in the area of justice programs, and I know that I am not alone when I express disappointment about the lack of progress that has been made by this Minister. Perhaps, Mr. Speaker, some of the attention that's going on towards securing responsibility for criminal prosecutions could be better aimed in the direction of upgrading our existing programs and services. I have to wonder whether they really need more lawyers working for this government.

I wonder what this government has accomplished in terms of intergovernmental and aboriginal affairs. That's another one of Mr. Kakfwi's responsibilities, and I can't see that much progress, quite frankly. Responsibility for western constitutional development has been conveniently dropped on the steering committee of my honourable colleague, Mr. Koe, and this government still has no announced plans, no provisions for its position or response to Quebec's independence question. I need to point out that it's absolutely regrettable that a Minister of Aboriginal Affairs would vote to block the appearance of western Arctic chiefs and aboriginal leaders in this House. It's incredible to even imagine that happening, yet the Minister did go along with the rest of the Cabinet in opposing Mr. Antoine's motion last Friday, and I found that shameful, Mr. Speaker.

In summary, it seems as though the honourable Member for Sahtu has done a little bit of everything but not many jobs have been well done. Mr. Speaker, the one exception to this may be with respect to the role the Minister has taken in leading territorial opposition to Bill C-68, an ill-advised, southern-style attempt to control firearms in a manner that is detrimental to the people of the Northwest Territories. I certainly have been pleased to be a Member of the committee that has been working to change the federal government's position on this matter, and I want to note the hard work that Mr. Kakfwi has done in this regard.

Even though I am quite critical of his attitude and performance in some respects, the fact is that I do admire several of Mr. Kakfwi's other attributes. I wish, Mr. Speaker, that more northerners could adopt the personal goal he stands for in terms of non-violence, abstinence and family values. I believe that he would be a great role model of what a political leader should be like if only he were more approachable. When I think about the values that he stands for, I feel proud to see him as a Member of the Cabinet. I particularly hope that young people are noticing the examples that he sets. I really do want to give Mr. Kakfwi credit for the zero tolerance declaration. This was a bold and courageous stand for a politician to make. Now I hope he will do the next step and work with the Minister responsible for the Financial Management Board Secretariat to make sure this becomes a term of employment for all territorial public servants. Too many GNWT employees still believe that it is all right to pursue a violent lifestyle. This zero tolerance should allow for the development of a policy that will not tolerate territorial public servants that get involved in any type of violent action. They should be fired if they do, Mr. Speaker.

Because of his work in enforcing a more reasonable position from the federal government on Bill C-68 and because of his initiation and support for zero tolerance for violence and because of his personal commitment to positive leadership, it becomes at least somewhat possible to overlook some of Mr. Kakfwi's other shortcomings. For him, Mr. Speaker, I give him a C-plus for his performance as a Minister.

Mr. Speaker, a moment ago, I mentioned the Minister of Finance who also had the responsibilities for the growing Financial Management Board Secretariat, the Honourable John Pollard. For not doing more to deal with the growing deficit problem, I think Mr. Pollard should only get a B. In a way, that is probably more than any other Finance Minister could hope to get, given the same pressure that he has been facing. To give him credit, Mr. Pollard has been very fair regardless of what some of his other colleagues may think.

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Some Hon. Members

Hear! Hear!

---Applause

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Jeannie Marie-Jewell Thebacha

I am impressed with the job on launching his consultation initiative on revenue generation. Many of us have been impressed with the way he has consistently provided support to his staff. I am concerned, however, about the way the Department of Personnel has been dismantled and by the increasing responsibility that each department is taking for its own hiring.

In the Northwest Territories, it is important to remember that there needs to be some centralization of the Personnel function to ensure that the make-up of the public service truly reflects the population we represent. It becomes far too easy, I am afraid, for some of our affirmative action and other important policies to be overlooked if they are administered by junior-level public servants and isolated departments. Mr. Speaker, I believe that affirmative action must continue within this public service. I am concerned that the Minister's comprehensive review of affirmative action policies seems to be stuck in the mud. I emphasize that because this initiative is too important to be allowed to flounder. I would urge the Minister to support the continuation of this policy. There might be some need for modification, but I believe northerners will accept that, but I don't think northerners will want to see it eliminated.

Mr. Speaker, certainly the Minister of Finance and FMBS will be able to bring energy into the review by avoiding southern consultants, which he has done, and I commend him for that; by opening the process for more active participation; and, by the aboriginal organizations that have the greatest stake in the policy and in the process. So, frankly, when you consider the way this initiative has gone, I think a B is probably pretty good for this Minister. But if he feels like complaining about this grade, Mr. Speaker, we then have to remind him again about Expo.

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Some Hon. Members

(Microphones turned off)

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Jeannie Marie-Jewell Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, I also want to comment on the performance of the Minister of Renewable Resources. It is really unfortunate that he is sick today. I gave him a note yesterday, maybe that didn't make him feel too well. I often look across the room and see him in his characteristic pose, as he concentrates on the business of the House, sitting there with his eyes closed, listening intently with his head drooped forward. We should be grateful, Mr. Speaker, that the Minister doesn't snore when he is concentrating so hard.

---Laughter

To be serious, I have been impressed with a number of goals this Minister has achieved during his time on Cabinet. He has finally begun to address long-standing issues with regard to the management and operation of the Hanging Ice Bison Ranch and he acted promptly to halt the exportation of live Buffalo when it became clear that this was not in the interest of the Fort Smith residents. I commend him for that. I have been impressed with the role he has taken in working to combat the lies being spread by animal right activities and in the way he has represented the Northwest Territories well in his international discussions with European Parliaments. Some of my constituents feel that this Member still carries the regrettable conviction that he had on impaired driving, but I believe and I honestly think that he has learned much from that experience and conducts himself appropriately.

Mr. Speaker, I wonder why this Minister, with all his apparent abilities -- and I know he is quite smart -- has not shown the initiative to achieve more. When I look back to when I first became Minister with portfolio responsibilities for Social Services -- which included corrections -- Personnel, the Women's Secretariat, WCB and the Highway Transport Board, I felt like a TV changing channels every few minutes when we were trying to get information on different areas. Why is this new Minister not taking a greater share of the work that needs to be done at the Cabinet level? He is committed to effective public consultation and he shows a lot of promise in following through on the issues that concern people the most. I only wish that he was doing more. In fact, some of the people who observe this House on a regular basis have commented: If you want something to remain at the status quo, ask Mr. Arngna'naaq to take it. Sometimes I don't believe I agree with Mr. Arngna'naaq. With those reasons, I would give Mr. Arngna'naaq a C-plus for being a Minister. He hasn't been a Minister for that long, so I think it is only fair to assess him.

Mr. Speaker, that brings me to the Honourable Kelvin Ng, the newest Minister of Cabinet who has responsibilities for the important Department of Municipal and Community Affairs. Mr. Ng brings a wealth of municipal experience to his role and is an excellent choice on paper to head up this department. I think as a new student in his class, I would give him a B, largely because of his strong performance in handling the recent state of emergency in the Sahtu and for his commitment to finally move ahead and deal with outstanding legislative issues in the review of municipal statutes.

Mr. Speaker, in his brief tenure, Mr. Ng has successfully made every attempt to address our water and sewer issue in the town of Fort Smith. I thank him for that. There are still some more details to be worked out, but I am confident that he will complete this commitment. He has continued to secure $400,000 for our recreational complex and another $2 million in next year's budget. However, I should note that little progress has been made in addressing the town boundary issues. I am concerned that he is showing some signs of picking up some bad habits of his Cabinet colleagues. When I look at the town boundary issue, there is one issue that the community has collectively agreed on: the band; the Metis; the town; and, the residents of Bell Rock -- and it isn't very often you get every group in Fort Smith to agree on one issue, believe me -- and they strongly supported the request for the boundary issue to be downsized. Unfortunately, his department didn't allow it.

When I stated earlier about picking up some bad habits of his Cabinet colleagues, I an reminded of his actions of sending my honourable colleague from Baffin Central a note in which he used totally inappropriate language. To make the reference he did in that note and recognizing that it was around International Women's Day, was absolutely unacceptable. The honourable Minister should know to rephrase that type of thing in the future. I wish him well and I believe he is quite competent as a Minister and I'm sure his department will do well under his leadership.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to comment now about my colleague, the Honourable Richard Nerysoo. I think he's been a Minister who has always maintained a reputation for supporting the equality of all people and for being sensitive to the difficult issues surrounding human rights. I certainly give the Minister a lot of credit for that. But in so many other ways, I believe this Minister's performance has been a little bit disappointing. Even with all of his experience, I think at times he appears to have motivational problems. I don't know why it is, maybe it's because he's been here too long. I think all Members have seen occasions when sometimes he forgets about meetings, he neglects to follow through with political commitments, and I wouldn't say takes a cavalier attitude towards the business of his portfolio, but at times, he may have a tendency to do that.

I commend him for succeeding in bringing forward a new Education Act, Mr. Speaker, but with 163 clauses in it and 80 or so amendments, it's really difficult to say that it was a good act that was brought forward. Think about it, Mr. Speaker; if this had been any other Minister bringing forward any other bill, the entire process would have been scrapped by now and the Minister would have been sent back to the drawing board. In fact, I would have liked to have seen this House give Mr. Lewis's private Member's bill as much special consideration as it has given Mr. Nerysoo's bill to establish a new Education Act.

I don't know why this is happening, but I honestly believe that in many cases, this Minister sometimes makes political commitments and then forgets to tell his department about what commitments he has made. I think the trick is, Mr. Speaker, to be sure to call his deputy minister or his executive assistant. Not that the Members of this House should have to do that, but I say that because the Minister is indeed fortunate to have a good executive assistant who is as diligent as she is. I really believe that Hal Gerein and John Quirke, his two deputy ministers, are two of the better deputy ministers in the government, along with Ken Lovely and Andrew Gamble from Transportation.

There have been many times when I have brought a constituency concern to either Mr. Gerein or Mr. Quirke, and I've always been impressed with the prompt and thoughtful manner in which the matter has been resolved. I believe that's good government in action, Mr. Speaker. I should also say that it's nice to see deputy ministers who not only make a contribution to the public service but who show a lot of leadership when it comes to getting things done.

Mr. Speaker, it is quite likely that if I make this Minister's grade lower than what I'm thinking of giving him, then it wouldn't be fair, in my assessment. I really believe that this Minister's grade should be a B, considering all of his experience and knowledge. There is one thing, Mr. Speaker, I will say that Mr. Nerysoo does have a pretty good memory and he is fair in most of his judgements -- and I say most of his judgements.

I will say, however, that I was concerned about a matter that my honourable colleague from Inuvik raised about a public notice distributed by the Department of Safety and Public Services, particularly because it was with regard to gambling laws. When the Minister indicated that the document had been sent out without the knowledge of either himself or his deputy minister, I found this to be quite embarrassing, especially since he acknowledged the notice was not entirely factual. I encouraged him to take action to retract and correct the information but, to date, he hasn't.

Mr. Speaker, on the other hand, I want to comment that I'm grateful to the Minister for his support for educational capital projects in Fort Smith. We now have the college headquarters back where it belongs; in Fort Smith. We all know that Fort Smith was the original home of Thebacha College and the first head office of Arctic College. We also have the academic building nearing completion on the college campus, and I believe this will enhance the already first rate education that our post-secondary students receive. I am pleased that the historic JBT Elementary School, which was built in 1958, is finally receiving the renovations it has needed for a long, long time. I want to thank the Minister for his support of these projects. He should know that it has been appreciated by my constituents.

This Minister is also to be complimented on completing his long-overdue revisions of the Mine Safety Act and for spearheading the review of the liquor laws. I also note that he has recently made a commitment to set some new priorities for the review of labour policy and legislation, something that I think is very much overdue. But on these initiatives, Mr. Speaker, it seems that at times he had to be prodded by honourable Members of this House. I think he should have taken more initiative to follow through without always having to wait for Members to pressure him, because Members get tired of prodding Ministers.

And there are many areas where he needs to do more work. There are problems continuing with respect to student financial assistance and the very important teacher education program. He seems to have overlooked the whole area of labour standards, and I believe our standards for safety enforcement have not improved. They may even have deteriorated. So, Mr. Speaker, to sum up, with all of his experience and skills, I think many of us have been disappointed that this Minister has not done more. I must say that I was also disappointed, Mr. Speaker, when this Minister rose in the House during my absence to raise a point of order regarding my decision to table an unsigned letter that dealt with a number of policy breaches.

I can accept the fact that the honourable Member disagreed with my decision, but I can't understand why he chose not to raise his objection at the time the letter was tabled, or to even phone me in my constituency, where I had accepted a previous invitation to participate in winter carnival duties, to let me know of his intentions. I found his actions pretty hard to understand, other than on a purely political level. I found that to be quite disappointing. Later on in my reply, I want to return to the matter of the so-called unsigned letter and provide the House with additional remarks on that subject. But for now, I want to express my disappointment in the Minister's actions in dealing with that particular matter. Before, I had a lot of admiration for this Minister's sense of fairness but I lost a lot of respect for him when he chose to handle the matter of his point of order in that particular fashion.

Mr. Speaker, with that, I will state -- as I have said -- that I think the Minister deserves a B. But if he is going to continue to be in this House, he should create some new vibrant energy because I think he's quite capable, no doubt, and I think he can do a lot better.

Mr. Speaker, now I move on to the Honourable John Todd. In my view, this Cabinet Minister should get one of the highest marks in Cabinet. I say that not because I like him personally, but because he has proven over and over to me that he is a man of his word. Of all the Members of Cabinet, he may be the only one who, I believe, has the guts to give you a straight answer, and I admire him for that. A lot of times I don't like his answers, Mr. Speaker, but I respect the way he's willing to let you know the truth. Indeed, that's such a rare quality these days. I think many people are starting to think about how refreshing it would be to see a straight shooter like Mr. Todd become our next Premier.

He certainly has a number of qualities that would distinguish him for that role, Mr. Speaker. He represents the north very well, both on the national and international stage. He's sensitive to the traditions, needs and aspirations of the aboriginal people of his region and he has also learned the importance of listening carefully to elders. He can be forceful, but he's also a good communicator, and he has a talent for team building. He surrounds himself with competent people like Rick Bargery, his EA, who I think is very competent, sensitive, fair and very good at his work; also Andrew Gamble, his deputy minister in the department. I've noticed a great improvement in his ability to be patient ever since we first served together on the Standing Committee on Finance.

Mr. Speaker, when we first started on the Standing Committee on Finance, I recall Mr. Todd wanting an answer right away, wanting the committee to move quickly. I sent him a note and I said, Mr. Todd, if you want to continue to be chairman, you must learn to be patient. I think, perhaps, that he listened to my advice about that because he is becoming a little bit more patient in comparison to when he first got elected as a Member.

He also has a great sense of humour. It's difficult to stay mad at him for too long, unless of course you happen to be my honourable colleague, Mr. Patterson, who's not here today. I think that people respect him for his sensitivity, his fairness and his tendency to become intolerant of procrastinators. However, Mr. Speaker, he's not perfect yet so I'll only give him an A-minus.

One of the areas where I think he's going to have to be cautious has to do with the way he may be pushing too much on the northern accord. He needs to remember that our pace in dealing with these issues may not be the same as his. He has to show greater respect for that. I believe that this could be this Minister's downfall. He's approaching this sensitive issue as though he's too much of a businessman, as though he's a builder and a developer. He has to realize that for aboriginal people we have a different perspective. We have been allowed by the Creator to borrow the land from our future generations. We will never own it. Perhaps that's why communication seems to be breaking down even when this Minister is known for his ability to communicate.

To him I would say to slow down on this one, listen carefully to the aboriginal people of the Sahtu, the Deh Cho, the North

Slave and the South Slave just as carefully as you've always listened to the Inuit of Nunavut.

With that, I wish him the very best both during the fall election and upon his return to this House in the fall.

Well, Mr. Speaker, this brings me, last but not least, to my honourable colleague from Tu Nedhe, the Minister...

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Michael Ballantyne Yellowknife North

A-plus.

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Jeannie Marie-Jewell Thebacha

...of Public Works and Services and Housing. What can I say about this Minister, Mr. Speaker? I probably could say a lot, but the truth of the matter is...I'll tell you, when this Minister likes you, he really likes you. I know that because he used to like me.

---Laughter

But when this Minister hates you, he doesn't try to tell you off, all he does is he takes you to court. Mr. Speaker, I opened a Chinese fortune cookie after eating out last week, and the little paper inside said, "Don't trouble trouble until trouble troubles you." Well, Mr. Speaker, I'm troubled with this Minister. I'm troubled not only because of the court case and not because of the financial or the legal implications, but because of the bad precedent it sets in this House.

Actually, that's not what I want to talk about this afternoon. In fact, I think this probably says more about the ineffective leadership style of the Premier, that she would actually allow a Minister of the Crown to take an MLA to court, than it does about Mr. Morin himself.

I do want to talk a little about this Minister's performance and about some of the other things that he's done that trouble me and that also trouble a lot of people across the Northwest Territories, particularly in my riding. I want to say from the outset that there are many things that Mr. Morin is very, very good at. I believe, for instance, that he's extremely skilled at manipulating the system. How else could the Housing Corporation have lost millions in federal funding cuts but still retain the same complement of PYs?

I believe, as well, that he's the only Minister with the ability to interpret the BIP and time and time again, he gets away with it. I think he's skilled at selective hearing; if you listen to the number of times he's asked a question in this House and then gives you an answer that has no bearing whatsoever to what he's been asked. It's a marvel how he can chew his way through a Member's supplementary without ever once saying anything he doesn't want to.

But seriously and on a positive note, I must say that this Minister has brought a lot of innovation and creation to two portfolios that lack these qualities. The ownership program he has launched is an excellent direction for us to be taking in tight fiscal times. I also think that he's done well with the community consultation system that we're undertaking. I know that he's done a lot to encourage import substitution and foster a strong base for northern business.

However, all is not perfect in the Housing area, Mr. Speaker. I think that the Minister should be concerned about the fact that there are some real inequities emerging in seniors' housing, with some seniors getting free rent while others are having to pay a mortgage from meagre pension monies under the now discontinued rural and remote program. Some civil servants, I understand, are also selling their home units in order to get into public housing.

The length of time it takes to build these houses is causing my constituents concern. Houses that are still being built that were allocated from last year's funding. These are matters that Ministers should attend to, but generally I believe there has been marked improvement in housing programs and policies since he took over.

Mr. Speaker, I sometimes wonder where on earth does he get such a defensive attitude from? I think sometimes he's the sort of individual who doesn't expect to be challenged by a woman, and he expects a woman to walk two steps behind him. I've told him before exactly what I think about his particular attitude. I strongly believe that he still has to work to overcome that.

Of course, I have some very concerns about his handling of the heavy land-based air tanker contract and fixed-wing contract for fire suppression. He can conduct as many internal studies as he wants. I still believe, and there are many people who agree with me, that he made an error in judgement to downgrade the specifications of the request for proposals that was published for this contract. In any other jurisdiction, I believe that sort of manipulation would have gotten him bounced out of Cabinet on his ear.

Mr. Speaker, I saw him on a CBC special the other night, dressed up in his suit and standing in front of the expensive Legislative Assembly building, telling northerners that it was a non-issue. That's wrong, Mr. Speaker. It's not a non-issue.

In the summer of 1994, fire suppression costs were in the neighbourhood of $200,000 a day. Before last year ended, the costs had skyrocketed to $400,000 a day to address fires. That was simply incredible, Mr. Speaker. The Legislative Assembly should have called for a public inquiry at that point, but we were diverted by the suggestion that the government would undertake a public review. Indeed, many of us were helped to believe that a public review would be undertaken following last year's heavy fire season. No public review took place, no public meetings, only an internal review; maybe.

Specifications in the request for proposals were varied except for the level of pilot experience, which was downgraded. This was all done without public input and behind closed doors. Here we are, in this situation now, with the Minister laying off experienced, well respected members of my constituency because they are in fear for their own safety on the job. Other Ministers are having to undertake reviews of labour procedures that were used. The union is concerned and has every right to be. The chief safety officer is having to investigate the government itself. How embarrassing and uncomfortable for everyone involved, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday, my honourable colleague from Yellowknife South raised concerns about political interference in the work of a safety officer.

No decision, Mr. Speaker, again, has been made on the air tanker base and, again, it's because of this Minister. This is despite the fact that the Premier has come to Fort Smith on several occasions and has made commitments that have been unfilled. It's hard to know who's to blame, Mr. Speaker: the Minister for placing our Premier in such an embarrassing situation or the Premier for allowing him to do so.

Mr. Speaker, earlier I mentioned the lawsuit that Mr. Morin has brought against me. Of course, it would be inappropriate to go into the details of this matter here in the House. However, I will say that I think it's regrettable that a Minister of the Crown, a Member of our territorial Cabinet and an aboriginal leader should need to resort to court action, as opposed to dealing with any issues he has had with me on the floor of this House. It's certainly a precedent that I don't like to see.

I've spoken to elders and also to many young aboriginal people in my constituency about this, and they all agree with me on one thing: never before can they remember an aboriginal leader having to resort to take another one to civil court because of a disagreement. They wonder if the Minister is losing touch with his aboriginal values. Frankly, I'm interested to see how the courts will decide the matter; and that's all I have to say about that particular issue.

Indeed, Mr. Speaker, there has been a tendency on the part of some people to question my decision to file a conflict of interest complaint against the Minister. They seem to feel that the commission finding that no conflict existed has drawn that decision into question. I would tell those people to read the report more carefully. The Commissioners were very clear about the fact that there were grounds to bring forward a complaint, and that there was nothing frivolous to these concerns.

The Commissioners' report had also concluded that while the act itself had not been breached, the Minister had committed an error in judgement. We need to ask ourselves in this House how many errors in judgement have been attributed to this Minister. He committed an error in judgement in the way he filed his financial information regarding conflict of interest; I believe he committed an error in judgement with the way he buried the specifications for the air tanker contract; many people have wondered if he hasn't committed errors in judgement in his administration of the business incentive policy; Nunavut Members argued strongly that he committed an error in judgement in the way he finalized and realized the social housing rent scale; and, on and on and on.

Several contractors in Fort Smith have told me that since my conflict of interest complaint was filed against this Minister, the same spirit has not been there for local involvement initiative on Public Works projects; and I find that to be very shameful. Our mayor, very recently, went on CBC radio to say that the Minister was politicizing the management of the fire suppression operation. If in fact those things are happening, I can assure the House that there will be further errors in judgement on the part of this particular Minister.

So let me sum up my comments about this Minister's general performance. I think that the honourable Members would need to agree with me that for creativity, innovation and just plain energy, this Minister should get at least an A-minus; but for his defensive attitude, for his over-political handling of the fire suppression contract, and for his manipulation of the air tanker base issue, he clearly deserves a low, low F. That averages out somewhere between a C-minus and a D-plus. I think I'll give him the D-plus, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, that's my assessment of the Cabinet. But in doing so, I also sit back to assess some of the things that have been accomplished in my own constituency over the past four years. Like many Members, I set a number of goals at the outset of this term, and one of them was to encourage progress on the paving of Highway 5. I noted that in a Member's statement a couple of weeks ago, I want to advise the Minister that paving now has been completing; the chip sealing of 20 kilometres on Highway 5. I thank the Minister of Transportation for the support on this particular project. I'm hopeful that it will be possible to continue putting a priority on this development in subsequent years' capital planning.

As well, with the support of the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, construction is nearing completion on the new academic building for Thebacha Campus. The building is in excess of $6 million, if not $8 million. This facility is now expected to open in October 1995, and I hope that even in the midst of the busy time, the Minister will be able to accept our invitation to attend.

I also need to thank the Minister of Education for his support of another one of my constituency goals: the renovation of JBT Elementary in Fort Smith, the oldest school in the Northwest Territories. Even though the school has seen a lot of years and many students have passed through its doors, I've always said that it's a more cost-effective decision to renovate it than to attempt the construction of an entirely new facility. I've been pleased to see that the Minister agrees, and that he followed through with earlier capital plans for these renovations.

I also note with some satisfaction the facility formerly used as a seniors' special care home. A building locally known in Fort Smith as "the pink house" has now been successfully converted to a day care facility, a much-needed facility in the community.

I think that these are initiatives that demonstrate how even in lean financial times a little creativity and commitment still makes it possible to meet the capital needs of communities. For some time I have been hoping that it will be possible to proceed with renovations to the old Regional Building in Fort Smith where many government offices are located. The Department of Public Works and Services has now spent money on the study of the facility; now they should proceed with ensuring that they have a proper facility, even if they look at a lease-to-own type of concept. These are some of the goals that I've wanted to see achieved for my constituency.

Mr. Speaker, of course Fort Smith residents are also quite concerned about the fate of the air tanker base; not only because of the jobs and training opportunities it will bring, but also it will enhance the need for Fort Smith to divert its dependency on government. It will encourage the younger generation to look at taking advantage of other training opportunities, whether it be engineers, aircraft engineers or pilots. I've already spoken about that this afternoon, and I suspect I'll need to deal with it again in the future.

But, Mr. Speaker, I did want to speak on an issue that people in my constituency have talked a lot about; particularly about these various priorities. They've also talked a lot about what's happened in this House. One of the items that they've mentioned has to do with the matter of the unsigned letter that I chose to table in this Legislative Assembly earlier this spring. Mr. Speaker, I recall your ruling on this issue very carefully, and I'll be sure to respect the guidelines that you have set down. But in talking to many of my constituents, they've encouraged me to clear the air by returning to the issue just long enough to respond to a widely-circulated letter from the Deninoo Community Council and to the larger questions involving inappropriate use of government property by GNWT employees.

Mr. Speaker, I want to comment that when I received this letter, I carefully researched the rules of the Legislative Assembly and noted that there are no requirements regarding the tabling of documents. If there had been, I would have been certain to adhere to the rules of the House. But in the absence of any rules to the contrary, it was not improper for me to make that decision, as was alleged by the Deninoo council letter.

Now, I note that in your Speaker's ruling on the matter you've set out a number of guidelines and limitations that will be helpful to all Members if they are faced with similar circumstances. I appreciate your ruling in this regard and only wish that this had been a matter addressed by the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and Privileges ahead of time so that an appropriate framework could have been built into our rule book before I was confronted with this information.

But more important than those procedural details, Mr. Speaker, I remain concerned that the concern that should have been at the heart of the matter certainly has been overlooked. There are, in my view, far too many instances in which government employees are taking advantage of their position and using GNWT equipment and resources in a way that runs contrary to established policy. This has been brought to the attention of various Cabinet Ministers on several occasions during the life of this Assembly, and many times nothing has happened and that the problem still continues. It's the kind of problem that may not seem like a big deal to the headquarters officials who sit in their respective office in Yellowknife; but in smaller communities and regional centres, it is an occurrence that gets people talking that becomes divisive and it lessens the credibility of the government operations overall. When that happens, it is the MLAs who hear about it.

When I received information that this problem had again surfaced and there were concerns being overlooked by the department, I asked a question of the Minister of the day, the Honourable John Pollard. The response I received in this House was a mild and non-committal offer to circulate a notice to employees. There was no mention of a new policy review, no commitment, once and for all, to address this concern. To this day, Mr. Speaker, I am not sure whether the Minister and his department has done anything to act on this matter. At the same time, the information I had in hand suggested that a serious breach of policy had been taking place and that it had been condoned by senior officials and even the Minister of Public Works and Services.

I will, however, not refer specifically to information contained in that letter, Mr. Speaker, because of your ruling on the matter, and also because the item is now a tabled document. I respect the actions you took from the chair. However, I don't think there are any northerners who would support the notion that a GNWT employee should be driving a government vehicle while intoxicated. Yet, when the letter in question was tabled, I was blamed for making unfounded allegations, for making unwarranted accusations and many other terrible things. The fact of the matter is there was foundation for the concerns that were brought out at the time. I have obtained a copy of the court transcript of the matter in question and I will circulate it to honourable Members to let them know that, indeed, there was truth to the content of the letter.

From this public document summarizing court proceedings relative to the comments in the letter I received and I know that other Members may have had brought to their attention in their own constituencies, it will be clear that there are problems that this Cabinet has been overlooking. Mr. Speaker, I am hoping that this matter can now be considered closed. As I said, I will be circulating the court transcript to all Members.

Just so long as Members are aware, contrary to some of the remarks made when the honourable Member for Mackenzie Delta raised his point of order during my absence, that I am not inclined to deal in unfounded allegations or improper actions in this House. I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me to clear the air on this particular issue which has caused me some difficulty.

Mr. Speaker, I would like now to turn to some other matters in my constituency. With regard to the recent results on the election of chief in Fort Smith, I would like to congratulate Chief Jerry Paulette on his re-election as chief for the Salt River First Nations. I have had the privilege of being able to work closely with this young leader for a number of years, Mr. Speaker. I have always been impressed with his thoughtful approach to public service and with his commitment to advancing the cause of aboriginal people in the north and everywhere.

Just as I mentioned about my honourable colleague, Mr. Kakfwi, I believe that Chief Paulette is one of the emerging group of aboriginal leaders who has made the right choice in how to go about living his life. That is so wonderful to note for a young leader. Chief Paulette is not only a good role model for young people, but he is a tireless worker when it comes to bettering the social conditions of aboriginal people in Fort Smith and the South Slave, while still taking on an active part on the constitutional and administration level.

Mr. Speaker, I consider myself very fortunate to be able to work closely as an MLA with such a competent and effective chief. When we were younger, Mr. Speaker, Chief Paulette and his family moved in from Fort Fitzgerald to Fort Smith to the area which was called the Indian Village and had recognized how government had oppressed native people. I think he has taken a great attitude in attempting to address many of the injustices that happened in the past. I wish him well as he continues on with being chief, and I think he will continue to serve the people of the Salt River First Nations effectively.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to acknowledge the fact that the mayor of Fort Smith, His Worship Dennis Bevington, was recently elected to serve as the president of the Northwest Territories Association of Municipalities. This is an important post and I wish Mayor Bevington a lot of success in fulfilling his responsibilities.

Mr. Speaker, before I move on, I want to make a few comments about the media. I believe that radios and newspapers in the Northwest Territories could be an important vehicle for informing and educating the people about issues and happenings. Mr. Speaker, this is essential if we are ever going to see our goals achieved. I simply cannot understand why we find ourselves so often in a situation where the media does not report the facts of the stories accurately. Maybe it is their amount of funding cuts and they are trying to get a few people to do so much, or maybe they just have selective hearing, I don't know.

---Laughter

But just as my honourable colleague from Baffin Central pointed out when she rose to correct misinformation about her conduct and comments in the House, I certainly believe that the media does have a responsibility to report accurately on issues that are of importance to the people of the Northwest Territories.

---Applause

I can't emphasize how important it is to report accurately.

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Some Hon. Members

Hear! Hear!

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Jeannie Marie-Jewell Thebacha

I have been in the position of having to make similar comments in this House on many occasions, as well. As Members, we should not have to use up our valuable time in this House by repeatedly raising points of privilege to correct misinformation or to correct shoddy reporting. Think back over the numbers of times this has been an issue during the life of this Assembly. Think about the time the CBC made a big story out of a hotel employee who released one of the MLA's bar bills. I think about the inaccurate reporting on the proceedings on my committee motion about the age of eligibility plebiscite when we were considering the liquor law review. I think about the way they described Ms. Mike's behaviour as pounding her fists on the desk. I know she pointed her finger, but I don't remember her pounding her desk. It just wasn't the way it had happened. I think we certainly could be better served by CBC. That is regrettable because many of the people who work for CBC, people like George Tuccaro, Patricia Russell and Clive Tesar...

---Applause

...and others who are familiar with northern issues and sensitive to telling things the way they are. They make every effort to report fairly. It is unfair for those people who try to put things into perspective.

I will say, though, that one of the positive developments I have seen over the four years has been the emerging tradition of the annual hockey game between the media and the Members of the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Speaker, that you have taken the time to coordinate. I thank you for that.

---Applause

I certainly hope this tradition will continue and that some day it may be possible to expand the event to include representatives from other communities on the media team.

In fact, I think I would enjoy watching the editorial staff from the Slave River Journal out on the ice, Mr. Speaker.

---Laughter

So, we should think of including other media personnel in the next event.

Mr. Speaker, now I want to move to priorities for the next government. I know in its report titled, "Investing In Our Future," the Standing Committee on Finance indicated that this government should be working now to set priorities that could be followed up by the 13th Assembly after this fall's election.

I know that the government has already started working on this, and I have listened with the thoughtful suggestions made by my honourable colleague from Yellowknife North and others about items that should be highlighted in the transition document.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to offer a number of priority items that I hope to see this new government tackle when it takes over; fiscal control being the first and foremost. I believe that the major challenges facing the Northwest Territories over the next few years are going to arise from our financial situation and the difficult times ahead of us as we face federal government cutbacks. I think it will be incumbent on the new government to find new methods for cost recovery and to explore new revenue-generating methods.

The new government is going to have to make some tough decisions. This government has lowered the price of imported liquor and I found that quite shameful for this government to do. Also with regard to tobacco prices, I think they are going to have to start looking at raising these prices and try to encourage a deterrent to the use of these types of products. Whether we recognize it or not, the reality is, many times these products -- liquor and tobacco -- create many of the other problems we have in the health area.

The 13th Legislative Assembly is going to have to find new strategies for reducing government overlap and for increasing cost-effectiveness. Mr. Speaker, this may involve more department amalgamations. Now may be the time to start looking at combining the Department of Economic Development and Tourism and the Department of Renewable Resources, as suggested in the Strength At Two Levels report. Or, perhaps, greater economies of scale could be achieved by combining the Department of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources with the Department of Economic Development and Tourism. Fees for government-issued licences and permits are likely to be increased to bring them more in line with what is being charged in other jurisdictions or to recover a greater percentage of the true costs to government.

Layoffs of redundant positions may have to take place, but it won't be enough to cover all the staff reduction costs through attrition, so the government may need to take more direct action. In this respect, there will need to be a more positive, constructive approach to working with public service unions than we have seen over the past couple of years. There will have to be some very tough decisions made, Mr. Speaker.

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mrs. Marie-Jewell, I understand you want to break your old record of two and a half hours, so we will take a 15-minute break. We also have a book launching in the great hall, as well.

---SHORT RECESS

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Before we took a break, Mrs. Marie-Jewell was giving her reply to the opening address. You can continue, Mrs. Marie-Jewell.

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Jeannie Marie-Jewell Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I was saying with respect to the transitional items that this government will be addressing, I certainly hope that the new Assembly prepares itself by seeking the mandate to do so from its electors and by surrounding itself with the officials and plans that it will need to follow through.

I want to be clear about one thing, Mr. Speaker, and I think it is critically important. Even though the future government will be looking at the hard economic times we are facing, it should not lessen our ability as a Legislative Assembly to meet the basic human and social needs of constituents who are in need. We continually remember that we are here to strive for constituents who are at a disadvantage and have a difficult time in everyday life. It is important and critical that these social needs are met, even though hard financial times are going to be faced. I think that the new government will need to take a new approach to bringing forward supplementary appropriations. The new Minister will need to make every effort to keep the amounts of supplementary funding to a minimum.

Mr. Speaker, as we move to constitutional development, I believe that it is going to be one of the items taking the energy from many people in the future. Many Members agree that the matter of western constitutional development can't help but become a major priority for the next government. The new government is going to need to drive its bureaucracy to make up for lost time in planning for the division of the Northwest Territories.

April 1999 is less than four years away, Mr. Speaker. I know that our current government has been planning for division. I wanted to give Mr. Alvarez and his officials in the Cabinet Secretariat credit for what I would call "kick-starting" the process. When you really think about it, Mr. Speaker, how far along are we in comparison to what NIC is doing and in comparison to what the eastern Arctic is doing in preparing for Nunavut? We will be breaking new ground; splitting assets and liabilities; moving person years; and, building two new public service structures. The new Legislative Assembly is going to need to ensure that support is in place for the system and processes we will need to complete our planning and implementation strategy for division. If it isn't, the feds are simply going to take us to the cleaners. When the time comes to open the doors in Nunavut, nothing will be in place.

Mr. Speaker, we all have a stake in the process of division, not just honourable Members from constituencies in Nunavut, but after April 1999, the north will no longer be the same. We need to plan and to work toward an effective government-building process. Sometimes, Mr. Speaker, I think this has sunk in some of our public servants. There still seems to be some scepticism that things are really going to change; that for years from now, there will be two bureaucracies, two governments and two territories. It is going to affect the work that every member of our public service will be doing after that. Nunavut will be a reality; the new territory will be a reality. I believe that public servants really have to get used to that concept. Mr. Speaker, getting used to that concept will mean developing not only the processes, systems and organizational charts that are needed to make division take place, but it also means changing attitudes at all levels.

The new Legislative Assembly will need to realize that in the west, as well as in Nunavut, there will be a new set of expectations as to how government will be conducted. Everyone has been willing to give lip-service to the notions about several orders of government that were so thoughtfully outlined in the Bourque Commission report. Some Members, especially the Cabinet, always are ready to talk about strengthening community government; to see a strength at two levels, like the Beatty report talked about. You know, Mr. Speaker, and this is why I referred to lip-service, last Friday I was appalled that when the same Cabinet led an assault on the motion that my colleague from Nahendeh, Mr. Antoine, brought forward respecting the invitations of western aboriginal leaders to appear in committee of the whole; I found it amazing that this request was denied. Mr. Speaker, I believe strongly that this was a legitimate request. These are the leaders of claimant organizations and regional groups. They are the ones in which the hopes for aboriginal self-government lie for our future. I believe, at least for those honourable Members who voted to defeat the motion, it looked like a slap in the face for the western leaders. I don't think it was proper for us to conduct ourselves in that manner.

Mr. Speaker, contrary to some of the comments that have been made on this issue, it isn't extraordinary to have representatives up here before committee of the whole. During my time in this House, we have had representatives from women's organizations here to comment on Mr. Kakfwi's Justice House Report. I recall, when I was a Minister, having the suicidologist from Alberta appear before committee of the whole because we were concerned about the high rate of suicide in the territories.

Many times, we have had representatives of both Inuit and the Dene/Metis organizations appear to share their views on boundary issues and on constitutional matters. Yet, this time, when the western Arctic aboriginal leaders wanted to meet with this Assembly for a discussion, they were given the option of meeting only in camera with a portion of the Members of the House. Mr. Speaker, how many times, when you were a Member, did you remind your honourable colleagues that this isn't the way aboriginal leadership is exercised? Our tradition is not to deal with important issues behind closed doors; to deal with only a part of the whole group. For centuries, our leadership has addressed important matters out in the open and as part of the holistic political process that has seemed to make our culture so strong because we have always dealt with things out in the open.

Mr. Speaker, defeating Friday's motion was a very bad precedent. With the direction being discussed in our western constitutional development, we are going to see more sharing of responsibilities with other orders of government, and many northerners believe that this is a good thing. But how can we work towards this sharing when we slam the door before they even get through it to share?

My honourable colleague from Yellowknife Frame Lake had made a good point, Mr. Speaker. There may come a time in the future as we prepare for division of the territories and a new government in the western Arctic, that representatives of other groups -- perhaps from tax-based municipalities, from women's groups or even from Inuit organizations -- want to meet with us. Are we going to continue to follow with this precedent? Are we going to tell them that we will only grant them an audience if they meet with us behind closed doors? I believe that is something serious to think about, because if you want to, in preparing for the transition to a new government, Mr. Speaker, I would hope that we can build some expectation for a more cooperative, open relationship between this House and other orders of government in the Northwest Territories.

I would strongly recommend that the government's transition document should mention this and that it should set the stage for the establishment of another body, similar to the Special Joint Committee on Division. This time, though, the special joint committee should be resourced by staff who understand the north and are in tune with the issues that are important for our people.

Constitutional development, of course, also includes looking beyond our own borders in the territories. I have been increasingly concerned about this government's failure to develop a position, particularly on the Quebec question. Nothing has really been said, and it concerns northerners. I know some northerners in my riding have expressed this to me. As my honourable colleague for Yellowknife North has pointed out, it is too simplistic to think that we will not be drawn into the impending debate on the sovereignty referendum. I believe that the development of a firm position on this should be one of the priorities undertaken by the new government.

Mr. Speaker, there is going to be a lot of work in the next Legislative Assembly, the 13th Legislative Assembly, regarding our whole process of division.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to speak with respect to the evolution of the Legislative Assembly. I think that some of the factors I've been discussing are at least in part due to changes that have been taking place in this Assembly.

I believe that when we moved into this wonderful building, we also underwent a change in our whole approach. I can recall quite vividly, being a Member in the old Assembly, the approachable atmosphere in our House. It was so easy for people from our communities, for aboriginal leaders, for the media or for people off the street to come in and mingle with Members outside the Chamber because we were right in downtown Yellowknife. Now we are kind of out of the way where they have to make a point of wanting to come here, and they sometimes feel they have to come for a specific reason in order to come here.

With our new Assembly building, we certainly recognize, Mr. Speaker, that those days are long gone. There has been a change in the spirit of this Legislature, with visitors now checking in to receive their official badges and with a whole new formality to the way this House operates. I recognized the need for it when you had to stop the proceedings of the House last week when we were interrupted; but, at the same time, to quite a degree I am somewhat saddened by the transition where you don't have the openness of the Assembly that people can come by and see fairly easily.

I certainly think sometimes that these new surroundings are great. They are wonderful. They get us away from all the hustle and bustle of downtown Yellowknife. But in some respects, the new surroundings do set a somewhat more distant tone. At times, I guess, even as a Member I feel that we've become sophisticated with regard to addressing the people we serve; and we shouldn't be, because if it wasn't for the people who elected us and want us to serve them, then we would not be here.

I certainly hope that Members of the new Assembly will place a priority on talking and thinking about some of the larger principles of the way our democratic system is supposed to operate. I also want to make some comments on this, Mr. Speaker.

When you think back many years, the native people have always operated by consensus. We have always somehow come to some level of agreement, no matter how many times it took to discuss an issue. Until recently, actually, the Dene Nation and stuff didn't accept things like motions all of a sudden. They discussed an issue over and over. I remember going to their assemblies and seeing how their process worked. They took many issues and discussed them over and over and then took a position, if they felt comfortable.

I know that there is no such thing as democracy in many countries, and in many countries for many years, things were settled with violence. They were settled through wars. They were settled in violent fashions. As we have become more sophisticated, we moved away from that, and we have developed a system we call democracy.

There are some flaws in a democratic system, all right. There are some areas in democracy that really allow for manipulation, to the point where it becomes undemocratic; and I think that is really unfortunate, because the more manipulative the system gets, the more undemocratic it gets. Then it forgets about its purpose and what it's here to serve. People's personal goals get in to what you are basically supposed to try to achieve. Elected Members are supposed to be there to be representing people on the people's wishes.

So I really think that somewhere, when we look at democracy, we have to look at finding a way, and I don't know if party politics might be the answer to it. I don't believe so, but we certainly have to find a way from allowing less manipulation in a democratic system, because right now there is a lot of manipulation in the democratic system. I recognize that there is a lot in this system of government.

Mr. Speaker, you know that I am not one to be manipulated, and people are aware of that. It seems like that because of the fact that I don't do things the way people want me to. I want to speak my mind. I want to speak about what my constituents want me to say. I want to express concerns on behalf of my constituents, but that may not coincide with government or may not coincide with other areas.

Some people may feel that I am not being cooperative, and I know that is certainly not my intention. But, at the same time,

if you're not cooperative, let me tell you, they try to find ways to punish -- I guess that's the word -- you.

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Yes. Mr. Whitford, point of order.

Point Of Order

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Tony Whitford Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We are here listening intently to what is being said, but there seems to be some distraction coming from somewhere. We can't hardly hear on this side.

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

So, what is your point of order? There's nothing in the rules book with regard to it.

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Tony Whitford Yellowknife South

Sorry, Mr. Speaker, maybe a point of privilege. I am thinking tonight of the full concentration of what's being said.

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Okay. We will take just a brief break then and try to see if they'll be finished shortly in the great hall, and then we'll continue.

---SHORT RECESS

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The House will come back to order. I want to apologize for the disruption that has occurred. We're still on replies to opening address and Mrs. Marie-Jewell still has the floor. Mrs. Marie-Jewell.

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Jeannie Marie-Jewell Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, before we had our break, I was talking about how our democratic system works and even though we have a democratic system that we, as Canadians, all enjoy, there are still ways to manipulate the process. I think that takes away from the way democracy should work in Canada. I think I went into enough detail about that, indicating that particularly with this Cabinet, I have many times felt that if you can be manipulated to the point where it's to their benefit, it's all the better for them. But if, as an individual, you challenge the status quo at times, there is no doubt that Members feel that there will be reprisals also, particularly with respect to punishment with regard to constituency-related concerns.

I know that the lack of a decision with respect to the tanker base has been because of the fact that many times, I have been very candid and have challenged the Cabinet. They certainly know that, as an elected Member, I can't be manipulated in any way, shape or form. I've always been very candid in telling the Cabinet whether I support them or whether I disagree with them. I'll often indicate publicly in this House why I don't agree with issues. I'm not afraid to indicate at any point in time what I state behind closed doors. I'll say it again in public.

I really believe that if our democratic system in Canada is going to work, people have to be honest with each other. They have to trust each other, but it is critically important that they're honest with each other. I think those are some of the things we're losing sight of. It's going to be unfortunate, as we're going to be developing and setting up our own territories, if we don't have these basic values in our system, and if we allow manipulation to continue. Our democracy will break down.

Mr. Speaker, so far I have been speaking about transition issues that relate primarily to larger administrative, political and constitutional matters. There's no doubt that those are the important items for the new government to address. It is important, though, to remember this government's responsibility to strengthen the social and the economic fabric of the north. I certainly believe that this means that the new government has to place a renewed priority on addressing the devastation brought about in the north by alcohol abuse.

The new Legislature should, in my view, work hard to complete the excellent start that the Minister of Safety and Public Services has made in developing a new Liquor Act. But, I would remind them of the motions that were passed previously in committee of the whole as a guide for when he was to draft the new act. I recall quite vividly the public meetings held in my riding with respect to this act. It came out clearly that people felt we had to start addressing the underlying problems of our society, which have developed as a result of alcoholism.

Mr. Speaker, I think it became very clear to my constituents that we have to start dealing with bootlegging and other areas of alcohol abuse, like getting tougher with outlets selling alcohol; particularly outlets who sell alcohol to the point that people are so inebriated that they don't know what they're doing. We've got to start enacting laws to make people responsible for allowing others to consume so much alcohol. We also have to start toughening up on addressing drunk driving and to look at the laws regarding the sale of alcohol. The next government, as a creative measure with respect to revenue initiatives, may even want to look at other jurisdictions to see what they do with respect to privatizing the sale of alcohol. These are things they might want to look at. They privatized the liquor stores, all right, and allowed them to sell alcohol, but at a very low percentage and the revenue goes to the government. Very little of the revenue that is raised goes directly to address the problem of alcoholism. I know that for a fact.

Several Members have pointed out that...I don't believe new laws are going to be enough to address alcohol. I certainly hope the new Legislative Assembly will work towards a renewed emphasis on effective alcohol and drug prevention programming. We have made some great strides over the past four years, but there is still more that needs to be accomplished. I certainly believe, and I'm sure many Members will agree with me, that alcohol and drug worker salaries are still way too low. For the time and effort they put into addressing the concerns they have, they are still underpaid and overworked. There is a need for new and more effective treatment models. I know, for example, the Gwich'in have recently embarked on a new project and have drawn the expertise from the Bellwood Institute into their project, and I certainly wish them the best of success. I believe through their commitment they will be successful because they've done it on their own initiative, without the support of the government. I think it's commendable of the people of Gwich'in to do such a thing.

Mr. Speaker, I want to indicate that one of the things that the Department of Social Services has done and I did not agree with was the idea of dismantling and doing away with the board of management for alcohol and drug services. I felt that it was critically important to keep this board in place because I think that at the local level that's where you get what's really happening. The advice from that board to the bureaucrats in Yellowknife, I think, was well appreciated by many of the bureaucrats in Yellowknife because it gave them a different perspective on how to address alcohol and drugs. It gave them, certainly, a regional perspective. It certainly gave them a community perspective.

With all due respect, I know that the people in Yellowknife who have to deal with the alcohol and drug program are so busy because of the fact that this is a program that requires a lot of time and energy, a lot of people are asking them for support -- whether it's for going into a treatment centre or to get more funding for their alcohol program -- they don't have time to go out into the community. I think allowing for the input from this particular board to be able to give them a community perspective is critically important in how to address the abuse of alcohol and drugs in the north.

I know we do have many alcohol treatment centres; however, I recognize that...In fact, just today in my mail there was a letter of support for the solvent abuse program here in Yellowknife, done through the Northern Addiction Services. I want to take the time to commend Northern Addiction Services for looking at an issue that has been long overdue. I wish them well in attempting to address this. I know in many of the smaller communities there is a problem with solvent abuse. I certainly believe that the program that they have developed will help to address it. I think they certainly need the support of this government to address this type of program.

I would like to see some type of process put in place and set up in order to be able to look at a consultation process that utilizes the views of communities in order to look at alcohol and drug programs. If that's not in place, what will be happening is all the decisions will be made at the high level of the bureaucracy, being here in Yellowknife, without the perspective of the community and those types of decisions will be imposed on the communities. I think that will be a regressive step towards addressing alcohol and drugs and even solvent abuse. I would encourage the Department of Social Services to find some method or system that will take in viewpoints from across the north, whether it's a large, tax-based community or whether it's a small community, because I believe that the abuse of alcohol crosses all types of races and all types lines in society.

Mr. Speaker, I did want to comment on a few other particular comments. I certainly wanted to make note of some of them very quickly, as I recognize the time, to look at concluding. I did want to state that, as a Member, once again I want to commend Mr. Dent on his bill with regard to zero tolerance. It was unfortunate that we couldn't expand the bill, but I certainly would like to encourage the next Legislative Assembly to look at finding either another bill or expanding our Executive Council bill to find ways of attempting to address the concerns that I've raised; particularly with regard to whether a Member is found guilty of an impaired charge, illegal possession of drugs or any type of illegal activity. I think a Member should be charged accordingly, whether it's the Criminal Code, the Narcotics Act or whatever type of act.

I don't think it's right that we start penalizing Members for certain things and not other things because then we're starting to set our Members up for double standards. I don't believe that was the intention of Members when we were looking at conduct of Members. I certainly would encourage the next Legislative Assembly to develop a bill on that particular area.

Mr. Speaker, I want to speak briefly on Bill C-68. As I said earlier, I was pleased to be on this committee. Currently, we have Mr. Patterson and Mr. Kakfwi in Ottawa lobbying the Senate to conduct public meetings in the north. I know that all northerners are concerned about this bill and how it will affect all northerners' way of life. I'm still, Mr. Speaker, somewhat puzzled, particularly when trying to figure out where all the silent support for this bill is. I understand that many northern people don't support this bill. It's just not our way of life.

---Applause

I have to state that I understand why our western MP voted for this due to her party line and her party obligations, but it's difficult for many northerners to understand. That's why we don't like party politics because we, each and every Member, have the right to get up and state our position on anything without any fear of reprisal. I appreciate that. Mr. Speaker, I certainly hope that the Senate will come up north to conduct public meetings. I certainly support that. Any way that we can attempt to address this bill so that it will lessen the impact on the way of life for northerners will, I'm sure, be appreciated by many northerners.

Mr. Speaker, I also wanted to speak on the issue of the road south. I want to state that, being a Member for two Assemblies, the motion to assist in the development of this road south through Wood Buffalo National Park and to allow for the creation of a loop road around Fort Smith has been an issue, certainly a priority issue, for myself. I was somewhat taken aback with Mr. Patterson's comments on June 9th with regard to questioning the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism in allowing the assistance of my constituents to go meet the Prime Minister to lobby on this road.

I will state that I commend the Minister for not only paying lip-service with regard to assisting me with this motion but to also commend the Minister for giving us the support when we need it with regard to such an important initiative. I believe that any type of transportation linkage that we can create for the north will only help the north. It will not only help the north but will benefit all Canadians.

I was somewhat saddened to hear Mr. Patterson asking all these questions because when the motion came up when he was Government Leader, I'll tell you, Mr. Patterson didn't seem to do too much but he paid a lot of lip-service to the motion, which I was disappointed with. I want to commend Mr. Todd for all the work and support that he's given on this and certainly encourage him to continue the support regardless of what the NDP says or whatever any other party says. This piece of infrastructure in transportation is critical to the north, it's important to the north. He shouldn't be ashamed of it at all.

---Applause

I think he should happily continue to do his work and support it.

---Laughter

Mr. Speaker, I also wanted to speak on a couple of other issues. While I'm speaking of Mr. Todd and while he's in the House, I think he has done well in Transportation and I continue to encourage him to continue with his initiatives, providing he doesn't take any PYs from my riding.

---Laughter

I congratulate him on the acquisition of Arctic A airports.

Another thing I wanted to talk about, Mr. Speaker, is about Economic Development and Tourism. This afternoon, I asked Mr. Todd about the lack of an agricultural policy and the need for the development of such a policy. I want Mr. Todd to understand why the community of Fort Smith feels such a policy is important. Mr. Todd has been to Fort Smith a few times, I think he recognizes the size of trees we have in that riding, compared to his, and our ability to grow things. If we had an agricultural policy developed by this government, his department would be able to support different kinds of farming industry in the north.

Currently, we don't have too many. In Fort Smith, Mr. Sudom has done very, very well with his farm. I commended him earlier about the many kinds of potatoes he supplies to the communities and institutions. He's an elder and works hard to produce. If Mr. Todd's department had an agricultural policy, it would allow people in Fort Smith to grow potatoes, for example, and export them out of the community. We can probably even provide potatoes, carrots or whatever, to the whole north. Years ago, the mission used to do that but, because we don't have an agricultural policy, it's difficult for people to do it now. I certainly would encourage Mr. Todd, as eager as he is with northern accords, to be just as eager in developing an agricultural policy for his department.

Prior to concluding, Mr. Speaker, I would like to comment on a couple of other items. I wanted to mention when I was speaking about alcohol and drug issues that I really believe Social Services has to develop some kind of disability program for northerners. I think that the disability program has to address individuals who can work but still need assistance. If the Department of Social Services looks at programs developed in other jurisdictions, they might be able to pick up some concepts with regard to a disability program. We all know the former deputy minister, Mr. Doyle, who I had a lot of respect for, has gone to the Alberta government. I'm sure he would be more than willing to help this government develop some kind of disability program for northerners.

When you look at a disabled person, what do they get when they don't work? They don't get a pension, they don't get an allowance; they depend either on Social Services or on their spouse's income. That's if they can't work. I think that's shameful. For all the progress we have made as northerners, we have overlooked developing some good programs for disabled people.

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An Hon. Member

Agreed.

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Jeannie Marie-Jewell Thebacha

I commend the community of Fort Smith for developing many access programs, like ramps into buildings, or other access methods. I look at other communities and they don't have access programs for disabled people to get into buildings. I will say that Fort Smith has done very, very well in that regard and that's primarily due to the support and advocacy of Mrs. Sutherland who, many times, works tirelessly on behalf of disabled people. So, I commend her for that.

Mr. Speaker, I believe this just about concludes some of my reply. I wanted to indicate that I was disappointed that the town boundary issue was not addressed, but I think the community will continue to work on this. However, we are very grateful that the Minister of MACA has addressed water and sewer policies to a great extent. I want to state to the Minister of Education that I would appreciate his continued support for the western Arctic leadership program. I really believe they should be given an extended mandate to allow for the creation of revenue initiatives. I think they should be given the support of the department, because there are some very capable people there.

I want to also indicate a concern about the deficit of the South Slave divisional board. I encourage the Minister of Education to continually guide and help the South Slave divisional board because I believe they have a very good board now. They are very committed people who are trying to address this deficit.

Every time lately when Mr. Nerysoo comes to my riding, I ask him if he has any more money to give us, but the answer has not been an eager "yes." We certainly hope he can find more money.

Mr. Speaker, I want to indicate that over the past year, I've had a study done by one of the consultants in our community. Tamar Vandenberghe, who is with Borealis Consulting, has done a very, very good job on a study of person years of government positions located in Fort Smith. Many times over the past few years, I've heard the comment that many of our PYs are going to Hay River. I don't know if Hay River has recognized that, but I have noticed that a couple of PYs have gone to Hay River. I certainly hope it's not Mr. Pollard's doing, and I believe it's not Mr. Pollard's doing. But I would like to mention that he should be a little more cautious of the amount of PYs going into Hay River. They can go into Hay River, as long as they don't come from Fort Smith.

---Laughter

I wanted to say that, as a result of this study, the only positions going to Hay River are from the South Slave divisional board and I think it's critically important that the education centre remain in Fort Smith. I think we have the reputation of ensuring there is a high quality of education, and there is support from the community. I recognize the importance of the college; I think it's an integral and important part of our community. They've helped Fort Smith along and I know that Fort Smith welcomes students every year into the community and attempts to make their stay as good as possible. I know that many of the people in Fort Smith are happy when college students come back. You can see an increase in the attendance at bingos and at community functions, whether they are dances or whatever. I think the community and college students make every effort to make their stay a lot more pleasant.

I just want to quickly go over this study. I will start with the Northwest Territories Power Corporation. In 1993, Mr. Speaker, the Power Corporation had nine person years; in 1994, they had nine person years; and, in 1995, they had nine person years. However, even though no new cuts or positions have taken place in the past two years, in 1991, six person years were lost. I asked for a study only from 1993 on, so it's not reflected. I think that if the Minister is going to be looking at new ways to use this excess power, they might just find a method to address some of these lost PYs.

Also with regard to the Power Corporation, I think they still have to make some kind of effort to get aboriginal people working in that area.

Mr. Speaker, the other area is the Fort Smith Health Centre. The Fort Smith Health Centre has been able to enjoy no cuts to new positions. However, they have indicated that even though they have had no cuts, they have had more responsibilities, and with more responsibilities, they've just been able to do more work. I commend them for that.

With regard to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, there have been no cuts and no new positions have been established. They have nine positions in Fort Smith: a sergeant; a corporal; six constables; and, one clerk. It's anticipated they may receive half a PY clerk position in the future.

Even though they have enjoyed no cuts, let me tell you, I know that they certainly could be very busy. There is a concern with regard to the abuse of drugs in the community, and I know when Sergeant Barnes was there, he took an active approach in addressing this concern. I want to commend Sergeant Barnes for that. We have now had a new sergeant for the past year, Sergeant Douthwright, and I think he has been trying to make some movement on it, but I don't know how successful he has been over this past year.

But I do want to say that the people of Fort Smith are still very concerned and very disappointed that, even with these positions in Fort Smith, in the evening, if you need the help of the RCMP, you still have to call in to Yellowknife. It's still call forwarded to Yellowknife, and the time frame it takes to explain a situation, especially if it's critical, is frustrating for my constituents. I think it is a service that is critically important that we should try to enhance, especially in this day and age with our technology. I don't think there's a need for such long delays for the service that we should be getting.

Mr. Speaker, with regard to other parts of the federal government, when you look at Environment Canada, we were told, with the head of the water survey of Canada, they had two PYs in Fort Smith to monitor the water, particularly the water of the Slave River, but these two PYs will be transferred to Yellowknife as of March 31, 1996. I think it's shameful that we'll be losing two PYs to Yellowknife, because I know you are probably wondering who is going to monitor the water quality of the Slave River, taking into consideration we still have the pollution coming from the pulp mills and the development in McMurray from the tar sands they have. So there is still a lot of pollution coming down our river. Regarding the transfer of these two PYs to Yellowknife, I am wondering if it's necessary to centralize these positions, and it's unfortunate that Environment Canada doesn't look at phasing these positions or looking at some other method for Yellowknife to help the community of Fort Smith. So I will be working on that particular area.

Mr. Speaker, in Indian and Northern Affairs in the Fort Smith district office, they still have five PYs, Mr. Vandenberghe is the district manager and there have been no changes in that particular office.

The Canada Employment Centre, however, has had a loss of a person year due to downsizing and budget cutbacks. It's unfortunate because the two people, Fran Funk, who is the branch manager, and Mary Bird, are the only ones left in the Canada Employment Centre, who I know are probably busy and probably could use the extra help. I am just wondering if that PY went to Yellowknife, too, I should have had it checked.

That brings me to Transport Canada, Mr. Speaker, and the airport's operation. Since 1993, they have lost two and a half positions. Those were both firefighters, and another seasonal position was lost in 1994 which is an operator maintenance position. These positions were transferred to Yellowknife. That's why it's so critically important to ensure from the Minister of Transportation, since he's taken over the responsibility of Arctic A airports, that these particular positions are not decreased by any additional numbers and that, in fact, they be maintained, if not enhanced, by the Department of Transportation. We do have an Arctic A airport that we in the community are very proud to have, and I think it's important to keep those positions in the community.

Mr. Speaker, with the flight services station, they haven't had any PY cuts over the past couple of years, and I am pleased to advise the House on this, because that's also another important component in the operation of the airport.

Mr. Speaker, with respect to Public Works, they've had three PYs at the federal level, and they haven't had a cut in their PYs. I certainly hope that the federal government looks at maintaining those, because I think the three PYs are needed in the community, particularly when you compare the federal demands of Public Works in comparison to the territorial.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to move that we extend hours of sitting.

Item 9: Replies To Opening Address
Item 9: Replies To Opening Address

Page 1468

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

You need a seconder. Who is your seconder? Mr. Dent. The motion is in order. All those in favour? We are short a quorum.

Thank you. There is a motion on the floor to extend sitting hours. All those in favour? All those opposed? Motion is carried.

---Carried

We are extending sitting hours for this item only. Mrs. Marie-Jewell.

Item 9: Replies To Opening Address
Item 9: Replies To Opening Address

Page 1468

Jeannie Marie-Jewell Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank my honourable colleagues for allowing me to finish my reply today.

Mr. Speaker, I want to go on with the results of my other survey for the Government of the Northwest Territories. I do want to indicate that many of the departments have continually given support to the residents of Fort Smith; services that have been needed with respect to PYs. However, there are a few areas that we have noticed a decrease of positions in. One is in the area of Transportation; highways. The Department of Transportation has lost three positions in the last three years: one indeterminate heavy equipment operator, the person retired and the position was never filled; one seasonal heavy equipment operator; and, one seasonal light equipment operator. They resigned and these positions were never filled.

Currently, the Department of Transportation is in negotiations with the Salt River First Nations to take over highway maintenance. The maintenance on Highway 5 up to Nyarling River is done by the highway maintenance crew of the government; Department of Transportation in Fort Smith. However, the highway maintenance from Nyarling River on is done by Nuni Corporation of Fort Resolution. I think it is the intention of the Salt River First Nations to take over these highway maintenance programs. I don't know whether or not this transfer of highway maintenance will save the government money, but I would imagine it would because you don't carry your PYs into your budget, it is all rolled into your maintenance contract. The Salt River First Nations has mentioned this to me. They have asked for my support and I indicated to them that I would give them support and am attempting to do this. I believe all other highways in the Northwest Territories are contracted and it is Highway 5 that has never had the opportunity for contract maintenance. So I wish the Salt River First Nations success in the acquisition of this particular highway. I encourage the Minister and his department to support the Salt River First Nations in attempting to acquire the highway maintenance for Fort Smith.

Mr. Speaker, with regard to other areas that have lost PYs, we all know Renewable Resources has lost some PYs in the district office. I would encourage the Minister to review this to see if they have the administrative support that they need.

Aurora College apparently, out of these positions, have gained a few positions. However, I want to state that the headquarters of Aurora College is doing well, particularly taking into account the transition period they had. I want to commend Mr. Parker, the president, for getting the teamwork that he needed in headquarters and delivering the services to Thebacha Campus and other campuses across the north. I commend them for doing that. However, there is a concern that they are a bit crowded in that area. If you go into that building, they work under fairly crowded conditions. The Minister should look at finding some way of even looking for additional storage where they can have a more comfortable working environment. I would encourage the Minister to do that.

Mr. Speaker, that brings me to Aurora College, Thebacha Campus, under the direction of Mr. Holtorf. Mr. Holtorf has been there for a number of years and has been able to keep his team in place. He is delivering many of these programs through Thebacha Campus that we are proud of as residents of Fort Smith. I know my colleague from Iqaluit, Mr. Patterson, eagerly wants these trade programs we have at Thebacha Campus. He thinks just overnight he should get them, you know. But he fails to recognize that it has taken Fort Smith many years to develop the quality of programs that we are proud of. I think it is somewhat unfair that he places the demands on the Minister wanting the same programs in such a short time. He was the Minister of Education at one time and that is when he should have started planning, but he had other things he was planning for, I guess, Mr. Speaker.

I really believe that these programs have to stay with the college. That is what makes the campus a good campus and a recognized campus in our community. I know many Fort Smith people are very proud of that campus.

However, Mr. Speaker, they have had a cutback of positions and I certainly would encourage the Aurora College board of governors to ensure that this campus, in order to strive and maintain its quality of services, get the support they need with regard to positions. You can't be taking away positions and expect them to maintain the same type of quality. It is going to have some effect somewhere in the system.

With that, Mr. Speaker, when you look over the government, we have had some PY losses. When I look particularly in the area of Justice, the indeterminate positions of legal interpreters were lost due to budget cuts. That has had an effect. These cuts do have a significant ripple effect on your community because once you start losing PYs, you lose your economic base and your ability to address the important concerns.

Overall, over the past three years, there have been about 13 PYs gained, which has been the Arctic College headquarters, but there are 13 PYs lost. So even though this government felt they gave us Arctic College headquarters, they took PYs in other areas that I don't think they should have. So I don't recognize a lot of growth in the community and that is why it is critically important to look at addressing the tanker base. That will take us away from government dependency.

Mr. Speaker, I do want to acknowledge the number of people who have contributed greatly to my work as a Member of the Legislative Assembly and to the town of Fort Smith. First of all, of course, I want to mention my family, my husband has given me a tremendous amount of support and I want to take the time to thank him and my daughters: Trina, Shelley and Melanie, and my son, Quinton, for tolerance to have their mom come to work away from them and be able to support me. I want to give them a special acknowledgement, particularly my husband, for allowing me to do my work effectively.

---Applause

I also want to give thanks to my family -- whether it's my sisters or my brothers -- who at times give me advice or give me some scolding, if they feel that it's needed, or give me a different perspective on issues. I certainly want to thank many of my family members for all the support that they've given me and I know they will continue to give me. I thank them for all the support. In fact, I think one of my older sisters, Gloria, is patiently waiting for me to finish up so we can visit. I thank my family for the support that they've given me.

I want to thank Chief Jerry Paulette and the past chief, Henry Beaver, for the support that they've given me, the political support. The Metis Nation and president, George Kurszewski, who's given me the political support, when needed, and advice with regard to the concerns we've expressed in the community. I particularly want to thank the past president of the Chamber of Commerce, Freda Martselos, who's given me a lot of support, moral support and advice. I want to say that one good thing about Freda is that we can at least agree to disagree and we respect each other's viewpoints. The current president of the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. John Vogt, who's given me a lot of support, I want to thank him for the time and effort. I also want to take the time to thank him for always being willing to help Fort Smith and find any way to enhance our community. He's always there to support it.

I want to particularly thank two town councillors who have been very outstanding and have given me tremendous support. Councillor Kennedy who has been a councillor for many, many years and is a very well-respected individual in our community. He has given me a lot of political support and many times I will go to Councillor Kennedy and ask him for his viewpoint. I respect him and keep his views in high regard because he's known to be a very, very fair person. I want to thank the councillor for all the advice that he's given me, and I'm sure he'll continue to give me advice.

Councillor Martselos is another individual who has given me a lot of support and I want to take the time to thank him very much. I also want to commend and thank all the town councillors for the time they take to serve the town. Having been a past town councillor, I know that it takes a lot of time to serve on a community council. Sometimes, no matter what decision you make, just like at this Assembly, not everyone is happy.

In addition, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank some of our elders: Mrs. Schaefer quickly comes to mind as one who lets you know her opinion on what's good and what shouldn't be. Mrs. Maria Brown, who will sit there and listen patiently and not tell you what you want to hear, but how things should be. A lot of times she will willingly extend spiritual advice or whatever advice it may be. I want to thank Mrs. Gratrix, a well-respected elder, for the advice that she's given me from time to time.

---Applause

I also want to thank Mrs. Gratrix because every year, it never fails, she sends my house a box of cookies and homemade bread that my family really enjoys. I used to kind of chuckle, Mr. Speaker, because the first few years I used to get a little box because I only had one kid but now that I have four, the box is really big. I kind of had to chuckle because I told her, you're getting older and you can't cook as much. She said, "Oh, I've got lots of time even though I'm old so don't worry about the cooking, just enjoy it." I tell her many times throughout the year that our family does enjoy it.

Mr. Speaker, the other individual who I'm very grateful to is Mr. Dube. We all know Mrs. Dube, but her husband, a very humble, grateful man, often comes to give me words of encouragement and thanks me for the work I do on behalf of the people, which I appreciate. Mr. Speaker, there are many, many people in Fort Smith and I don't want to single them out, but I did want to mention the many elders: Dora Tourangeau, Mrs. Mandeville, Mrs. Bourque; the many elders we have in our senior citizens' home: Mr. and Mrs. Bohnet and Mrs. Herron, the many people who live in the community who have made Fort Smith what it is today. It is the elders who worked hard many years ago who built our community. It saddens me when elders pass away; you know that part of the community history is going. It really makes it difficult.

I also want to take the time to thank Frank Laviolette who I'm sure many people know. Even when I was young, Frank Laviolette -- although he sometimes seemed abrasive -- advocated many points of view to the government on behalf of the native people. I know the aboriginal people of Fort Smith really appreciate what he did for them. Many times he spoke on behalf of the people and, even though people didn't want to hear him, Frank made sure they heard him. I think he served aboriginal people well.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to take the time to thank Jim Schaefer who many people know. He is an individual that I certainly appreciate and admire for his patience and his ability to think things out, even though it takes him a long time. When I go and ask him a question, he takes his time to give me an answer because he wants to think it out and make sure he's giving me good advice. I really appreciate that.

I want to take the time to commend and congratulate Jane Dragon on her recent appointment to the Arctic College board of governors. I think Jane will serve the Arctic College board of governors very well and I think the Minister made a good choice. Jane has been a committed educator, whether it be teaching traditional knowledge or whatever. She has done the community well and I know she will contribute to this board and I want to take the time to congratulate her and thank her for the periodic advice she gives me.

Mr. Speaker, I want to take the time to thank my constituency workers: Susan MacDonald now works for me and is doing very well; and, I also want to thank Roxanne Fraser who has done a good job in the past before she decided to go to school. Mr. Speaker, I not only want to mention the people in Fort Smith, but I think it's critically important and it would be remiss of me if I forgot to mention the Legislative Assembly staff who serve all of the Members well. Mr. Hamilton makes every effort to serve all the Members well and I know he attempts to do his job well. Sometimes I give him a rough time because I sometimes wonder about his advice, but he's got the patience and tolerance and knows how to accommodate the Members. I commend him for that and thank him for the support he's given me throughout my eight years as an MLA.

---Applause

I want to thank the interpreters for the work they do for all the people of the north. It is so important to see our different aboriginal languages being spoken across the north. Many people in the community really appreciate it. So I want to take the time to thank the interpreters; for them to have to listen to me today and have to interpret that into aboriginal language is very commendable. I want to thank them very much.

---Applause

When we talk about our Legislative Assembly staff, it is so difficult to thank them without singling anyone out in fear of forgetting someone. I want to say a thank you, particularly to two people. One is our Members' secretary, Betty Low, even though I give her a rough time sometimes about looking in the mirror too much or talking on the phone, she really does make a sincere effort in working for us to the best of her ability. She has to be very flexible in her demands, serving 15 of us. I thank her very much.

---Applause

Another staff Member who I would be remiss if I didn't thank is Dawna O'Brien. I have known Dawna for many, many years. I went to school with her in Yellowknife. I want to take the time to thank her also because I know sometimes changing our travel plans must drive her crazy, but she tolerates it with a smile. I want to thank her for all the work she has done for the Members.

Overall, Mr. Speaker, I want to state a sincere thank you to all the staff of the Legislative Assembly. I know they make an effort to serve us. The research staff is given a rough time sometimes; we make tremendous demands of them and they try to serve us to the best of their ability. They make every effort to and I want to take the time to thank them.

I also want to thank past research staff. I think of people like Darlene Jonsson. I don't know where she is now, but she served Members very well. Joan Irwin, who is now working for Mr. Ng, did a tremendous amount of work. I know she will serve Mr. Ng well, too. She does do good work, there is no doubt about. The same with Mr. Bargery, as I mentioned earlier.

It seems, Mr. Speaker, every time there is good staff in research, the government quickly tries to take them across. We have noted that there was a pattern like that. It is the same with Alan Downe. He served Members well. Mr. Todd was quick to take him when he went over to Cabinet. I want to say that he did very good work and I thank him for that.

I want to take the time to thank all the staff at the Legislative Assembly. Sometimes they work long and tireless hours, but they still produce the work we need done. Thank you.

Mr. Speaker, I want to wish you and all Members of the Legislative Assembly a successful and safe conclusion to the summer months. To those retiring Members, I want to state my very best wishes and sincere wishes in your future. Mr. Pudluk will be retiring and I wish him the very best. Mr. Patterson, who keeps saying he isn't going to run, I wish him all the best. I don't know what my friend from Yellowknife North, Mr. Ballantyne, is going to do, but if he doesn't run, I wish him all the best.

I want to say that I did enjoy working with the previous Cabinet; with Mr. Ballantyne and Mr. Patterson, even though sometimes we used to have our differences, Ms. Cournoyea and Mr. Kakfwi. I want to state that I certainly enjoyed working with him, along with Mr. Butters. I wish the Members who are going to retire and who have decided not to run all the best and, to the Members who will be participating in this fall's election, I certainly hope they accept my best wishes for an energetic campaign. I'm sure your expertise and the importance of many of the things we're going through in the evolution of the Legislative Assembly will be needed in order to let constituents know how well you want to serve them.

I can certainly tell you that I look forward to seeing as many of you as I can when the 13th Legislative Assembly convenes. I won't be like Mr. Lewis and say that I will be either in this seat or up there -- I think that's the statement he made -- I intend to work hard and to run a very hard campaign. I feel fairly confident that I'll be back to serve the 13th Assembly. I intend to continue to serve my constituents to the best of my ability and I want to take this time to thank you particularly, Mr. Speaker, and the Members for listening to my long speech. I want to say, as I said in the beginning, that our replies to the Commissioner's address is the only time we can make a comment on issues that are important to our constituencies and all residents of the territories. With that, I thank you very much.

---Applause

Item 9: Replies To Opening Address
Item 9: Replies To Opening Address

Page 1470

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mrs. Marie-Jewell, I know that you have broken Mr. Wray's record for replies to the opening address, but I don't know whether you have broken your other record, which is three hours and 20 minutes. That will be official tomorrow.

---Laughter Mr. Clerk, orders of the day.

Item 22: Orders Of The Day
Item 22: Orders Of The Day

Page 1471

Clerk Of The House Mr. David Hamilton

Mr. Speaker, there will be a meeting of the Western Caucus and the Nunavut Caucus immediately after adjournment this evening. There will be meetings tomorrow morning at 9:00 am of the Standing Committee on Legislation, at 10:30 am of the Ordinary Members' Caucus, and at 12:00 noon of the Special Joint Committee on Division.

Orders of the day for Wednesday, June 21, 1995:

1. Prayer

2. Ministers' Statements

3. Members' Statements

4. Returns to Oral Questions

5. Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery

6. Oral Questions

7. Written Questions

8. Returns to Written Questions

9. Replies to Opening Address

10. Petitions

11. Reports of Standing and Special Committees

12. Reports of Committees on the Review of Bills

13. Tabling of Documents

14. Notices of Motion

15. Notices of Motions for First Reading of Bills

16. Motions

17. First Reading of Bills

18. Second Reading of Bills

19. Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and

Other Matters

- Committee Report 11-12(7), Report on the Review of

Bill 25 - The Education Act

- Bill 25, Education Act

- Bill 34, Supplementary Appropriation Act, No. 1,

1995-96

20. Report of Committee of the Whole

21. Third Reading of Bills

- Bill 28, An Act to Amend the Legislative Assembly and

Executive Council Act

22. Orders of the Day

Item 22: Orders Of The Day
Item 22: Orders Of The Day

Page 1471

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Clerk. This House stands adjourned until Wednesday, June 21, 1995 at 1:30 pm.

---ADJOURNMENT