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.

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

Page 1466

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

June 20th, 1995

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