This is page numbers 1525 - 1578 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 language.


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

Page 1545

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Whitford. I also wish you the best and good luck. That was a good noon-hour speech. Item 9, replies to opening address. Mr. Arngna'naaq.

Mr. Arngna'naaq's Reply

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

June 22nd, 1995

Page 1545

Silas Arngna'naaq Kivallivik

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a few moments of my honourable colleagues' time today to speak on one of my cornerstones in life, one that I have tried to impress upon people at every opportunity over the past four years, especially those who are young aboriginal people. It appears that it will be the last opportunity in this Assembly until the fall.

This, Mr. Speaker, is education. My motto, in passing this on, has been "the key to the success of our people is education." It is a very simple motto, but it has the most significant meaning in my mind. I hope that by this statement, my colleagues will understand its meaning and will pass it on to their respective people.

I would like to break this expression into segments and go through each segment and explain.

I would like to start at the second segment, which is success. Mr. Speaker, each and every person that I have met has wanted to succeed in one form or another, whether it be to be able to receive social assistance -- which I believe must be the most degrading position to be in -- or to have a few million dollars and change. Mr. Speaker, I say this because most people believe that money is the only form of gratification by today's standards, although there are many other forms of gratification that are just as satisfying.

Succeeding means to fulfil one's dreams. How many of our young people, regardless of race, are going to be able to fulfil those dreams?

The first segment of the expression is the key. As everybody knows, a key will open a whole new world. The new world could be as simple as a new hotel room, which I am sure every Member is familiar with, to a new world, such as that experienced by our ancestors when they crossed the Bering Strait, or for those who came later, such as Eric the Red, Leif Ericsson or Christopher Columbus.

The key opens doors to wonders, to dreams or to the gates of heaven, if you are so inclined. The key has been referred to for centuries as an implement to new beginnings. All people have had to start anew to become leaders of their times. For all peoples, to start anew has meant change from their usual lifestyles.

The most recent major change occurred with the industrial age. Others just as significant have been the search for new routes to the Asian markets by the Europeans and the search for new worlds by aboriginal peoples of North and South America.

Mr. Speaker, the key means change from our present lifestyle. That change has to be made by our people. The surest and most positive way to change people's lifestyle is through education.

Mr. Speaker, there is much to say about our people, as that applies to every single person in the universe. A person identifies with a people. The group of people will apply regardless of where you go in the universe. In this case, it applies to the Inuit, who, for centuries, were self-sufficient. You are able to see a minute sample of who they are in the production through the Tiktu series of the Netsilikmuit.

Mr. Speaker, regardless of race, "our people" has the same meaning, but it has meaning to each and every one of us, because it means our family, and our family has the most significance in our lives. They are the ones that have the most influence in our lives.

Education, Mr. Speaker, has the broadest meaning in this matter. It is the final of the segments; however, it also has the most to offer in our lives.

The dictionary defines the word "education" as, "to provide schooling for, or, to develop mentally or morally, especially by instruction". When defined by the dictionary, education is very limited. However, as we all know, education means training; or, for that matter, experience is a form of education. When one is willing to gain knowledge, that is education.

We see life today as a comfortable way of subsistence, but the underlying fact is that it is much more stressful for aboriginal peoples because they did not grow up with this lifestyle. We can break this facade which displays a comfortable lifestyle through education.

Education will multiply the efforts of people who are trying to improve the life of their people.

Mr. Speaker, sometimes words have to be harsh for people to see what is meant by those words. Ten years ago, as chairman of the education society in Baker Lake, I put these words together, and Mr. Speaker, the paper is now brown as it has now been 10 years. It says, "Why are there so many Inuit unemployed today? This is a question that I have often asked myself. The answer I always come up with is that there aren't enough of them who are educated enough to work in the positions that are available. Where is their work? What jobs are available? All the government positions with MOT, RCMP, nurses, carpenters, managers, bookkeepers, teachers, just to name a few, are available in all communities: Baker Lake; Rankin inlet; Iqaluit; Inuvik, et cetera. Who runs the NWT right now? The government runs the NWT right now. Who is the government? People from the south who are brought up here at great expense to work and educate the Inuit. What I am trying to say is there are jobs around that your children could be doing five to 10 years for now, but first they need education.

You may have heard that years ago, around the 1960s, if your children had a grade 12 education, they would be able to get a job anywhere at any time. When you were told that, it was true then, but it isn't true anymore. Today, a person requires a grade 12 and more to get a good job. That is why not many Inuit are working; they don't have the education. You should be making sure your child is going to school and getting the proper education. They may not want to go to school today, maybe because one or several other students are teasing them or they don't like their teacher. I think you should be saying tough, you are going to school today. Don't say to them that they don't have to go to school if they don't want to and this is because you love them. If your child does not finish his or her education today, they will end up exactly the way you are. Maybe in a worse position than you are. Imagine what your favourite child will be going through when you are gone. Will he or she be able to get a good job? Will he or she be happy waking up every morning with no food or no money? What about his or her children? Will they be waking up in the morning to go to school after having a big breakfast? Will they be waking up to go to school at all? These will be your grandchildren.

I was told once that Inuit used to get up with the sun and go to sleep with the sun. What happened to that? Why aren't your children getting up in the morning? Is what they are doing at night going to get them a job after your gone? What happened to all your parents taught you, to teach your children the proper ways? Did your parents teach you to stay up at night? Did your parents teach you to sleep in the morning? If you really love your children, then you should be teaching them what will be good for them after your gone. If you don't, who will?

In the next five or ten years, who will be working; your children or more people from the south? What will your children be saying about all the people who come from the south and get all the jobs? When the Inuit lived on the land, they had to learn from their elders how to hunt, trap and live on the land. They had to work hard to live. Today we live in a society where teaching is done for us. Their minds are being moulded for us. You should be helping them to teach your children. Bring your children to school tomorrow and have them run our country in 25 years. There are a lot of opportunities out there, but you have to work to get them. Don't expect someone else to do it for you, you will never get anywhere that way.

Mr. Speaker, that was 10 years ago. I think that statement would still apply to this day. Mr. Speaker, after I made that statement, some people took note and do have children who are now very productive in the community. I spoke in the House, at one point, that the problems in our education system do not completely lie with our system; parts lie with the parents, many of whom are aboriginal and do not understand the western style of education. The statement was an attempt to put a focus on the system for those people.

My hope, by making this statement, is that you will take the intent of the statement and pass it on to our young aboriginal people. Mr. Speaker, the key to the success of our people is education. Thank you.


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

Page 1547

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Arngna'naaq. Item 9, replies to opening address. Mr. Koe.

Mr. Koe's Reply

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

Page 1547

Fred Koe Inuvik

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Ministers can relax today. I have no report card for them. I am not going to make any profound statements on what has happened in the past and no profound statements on my visions for the future, and I don't wish to set any records for speaking. I do wish to make a statement acknowledging the many good things and the many good people, whom I have had the opportunity work with and the privilege of associating with during my short three years and eight months as an MLA.

Being an MLA, as has been mentioned by some of my colleagues, has been quite a learning experience. This is my first term and it is quite different from being a bureaucrat in the system. It has been a fun time, although there has been some down times. You learn to live and roll with the punches, and learn the art of compromise. There are many issues I have been involved with and I didn't win on every one; but, overall, the term, in my estimation, has been quite successful.

I would like to thank a lot of people who I have worked with. Most of all I would like to thank my fellow colleagues. All of you have been very good to work with on the standing committees, the special committees, our trips and we have had a lot of good times. We have done a lot of hard work. I would like to thank the staff, especially David, for his work and the corsages today. All the staff of the Assembly have been quite patient with us "new fellers." They gave us good guidance, pats on the backs or kicks in the rear-end when we needed it. It has been quite an experience working with knowledgeable people. I would also like to thank the interpreters. They work hard and long. On days like today, they get many speeches and it becomes a long day for them.

All the Ministers who have served this term, their deputies and staff, have also been quite helpful in working with the issues I have raised. It has been quite beneficial to the constituency I represent. I would like to thank those people for working out the issues and complaints.

I also would like to give special thanks to Roger Connelly, the regional director in Inuvik. He has been quite a dynamic fellow and has been very helpful in dealing with the issues people raise pertaining to all departments. I would like to thank all the staff in the Inuvik region. There have been several mayors in Inuvik during my term and they also have been quite helpful and we have worked well together. The chief and band council, the Ehdiitat Gwich'in Council, especially Chief James Firth, who has been quite a good change for the community and band. He has developed the band into quite a dynamic force, not only in economics but in community and social events.

The chairpersons from the Inuvik Community Corporation and their directors, especially Dennie Lennie and Billy Day. They've been quite helpful and have worked hard to get issues raised, especially working closely with the town and the Gwich'in. All three groups have organized and have been able to work together to get a lot of projects under way that are being built in Inuvik. I would like to thank them.

The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and the Gwich'in Tribal Council have also been very helpful in getting not only issues from Inuvik dealt with, but from the whole region. There are many organizations also in Inuvik that I've had the opportunity to work with and meet with. There are too many to mention, but I would like to thank them all.

As with most MLAs, we all came into this job with different priorities that we promised to work on, and there are a few that I would like to mention. The key one is the construction of the new recreation complex in Inuvik. I'm glad to say that a foundation has been laid and they are starting to build it now. There's an active fund-raising committee in place and I wish them well. The visitor's centre is now open, the ribbons were cut several weeks ago and that's another major piece of infrastructure that's going to be very helpful for the tourism industry in that region. I wish the tourism industry well in their endeavours. There are changes, as we are all aware, not only in tourism but in all activities related to government. That is going to have an effect on the industry in the west and how they operate, and I wish the operators in the region well, this year and in the future.

The group home for handicapped adults is now under construction and, if all goes well, we will be cutting the ribbon for that some time this fall. Another project which I've worked on with the community and the Arctic College board and staff was to enhance the programs and the role of the college in the region. I would like to thank the Minister for his work in getting the college back up to where it should be, to the point today where the classrooms and residences are all overflowing. They are running a lot of good programs, and I would like to thank the staff and the people involved with Arctic College. Incidentally, the term "Arctic College" has changed to Aurora College, which is the same name the campus holds, Aurora Campus, and I would just like to pass a message on to the Minister that a lot of people in Inuvik still believe the campus should be called Aurora Campus.

As I mentioned, I'm very encouraged by the cooperation of all the organizations in Inuvik that are working together. There has been a real change in how things get done. Special accolades should go to the Gwich'in, the Inuvialuit and the town for the work they've done together in promoting Inuvik and getting a lot of projects under way. Another group that's very active is the Inuvik interagency committee. It has involved all the health and social services groups in the town and has been very proactive in doing the work that's going on now.

I would also like to thank my various constituency workers. There have been a lot of them since my term and they've all had a role in the success that the town and myself have had in getting work done.

The people who were on my campaign team, I would like to thank them for the work they've done. And all the people of the Beaufort-Delta communities, they always have words of encouragement and urge you on to continue the work you do. The people of Inuvik, especially, have been very supportive in the type of work that's going on and I thank them for their encouragement.

In my travels across the north, I've met many people and I've mentioned in this House that since we're on TV now, people are able to watch the Legislature in action. Through the committee work we've done, we have travelled quite a few times to the communities and they watch the activities of the committee. They always have words of encouragement for us, in terms of what we're doing and how we do it.

I especially want to thank my family, my children Kevin, Jamie and Kerry; and, especially my wife, Lynda. They've had to put up with my antics and activities, especially the travel, but overall, they've been very patient and supportive of what I'm doing. I hope to see you all again in November. Thank you.


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

Page 1548

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Koe. I hope to see you too. Item 9, replies to opening address. Mrs. Thompson.

Mrs. Thompson's Reply

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

Page 1548

Manitok Thompson Aivilik

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My time in this office has been short so, this time, I will make this a short reply.


I can say that I have learned a lot in this short time and I would like to recognize the cooperation of everybody to ensure that my goals for Aivilik were met.

Mr. Speaker, I had many items to cover on my agenda for this very short time but the two most important issues were Bill C-68, the gun control bill, and the Inuit elders, in relation to the Bowhead whale. I would just like to make a correction in my statement this morning about the whalers in the 18th century. It was not only the Dutch, as I indicated, it was also the British and others responsible for the slaughter of whales. I just forgot to read that sentence.

Mr. Speaker, these two issues needed to be voiced, even in the short time I had and I had the pleasure to speak on these two very important issues on behalf of my Aivilik riding.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my husband, partner and best friend, Tom, for all the support he has given me and the encouragement to run in the Aivilik riding. I would like to thank our sons, Trevor and Randy. Though they weren't born from inside, under my heart, they were born from my heart. They have had a lot of patience in this short time.

I would also like to thank Brian Armstrong, my assistant, for being here and working long hours sometimes, and for his energy -- which I needed for the short time I was here. I would like to thank my mom and my dad for the high expectations they have for all their children. It was more like a nunnery with four other sisters in my family.


Mr. Speaker, I especially would like to thank my dad. He gave me advice before I started my career as a teacher about 19 years ago: he said, "Nutaraq -- the name he calls me, which means "my little child," -- never use the term often used by non-aboriginals; I know." He said not to use this term because if someone is teaching you, you might miss something that you might need to know. I also would like to thank him for voting for me, after a conversation that he, my mom and I had about traditional leadership. When I asked him, "Dad, would you vote for a woman today as a leader," he asked, "What do you mean?" I replied, "If, say, a woman was running for a mayor in your town." He said, "No, I wouldn't vote for a woman leader." Then he encouraged me and told me that he voted for me.


His grandfather, Angutimmarik was a well-know Aivilik leader in the traditional days. Mr. Speaker, I really appreciate my mom and dad for all the encouragement they have given me in this short time.

I would like to thank all the people who elected me to this office, for I needed this experience for the future of the Nunavut government so that I will be able to assist my people better, whether as a politician or a public servant. When the by-election for the Aivilik riding opened, Mr. Speaker, the mayor of Coral Harbour, Louie Bruce, said the person going into this office was just going to test the waters at this time to see if they like it or not, and that person would float or sink.

Mr. Speaker, I felt I came into the rapids, into a very organized confusion, but I feel I was prepared and determined to succeed in this short time. I had to make sure I had the right equipment to float and swim. I knew that if this didn't kill me, it was going to make me stronger.


And, Mr. Speaker, I'm glad that, as an Inuk, I have the survival skills instilled in me by my elders to be able to survive in any type of harsh environment.

I was happy to be here while the Education Act was being addressed. It's an area I'm comfortable with. I know with this act, Mr. Speaker, we should be able to produce bilingual, bi-cultural aboriginals for our future, with the support of Innuqatigiit and Dene Kede curriculums and also aboriginal teachers dedicated to education.

Mr. Speaker, I'm confident that our aboriginal culture and language will survive. I'm sure the Department of Education of this government will make sure we get more aboriginal teachers by setting up more field-based training programs or closer-to-home programs to produce more aboriginal teachers in the west and in the east.


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

Page 1549

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Item 9, replies to opening address. Ms. Mike.

Ms. Mike's Reply

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

Page 1549

Rebecca Mike Baffin Central

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity, through a reply to the Commissioner's opening address, to say a few things on behalf of my constituents and to express some of my views about our government and the programs it delivers.

Mr. Speaker, this is my first term as an elected Member of this Assembly, and I must say that the last four years has been a very enjoyable learning experience for me. First of all, I would like to pass on some compliments on some of this government's initiatives, that I think went fairly well. One is the community transfer initiative. Although this did not get off as we had expected, I think the next four years will see more communities taking on more responsibility from this government. I hope that this government will continue to fine-tune this initiative. I say this because I still see room for that, if we are going to be giving our communities more control.

One of the problems I see in the communities, Mr. Speaker, is we are missing control over our government staff whose supervisors are usually situated in regional offices. And I think there is room for municipal governments to be part of the protocol of our government in overseeing the improvement of some of the programs delivered at the community level, such as using community-elected officials to act as monitors of employees in the communities. I hope that this government will continue to improve the community transfer initiative. I must say that I was very happy to hear that this government started a pilot project in the Baffin to include the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs and that MACA was to be the implementing department.

As well, there is the buy-north policy. I think it is working well for the private business sector in our communities, but I must caution this government that this policy not be abused. I have learned that in some communities of the NWT, local businesses that are using this policy sometimes overcharge the government. We must make sure that we are getting good value for our dollar. The private sector should know that as long as this policy is in place, their sector will thrive on some of the government dollars we have.

Regarding the income support program, I think the Premier and Mr. Nerysoo have done well on this, since the time when I had the Social Services portfolio and had asked my deputy minister to bring forward the already-written document of the previous government, when Mrs. Marie-Jewell was Minister of Social Services. There are really no limits to this program, if this government is going to succeed in implementing this program. I hope all the communities can tap into it so our "employables" can continue their education and, hopefully, find employment; if not, start their own businesses through the education they have received. On the community wellness strategy, I was impressed when our Premier tabled that strategy. I must say she did a good job. When I was Minister of Social Services, the document I brought to Cabinet was only a wellness strategy. She has done a great job in expanding it and getting the other departments involved as well.

So, Mr. Speaker, on our political development, as you know and everyone knows, Nunavut is only four years away and in 1999, this government will divide. I do have some concerns on the western part because there are so many different interest groups that are almost totally independent. I do wish them well in achieving their political goals, especially their Constitution. I do wish they could work interdependently so they can achieve the goals they would like to see.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to take the time to thank the government on behalf of the community of Clyde River; since I was elected, they are now enjoying their new community hall. I think this year the new nursing station will be completed and an addition for the school was completed earlier this year. It is already in use. This addition was very much needed because some of the classes were held in the library and any other room that was available.

On behalf of Pangnirtung, I would like to thank the NWT Development Corporation for building a nice fish plant, which was opened last summer. Although the turbot fishery is very new to Pangnirtung residents, the well-experienced hunters have certainly been out in the Cumberland Sound fishing. This has created income of some much-needed dollars to some families.

I would like to thank the Department of Education for putting in a gymnasium in Alookie School, which also gave more room for much-needed classrooms in that school.

I would like to thank the Department of Transportation for the breakwater. This was much needed for the small marine vessel owners. As you know, we get severe storms in Pangnirtung and some boat owners have been losing thousands of dollars during the storms. So this is much appreciated, Mr. Todd. by the tourism operators, fishermen and hunters.

Also, we appreciate the new air terminal. We don't have to crowd any more, trying to check in our luggage in that little room. There is lots of room now and it is very much appreciated. This year, there is going to be a renovation to Attagoyuk School, which the students and parents have been waiting for a long time. This school is old and the heating has been causing a lot of problems to the community. Some of the high school students would sit in the classrooms with their parkas on, it would be so cold. I can assure the government that the renovation to Attagoyuk School is very much appreciated.

I also would like to thank my constituents for having supported me throughout some ordeals that I have gone through when I was on Cabinet. I want to thank my family, who supported me in every way, especially my dad, Jamasie Mike, who looks after my daughter while I am here doing work on behalf of my constituents. Also, I would like to thank my sister, Rita, who has been a great help in looking after my daughter, Nadia. I want to thank my sisters, Eena and Lucy Mike.

I also would like to thank some of the NWT residents who used to call me when I was a Cabinet Member to show their support and not to give up in this Assembly. The majority of those people have been women who called in to say we are behind you, hang in there. I would like to thank those people who have shown great support to me during my four years in this Assembly. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.


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

Page 1550

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Item 9, replies to opening address. Mr. Zoe.

Mr. Zoe's Reply

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

Page 1550

Henry Zoe North Slave

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to say a few words under this item. First of all, I would like to thank a number of people within the North Slave riding. Foremost, the grand chief and the Dogrib Treaty 11 Council. I have worked very effectively with that particular council. I would like to thank them from the bottom of my heart. Without them, Mr. Speaker, I don't think the type of successes that my region had would have happened.

Mr. Speaker, there are a number of organizations that I would like to point out. I have four communities in my riding and would like to thank all the municipal councils, each local band council and education council. I would also like to thank the Dogrib Divisional Board of Education for their great work. They have worked very effectively with my office. They have pursued a number of initiatives. There has been a lot of good things coming out of this particular area.

As you are aware, Mr. Speaker, we had a disaster last year in one of my communities. They had a fire in their school which was completely burnt down. I was very appreciative of the divisional board, who conveyed very strongly to the Minister of Education that we needed a new school. The facility is in operation as of today. The department has responded very positively to our needs. There have been other initiatives that the divisional board of education and the local CECs have pursued, such as renovations to various facilities. Those facilities do age and, from time to time, require major renovations. I am glad the Minister of Education is looking to assist the various communities in this regard.

Mr. Speaker, there have also been new programs incorporated into the regional high school in my area, and I am very appreciate of the Minister supporting the needs of the community and also of the divisional board. They've been pursuing this issue for a number of years and it became a reality, Mr. Speaker. It has been two years now since we have had grade 12 graduates coming out of the regional high school.

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the support and also the cooperation that I received from the Dogrib Treaty 11, as I indicated earlier, they have been very helpful, not only to my office but also to the government that we have today. They've been working very effectively together in a spirit of cooperation and in a spirit of partnership. Mr. Speaker, the leadership from my area has been working very hard to pursue the betterment of the lives of the community members in the four communities that I represent.

I would just like to say, with regard to economic development, Mr. Speaker, one of the major initiatives that my area has anticipated and has got into, is hydro development. I would like to thank the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, the Premier -- who is also the Minister responsible for the Power Corporation -- and the Power Corporation's board of directors and president for working very effectively. It has been very hard at times when they were negotiating with the Dogrib Power Corporation, but today, Mr. Speaker, I can say that although we had our ups and downs in this whole area, I think it has been very positive. We do have the project on stream now, and I believe that the construction is under way. This project will create power not only for Rae-Edzo, but also for the city of Yellowknife. It's going to not only deplete the use of diesel in Yellowknife, but it will also create revenue for the Dogrib people who own the corporation. In that respect, Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank, as I indicated, all the people who were involved in the success of this particular initiative.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to say a few words with regard to Economic Development and Tourism. Again, I would like to say thanks to the people who serve on the NWT Development Corporation. They've been very helpful within the Dogrib region. As you may be aware, they've assisted in the smaller communities in terms of funding them for their various facilities -- such as the hotel in Snare Lake and the new store in Rae Lakes -- and they have also assisted a number of small businesses in the whole region.

I would just like to say thanks to those people and also the people at the community level, the local corporations that we have, for instance, the Wek'Weti Development Corporation, the Gameti Development Corporation, the Wha Ti Development Corporation and also the Rae-Edzo Development Corporation. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all the people who serve these corporations. I have had discussions with them on a number of occasions when various issues happen. As one would know if you were in business, you do run into various issues, perhaps regulations you are fighting with or the policies that the government has; they come to me and we try to resolve those issues with the government.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to say that I am very happy with the Minister responsible for Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. As you know, mining initiatives in this area are key and, I believe, will be resources that the whole territories can benefit from, particularly in my region.

As you know, the diamond industry has been very big in this part of the country, and I think, through cooperation among the Department of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, the leadership from my area and the various mining industry people who are involved, we've come to agree that the mining sector is very important, not only for ourselves but for the betterment of the territories. I was very happy to see that the mining industry has been very cooperative with the leadership from the North Slave region. I know that the government has also been cooperative with my people in the North Slave region in that respect, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, again with regard to economic development and tourism, I think we've been very supportive of trying to get into the spirit of partnership. My area has always indicated that this is how we are going to pursue economic development, and I think it shows. I think it shows by my region going into, with the assistance of the government, various partnerships with various companies such as engineering companies, construction companies and so forth.

Mr. Speaker, I am very glad that we have moved in the right direction because, by creating this partnership, there is no animosity among people coming in from outside the region and trying to take all the initiatives that are coming, or getting into businesses of their own.

Mr. Speaker, with this new cooperation and partnership that the region has encountered, I think a lot of new jobs will be created for our young people who are graduating and the ones that are unemployed and so forth. So I think we have moved in the right direction.

Mr. Speaker, with regard to transportation, I am very appreciative of the support that we have received to date from the Minister of Transportation regarding airports. As you know, there are a number of airports that were upgraded in my area, and I am very appreciative, because they are the link to the outside world, except for the few winter roads that we have in my region.

Mr. Speaker, there haven't always been very successful stories. For instance, with regard to transportation, I can assure you that we had our ups and downs, especially when we renegotiated a number of negotiated contracts with this particular department. Nevertheless, I think overall the Department of Transportation has been very supportive, and I am very appreciative of that because it made my job much

easier, and I am sure my constituents were quite happy with the outcome.

With regard to housing, Mr. Speaker, as everyone is well aware, housing hasn't been a very big success, I think, in all small communities, particularly the smaller communities, because of the funding cuts from the federal government. It is going to be a continuing problem that the 13th Assembly will have to deal with.

Mr. Speaker, with regard to Municipal and Community Affairs, as everyone knows, I have always respected this particular department. We have worked very effectively together to address a number of concerns at the community level with regard to municipal infrastructure: equipment, roads at the community level, new land development, et cetera. But the department has been very cooperative.

Not only that, Mr. Speaker, through my association with the NWT Association of Municipalities and their board of directors, I think they've been quite happy with the manner in which the department has been conducting themselves. I haven't always agreed with them, but there are a number of initiatives that the department has done that I'm very appreciative of. One that comes to mind is the new formula that was developed three or four years ago, when they revised the formula funding for hamlets and tax-based municipalities.

Mr. Speaker, there are other issues I would like to touch on but, as Members are aware, we still have a lot of issues that we have to deal with today. I would just like to reiterate and say to the people of the North Slave region that I think we've made great strides in my area. I know that the government has been very cooperative with us from time to time. As one knows, every issues that's brought forward may not always succeed but, nevertheless, I think the majority of our concerns from my area, I believe, have been very successful. I hope that the government will continue to move in that particular direction, to assist particularly the smaller communities which don't have the luxuries of the larger centres.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I would like to say I appreciate the cooperation from my colleagues in this House, and also yourself, Mr. Speaker, for all the assistance that you've given me; and also to the staff of the Legislative Assembly. I think the staff have provided very good support, not only to myself but to all the Members in the Legislature.

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

Page 1551

An Hon. Member

Hear! Hear!

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

Page 1551

Henry Zoe North Slave

Mr. Speaker, I hope that I can see all of you back in the fall session. Mahsi.


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

Page 1551

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Zoe. I also wish you all the best and hope to see you again. We'll take a 10-minute break.


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

Page 1551

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The House will come back to order. We're on item 9, replies to opening address. Mr. Antoine.

Mr. Antoine's Reply

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

Page 1551

Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a reply to the opening address. I would like to make some brief comments since this will be our last sitting here. I would like to take this opportunity to say a few words.

Mr. Speaker, as a Dene, I'm proud of my heritage, and I'm especially proud of our ancestors when I hear the oral history of the people who came before us on this land. Mr. Speaker, we're the original people of this land and all descendants of the Dene should be aware of their heritage, if they're not yet so.

Mr. Speaker, studies now show that there are Dene people not only in the Northwest Territories and in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba, but also in the United States; in states such as Washington, Oregon, up to California, and especially into Arizona and New Mexico. Recently, I had the opportunity to travel into the Navaho country and I believe there are over 400,000 Navaho in the state of Arizona and New Mexico. There are Apaches in New Mexico. They call themselves Dene and their language is very similar to ours, so we have a lot of commonalities in this area.

So, Mr. Speaker, the Dene family is all over North America, whether we came through the Bering Strait as they say, which I disagree with. Perhaps we came from the other way around, from North America into Asia, who really knows, Mr. Speaker. However, there is attempt now, Mr. Speaker, to get all the groups together to find out common roots of the Dene culture. There's a project in progress which the Dene Cultural Institute is doing and it is not different from the Inuit Circumpolar Conference funded by governments. This project is to get the Dene people together for cultural reasons and, perhaps, economic and spiritual reasons. I believe this government should encourage and support this endeavour.

Aboriginal rights and treaty rights is also an area of concern that I've always had, Mr. Speaker. There are land claim negotiations that have been concluded in the north, while others are still going on today. There are treaty land entitlements with the Treaty 8 group and discovery talks are going on with the Deh Cho First Nations. All of these initiatives must be encouraged and supported by this government, Mr. Speaker, and resources should be provided for ongoing discussions. The Deh Cho First Nations, which I'm very familiar with, have been trying, since the AIP was defeated in 1980 for all people, to deal with the federal government. Since last year, they have had two meetings with the federal government.

in the discovery talks. There is still a lot of work to be done, Mr. Speaker.

The history of the aboriginal people in the north goes back beyond the 1960s, but in the 1970s, a lot of development work was started by the Dene and Metis in the Mackenzie Valley. At that time, terminology such as "colonization" and "oppression" were common words used by leaders of the day. It's true that such things are in existence. In fact, Mr. Speaker, I want to say that at one time, as a young man who had long hair, I asked a government official for a job and the answer was: "If you cut your hair, maybe I'll consider hiring you." What is this? What kind of attitude was that? We've gone far beyond that today, Mr. Speaker, but we are not there yet. There is still a long way to go to achieve self-determination for aboriginal people.

We are plugged into the public government system and that still has to be worked out. A lot of things need to be cleared up in the area of treaty and aboriginal issues with this government. That is the kind of work that has to happen in the next few years. This government and the Legislative Assembly have to work with the aboriginal people in the west in future, to try to overcome and clear up the outstanding issues.

This ties into the whole process of the northern accord being discussed yesterday and today in Yellowknife by aboriginal leaders and the government. There is an attempt to move the oil, gas and mineral administration from the federal government to the Northwest Territories, which I'm sure everyone supports. But the question is, once we get it here, who controls it. This is where the dilemma is. There are aboriginal groups who have land claim agreements and have turned over that responsibility to the territorial government. However, there are other groups who have not yet done that yet; namely, the Dogrib, Treaty 8 and the Deh Cho First Nations. There has to be an arrangement struck with these people and the government should not move ahead unless there is consensus by everybody at the table that the northern accord can go ahead.

Moving on to the Education Act, Bill 25, that we're dealing with today, Mr. Speaker. I must honestly say that I feel very uncomfortable with this bill. I think a lot of work still should take place with this bill, mainly because although the official bill was tabled at the end of March and the Standing Committee on Legislation did their work and went into the communities, I think the people in the communities still don't have a grasp on what this bill is about. Even during the last few days, while we have been struggling through this bill in the House, we're still questioning a lot of the clauses and making amendments to try to make it fit with what we're hearing from the communities.

In the Yukon, there is a whole section on aboriginal education in their legislation, which we don't have. Here, we're trying to fit it into a few clauses here and there. I think we should take a closer look at it. I would like to say, Mr. Speaker, that I'm trying to do the best I can as an MLA to try to accommodate the process here, and making changes to the clauses, but I have to honestly say that I'm very uncomfortable with this bill at this point in time.

There is the whole treaty issue as well. In the west, we have two treaties: Treaty 8 and Treaty 11. The history I know from my people is that agreements were made by officials when the treaties were signed in 1921 and 1899 that education would be a right for aboriginal people in the west. The bill attempts to ensure that, but I'm not too sure whether it will accomplish this. The current bill that we're operating under doesn't accommodate that, although we've been able to make amendments to the bill to try to accommodate it. I don't know, after we have struggled through it, how the final bill is going to work and I have some discomfort about that.

I would like to move on to the health issue, Mr. Speaker. In 1988, the health responsibility was transferred over from the federal government to the territorial government, and I recall in the Deh Cho region when this was going on, that the chiefs were very uncomfortable with the process and they established conditions on how that should work. Now these conditions don't seem to apply, they are overlooked and not taken into consideration when health is being discussed in the region.

The health billings dispute is a very serious thing that this government is trying to deal with. I want to commend the Minister of Finance and the people in government for trying to resolve this issue. The onus is on the federal government to provide health services to aboriginal people, treaty people and Inuit. If they are reneging on it, it is their responsibility. The arrangement we have made is the best one we could reach at this point in time, I am told. My concern is that there are conditions for three years, but after that, what happens? I am concerned about the treaty issues. If that is the best we could do, what does it mean in the future for people who say they have aboriginal and treaty rights for health from previous treaties when the non-aboriginal people first started moving into this country?

Also on health issues, in the communities there are less and less doctors and services in terms of medical health; X-rays, blood tests, examinations by physicians, et cetera. Many people from the communities are now flying into Yellowknife.

The idea is to try to get all the specialists in Yellowknife, so people from outlying communities will be flown in to be examined by these doctors. In Fort Simpson, at the airport terminal, there are posters; the school children who go and visit different facilities make posters about it. One of the posters in the airport terminal says the airport is the place you go when you get sick. This is the perception that young people have; when you get sick, you go to the airport. That means you have to fly to Yellowknife. The airport isn't the place you go when you get sick, it should be the hospital or nursing station. That is what is happening with the way health is in the north now.

With regard to Justice, Mr. Speaker, I have to commend the Minister of Justice, Stephen Kakfwi, for the work he has done in this department. In terms of new and innovative approaches to justice, especially the community justice committees, is a good thing. There is one in my constituency in Wrigley and there is one that was just formed in Fort Simpson. They are talking about forming one in Fort Liard. I have to commend the justice specialist who works out of Fort Simpson, who is a former Member of this Legislative Assembly, Mr. Nick Sibbeston. He is doing a fine job.

This new initiative really comes from a lot of different ideas. Earlier I mentioned that I was in Arizona and New Mexico. The first time I went there was with the Minister of Justice and a number of MLAs on a fact-finding tour. We met extensively, all the days we were there, with the different justice systems in the state of Arizona; particularly with the Navajo, who have the their own government and judicial system, right from the Supreme Court judge down to their own police force. So there is an aboriginal community that is doing it on their own. The community justice system is similar to theirs. This is one part of North America where aboriginal people are doing something and we are learning from their experience. This is a good way to learn. The community justice committees are a good way to deal with some of the smaller infractions to the laws that happen in communities, instead of JPs and magistrates dealing with these things. Now it is the community justice committees made up of people from the community such as elders, young people and specialists. They sit down and ask them, for the first time ever, why they broke the law. They counsel them and fine them. This is a very good innovative approach to justice in the north.

The other area in justice I really have a lot of support for is the move towards trying -- instead of warehousing inmates in very expensive facilities with high administrative costs -- to deal with inmates by putting them in bush camps or some place on the land close to the communities, so the communities have input into how inmates are taken care of out on the land, or example.

I would like to make a few comments, Mr. Speaker, on the affirmative action policy. As an aboriginal person, I support the intent of the existing policy. There was a lot of debate in previous assemblies on this whole issue and the reason for this policy...The aboriginal people in the north are the majority in the north, but that isn't reflected in the civil service. The attempt is to reflect the population in the civil service. Some place along the way, the true intent of this policy hasn't been met. We still don't have the numbers of aboriginal people in the civil service. Instead, whenever we try to make change, there are a lot of unforseen consequences that result. Right now, there is a great debate on this issue at the grass-roots level where there is a review on how to address this policy. I agree that this assessment should take place. It is becoming an issue where there are many racial overtones.

There is resentment by non-aboriginal people towards aboriginal people who are placed in certain jobs because of this policy. I know a lot of aboriginal people, especially in the smaller communities, support this policy, yet the media does not get their views aired in public. It is a negative impact on the aboriginal people who get the jobs, in certain cases. They get a hard time from fellow workers because of this. I know there are some aboriginal people who want to get the job on their own merits, and many of them could, without the affirmative action policy. I would just like to reiterate that there has to be a close look at this whole policy and instead of fighting over the affirmative action policy the way it is, we have to look at the intent of this policy to see if it is being met. At the same time, there are side consequences and debate based on racial issues. It is becoming more of a negative policy. We should assess that.

On the housing issue, Mr. Speaker, there has been a very negative impact on housing in the Northwest Territories during this term in government. The reason was that the federal government cut all funding that was previously given to the territorial government to provide houses. In the past, people were given HAP units, home assistance program units, that helped many communities. In terms of housing, we have come a long way in all the communities in the north. As we travel around, we see that there are a lot of very good homes built in the communities. The NWT Housing Corporation has to be commended for all the accomplishments they've achieved in housing.

Getting back to the federal government cuts, it has a very negative impact on the housing in the communities, as well as to this government. This is one of the big reasons that our government is now in a deficit, because of these federal government cuts and we weren't able to get it back from the federal government. Even the funding that goes for the treaty people we weren't able to get in the north. In the south, in the provinces on the reserves where there are treaty Indians, there is funding that goes to them for housing directly from the federal government. Whereas, even though we have treaty people in the Northwest Territories, we don't have that opportunity to access that funding. I don't know why that is. There might be some politics being played between this government and the federal government based on that. But if that's the case, treaty people in the north shouldn't be used as a pawn in that type of politics.

On Economic Development and Tourism, Mr. Speaker, in my constituency people would like a sustainable economy, with maximum economic benefits going to the people of the region. That is the position that people in the region have always taken; that if any types of government contracts or jobs go into the region, they should go to the communities first, then to the region, then after that, go to other people in the north. There are X number of dollars that go into a community or a region, then if the people from the region don't have the size or the equipment or the know-how they don't get it and it goes to places that have those resources.

I know there is a difference of opinion of this particular issue in this House, but that is the position that I have always taken and will always continue to take. In that regard, I think the government policies that govern this have to be looked at and changed to allow the people and the business in the smaller communities to have those opportunities first.

It comes from many years of experience where years ago, funds would go to a region and the people from the region didn't benefit from it. Now, with the tight fiscal position, everybody is really keen at looking at any type of funding that goes into the region. The people in the communities and the regions want to have that opportunity before everybody else to take advantage of whatever is there.

Mr. Speaker, there is oil and gas exploration beginning to happen in my constituency around the community of Fort Liard. This is with the chief and band council, and the whole community is involved in it. This is a major exploration that is going to happen. It started last winter, and this summer and this winter there is going to be massive exploration. I think that this government should work with the community to try to maximize the benefits that this opportunity will provide to this region.

With regard to forestry; the whole Liard Valley in my constituency has a big forest with big trees. There is a lot of potential to develop forestry there. People in Fort Liard, with their resource management committees, have done some studies. They have done some test cuts into some of the areas. They did different types of cuts to show what kind of effect it would have on the forest. I would like to say that what I've seen from the air in the helicopter when I've flown over those areas is that it doesn't seem to have had that much of an impact. But I must qualify that by saying that it was only a small area where they did the test; but if we were to open up the whole area for more of that, I don't know what kind of effect it would have. This is certainly the direction that the community resource management committee is taking in this whole area.

In Fort Simpson, the band also has a resource management committee that was looking into a number of resources; one of them being forestry. Personally, what I would like to see in the Mackenzie Valley is that forestry be developed with community control. This is what the people are saying in that area, that if we could develop the forestry by logging some of the trees and even setting up a sawmill in that area that is controlled by the people in that area. From there, you could go further, getting into more of a sustainable type of wood product industry. Perhaps we could get into doors, windows, frames, furniture or whatever. If you do that, then you're looking at a high upfront cost, even looking at a kiln to dry the boards. So we would be looking at a major operation in that area. We could even go further and get into a chipboard type of mill, which again we would be looking at a very high cost. So we would have our own lumber industry in the north, we would have employment for people there; there are all kinds of different potential opportunities in developing forestry.

The people in the area have been very conscious of that, they've done some work over the years with their resource management committee. Mentioning the resource management committees, unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, the funding that they were working with the federal government is being deleted, it's getting less and less. I think these community resource management committees are very good, I think that's the way to go. They have community involvement and develop the resources in their area. That is a potential ally to the territorial government, and they could work with the territorial government but they need some funding for this area. So I think this government should look at that to see if they will be able to support them in that area. In the long run, you're looking at developing resources; and, is the government going to do this on its own? It's going to have to come from the communities, and who best to decide on which area to cut and what not to cut except for the people in the community.

Under economic development, there is a mining possibility in my constituency with San Andreas Resources having the Prairie Creek properties. It used to be the Cadillac Mine where they're doing some exploratory drilling again this year, and they're seeking funds to try to open up that area. They've been meeting with the people in the community to determine the type of support and type of work that they may have.

Unfortunately, during their process, they're using chemicals that are very harmful to the environment. They'll be putting them into a tailings pond and that is raising some concerns from different citizens in the community. The Prairie Creek runs into the South Nahanni, into the Liard, and joins the Mackenzie. So if you have any type of a major spill of arsenic, then you're into major problems with all the water systems down the valley. So this is a concern that has been expressed by me. Even though it's a mining possibility that could develop the economy in that area by providing jobs and business opportunities, on the one hand, there's the environmental protection concerns that we have to consider equally as well.

The other economic concern in my area is in the area of tourism. Tourism is a very good business for certain people in my constituency. The Nahanni National Park is placed in my constituency. The Great Falls, the beautiful mountain scenes and the river which people want to canoe down is a very big tourist draw. There are tourists from all over the world that come into my area to look at the sites and travel into the mountains, and there are an increasing number of people going into that area. The Nahanni Ram Tourism Association was just developing and they had a majority aboriginal board representing all the communities. They were just developing and getting into tourism in a big way when the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism and his department decided to change tourism funding by splitting the tourism association into two. Now this group of people is lumped into the west, along with all of these other high-powered business types. I'm afraid they might get swallowed up by the sharks.


There is a fear there; a fear of the unknown is what it is. But I'm sure that if everybody puts their heads together, there will be a way of solving the issue of tourism.

Whenever a person gets into a business, there is always the possibility of being successful or of failing and there are some businesses in my constituency who are in that situation. I just want to say that this department has to have more compassion and work with the citizens to help them recover from problems.

With regard to my position on the Standing Committee on Finance, first of all, I would like to thank the Minister of Finance, Mr. Pollard and his able right-hand man, Lew Voytilla, for all the work we've done together through the last three years. It has been quite a learning experience for me, as a MLA for Nahendeh coming from Fort Simpson and getting involved in the Legislative Assembly and the standing committee system. The predecessor to this position was Mr. John Todd, who moved on to become a Minister. He was the chairman of SCOF when we first started and he demonstrated his capabilities in dealing with a lot of the issues. It was good to work with him.

I would like to thank Mike Ballantyne, who's an old veteran who knows all the tricks of the trade, for all of his wise counsel in the Standing Committee on Finance. I would like to thank Mr. Charles Dent, another Member of the Standing Committee on Finance. Mr. Dent is a very well-informed MLA, a business person, and he's a very big asset to the Standing Committee on Finance. I would like to thank Henry Zoe who was on the committee from the Dogrib area. He has been an MLA before and knows how business is conducted in this committee. I would like to thank Mr. Dennis Patterson, a former Government Leader and Minister, who is also very wise in his work with this House. He has a lot of experience that he shares with us. Once he got into the Standing Committee on Finance, I think he finally realized how things work on this side of the House. After a little while, he really fit in well and it really was an asset to have him. Rebecca Mike is also on the committee, a former Minister, and she has a very good understanding of how things go on. She helped us in this committee. The newest Member was Manitok Thompson, who just joined us in this committee. For the few times we had meetings, she contributed and I would like to thank her for that.

I would like to thank the committee clerk, Doug Schauerte, for the support and work he did for the committee.


I think he did very good work. And I would like to thank the researcher we have now, Robert Slaven. He has done excellent work for us here. Mahsi.


The next item I wanted to mention was the transition document that the Standing Committee on Finance passed a motion in this House to have developed. The reason for that is, as we finish this government and complete this term, there are a lot of things on the table and a lot of work which has been done on certain issues. The transition document should demonstrate the different areas of transition so that whoever is in the House in the fall after November will have documents they can start from. Rather than starting from nothing, they will at least have something to look at and there will be a starting point for the next government. The Standing Committee on Finance will also be developing its own transition document on what we think are the important issues that the next government should deal with, as they take over.

In the area of deficit management, we have passed a motion in the House for the next government to follow certain guidelines. The idea here is we don't really want to use those guidelines, but they are there just in case we need them. We set the parameters on how the next government will work in the financial area.

In the Standing Committee on Finance meetings, we spent many long hours together whenever we had to go through the capital and O and M review process. Everybody from this committee really contributed well. We had many meetings on each department and it was a really gruelling process but we managed to survive, and we're at the tail-end of our term for that.

With regard to the capital that went into my area, in Wrigley the biggest expenditure was a little bridge that went across the Willow River and the finishing of the road into Wrigley. It was a big commitment by this government to finish the bridge and road. It means that we're a little further down in the valley and I guess the next step is to try to push the road further, past Wrigley, and into Fort Norman. That's what we'll have to achieve the next time around. This is still on the table and is something we have to work on.

Unfortunately, there have been cuts in the Transportation budget and about $1.5 million was cut out of a task that is really going to affect my constituency. It is for the maintenance of the road in my area. I spoke about it in the House previously, because I have a big concern about it. We have had good roads in the past, there were nothing wrong with them, but now with these cutbacks I'm very concerned that not this year, or next year, but maybe in the third year, we will see major deterioration. That will mean a major capital one-time expenditure to repair it to a good standard.

We have more and more tourists travelling on the highway system and they do the loop. That is, they come up through the Hay River, Enterprise area, to Yellowknife, Fort Simpson, and then down past Fort Liard and then hit the Alaska Highway. Many people do that when they travel to the north and we have been advertising it, which draws a lot of tourists up here. We say that we have very good roads and if our roads begin to deteriorate, we're going to be in serious trouble not only in repairing the roads, but also in drawing the tourists; we need to develop the tourism industry in the area.

I know the Minister has discussed with the Minister of BC, the problem out of Liard where the road that goes from the BC border to the Alaska Highway is in need of major repair. His counterpart in BC is responsible for the maintenance of that road, and if the Minister could meet with this Minister, perhaps the road could be upgraded. Another idea I raised earlier in my term was at the Alaska junction, north into the Northwest Territories, we have a big sign, but perhaps we could develop a tourist information centre at that spot run by people of the north and if arrangements could be made to lease a piece of property there and put up a structure there, we could catch the tourists going to Alaska. If you aren't aware of the turn-off, you miss it. There is only one sign. The idea is to try to draw more tourists into the area.

In the Wrigley area, the community was able to fix the roads. I would like to thank the Ministers of MACA and Transportation for that. I would like to recognize the chief, Chief Jim Lennie, and the council and elders. They work very hard to run their own community. That is one community that is run by chief and council. If you have ever been there, you know they run a good community and they have to be commended for that.

I would like to recognize the former chief, Gabe Hardisty, and the council that were there the last few years. They did very good work. We worked together very well to try to provide different programs and services in that community.

I would like to talk about Fort Liard. The chief is Harry Deneron and they have a council. Mr. Deneron is the driving force in Fort Liard that has been able to, during the years, help the community develop to the point where it is. He may have a lot of problems in the communities, however, he is a very positive force in that community. He has been able to draw economic development into that area. The Liard Valley Development Corporation, which has been in financial trouble in the past, is now slowly getting out of it. Different parts of the corporation are doing very well, especially Deh Cho Air, under the direction of the operator/manager, Rob Borrelli. In Ford Liard, you have a lot of dynamic people who are independent and they try to develop their community the way they would like to see it. In a community like that, everyone lives together in the community and the desire is to try to make life better for themselves and for everyone. There has to be a spirit of cooperation in areas where they have similar concerns. There is going to be a difference of opinion, but that shouldn't jeopardize the cooperation that exists there.

In the beautiful community of Nahanni Butte, at the mouth of the South Nahanni River, out of the Nahanni National Park, is a place where a lot of tourists go by when they canoe out of the park. There are quite a few people who do that. Now they have a new assembly building. I would like to thank the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs and the Department of Public Works and Services for this new building. It was opened last winter and the community council is utilizing that facility very well.

Now with the help of the NWT Development Corporation and ED&T, a new store has been developed. It is built and is going to have a store, hotel rooms, coffee shop, craft shop, a place to wash your clothes and shower facilities. This is a good thing for government employees or tourists who paddle out of the mountains. This is a very good opportunity for the people of Nahanni Butte.

Trout Lake has very industrial people. They have great fishing and are trying to utilize that. They are trying to fix up their fishing lodge. They have been doing that for many years now. There is some support from Economic Development and Tourism in this area. There is a combination new school/assembly hall that was jointly done, uniquely, with the Department of Education and MACA two years ago. It is a very successful building. The people enjoy the facility to its full extent with much appreciation to the government. Trout Lake is also experimenting with gardening. They still have that. They have been raising chickens, pigs and so forth. They are very industrious.

In Jean Marie River, they built a new school and they are currently building a road with the support of Transportation. I would like to thank the Minister of Transportation for the support in helping this community finish off the road. It isn't going to be finished this year, but most of it is going to be finished. Hopefully, it will be completed next year.

In Fort Simpson, presently Bompas Hall has been fully renovated. It was a unique project where a company from Yellowknife was involved and worked along with the band. A lot of local people worked with this program and the majority of workers were the community people. So the community really benefitted. It is almost completed now. Now the Thomas Simpson School is going to be renovated. Everything is being moved out and they are beginning to work on it. I hope the success that Bompas Hall experiences in building it and utilizing people from the community will stay on and be used for the other school. The work will be done by Clark Builders. I hope they use the example of the other building.

The Minister had committed himself for paving part of the road out of Fort Simpson. I would like to express my appreciation for that, as well the communities would like to express their appreciation for that. I worked for awhile with the village council in Fort Simpson, Ray Michaud, and the council, as well as Herb Norwegian, the band council and the Metis Nation office there.

Mr. Speaker, in closing, I just want to mention the fur issue. During my term in the Legislative Assembly, I had the opportunity to travel abroad. I know some of the Members kind of resented it, saying you always travelled. I always give an opportunity for other people to travel first. In this case, the way it worked was I was able to go to Europe to Strasbourg and Brussels to meet with Members of the European Parliament on four different occasions. It was a very good experience. One of the issue that concerns me very much is the whole area of trapping and the fur issue. A resolution was passed in the European Parliament to ban wild fur into Europe. Europe, being eight per cent consumers of wild fur, would have a direct negative impact on the trappers in the north.

As a result of that, I thought the best way to deal with it would be going directly to the source. The source is the European Parliament and that is one of the reasons I committed myself to being involved in the fur lobby in Europe.


Some of the other Members of the Legislative Assembly had the opportunity to travel there as well. I think I can say that we have to go to the source and deal with it. This issue isn't dead yet. This resolution will be coming into force January 1, 1996, when all wild furs will be banned from any European parliamentary countries. In the Northwest Territories, this government has spent over $2 million developing the quick kill trap, but this trap has not been approved yet. The International Standards Organization is supposed to approve these traps, but what if the ISO doesn't approve our trap that we spent $2 million on? Where are we? We're in a tough bind if that happens. So I think the government should be aware of that scenario, that we've put ourselves out on a limb.

But the work has to go on. There's going to be a lobby again this summer by some of the Members to go to Europe, I'm told, to try to deal with this issue. I support that lobbying trip. Those of you who are going, I wish you all the success and I give you all the support that you need in that area.

(Translation) I want to say a few things in my own language. There are a lot of elders in the Northwest Territories, men and women. They have been around for a long time. It's a very difficult time for them right now. The federal government has helped them out a lot with money. They get their pension: at the end of the month they get their bigger cheque, and at the middle of the month it's a smaller cheque. This is how they support themselves. However, when you really look at it, it's really not much to support yourself on.

There are some women's groups that help out the band councils and that support a lot of organizations in the communities. So I think they should be funded. However, if their funds are going to the band councils instead of to them, maybe the government should take a look at this funding again.

There are a lot of things that were negotiated with the government, which have now been reversed. There are situations where if a person gets paid a pension and they supplement their wages by trapping, they deduct some of the money they made on trapping.

There are lot of people who have to figure out their income and stuff but they don't know how to read or write, so they depend on other people to do their paperwork for them. I think if things were made a little easier for them, they would benefit.

There are a lot of small communities in the Northwest Territories, and there are a lot of resourceful people who are living in these communities. I think if a lot of them had an idea of how the government actually works, a lot of people would benefit from a lot of programs and in the ways the government works.

If you live in a remote community, I think the information should be given to the smaller communities better so they will be more aware of what's happening around them. If people get the training they need to support themselves, I think this would be a very good start.

There is something I want to say about forest fires. Last year in Fort Simpson, there was an elder who had his cabin burn down and a person's house that caught on fire. The way they tried to put out the fire with chemical powder; however, this didn't work. They have this vehicle that they pull down to the river and they get water from there, and this is how they tried to put the fire out. But even with all their efforts, the house eventually burned down.

A lot of them are asking questions. Before this kind of thing happens again they would like to get something in place to put the fires out. If a house catches on fire again and they have the proper equipment, the proper fire trucks and stuff like that, they could put out the fire before it gets out of hand. People have been asking for things like that and I think this should be looked at closer. There is a small tank there but it doesn't hold much water, so if a house catches on fire this water wouldn't be enough to put it out. To put out the fire manually takes a lot of time, so proper equipment is needed in that community.

If you look at government housing and schools; I think if one of those buildings ever burned down in that community, a lot of money would go down the drain with it. I think this is why the proper equipment should be given to this community.

I said I was going to talk for only a short while, but I've been talking for quite a while so I'll close for now. We've been sitting here for a long time, there are a lot of issues that we've dealt with. I would like to thank all the Members who are sitting here, and I would like to thank all the Ministers; the Clerks; all the people who do paperwork; and, the people who interpret for us. I would like to thank you all.

I like to speak my own language sometimes, but I speak in English a lot. But I prefer to speak my own language and I like to take advantage of it here because we have interpreters. Again, I would like to thank you. Sam, you're from Fort Providence. You are a former MLA and now you're our Speaker. I thank you for all the work that you've done for us. This is all I want to say and I thank you all very much.