This is page numbers 1229 - 1250 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 premier.

Topics

Members Present

Mr. Allooloo, Mr. Antoine, Hon. Silas Arngna'naaq, Mr. Ballantyne, Hon. Nellie Cournoyea, Mr. Dent, Hon. Samuel Gargan, Mr. Lewis, Mrs. Marie-Jewell, Ms. Mike, Hon. Richard Nerysoo, Hon. Kelvin Ng, Mr. Patterson, Hon. John Pollard, Mr. Pudlat, Mr. Pudluk, Mrs. Thompson, Hon. John Todd, Mr. Whitford, Mr. Zoe

---Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Good morning. Thank you, Mr. Nerysoo. Orders of the day, item 2, Ministers' statements. Ms. Cournoyea.

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

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Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Mr. Speaker, may I make a brief emergency statement with regard to the forest fires that are happening in the Sahtu region?

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Madam Premier, proceed.

Minister's Statement 85-12(7): Ministers Absent From The House
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Nellie Cournoyea Nunakput

Mr. Speaker, I wish to advise Members that the Honourable Don Morin's return has been delayed so that he can attend to matters related to the Norman Wells forest fire and evacuation. The Honourable Stephen Kakfwi is also remaining in the region because of the fire situation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 85-12(7): Ministers Absent From The House
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Mr. Arngna'naaq.

Minister's Statement 85-12(7): Ministers Absent From The House
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Silas Arngna'naaq Kivallivik

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to make an emergency statement about the Sahtu forest fire.

Minister's Statement 85-12(7): Ministers Absent From The House
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

You may proceed, Mr. Arngna'naaq.

Minister's Statement 86-12(7): Sahtu Forest Fire
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Silas Arngna'naaq Kivallivik

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday the hot and windy weather caused the forest fire at Fort Norman to move down the Mackenzie Valley and it is now a threat to Norman Wells. The winds died down overnight and the fire remained about 50 kilometres southeast of Norman Wells. Based on advice from the Department of Renewable Resources, the emergency measures organization made the decision to also evacuate Norman Wells. All night planes flew. First, the 340 people from Fort Norman were moved to Deline and then the jets moved about 400 people to Yellowknife. The evacuation proceeded very smoothly and the Honourable Don Morin indicated that he has nothing but praise for all people involved.

The firefighting crews have now returned to Fort Norman. About 30 firefighters from the Sahtu and Deh Cho are in Fort Norman working to put out spot fires and they have set up a sprinkler system to keep buildings wet. The only loss at this time is the Ursus Airways building at the airport. The worst of the fire seems to be through that area now.

Actions are now being concentrated to protect Norman Wells. Four CL-215s are on site and one DC-4. Two more CL-215s are coming from Quebec. Caterpillars are working to establish a fireguard at Jackfish Lake, about five kilometres out of Norman Wells. Mr. Morin has been impressed with how hard and efficiently the firefighting crews are working in very difficult conditions.

The weather is expected to be hot and windy again today. At this time, we cannot predict when people will be able to return to their homes. Anyone wishing to know who arrived in Yellowknife from Norman Wells and where they are staying can call a special number at city hall. That number is 920-5693. Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to praise all those who are involved in responding so capably and efficiently to this emergency. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 86-12(7): Sahtu Forest Fire
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Arngna'naaq. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Ballantyne.

Gratitude To Emergency Response Organizations Re Sahtu Forest Fire
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Michael Ballantyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Yellowknife MLAs and I'm sure all the Members of the House, I would like to express our support and our gratitude to the literally hundreds of individuals who have been involved in fighting the terrible fires in the Sahtu region and who have been involved in the emergency response organizations in Deline, Norman Wells and Yellowknife. On short notice, they have responded magnificently to this crisis. I think all of us owe all of those people a tremendous debt of gratitude.

Here in Yellowknife, at 10:00 pm last night, a team was mobilized. There are some 384 people who flew in from Norman Wells through the night. Dozens of municipal officials, territorial government officials and volunteers have been working with these people. They are set up in hotels and at Akaitcho Hall. The city is putting on recreation programs today for some 200 kids. I think all of us recognize that in a time of crisis, people of the Northwest Territories stick together and help one another. This is one of those times and I think we can all be proud of the way we've come together to deal with this crisis. Thank you, very much.

---Applause

Gratitude To Emergency Response Organizations Re Sahtu Forest Fire
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Pudluk.

Kitikmeot Boarding Home Costs For Constituent
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Ludy Pudluk High Arctic

(Translation) Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to raise something that is of concern to me. Last winter, the GLO positions were cut in half to part-time positions; few ended up with full-time positions. Since those cuts were made, people are only working part-time so their income has decreased drastically. At this time, there is a problem. The daughter of a woman who is a GLO is in Yellowknife and I believe it was yesterday that she tried to move to the Kitikmeot boarding home but she was told that she would have to pay room and board.

She was told that, since her mother works for the government and is a GLO, she would have to pay room and board. She couldn't stay at that boarding home when she found out she had to pay. Her mother's income has decreased and this is a big problem. Right now, she's house-sitting for people who are on holidays. She is all alone and her mother worries about her. She doesn't know what to expect, all alone in that house. I'm sure this will create a lot of problems.

A lot of people work as GLOs and most of them work part-time. This will have a big impact on the future. I just wanted to make that comment. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Kitikmeot Boarding Home Costs For Constituent
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 3, Members' statements. Ms. Mike.