This is page numbers 1345 - 1368 of the Hansard for the 13th Assembly, 4th 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 north.


Members Present

Honourable Jim Antoine, Honourable Goo Arlooktoo, Mr. Barnabas, Honourable Charles Dent, Mr. Enuaraq, Mr. Erasmus, Honourable Sam Gargan, Mrs. Groenewegen, Mr. Henry, Honourable Stephen Kakfwi, Mr. Krutko, Mr. Miltenberger, Honourable Don Morin, Honourable Kelvin Ng, Mr. Ningark, Mr. O'Brien, Mr. Ootes, Mr. Picco, Mr. Rabesca, Mr. Roland, Mr. Steen, Honourable Manitok Thompson, Honourable John Todd.

Oh, God, may your spirit and guidance be in us as we work for the benefit of all our people, for peace and justice in our land and for the constant recognition of the dignity and aspirations of those whom we serve. Amen.

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 1345

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Roland. Good afternoon, Members. Welcome back to the Legislative Assembly. I am sure we have all had a good and productive summer in our constituencies. The time needed to spend with our family and children is important. Members must now be ready and raring to get down to the business of the House, but within the rules, I hope.

I know that you will join me in sending our best wishes to our colleague from Amittuq, who is still in the hospital in Montreal, recovering from leg surgery. On your behalf, flowers have been sent to Mr. Evaloarjuk. It is hoped that Mr. Evaloarjuk will be able to return to the Assembly by the beginning of the Fifth Session.


I would also ask Members to include in your prayers, the mother of the Member for Mackenzie Delta. Mr. Krutko's mother is fighting a courageous battle with cancer and is currently at the Stanton Yellowknife Hospital. Our prayers are with them. Again, I welcome Members back to the Assembly. Orders of the day. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Mr. Morin.

Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to welcome all of my colleagues back as we reconvene to conclude the Fourth Session of the 13th. Assembly. While the break has allowed us sometime to return to our ridings and meet with our constituents, spend time with our families and enjoy our beautiful northern summer, the work of the government and the Legislative Assembly has continued in high gear.

Among the major activities has been the extensive review and public consultation on the family law legislation that was conducted by the Standing Committee on Social Programs. This is an important legislation that we will be discussing further over the next few weeks. In addition to that, much work has been completed on the business plans and the preliminary budget process for 1998/99. We are now concluding consultation with the standing committees.

As well, work continued on several program initiatives including the review of the Student Financial Assistance Program directed by Minister Charles Dent, the ongoing review of the road, marine and air transportation system needs in the north under the direction of Minister Jim Antoine and the Economic Framework and Protected Area Strategy under the leadership of Minister Stephen Kakfwi. Health and Social Services Minister, Kelvin Ng, also led an initiative to create a $4 million Strategic Initiative Fund aimed at helping Health and Social Service boards in some regions improve health services and health status over the longer term.

Mr. Speaker, much progress has also been made on the implementation of the $16 million Northern Employment Strategy spearheaded by Minister John Todd. The NWT Housing Corporation's Plan 2000 brought forward by Minister Goo Arlooktoo and the municipal legislation review, directed by Minister Manitok Thompson.

We have also seen results in our efforts to improve government communications. Among other things, as part of our commitment to communicate better within the public sector, we have reintroduced an employee newsletter to open the channels of communication and to share information of importance with our employees throughout the north. Mr. Speaker, I am also very happy to report that 93 percent of the 319 students hired by the government this summer were affirmative action employees.

Mr. Speaker, this government has also taken a strong and vocal stand on the issue of a northern diamond sorting and valuation facility. We have stated on many occasions that diamonds produced in the Northwest Territories must be sorted and valued in the Northwest Territories. As a government we are firmly committed to making this happen. I have directed Minister Todd to take a hard look at the tax regime associated with the diamond industry and along with Minister Kakfwi to be aggressive in the discussions with all parties, including the federal government, to ensure the north gets its share of the wealth. Diamonds mined in the north must be sorted and valuated in the north. As far as we are concerned, this issue is not open to debate. We are very pleased Diavik Diamond Mine has indicated that it is their intention to locate a sorting and valuation facility in the Northwest Territories. We are encouraged that federal officials appear to support valuation in the north. Ministers Todd and Kakfwi are now leading our effort to convince the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Minister, Jane Stewart, and her department to require detailed sorting takes place in the north. Minister Kakfwi will be providing Members with an overview of the significance of the diamond industry over the next few days.

Mr. Speaker, on the national front, I was able to represent the Northwest Territories at the Annual Premiers' Conference in August and at a meeting in September to discuss national unity. At the Annual Premiers' Conference, which Deputy Premier Arlooktoo also attended, there was a great deal of discussion and support for the concept of working together to ensure all Canadians have equal opportunities and equal access to a good quality of life and standard of living. This is particularly good news for the north, as the stronger and more prosperous provinces recognize they have a role to play in assisting regions where economic and social conditions are below the Canadian average. The Premiers have pledged to examine ways of balancing the scales.

As part of this, the Premiers also acknowledged that areas of the country, including the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, are heavily dependent on the highway system for access to the rest of Canada and for access to communities, resources, economic development, tourism and trade. They agreed that special considerations should be given to the needs of remote northern regions in developing funding arrangements for a highway system to provide access for tourism and economic development.

The Premiers also agreed that transitional and implementation costs associated with self-government should be the responsibility of the Government of Canada. At the Annual Premiers' Conference, I also had the opportunity to discuss some of the issues facing the north and I am pleased to inform you, I was able to gain all of the Premiers' support in our negotiations with the federal government. Building on this, this government has also invested a great amount of time in an overall strategy aimed at helping the federal government, the provincial governments, the Yukon government and all Canadians understand the implications of the changes happening in the north today. This plan is aimed at gaining national recognition that we have a collective responsibility to deal with some of the social and economic concerns facing the people who live in Canada's north.

Mr. Speaker, the north offers a celebration of what it means to be Canadian, and the changes that are happening in the north should and could serve as an inspiration to the rest of Canada. Our involvement in the national unity issue is therefore important on two fronts--first in allowing the people of the north the same right as every other Canadian to have their voice heard in the debate of the future of the country, and second, to be heard collectively and as an equal at the national level. Mr. Speaker, we will be seeking Members' support and input during this session on how we consult the people of the north. While at the unity meeting in Calgary, which Minister Kakfwi also attended, I also met with the new Assembly of First Nations' Leader Phil Fontaine. At that meeting, I stressed the important role aboriginal people have in the issue of the future and unity of Canada. This is something we will stress again when the Premiers meet with the national aboriginal leaders in Winnipeg on November 18.

Mr. Speaker, among the other highlights of this past summer was the first official visit to the Northwest Territories by the new federal Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, the Honourable Jane Stewart. While on her visit to Yellowknife, she met with Members of Cabinet and agreed to work closely, along with the Aboriginal Summit, to find solutions to the many issues facing the north and in particular with the creation of two new territories. During her meeting with Cabinet, we had the opportunity to discuss issues such as adequate funding arrangements for the two new territories, devolution, the location of the diamond valuation facility and road development to resource rich areas in the north. Overall, I am pleased to note that Minister Stewart is committed to achieving a new partnership based on government-to-government relationships involving aboriginal governments, the Government of the Northwest Territories and the federal government. Like us, she believes the best solutions for the north should be made in the north. Minister Stewart also stressed, along with all of Cabinet, strong support of the tripartite discussions between the federal and territorial governments and the Aboriginal Summit. As a starting point, we have agreed to direct federal and territorial officials to focus on self-government discussions as soon as possible.

Since that initial meeting, Minister Stewart has also travelled to Iqaluit, where she met with Deputy Premier Goo Arlooktoo and signed two financial agreements with the territorial government. In his meeting with the Minister, Mr. Arlooktoo again stressed the importance of the federal government's role in the implementation plans and priorities and reaffirmed the need to strengthen the partnership between all stakeholders in the creation of two new territories. As well, Minister Dent and Minister Stewart signed an agreement that will see $11.9 million transferred to the territorial government for training of Inuit people to help achieve 50 percent representation in the Nunavut public service by 1999. Minister Stewart and Minister Thompson also co-signed an agreement for $8.22 million in federal funding for the territorial government this year to meet the projected infrastructure needs for 11 Nunavut communities. This is the first year of a three-year commitment of $32 million.

Mr. Speaker, substantial activity has taken place towards the creation of two new territories. One key area in planning for 1999 is the issue of employment for current GNWT employees in relation to the two new governments. Mr. Speaker, our government is working closely with all parties, and specifically with the Nunavut Interim Commissioner's office to ensure this matter maintains a high priority. Public servants in the north deserve as much employment certainty as government can reasonably offer in an environment of fiscal restraint. All parties involved in the planning of two new territories should work together to ensure we provide an early and clear message to all GNWT employees as to their employment status.

Likewise, our position remains firm that the costs associated with hiring new staff for Nunavut, the transfer process, relocations and severance packages are transitional costs and must be covered by the federal government.

Meanwhile, under the direction of Cabinet, Minister Todd is making progress on the issue of transitional funding and on ensuring adequate funding formulas for two new territories. A number of meetings have been held with Finance Canada, DIAND and other key federal officials to stress the need for funding to cover the incremental costs for both Nunavut and the Western Territory and for the necessary transitional costs. As a result, a special committee on financing Nunavut and the Western Territory has been established to address these issues and discuss options for financing mechanisms after 1999. Phase 2 of the GNWT Division Implementation Plans, which departments have been busy preparing this summer, will assist us in identifying the full range of transitional costs that are required.

Mr. Speaker, we face one of the greatest challenges of any group of political leaders in Canada today; - that is, maintaining and making decisions for one government while at the same time shifting our focus and our thinking for two new governments. As part of that, we must recognize the differences between Nunavut and the west in terms of climate, geography and existing infrastructure in relation to future needs and requirements.

As you know, Minister Todd has the overall responsibility for coordinating this government's approach to the creation of two new territories, while Minister Antoine serves as the co-chair of the Western Constitutional Working Group.

However, in order to emphasize balance as we start thinking like two territories, it is my pleasure today to announce I have appointed the Honourable Charles Dent as Minister responsible for Western Transition Planning. and the Honourable Goo Arlooktoo as Minister responsible for Nunavut Transition Planning. These Ministers will work closely with their respective caucuses to develop plans for transition.

Mr. Speaker, these appointments mark an important milestone as we take the next step in our planning for the two new governments. As well, during this session, we will be tabling a Transition Action Plan for the creation of two New Territories. Within 40 days we will have completed a second document specifically related to the Western Territory.

Mr. Speaker, as we move ahead, I must stress once again that as Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories, we must continue to keep working together. As elected leaders serving the whole territory, we must remain committed to being fair.

In doing so, there may be times where financially it may appear things are not equal. However, our ultimate outcome must be to ensure all citizens of the north have the same opportunities and the same quality of life whether they are future residents of Nunavut or the Western Territory.

Mr. Speaker, in a few weeks we will mark the second anniversary of our election to the Legislative Assembly. Eighteen months ago, Members of the House unanimously approved an agenda for change that included ten priorities covering areas in which we felt action was necessary. First and foremost was to secure our financial future.

Since that time, we have used the agenda for change to guide government actions and initiatives, and much progress has been made in many of those areas.

It has not always been easy. These are very challenging times, and we face a number of important and controversial issues. But I am impressed with how Members of the government, such as Minister Kelvin Ng, are managing the difficult choices we must make for citizens today and in the future.

Over the next few weeks and into the next session of the Legislative Assembly, this government will be providing the Members with a formal update on all of the things that we have accomplished working together.

As well, as part of our commitment to improving communications over the next few weeks and months, we will be sharing this message with the people of the Northwest Territories and inviting their comments on what we have accomplished, and what we have left to do. Because we live in an environment of uncertainty, we owe it to our people to share as much information as possible. We need to make a renewed commitment to public accountability.

Mr. Speaker, the Members of this House are vital in that process, and I look forward to working with every Member as we involve our constituents in the ongoing discussion about current issues and about our future. We owe it to the people of the Northwest Territories to keep them informed on the discussions that affect them and to give them the opportunity to be heard. Mr. Speaker, this has been an overview of how this government spent its summer vacation.

As I have stated many times, with less than two years left in our mandate, and much to do, we cannot waste a moment if we are to address all of the issues facing the north and prepare for 1999. Clearly we have made the most of the past few months.

Continuing on that theme, I would like to conclude my remarks by saying I look forward to a productive session and the continuation of a positive, healthy discussion of the economic, social and political future of Canada's north. Mahsi cho.

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Premier. Ministers' statements, Mr. Ng.

Kelvin Ng Kitikmeot

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Welcome back colleagues. Mr. Speaker, earlier this year, both the Baffin and Keewatin Regional Health Boards announced plans to change

the way some services were delivered to residents. These changes involved the end of two long-standing contracts with southern service providers. Responsibility to ensure the most efficient and effective method of service delivery is certainly a board responsibility, and both boards felt they were acting in the best interests of the public they serve. Both boards acted within their mandates in making these decisions. However, over the summer there have been many expressions of concern about the proposed changes from Members of this House, regional leaders and the public in the Keewatin and the Baffin.

To try to get these facts about the situation and what needed to be done, I established an internal review that was to report to me by September 26th. The main objective for the review team was to determine whether the people living in the Baffin and Keewatin were at risk. Were the services necessary to ensure the safety of the residents going to be available on October 1st when the new arrangements came into effect in the Keewatin? Would general practitioner services be available? Although the process may not ...

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mr. Minister. The time allotted for Ministers' statements is now over. Mr. Ng.

Kelvin Ng Kitikmeot

Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement. Thank you.

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Member for Kitikmeot is seeking unanimous consent to complete his Minister's statement. Do we have any nays? There are no nays. Mr. Ng, you have unanimous consent.

Kelvin Ng Kitikmeot

Thank you honourable colleagues, Mr. Speaker. Although the process may not be as comprehensive or documented as it should be, the bottom line is that the Baffin and Keewatin residents will not be at risk on October 1st. There are adequate arrangements in place to ensure there is continuity in service.

However, the review did highlight a number of weaknesses in how these new contracts came about. The two biggest areas of concern are planning and communications. Both the Baffin and Keewatin Health Boards were looking for new, more effective ways of providing services to residents. Their general ideas were good. However, in the Keewatin, there was a lack of formal thorough planning to support these decisions.

There was also no clear implementation plans to allow these changes to happen in an organized way. Planning is also an issue in the Baffin. To this point, there is no formal plan and one will have to be developed in the next couple of months.

With the lack of formal planning, there was also a lack of communication between the boards, the residents and the staff in the regions. The change process would have been greatly aided by regular, straightforward communication on what was happening and how things would change.

Mr. Speaker, it is also clear to me that there is more that the Department of Health and Social Services should be doing in trying to give boards room to make their own decisions. We have moved too far away. While the department should not be overseeing the day-to-day operations of the boards, we clearly have a role in providing support and in providing regular feed-back through an auditing and monitoring process.

I have directed the department to establish the support and monitoring functions, so this type of situation can be avoided in the future. The formal report on this review will be available publicly tomorrow. I will ensure that all Members of the Assembly will have a copy of the report before it is released.

I would like to thank the members of the review team and the many individuals in the north and in the south who contributed to their review. Their efforts have allowed us to address this issue in a very short time and a report will allow us to make some positive changes on how we do business.

Mr. Speaker, as Members will see from the report recommendations, there is work to be done. However, I am confident that both boards are able to ensure today that all residents of their regions will have access to the services they need, just as they did yesterday before the changes came into effect. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Ng. Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Henry.

Seamus Henry Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would also extend a welcome back to my colleagues. Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest this morning to a CBC 7:30 news report on the subject of diamond valuation and sorting.

The one man guru of the federal government knowledgeable on the topic advising Minister Stewart stated and I quote, "we are concerned with whatever amount of sorting is required to assess the value of diamonds for royalty purposes", end quote.

Mr. Lazarovich has got it right so far, but this is the point at which he went off the tracks. He contradicted himself when he went on to say and I quote, "we are not talking about sorting for the purposes of selling because we should not be interfering with the company's marketing decisions", end quote.

Is Mr. Lazarovich going to weigh the diamonds for federal government royalty purposes? Why can we not do like other producing countries and set the value for royalty purposes on the selling price? Why does every other diamond producing country in the world have their diamonds evaluated and sorted in the country of production? Why will Canada not come right out and demand sorting of the diamonds be done to the extent that Canada can obtain the most accurate and fair royalties for its non-renewable resource, and the NWT receive its maximum potential from the sorting and related jobs? Canada is getting involved in one of the most elite industries in the world and the Government of Canada has one person advising it on this initiative. It is vital Mr. Lazarovich along with Minister Stewart visit the NWT and meet with elected Members of this Legislature so she can hear and learn first hand the complete picture on diamond evaluation and sorting.

Minister Stewart's one man show does not have the whole picture. Mr. Speaker, we have more individuals in the Northwest Territories government who, in most cases, have more knowledge and experience of the whole diamond industry than Mr. Lazarovich. They can make themselves available to the Minister so she can have the full picture on what is good for the north and also that which is definitely good for Canada.

Mr. Speaker, is it any wonder that Quebec and British Columbia are talking about separating from Canada and demanding to be heard when it comes to the resources of their jurisdictions? Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Member for Yellowknife South is seeking unanimous consent to conclude his statement. Do I have any nays? There are no nays. Mr. Henry, you have unanimous consent.

Seamus Henry Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you, colleagues. Mr. Speaker, the federal Minister must be more responsive to the aspirations of northerners who are trying to survive from the imposed federal cuts to formula financing.

The people of the north are attempting to create some new wealth from the resource that is on our door step, only to find that a federal bureaucrat can, by the stroke of her pen, end our dream of some semblance of self-sufficiency. Mr. Speaker, I will not sit back and watch this once-in-a-lifetime diamond opportunity get lost in Ottawa politics. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Henry. Members' statements, Mrs. Groenewegen.

Jane Groenewegen

Jane Groenewegen Hay River

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My statement is also in regard to diamond evaluating and sorting. Mr. Speaker, I was shocked and appalled this morning as I drove to work to hear a CBC radio interview with Mr. Lazarovich with the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. Mr. Lazarovich is the federal official in charge of developing the proposed amendments to the Canada Mining Regulations. For months, I have heard speculation and fears expressed on the part of business leaders and politicians that, left to their own devices, the diamond companies would not do right by the north in terms of regional and community economic benefits.

Things like, "if they are going to fly over us, leave the diamonds in the ground" and even some threats of barricading winter access roads. It seems that our fears with respect to things like the understanding of northern issues and sensitivity to the desperate need for economic growth in the north may have been misdirected at the diamond industry and perhaps should more appropriately be directed at the federal government responsible for northern development.

After hearing this interview, it is obvious that senior staff in the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development are the ones who need a lesson in northern development for northerners. If we cannot count on the federal government to support us in a bid for more than limited sorting of diamonds for the purpose of assessing federal royalties, we really do have our work cut out for us. If the federal government has the power to determine where the remainder of the sorting takes place, but chooses not to, they are derelict in their duties. If Mr. Lazarovich sees that decision as "more of a private boardroom decision", I have to ask in whose private boardroom does he see that decision being made? In the boardroom of people who could sleep quite comfortably at night knowing that they are shipping our diamonds and our jobs offshore?

The same government that is reducing federal transfer payments in anticipation of the north becoming more economically and fiscally self reliant had better take a more responsible approach to this industry, which is the largest single potential opportunity to affect the north's economy in many years. Again, along with my colleague for Yellowknife South, I am asking for a meeting to be convened in the north, with northern leaders and the Minister responsible for Indian Affairs and Northern Development, which will afford Ms Stewart the opportunity to come clean with the federal government's position relating to diamond mining in the north. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Members' statements, Mr. Miltenberger.

Michael Miltenberger

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I rise to add my voice to those of the many people in Fort Smith who are concerned about the planned relocation to Fort Smith of an individual by the name of Marcel Charles Desbiens. Mr. Speaker, I received letters here from the people of Fort Smith that indicate very clearly this is an issue of significant concern. This gentleman has a record as a violent offender, 19 criminal offences, four serious charges, sexual assault, one manslaughter charge and he plans to come to our community. In our opinion, it places our grandmothers, granddaughters, wives and mothers at risk. I will be raising this issue with the Minister today to press that point. I will also be encouraging the people of Fort Smith to take all legal means at their disposal to make it very clear that we have enough problems of our own without having people like this come to our community to place our people at risk. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Members' statements, Mr. Roland.

Floyd Roland

Floyd Roland Inuvik

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, colleagues, it is time to once again to get down to the business of running a government although you heard earlier from the Premier that they were quite busy without us. That is what makes us nervous on this side. Since we recessed in June, I have had a chance to spend time in my community. I have had a chance to visit and meet with friends and family. It also gave me the opportunity to see the impact of the decisions we have made as a government. I have been able to talk to a lot of people in an informal setting. I have heard concerns from young and old alike. It is with these concerns that I bring a message to this government and Cabinet that the community of Inuvik has had enough of reductions, enough of hearing we are working on it, and it wants to see results. Not results that come on a piece of paper that state, "due to the recession, we are unable to proceed with your request at this time." Mr. Speaker, it is time to start doing the things that will make our communities a healthy and viable place to raise our families. I speak for many when I say it is time to get on with the business of helping to create opportunities, because with opportunities come jobs. Thank you.

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Members' statements. Mr. Picco.

Edward Picco Iqaluit

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this summer the north lost a very special person. Mr. Abraham Okpik was a father, a husband, an Order of Canada recipient, a politician, a raconteur and a friend. Abe was born in the western Arctic and, like many northerners, was sent south to the hospital for TB. In hospital, Abe showed his dexterity with language. He quickly mastered the Cree language he learned from other patients. After he returned north, an accident with his dog team left him permanently disabled. However, this did not slow him down and he continued his traditional pursuits.

The 1940's and 50's brought a lot of changes to the north. Abe again showed his adaptability by working proactively for northerners and northern causes. Abe was the first Inuit to sit on the Territorial Council when he was appointed in 1965. Abe then took on the task that many remember him for Operation Surname. Abe's gift of languages and dialect enabled him to complete the task of eliminating the asinine "e" and "w" numbers that Inuit were known by. This task was carried out by Abe with a minuscule budget. Afterwards Abe received the Order of Canada for his work. Although, originally from the western Arctic, Iqaluit became Abe's home. He never forgot his Inuvialuit roots and was respected throughout the territories. When I was elected, I asked Abe if he would accept my nomination for him to sit on the NWT Elders Association and he accepted. Abe served on this committee as well as on council with the town of Iqaluit before he died.

When Peter Gzowski came to Iqaluit this past spring for the annual literacy golf tournament, Peter wanted me to participate. I went to Abe's house and because of his difficulty in walking, we arranged for Abe to be driven around by skidoo on the golf course. Abe told me that the course located on the sea ice reminded him of the previous tournament the NWT Literacy Association had in Yellowknife in 1990. He used to like cracking jokes and he said to me "Ed, this time try and play golf and please do not sing." Abe took a turn for the worse this summer and I visited him in the hospital. He was always joking with me and he told me to lose some weight. Abe was a friend, a confidante to his wife and family. On behalf of the people of Iqaluit and this Assembly, I would like to express our sincere sympathy and sorrow on Abe's passing. He will be missed.

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Members' statements, Mr. Barnabas.

Levi Barnabas High Arctic

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I too would like to remember an elder who passed away recently in the highest, most northern part of the north in Grise Fiord. He was born on April 16, 1930 and he died August 11, 1997 this past summer. He was also a member of the settlement council in Grise Fiord during the 1980's. He was an employee of DPW through the early 1970's to late 90's. In 1988 to 1995, he was an employee of the local housing association, where he was a maintenance officer in Grise Fiord. He was also a member of the Elders Group through the Hamlet Council and a member of the housing association within the community.

He was an active member of the community who tried to help other people and he also welcomed all kinds of people into his house. Mr. Akeegok had 11 children and he moved from Arctic Bay to Grise Fiord during the early 1960's. I wanted to recognize this very important person who was a member of our community. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Barnabas. Members' statements, Mr. Rabesca.