This is page numbers 23 - 84 of the Hansard for the 13th Assembly, 5th 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 chairman.

Members Present

Honourable Jim Antoine, Honourable Goo Arlooktoo, Mr. Barnabas, Honourable Charles Dent, Mr. Enuaraq, Mr. Erasmus, Mr. Evaloarjuk, 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 23

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Ningark. Orders of the day. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. Mrs. Groenewegen.

Jane Groenewegen

Jane Groenewegen Hay River

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I do have a Member's statement today and I would like to proceed with it since this is a short sitting and there are a number of issues. My constituents will want to be hearing me representing their interests in the House.

Mr. Speaker, in the early 1980s some residents of Hay River began to pursue their vision of an abattoir in Hay River. In 1996, after years of planning, the facility was completed at a cost of $2.1 million. Funding through an economic development agreement saw a 70/30 percent split between the federal and territorial governments respectively. The plant...

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mrs. Groenewegen, could you slow down a bit. We have translators and the Members cannot keep up.

Jane Groenewegen

Jane Groenewegen Hay River

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will try and slow down. I was trying to hurry so we can get into the more meatier matters on the agenda today.

The plant could process any four-legged animal, wild or domestic.

In 1994, a five-year agreement was signed by a representative of the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism. Within the agreement was a clause that the Government of the Northwest Territories would cover all operation and maintenance losses for the first five years of the project. The abattoir went into production in early 1996. Just over one year later, the Government of the Northwest Territories exercised another clause within the five-year agreement and gave notice. Within 18 months of its opening the abattoir facility in Hay River was closed in July of this year.

Mr. Speaker, the residents of Hay River sought clarification of this action by the government. What they see is that they had an agreement with their government to develop a meat processing plant within their community. Millions of dollars were spent to develop and run the facility for just over a year. It takes time for an operation to become self-reliant; the government gave them less than 18 months. The members of the board of directors and the employees for the abattoir had dedicated a full year to the plan ironing out the start-up problems and were prepared to continue to work hard. The community does not feel they were given enough time. Less than two years into the program, with financial viability on the horizon, the Northwest Territories Development Corporation decided to withdraw. In an effort to keep the abattoir operating, the Hay River Metis Development Corporation and the Territorial Farmers' Association formed a corporation for the management of the plant.

The closure of this plant is a loss to Hay River and the region, not only for all the time and money that have already been expended, but for the future development of resources. Ten people lost their jobs. There is an agriculture base in the town with no facility for the stock to be slaughtered and processed.

At this point, I would like to commend the stakeholders in the abattoir for their labour, expertise and input they placed into the venture. I am optimistic the abattoir will not be dormant for long and an alternative plan of action will be arrived at. My hope is that the former board of directors of the Hay River abattoir will continue to be involved, that the government will respect the input of the community stakeholders and take into consideration their views on any future use of this facility. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Vince Steen

Vince Steen Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank Premier Morin for accompanying me over the weekend to Tuktoyaktuk as we attempted to proceed on to Sachs Harbour. Unfortunately, we were unable to reach Sachs Harbour due to weather conditions in Sachs Harbour.

Although the original intent was to proceed to Sachs Harbour and meet with the local people who are involved in the muskox harvesting project, we did have opportunity to meet with the hamlet council of Tuktoyaktuk while over-nighting in Tuktoyaktuk.

Many issues were discussed such as the extension to Mangilaluk School and the Inuvik/Tuktoyaktuk highway and I am sure the Tuktoyaktuk hamlet council is grateful for the opportunity to make their concerns known directly to the Premier. The council is looking forward to followup actions on the part of the Government of the Northwest Territories to some of the issues and concerns expressed at this meeting, and I am sure the Premier is aware of this.

Although we did not get to view the muskox harvesting program first hand, the trip did serve to bring the whole project to the attention of the Premier as I am sure he was well briefed on the project by honourable Minister Kakfwi's staff. I hope the Premier will continue to support the muskox harvesting project in any way he can in his capacity as Premier.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I wish to once again express my appreciation to the Premier on behalf of the people of Tuktoyaktuk and Sachs Harbour, and I hope we will return for another visit in the near future. Thank you.


The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Steen. Members' statements. Mr. O'Brien.

Kevin O'Brien Kivallivik

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate Mr. Rufus Manik from my own community of Arviat. Rufus just completed his diploma, graduated from the RCMP academy in Regina and is now a community constable. Thank you.


The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. O'Brien. Members' statements. Mr. Picco.

Edward Picco Iqaluit

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to speak about a remarkable individual from Iqaluit. Mrs. Inga Alainga was born in 1932 on Nottingham Island. Inga's parents were Mary Eeleeteeka Nakoolak and Peter William Mackenzie who was working for the Hudson's Bay Company in Port Burwell.

Mrs. Alainga and her family moved from Nottingham Island to Port Burwell and then to Resolution Island. Later, Mrs. Alainga married well known, respected Inuk leader, Simonie Alainga. Simonie and Inga went on to have 13 children and were well known for their devotion to helping others. Mrs. Alainga, after moving to Iqaluit, opened her home to many of the people from Baffin communities who had to travel to Iqaluit for hospital. Even today, with a boarding home for hospital patients, Mrs. Alainga continues to open her home for those patients.

The tragic boating accident in October, 1994, that took her loving husband and close relatives was very difficult for Inga and all of her family. But Mrs. Alainga has remained strong and is still involved with helping others. She is well known for her cooking and still carries on the traditional art of sewing traditional clothes. She likes to make quilts and has a good sense of humour.

Mr. Speaker, after forcible relocations of raising a family, of the boat tragedy, Mrs. Inga Alainga has remained a strong and dedicated community leader, and I know that you and this House will join with me in thanking her for her generosity and humanity. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Picco. Members statements. Mr. Barnabas.

Levi Barnabas High Arctic

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, Members often stand in this Assembly to make complaints about the shortcomings of government departments. Today, I rise to give thanks for assistance given at a critical time in my home community.

In late August, a very difficult situation arose in Arctic Bay. Niglasuk, a company owned by the Hunters and Trappers Organization in Arctic Bay, had planned a new venture. With the assistance of Canada North Outfitting, they had booked 13 American sport hunters to hunt caribou using sport hunting tags. The HTO was very pleased with this opportunity to earn income from sports hunting and had gone to the trouble of building a camp at Admiralty Inlet especially for these hunters.

However, when the first two hunters arrived in Arctic Bay, it turned out that through an oversight the necessary paperwork had not been concluded to allow the hunt to proceed. Since I understood that a commercial caribou quota had been set aside for the High Arctic, I turned to the Honourable Stephen Kakfwi, Minister of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development and Mr. Ben Kovic, chair of the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, to see if the situation could be corrected in time to allow the planned hunts to proceed.

I wish to thank Mr. Stephen Kakfwi, Mr. Ben Kovic and their officials for the extraordinary efforts they undertook to correct the situation and allow the hunt to go ahead. I was very pleased to learn that provisions of the Inuit Land Claim Agreement do permit flexibility in situations such as the one which arose, and I was also pleased to learn that the Wildlife Management Board and the GNWT department could have such a good, co-operative working relationship. I know that they had to do a lot of work in a short period of time. If the sport hunters had to be turned away, it would have been a great setback for the renewable resources economy in Arctic Bay. For a community with high unemployment, the impact of these hunts is very significant. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Mark Evaloarjuk Amittuq

(Translation) Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Maybe all the Members have their receivers on now. I just wanted to give my thanks to my fellow colleagues, Members and especially to Mr. Speaker. I will try and make my statement short. I do not have anything written with me, I apologize for it.

I wanted to thank all my fellow Members for wishing me good luck while I was in the hospital in Montreal. I appreciated their sincere wishes for my recovery. I also would like to thank my constituents in my region. They supported me fully while I was in the hospital. I really, truly appreciate their good wishes they sent me while I was in the hospital. I also wish to thank the Premier, for he was able to accompany me in visiting my constituency.

I could not make it to my other communities, and I apologize for not being able to make it there because sometimes some things unforeseeable happen. In my case I could not make it to these two communities, due to the fact that I had to go down to Montreal for hospitalization. I just wanted to express my regrets to my constituents, and I also appreciate the Members for having supported me. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Translation ends)

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

James Rabesca North Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today, Mr. Speaker, I have a heavy heart. This morning Mrs. Melanie Beaulieu, one of my home communities respected elders, passed away at the age of 76. Melanie was a hard working and caring mother. While she was young, she would help with fishing, trapping, always making sure the family was well taken care of. Melanie, in later years, has been suffering from illness and finally, this illness has taken her from us.

I would like to wish Melanie's family and friends my condolences; we will surely miss her. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Tommy Enuaraq Baffin Central

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Everyone knows that one must learn to walk before they learn to run. However, before the first step can be taken, a child must have developed the necessary strength and muscles. Community empowerment is like taking our first steps. Before we can take on the responsibility for community empowerment, we must first strengthen our structures within our communities.

A child cannot walk without bones in his legs or muscles. A community cannot take steps towards community empowerment until it has a workable development plan and facilities. Clyde River is behind on what other communities are already enjoying. They do not have workable development plans, so they do not have muscles. There is a shortage of public housing and a lack of recreational and community facilities so that the community also lacks structural bones. If they do not have a plan and the necessary facilities, it would be futile for the community to take the steps towards community empowerment.

The town of Clyde River realizes that they are not ready to move towards community empowerment. They have decided to stop discussions for community empowerment because of seven issues. These are issues that the community thinks must be addressed before this discussion can continue. These issues are: Municipal Legislation Review; Funding Formula Review; Government and Community Interest; Nunavut Government's Position on Community Empowerment; A Community Plan for Development; Government of the Northwest Territories Deficit Recovery Plan. I hope that the Government of the Northwest Territories will support Clyde River in their decision.

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Enuaraq. Members' statements. Mr. Krutko.

David Krutko

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In the Fourth Session of the current Assembly, I made a Member's statement in the House about the need for an advocate for children. The statement was followed up by oral questions.

My statement and questions have resulted in letters and conversations expressing a desire for me to further pursue this important matter. Education addresses the rights of children. It teaches them that they have a right to say no. This is only a preventative measure. What we need is an avenue for children when their rights have been ignored.

Many elders talk about the horrors that they experienced as youth. As children, they could not express their feelings; they could not express their shames. The effect of child abuse scars a victim for a life time. The failure to protect children from abuse is the greatest shame that falls upon society. It is only as adults, many victims of child abuse can access services that addresses their mistreatment. Often this is too late and the cycle of abuse has been repeated.

The stigma attached to being abused is one of shame and worthlessness that can lead to despair, self loathing, low self esteem and suicide. In the Northwest Territories 644 cases of physical abuse of children have been reported since 1992; 887 cases of sexual abuse of children have been reported during that same period. Mr. Speaker, the figure for both sexual abuse and physical abuse is staggering, 1,531 reported cases of abuse reported in the last five years. Since 1994, 40 young people have taken their lives. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Member for Mackenzie Delta seeks unanimous consent to conclude his statement. Do I have any nays? There are no nays. Mr. Krutko, you have unanimous consent.

David Krutko

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Since 1994, 40 young people have taken their lives. We do not know how many of them were victims of abuse.

Mr. Speaker, these are only the reported cases. We have captured just the tip of the iceberg. We do not know the actual number of children that are being physically and sexually abused. Children are innocent, but can be made to feel that they are the cause of their own abuse. This makes them reluctant to seek help from figures of authority and family members.

It is now time for the Government of the Northwest Territories to take this responsibility seriously. We are the only representatives of the people and that also includes children. Now is the time to listen to our youth; we must have an advocate for children. We must have an independent office that serves the youth of the Northwest Territories. Our children must have an agency that they can go to where they do not have to feel guilt, shame and worry that their abuse will become community knowledge. Our children are our future; we must face this future.

Mr. Speaker, I could not bear it if years from now I was approached by a victim and asked, "Why, when you were a Member of the Legislative Assembly, did you not help me?" As leaders, I ask you, the Members of the Legislative Assembly, years from now, when you are approached by a victim of child abuse and asked this question, "Why, when you were a Member of the Legislative Assembly, did you not help me?" What will you answer?

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Krutko. Members' statements. Mr. Erasmus.