This is page numbers 1413 - 1434 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 whale.


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. Miltenberger, Honourable Don Morin, 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 1413

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Good afternoon. Orders of the day. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Mr. Morin.

Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Mr. Speaker, I wish to advise Members that the Honourable Kelvin Ng will be absent from the House today and tomorrow to attend the Ministers' Council on Social Policy Renewal Conference as well as the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers of Social Services Conference in St. John's, Newfoundland. Mr. Ng will be back in the House by mid-afternoon on Wednesday.

As well, Mr. Speaker, I will be leaving the House shortly to represent Cabinet at the funeral of Effie Krutko this afternoon. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Ministers' statements. Mr. Morin. Minister's Statement 106-13(4): National Unity

Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that later today I will be tabling the agreement reached in Calgary on September 14, 1997 by Canada's Premiers and the Yukon Territorial Leader, except Premier Bouchard of Quebec. This proposal provides a framework and guidelines to consult Canadians on national unity. It is also intended to get the views of Canadians on how to make Canada stronger. The framework for consultation, is, in itself, an example of how the provinces and territories can work together on matters of importance to Canadians and the future of Canada.

A key priority of this government's Agenda for Change is our intention to be heard at the national level. We know that national financial and political development can and will have a real impact on the interests of the Northwest Territories. We know that decisions made in Ottawa and by the provincial Premiers on social policy, education and health issues have a direct impact on the programs and services enjoyed by northern residents. We have taken a more coordinated and focused approach in our relationships with Canada and the provinces to build partnerships and ensure that the views of the Northwest Territories are taken into consideration. With this in mind, I participated in the Calgary meeting with three key priorities.

Mr. Speaker, our first priority was to ensure the continued inclusion and full participation of the Government of the Northwest Territories in an ongoing national unity process. Secondly, we wanted to secure a meaningful role for aboriginal leaders in an ongoing national unity process and thirdly, we wanted to ensure that any themes or principles developed in Calgary or any subsequent national unity process reflected the concepts of democracy, people, children and building for the future.

I am happy to say, Mr. Speaker, that we were successful in reflecting these priorities in the framework for consultation. The framework, Mr. Speaker, proposes that each province and territory will conduct open, grassroots public consultations on how to strengthen the Canadian federation, The framework for discussion on Canadian unity and the guidelines for the process of public consultation which make up this framework were agreed to by all Premiers and the Yukon Territorial Leader to provide a common element to seek the views of Canadians. All provincial and territorial leaders agreed to initiate consultations this fall and report their progress prior to the January, 1998, Team Canada trade mission with the Prime Minister. Each jurisdiction will determine the scope of its own consultations and the most appropriate mechanisms.

Mr. Speaker, over the next couple of months, Northwest Territories' Ministers and MLAs will be consulting with their constituents about concerns and aspirations of northern Canadians on how to make Canada stronger. In addition to constituency meetings and questionnaires, we have the benefit of modern technology with toll free number, electronic mail or web site communication to reach even the most remote areas of this vast territory. On behalf of Cabinet, the Honourable Stephen Kakfwi, Minister of National Constitutional Affairs and the Honourable Jim Antoine, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs will take the lead with me in guiding this public consultation process. This process must involve partnership with the Members of this Assembly and all Northwest Territories' residents. I will be proposing a mechanism today, Mr. Speaker, for the consideration of Members as a vehicle for this partnership.

Mr. Speaker, in addition to public consultations, the Prime Minister committed to host a First Ministers' Meeting to discuss social policy renewal, health care and youth unemployment. The issues that are at the centre of "people" concerns. This meeting is scheduled for early December. I intend to participate with my federal, provincial and territorial colleagues at the meeting to bring forward the views of northerners on these and other national/territorial issues raised during the Northwest Territories' public consultation process.

Also, as part of the framework for discussion on Canadian Unity, all Premiers agreed to meet with aboriginal leaders in Winnipeg on November 18, 1997 to hear their views on strengthening Canada and the role of aboriginal peoples within Canada. In addition to actively participating in the Winnipeg meeting, I fully intend to provide Northwest Territories' aboriginal residents with the opportunity to express their views on the future of Canada and their place in Confederation during the Northwest Territories' public consultation process. I have asked the Honourable Jim Antoine, to take the lead in ensuring the views of aboriginal residents are heard.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, it is essential that we provide a mechanism, a partnership, to ensure that activities of the government and Legislative Assembly in relation to the public consultations and future national unity activities are coordinated and transparent information and updates on activities need to be provided to Cabinet, Members of the Legislative Assembly and Northwest Territories' residents. I propose that a special committee be established to provide that partnership role in coordinating this important activity. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Morin. Ministers' statements. Mr. Kakfwi.

Stephen Kakfwi

Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Mr. Speaker, job creation is a priority for this government. We need jobs for northerners today and we need them for our children in the future. The private sector is the primary vehicle for job creation, and we have undertaken a number of initiatives to encourage private sector development. One initiative is the Northern Employment Strategy announced by the Finance Minister during the last session. It is designed to support northern businesses and communities in employing summer students, youth, social assistance recipients and unemployed northerners.

Sixteen million dollars in new funding was allocated to implement the strategy this year. Subject to the approval of this House, an additional $16 million will be allocated next year. In order to efficiently implement the strategy throughout the regions, funding was allocated to existing programs in Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development, Municipal and Community Affairs, and Education, Culture and Employment. The $8 million given to Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development topped up the budgets of three programs to $13 million - the Business Development Fund, the Grants to Small Business Program and the Community Initiatives Program.

Mr. Speaker, early indications show that these programs are generating positive results. Over a period of five months, from April to August, the department has invested $5.8 million in northerners. This investment, along with client equity, debt financing and financing from other sources, has resulted in projects valued at over $21 million. Program investments to date are equal to those normally made in a year. Investments to date leave a balance of just over $7 million for the remainder of the fiscal year. Utilization of the programs requires that clients, whether they be individuals or communities, come forward with project proposals. The departmental regional superintendents from the three departments implementing this strategy work closely together to offer clients single window access to this funding. Decisions to fund are made at the regional level in keeping with my commitment to quick turnaround of project applications.

Based on project information provided by clients to date, 12,460 work weeks of full-time employment and 4,913 weeks of part-time employment have been created since April 1, 1997. In addition, 13,319 work weeks of full-time employment and 4,904 work weeks of part-time employment have been maintained. Jobs were saved or became more secure as a result of our investments in northern people. This equates to approximately 890 full-time jobs. Clearly these results reflect the hard work and commitment of many in the department, particularly those in the regions. Mr. Speaker, we rarely give staff enough recognition for their efforts in delivering our programs and services to the public. I thank them for a job well done. Thank you.


The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Kakfwi. Ministers' statements. Mr. Henry.

Seamus Henry Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to waive the rules to adjourn the House until 3:15 p.m. to enable Members to attend the funeral of the late Mrs. Effie Krutko, mother of the Member for Mackenzie Delta. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. The Member for Yellowknife South is seeking unanimous consent to waive the rules to adjourn the House until 3:15 p.m. Do we have any nays? There are no nays. Mr. Henry, you have unanimous consent. We will adjourn until 3:15 p.m.


The Speaker Samuel Gargan

I call the House back to order. Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Enuaraq.

Tommy Enuaraq Baffin Central

Mr. Speaker, the community of Broughton Island needs housing for their elders. The Hamlet Council in Broughton Island has asked me to bring this to the attention of this Assembly. The community feels that this is a serious need. It is also felt that the need for seniors' housing in Broughton Island has not been addressed by our government. The community would like to know how and when this issue

can be dealt with. I will follow this on their behalf during oral question period. Thank you.

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Michael Miltenberger

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to make some brief comments on the diamond valuation plant or the proposal to get one in the north or in the northern community. I have listened to the debate and discussion in this House with great interest and of course hoping, in fact, that it would become a reality. I will be asking the Minister later in question period about the Globe and Mail article where BHP says they are going to build their diamond sorting plant on site and it is only going to be a small one and that in fact, the main sorting will be done, of all places, God forbid, in a foreign country, Antwerp, taking northern jobs and northern minerals out of the country to look after them. Mr. Speaker, I think the days of the north just being a store house so that people can come and use at their leisure with no work done in the north other than the extraction have to be passed.

So, we have a situation in my mind. We are lobbying very hard in this House; yet I see by the news that a huge multinational corporation has made a decision obviously independent of what we may think or what may be in the best interest of the people of the north and Canada, true. I think we have to press this issue and I commend the Member for Hay River and the folks from Yellowknife and, of course, the Minister for his efforts, but it seems to me that we have to redouble those efforts because we are not being heard. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Miltenberger. Members' statements. Ms. Thompson.

Manitok Thompson Aivilik

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I rise to take a minute to speak about the need for medical solutions to the disease of cancer not only in the north but across Canada. We have all been impacted by cancer either by a loss of a mother, father, family member, colleague or close friend. Unfortunately, this summer I also felt the results of this disease. As Members know I lost my mother-in-law to cancer. It is time we do more to solve cancer. Mr. Speaker, as Canadians we probably know of the efforts of all people across Canada in raising money for cancer research. Together the citizens of my three communities went out during the Terry Fox Run and raised a substantial amount of money to support cancer research. My communities are asking what the Cancer Society is doing with their money to cure cancer? I would like to say how proud I am of the efforts Coral Harbour, Chesterfield Inlet and Repulse Bay, just as I am sure that Members of this House are proud of their communities and the efforts they have made to support cancer research.

(Translation) Mr. Speaker, this has been an ongoing concern to the communities. I would like to congratulate some of the communities that I represent because they have done some fund raising with regards to cancer research. Their proceeds will go to cancer research. Some of my communities have been involved in the Terry Fox Run to raise some funds. Some of the communities are asking to find out what is happening with the cancer research. (Translation ends).

Communities across the Northwest Territories are asking where is the cure for cancer? It is about time the Cancer Society found a cure. Too many people are dying of cancer in the northern communities and across Canada. Mr. Speaker, I would like to continue with my statement if the Members allow me to do so. Thank you.

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Member for Aivilik is seeking unanimous consent to conclude her statement. Do we have any nays? There are no nays. Ms. Thompson, you have unanimous consent.

Manitok Thompson Aivilik

I also noted in the throne speech to open the First Session of the 36th Parliament of Canada that there is reference to the need to provide all our citizens with access to the highest possible quality of health care. The throne speech recognizes the importance of our health system to the Canadian fabric. I would also like to encourage territorial leaders at all levels to continue to push the federal government, the medical profession and institutions to find a cure for cancer. It is about time, Mr. Speaker.


The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Ms. Thompson. Members' statements. Mr. Rabesca.

James Rabesca North Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today again I would like to talk about our dangerous Highway No. 3. I know that the Department of Transportation is trying to do the best they can to ensure the public safety. However, over the course of this past weekend one of the most dangerous portions on the highway collapsed which caused an area of the road to drop approximately two feet. It was about 15 feet long. When this section dropped, it basically left only one lane of traffic at this spot which could have quite easily caused serious damage to any unfortunate or unsuspecting driver and his vehicle. As this happened this weekend, no one from the department had put warning markers in place to inform drivers which could again have caused an accident. To elaborate on the road in this area, when coming to Yellowknife, you can come around a fairly sharp left hand curve that has a small lake on either side of the road and a very steep embankment, also from either side.

Under normal driving conditions a vehicle if it went off the road could easily roll into one of the lakes. Luckily there was no accident or mishap on this section. This morning when I came into Yellowknife I noticed the Department of Transportation crews were investigating this section and hopefully by tonight it will be repaired. As I have stressed over and over in this House we need the highway from Rae to Yellowknife upgraded before we have a serious accident. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Members' statements. Mr. Arlooktoo.

Goo Arlooktoo Baffin South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As Members of this Assembly know, soap stone carvings are a major source of income for the communities of Kimmirut and Cape Dorset. These two communities, which I also represent, are world renowned for producing some of the very best Inuit carvings to come out of the north. To give some idea of the importance of this economy, Kimmirut, with a population of 450 produces more than a half a million dollars worth of art each year. Cape Dorset, with a population of around 1,300 produces more than $2.2 million worth of art annually. Mr. Speaker, this is a significant amount of revenue which touches almost every member of these two communities, especially given the high cost of living and unemployment rates in these communities.

This summer, the Department of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development in partnership with Qikiqtani inuit Association and its and its business arm Qikiqtaaluk Corporation undertook a clean up of two major quarry sites close to Cape Dorset and Kimmirut. For those that are not familiar with quarry sites, these are basically free for all mining operations that are operated by hand by picks, axe, shovels and crowbars. Not only did the project provide a long overdue clean up of these sites, more than 15 local people were hired to work on the projects. Also, due to the quarry clean up, Mr. Speaker, a half million dollars of high quality carving stone was accessed that otherwise would not have been available. This is a major return on the $100,000 investment to clean up the site. Mr. Speaker, I believe that these sites should be maintained through a smaller scale clean up on an ongoing, annual basis. This will achieve several things. One, it will provide some more local employment. It will require a smaller investment in one large scale cleaning operation every few years and, most importantly, it will improve the safety of these sites. I would like to thank Minister Kakfwi and his departmental staff for their support and I look forward to working with them again to ensure that this important project continues to be an ongoing project. Thank you very much.

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Members' statements. Mr. Ootes.

Jake Ootes

Jake Ootes Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On Sunday, the Run for the Cure was held in Yellowknife and approximately 750 people turned out to walk and run through the cold damp weather. Together they raised $90,000 to put towards curing breast cancer. Three quarters of that money has been tagged for a mammography machine at Stanton Regional Hospital. Mr. Speaker, that represents about half of the money needed to buy and install a new machine. On Friday, I asked if this government would take the initiative to start an early detection screening program and I was told once again, that it was the regional health boards' decision. Stanton Regional Hospital is just that. It serves the region. It has identified the mammography machine as a priority and is currently raising money for it.

The run yesterday provided about half the money that the hospital will need. A group of private citizens has undertaken fund raising for necessary hospital equipment because the government has not made replacing old obsolete equipment a priority. I would like to see this government take a pro-active leadership role in this issue. I would like to ask the government if it will provide the other half now that the region has clearly identified a need for this machine. Issues such as the early detection of breast cancer in a population whose cancer rates are on the rise, need strong direction and take charge leadership, not the wait and see attitude that seems to be prevailing with regard to this program. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.