This is page numbers 1135 - 1156 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 education.


Members Present

Honourable Jim Antoine, Honourable Goo Arlooktoo, Mr. Barnabas, Honourable Charles Dent, Mr. Enuaraq, Mr. Erasmus, Mr. Evaloarjuk, Mrs. Groenewegen, Mr. Henry, Mr. Krutko, Mr. Miltenberger, 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 constant recognition of the dignity and aspirations of those whom we serve. Amen.

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 1135

The Deputy Speaker John Ningark

Thank you, Ms. Thompson. Welcome back to the continuation of the Fourth Session which, as you know, began on November 27, 1996. I would like, on your behalf, to offer best wishes for a quick recovery to the Speaker, the Honourable Sam Gargan. Speaker Gargan had to undergo some minor surgery, but he tells me he hopes to be back in this Chair by the end of this week.

As this is the first opportunity the Speaker would have had to bring to the Members' attention an incident that occurred on the last day we sat prior to the extended adjournment, I must inform you that Speaker Gargan was concerned with a breach of decorum and respect for this Chamber and towards certain Members of this Assembly. The Speaker has asked me, on his behalf, to voice his concern surrounding the throwing of buckets of paper from the Gallery onto the floor of the Chamber. Speaker Gargan appreciates that there is a tradition after a very long budget session for Members to express their pleasure at having the budget approved by throwing papers from their desks to the floor. The tradition, as we believe, includes the media tearing up their notes and throwing them back at the Members. The incident disturbed the Speaker as some Members were involved in emptying buckets of paper over the Gallery on top of the Minister of Finance and some other Members. The Speaker feels that the dignity of the House was not upheld and would request in the future that all Members be respectful in their actions and preserve the dignity of this Chamber.

In addition, I would like to inform you that, upon his return to the Chair, Speaker Gargan intends to provide the Members with a report on his visit to Cape Dorset earlier this year in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the making of the mace and the events he is sponsoring later this week.

I know that you my colleagues, will not give the Chair a difficult time over the next few days as I try to fill in for the Speaker.

-- Applause

Item 2, Ministers' statements, Mr. Arlooktoo.

Goo Arlooktoo Baffin South

(Translation) Mr. Speaker, I wish to advise the Members that the Honourable Don Morin will be absent from the House for the remainder of the week to attend the Western Premiers' Conference in Campbell River.

Mr. Speaker, the Honourable Kelvin Ng and the Honourable Stephen Kakfwi will be absent today and tomorrow. Mr. Ng is attending a meeting of the Baffin Regional Health and Social Services Board in Iqaluit and Mr. Kakfwi is attending the Sahtu Oil and Gas Stakeholders Conference in Norman Wells.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Translation ends)

The Deputy Speaker John Ningark

Ministers' statements, Mr. Arlooktoo.

Goo Arlooktoo Baffin South

(Translation) Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to welcome all the Members back to this Legislative Chamber as we reconvene the Fourth Session of the Legislative Assembly.

While this is going to be a much shorter session compared to when we last sat in these chairs, our discussions over the next two weeks will leave a strong mark on the future of the North.

Over the next two weeks, and indeed the next 21 months, we will be examining legislation and activities that will indeed affect the lives of the people we serve. But while this is truly our mandate, we must also lay important groundwork for two new future governments. The Premier has reminded us many times about how much we have left to do in a relatively short period of time. As of today, we have only 675 days left in our mandate.

With time of the essence, we must continually challenge ourselves to look beyond the needs of a few, and focus on making the best decisions for all. That is not an easy thing to do. But no one ever said being a strong, effective leader was easy.

Mr. Speaker, over the next two weeks, we will be discussing and debating things that affect the economic future of the north. We will be looking at the realities and logistics involved with the dividing of a large territory such as ours. And we will be making decisions and setting directions on social programs and legislation - things that directly affect each and every one of our constituents. This is a huge responsibility, and one we cannot treat lightly, or take out of context.

The people of the north are looking to us to provide direction, to show leadership and to make the right decisions. In fact, they should expect nothing less. They do not expect their MLAs to spend hours debating how this government spends every dollar.

Certainly we should question, but we must also trust the people who work for this government to follow the directions we set, and we must make sure that what we are questioning is truly in the best interest of all people, not just the special interests of a few.

As MLAs, our job is to represent our constituents. But more importantly, we must remind ourselves that we work for every citizen of the Northwest Territories. Let us keep that perspective in the next two weeks, and indeed the next 21 months. Mr. Speaker, there is no question we face a heavy challenge as individuals in trying to balance the needs of today with planning for tomorrow. We must never lose sight of that and engage in debating small, short-term issues, and lose valuable time in facing the larger, long-term issues that affect the quality of life, and the future of the north.

I am proud to be sitting with you, my colleagues, as a Member of this Legislative Assembly. I am also proud our people believe we can show the leadership required to meet that challenge, and provide for a secure and healthy future.

But what I am even more proud of is the fact that I am a resident and citizen of the Northwest Territories. And it is that role which I believe will inspire me and everyone else in this House, to rise to that challenge, and do what is right. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Translation ends)

The Deputy Speaker John Ningark

Thank you, Mr. Arlooktoo. Ministers' statements. Members' statements, Mrs. Groenewegen.

Jane Groenewegen

Jane Groenewegen Hay River

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good afternoon, it is good to see everyone again. This afternoon I would like to pay tribute to a prominent and long-time resident of Hay River, who passed away last week. Polly Camsell was born on Herschel Island on April 22, 1911. Polly's father, Sam Carter, was a member of the famous lost patrol. Sam Carter's body was found four days before Polly was born. Polly was orphaned when her mother died in child birth. She spent the first eight years of her life on Herschel Island with her grandmother and brother Sam. When Polly's grandmother also passed away, Polly and her brother were sent to the St. Peter's Anglican Mission school in Hay River. Polly remained in Hay River where she met her husband, Harry Camsell, and together they had 11 children.

Polly and Harry Camsell were the kind of people who formed the very fabric of the community. In spite of the early personal losses and tragedies that Polly suffered, when some may have questioned why, or become bitter, her experiences in life made Polly undeniably one of the most beautiful people you could imagine. Her son, Terry Camsell, mentioned how people were attracted to his mother, and I know it was because of the love, kindness and gentleness that she radiated. She was not happy unless she was cooking, baking or taking care of someone.

The last time I visited her in the hospital before Christmas, she said she had to get home because they could not have Christmas dinner without her plum pudding. Even when her health was failing, she only thought of her family and those around her. Polly Camsell has left this earth, but she has left behind a legacy that will live on through her children and grandchildren, and everyone that she touched with her sweet and gentle spirit. Polly had a strong faith, and there is a principle in the Bible that says that if you want to be great in God's kingdom, learn to be the servant of all. When the record is revealed and shows the things that were seen and all of the unseen deeds of kindness, her reward will indeed be great. My condolences today to the Camsell family as they gather in Hay River for the funeral, and I know it will be a celebration of a life that should be an example to all of us. Thank you.

-- Applause

The Deputy Speaker John Ningark

Thank you. Members' statements. The Member for High Arctic, Mr. Barnabas.

Levi Barnabas High Arctic

(Translation) Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to make a brief statement today on behalf of the Members of the Nunavut Caucus.

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the people of Nunavut decided that they would not elect their representatives to the Nunavut Legislative Assembly in 1999 on the basis of one male and one female MLA in each constituency.

We in the Nunavut Caucus are pleased with the manner in which this issue has been decided and fully support the outcome of this democratic process. We feel that this vote accomplished its intended goals of bringing both sides of the issue to light and creating extensive public discussion.

Individually, we have our own personal opinions on this issue, but as the duly elected public representatives of the people of Nunavut, it was our collective position in Cambridge Bay and remains so today, that the principles of democracy must prevail in any decision to change the manner in which the people are governed.

Mr. Speaker, we are very fortunate in our part of the world and we should all be thankful for the opportunity that we have in our society, an opportunity many do not, to hear the voice of the people.

We recognize that the issue of gender parity has been an emotional one over the past few months and would like to urge the people of Nunavut to come together as we have in the past, to move forward toward 1999. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Translation ends)

-- Applause

The Deputy Speaker John Ningark

Thank you. Members' statements. Member for Baffin Central, Mr. Enuaraq.

Tommy Enuaraq Baffin Central

(Translation) Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good afternoon, fellow Members. (Translation ends) A fire destroyed the Attagoyuk School in Pangnirtung. The government has responded and a new school will be built in the near future. We appreciate the efforts of the government to get a new building up and ready for our students as soon as possible. Unfortunately, we seem to share the fate of the community of Fort McPherson. Like Fort McPherson, the school had a large gymnasium. The community made good use of the gym. Under the capital standards of the Department of Education, Culture and Employment, the new school is only going to have a small gymnasium. Even though it is not the community's fault that they lost the old gym, they will end up with a new building which has less gym space than they had a year ago. I hope that the community and government can work together and find an answer to this community concern. Mr. Speaker, later on today I will be asking the appropriate Minister about this concern. Thank you.

-- Applause

The Deputy Speaker John Ningark

Thank you. Members' statements. Member for Thebacha, Mr. Miltenberger.

Michael Miltenberger

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have waited for about 18 or 19 months to rise and say this in this House. That it is a fact that the longest-running election in the Northwest Territories and the Thebacha riding in my opinion, with almost 100 per cent certainty is now over.

-- Applause

There has been an unequivocal judgement by the Supreme Court which will be tabled in this House later today. It is now time for us to move on and get on with the other issues at hand.

Out of this very trying experience though, some good things will result and one, in my opinion, is going to be the rewriting of the Election Act to deal with the issues of proxies and timely dispute resolution. Unfortunately, as my colleague from Yellowknife North said, it does not apply to band elections.

Mr. Speaker, I look forward now to serving out the rest of my term without a huge cloud hanging over my head and the head of the riding of Thebacha and working with the rest of my colleagues to resolve the many issues ahead of us in the next 675 days. I would like to thank everybody for their support during this period of time. It was most appreciated. Thank you.

-- Applause

The Deputy Speaker John Ningark

Thank you. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife South, Mr. Henry.

Seamus Henry Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize some very deserving young people from the city of Yellowknife who have represented themselves both nationally and internationally. The first one is a young man named Scott Robertson, a constituent of Yellowknife South who has received national recognition for his submissions to a national contest sponsored by the Brewers Association of Canada. The Brewers Association of Canada requested entries from youth on materials to promote responsible drinking. Scott produced three written submissions and won in the semi-finals. His work was submitted along with thousands of others from across Canada. The intent of this contest was to promote or comment on responsible drinking and Scott has most certainly demonstrated his abilities to provide a winning perspective.

He considers young people drinking irresponsibly world-wide and hopes his message will help tone down the amount consumed by youth. Scott made the semi-finals and went to Ottawa in March along with three other finalists from other regions in Canada. Scott is currently enrolled in a nursing program at the University of Calgary and upon completion hopes to return to Yellowknife. It is very fulfilling to see members of our youth choose to take a proactive role in the area of responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages.

The second youth, Mr. Speaker, whom I believe should be recognized is Tara Hamer. Tara is presently enrolled in a Bachelor of Science and Math program in Nova Scotia. She was selected as a Team Canada Junior Curling member who recently competed in the World Junior Curling Games in Japan. Tara's team took second in the World Allstars as well as being named the 1997 Canadian Junior Representative at these games in Japan.

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

The Deputy Speaker John Ningark

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

Conclude your statement, Mr. Henry.

Seamus Henry Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker and thank you, Members, for giving me that latitude.

Last month, Mr. Speaker, Dean and Greg Robertson entered their pieces in an international competition where they competed against 700 other pieces. These young gentlemen placed well in their divisions, earning several awards for their work and bringing northern recognition to another well-deserving field. I ask my fellow Members to join with me in acknowledging the work and achievements of these very deserving young individuals from my community who rightfully deserve our praise. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

-- Applause

The Deputy Speaker John Ningark

Thank you, Mr. Henry. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife Centre, Mr. Ootes.

Jake Ootes

Jake Ootes Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is wonderful to be back again. First, Mr. Speaker, before I get into my statement I would like to offer my sincere apologies for having been coerced and having participated on a voluntary basis in breaking the decorum of this House by dumping a load of paper, by the way it was all torn up from the budget address, on the Minister of Finance and Members across the way. As well, my apologies to the Speaker and Members of this House, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, we have had an opportunity over the last several weeks to concentrate on a number of issues. Many of our concentrations have been on the constitution and division of the territories. These are important issues, but we cannot forget about the day-to-day issues, and one of those is the students of the Northwest Territories and summer employment for those students. These students are now all back in the territories from university and college and the students from high school will shortly be looking for work.

I talked about the student issue the first session I attended a year and a half ago, Mr. Speaker, and I had urged that we develop an employment program by this government for students. I want to compliment the Minister of Finance to this end. He has created a private sector employment incentive program and I think compliments should go to the Minister for that program.

However, my concern, Mr. Speaker, is with the territorial government. We do not seem to have a coordinated and concerted effort to address the student employment issue with this government. I came across recently a publication from the federal government called Broaden Your Horizons. It is the federal government's student's guide for applying for employment. It is a very handy little publication that outlines where to apply, questions and answers, guidelines and it has a sample application form.

Now, we do not have a publication of this nature in the territorial government and I think it would be well worthwhile. We should have had this by now, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

The Deputy Speaker John Ningark

Thank you. The honourable Member for Yellowknife Centre is seeking unanimous consent to conclude his statement. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Conclude your statement, Mr. Ootes.

Jake Ootes

Jake Ootes Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So my issue is with the fact that we do not have a publication of this nature which could provide a great guide for students of where to apply. Right now they have to walk from building to building to find out who to apply to for a summer job. We are investing millions of dollars into these children and students and we are not providing them with the summer work experience that they need. We are providing no guidelines and methodology by which to introduce them into the workforce.

Mr. Speaker, additionally, I have a concern about the hourly rate. The federal government has, in this publication, their hourly rates. For secondary school students in the Yukon and Northwest Territories it is the highest in Canada. It is $7.61. For post-secondary students, it is graduated according to the years of university completed. It starts at $8.45 and goes to a maximum of $12.46. For a PhD student, the maximum is $15.98.

Mr. Speaker, I know for a fact that some of our students that are hired are in the neighbourhood of $19.00, and I have heard of a case of $22.00 per hour. I have addressed this issue before and we need to address it. We need to put a regulated amount on it that we can follow up. The union for the territorial government has apparently not agreed to allow this, but I would request the territorial government re-address this question. Obviously, the federal government has been able to make arrangements with the Public Service Alliance of Canada to produce these and these wage rates. Mr. Speaker, I will be asking some questions later in this session during question period. Thank you, very much.

The Deputy Speaker John Ningark

Thank you. I would like to remind all Members that this is the first time that we have gathered together for the session and I know most Members are anxious to get up and make Members' statements. I would remind the Members to be conscientious of the time allotted for your Member's statement in order to allow other Members to speak. Thank you. I have the honourable Member for Mackenzie Delta, Mr. Krutko. Thank you.

David Krutko

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In opening, I would like to wish my mom a very happy birthday today and I wish her many more.

-- Applause

Thank you. My statement today is with regard to the problem that arose over a year ago which I brought to the attention of this House. It is with regard to Fort McPherson and the trouble it has had with the quality of its water and exactly where the source of the water is. Mr. Speaker, the residents of Fort McPherson have been battling with the problem of poor quality water. The water is presently pumped from a lake and has a very high iron and magnesium content. It smells and tastes bad and has even caused laundry damage for the residents of Fort McPherson.

Recently, the community wrote to the Minister suggesting that the water be piped from another source, Stony Creek. Mr. Speaker, at the appropriate time, I will be asking the Minister a question on this matter about what has been done to date. Thank you.

The Deputy Speaker John Ningark

Thank you, Mr. Krutko. The honourable Member for North Slave, Mr. Rabesca.