(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)