This is page numbers 63 - 90 of the Hansard for the 13th Assembly, 7th 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 social.

Topics

Member's Statement 40-13(7): Aboriginal Summit Requests Regarding Electoral Boundaries Issues
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 66

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as most of us are aware, the Aboriginal Summit has written to Minister Stewart to outline extensively their strong concerns about what they see as the NWT constitutional crisis arising from the electoral boundaries court decision and they make six specific requests of the Minister. Mr. Speaker, I can, in fact, support some of those requests that the federal government publicly support negotiations of a political solution between the Legislative Assembly, GNWT and the aboriginal governments of the western NWT. I also am not opposed to the idea of amendments that would increase our terms from four to five years to bring us in line with other jurisdictions. I also think it would be a good idea for the federal government to join in and support an appeal of this decision based on the aboriginal rights questions raised by the Summit.

However, Mr. Speaker, as a Member of this duly elected public Government of the Northwest Territories, I cannot support the other three points, where they ask basically for the abolition of an elected public government in the western Northwest Territories. Mr. Speaker, I believe it is going to be critical for us, as a territory, to have in fact a strong central public government to work with our aboriginal partners to move ahead as a territory to provide standards, to provide support services to the people, all the people of the Northwest Territories.

I will continue to oppose 19 seats, I will continue to support the issue of an appeal, but I will also, under no circumstances, support anything or any calls to possibly abolish or put this House in jeopardy of limiting its rights to function as a duly elected body. Worse yet, I would not support the thought or the proposal to in fact request the Minister to turn over the running of the government to an appointed council or, worse yet, a federal civil servant. That would be a return to colonialism that would be unacceptable, I think, to all the people of the Northwest Territories. What we have to do is come up with a negotiated settlement, get the time to do that, so that we can resolve these problems as a territory, without having Ottawa come in and tell us what to do. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause.

Member's Statement 40-13(7): Aboriginal Summit Requests Regarding Electoral Boundaries Issues
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 66

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Members' statements. Mr. Ootes.

Member's Statement 41-13(7): Enhanced Role Of Youth In The New Western Territory
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 66

Jake Ootes Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, on the eve of division I am drawn to visualize the future of our new Western Territory. There are many things our government, our communities, our aboriginal leaders are occupied with:

-economic development;

-land claims;

-self-government;

-local government.

Very crucial and important matters indeed, but not the only areas in need of our attention. We must also concern ourselves with our youth, our future workforce, the talented individuals who will lead our society in the next century. Our youth have an innate desire to work, to do well, to excel and what we need to do is give our youth that opportunity to excel. There are many who are graduating from our high schools, from colleges, from universities, who are seeking job opportunities. We must provide them with that opportunity.

There are also many who are facing the social and emotional problems that are out there:

-substance abuse;

-violence;

-teen pregnancies.

These issues cross many boundaries; they are not solely issues of education, nor of health. They are issues for our communities, for our leaders, for our parents to address. What we need is a government vision, a vision that builds the capacity of our youth. The government needs to support and promote a society that desires to make its young people a focus of its programs. We need to get back at bolstering the moral fibre of our citizens. We need to help parents to care about their teenagers; communities to care about their young people. By dedicating our energies in the next decade to our youth, we cannot only move to becoming a rich society and a powerful society, but to be the great society of the Canadian mosaic. Let us keep our eyes on the stars and do the possible for our youth. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Member's Statement 41-13(7): Enhanced Role Of Youth In The New Western Territory
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 66

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Members' statements. Mr. Rabesca.

Member's Statement 42-13(7): Lack Of Rcmp Highway Patrols Along Highway 3
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 66

James Rabesca North Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to discuss an issue that I have previously raised in this House, that being the lack of RCMP highway patrols along Highway 3. Mr. Speaker, as you may be aware, every year the traffic on this highway increases considerably. In the winter we have many trucks driving this road; in the summer we have more and more tourists coming north to explore our land. Currently, highway patrols are done on a very limited basis. While I understand the RCMP are dealing with the same problems we all face with limited resources, it is very important that patrols are made.

Mr. Speaker, I understand that the RCMP is currently looking at the possibility of setting up a permanent highway patrol section. I also understand that, if this goes ahead, these positions will be based in Hay River and Yellowknife. To this, all I can say is why not put these positions in the communities that are mostly affected by this road, that is Rae-Edzo and Fort Providence. If the patrols were located in those two communities, better response time could be realized if an accident occurred and it would be easier for patrols to take place on a regular basis.

I would also be interested to see a training program set up that could operate much the same as the Community Constable Program, whereby local residents could be trained to provide this valuable service. Currently, the Community Constable Program is proving to be a very good program and is viewed as a step toward community policing. By also having local residents trained to provide highway patrols, this could also be seen as a further step toward community policing. If the communities affected by highways can take on the responsibility to govern and patrol our highways, I believe a better system could be realized. Training at the local level can provide employment in areas of high unemployment, as well as provide a better understanding and relationship with the RCMP and the community. By working together, many opportunities can be achieved and this may be one area that the RCMP and the Department of Justice could look at.

In closing, I can only say that I fully support the RCMP in placing highway patrol staff in the smaller communities that are affected the most by the highway system, and to call for a training program to assist RCMP in providing this service. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Member's Statement 42-13(7): Lack Of Rcmp Highway Patrols Along Highway 3
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 67

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Members' statements. Mr. O'Brien.

Member's Statement 43-13(7): Regards And Best Wishes To John Arnalukjuak
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 67

Kevin O'Brien Kivallivik

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to send good wishes and good health to my very good friend, one of my constituents and one of the pioneers of Nunavut, Mr. John Arnalukjuak, Sr. Mr. Speaker, John is a living legend, a well-respected elder and a man who has given freely of himself for the past half-century, not only to the people of Arviat, but to the people of Nunavut. Mr. Speaker, John is somewhat under the weather and, John if you are listening, I hope you are feeling better soon so you can join me in Iqaluit on April 1st for the historic Nunavut celebrations. Thank you.

--Applause

Member's Statement 43-13(7): Regards And Best Wishes To John Arnalukjuak
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 67

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Members' statements. Mrs. Groenewegen.

Member's Statement 44-13(7): Government Contracting Policies
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 67

Jane Groenewegen Hay River

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, there has been quite a bit of controversy recently over negotiated contracts. I want to make it very clear that I can appreciate the benefit of negotiated contracts in some circumstances. If employed properly and when the intended objectives are realized, negotiated contracts can do a great deal of good in developing our northern economy. What I have been suggesting, and what may not be understood, is that I believe it is time to assess and evaluate negotiated contracts as a business incentive tool to determine if they are being used to the benefit of developing northern labour and markets, and if they are being directed where they are most needed and if the premium sometimes paid to negotiate a contract is a cost which can be rationalized to the benefits obtained.

It has been approximately 12 years since the negotiated contract policy was developed. It is time to articulate what we have accomplished, in which instances we have achieved benefits and in which cases we have not translated into real benefits. I believe it can be safely stated that economic initiatives such as negotiated contracts, the Business Incentive Policy, business development fund contributions, economic development agreements, et cetera, have aided in bringing about the current reality whereby greater than 90 percent of all government purchases of goods and services are provided by northern companies. That having been accomplished, we need to assess what has worked and what has not worked, what may now be obsolete given the diminished role of southern bidders in the northern market place. For example, the Business Incentive Policy is an adjustment applied to all contracts. If all bidders are northern BIP registered companies, perhaps we need to look at the cost of administering this registry and applying this adjustment to all contracts.

Has there been a shift, a sufficient shift, in the purchasing philosophy in government departments and agencies where we could safely trust that this type of protection for northern companies is no longer an issue? Are issues of market disruption, political peace, transparency, cost efficiency and fairness being addressed by current practices of Business Incentive Policies, such as negotiated contracts? Recently, at a meeting of the NWT Chamber of the Commerce in Hay River, a motion was passed which is an interesting suggestion. The motion was that the GNWT be encouraged to publish, Mr. Speaker, I am going to have to seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement. Thank you.

Member's Statement 44-13(7): Government Contracting Policies
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 67

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Member for Hay River is seeking unanimous consent to conclude her statement. Do we have any nays? I am sorry, Mrs. Groenewegen, you do not have unanimous consent. Members' statements. Mr. Picco.

Member's Statement 45-13(7): Rankin Inlet Atom Hockey Tournament
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 67

Edward Picco Iqaluit

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good afternoon. Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the good people of Rankin Inlet, who recently hosted several Atom hockey teams for a tournament over there. Mr. Speaker, the Iqaluit team was ably coached by Craig Dunphy and Carl McLean and assisted by parents, Ben Kovic and Brian Aglukark, who also made the trip to Rankin Inlet. Mr. Speaker, the volunteers who worked tirelessly to pull off these tournaments, the coaches and the officials, need to be recognized.

The Iqaluit team pulled an early upset by defeating the eventual champion, Hay River. I understand from my son, Wally, who played with the Iqaluit team, that the highlight in Rankin Inlet was the Red Top. I will make it a point the next time I am in Rankin Inlet to drop by the Red Top and see what it is all about. I guess in conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I would again like to thank the people of Rankin Inlet for the hospitality that they showed during the team's stay in the community.

--Applause

Member's Statement 45-13(7): Rankin Inlet Atom Hockey Tournament
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 68

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Members' statements. Mr. Erasmus.

Member's Statement 46-13(7): GNWT Hiring Process
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 68

Roy Erasmus Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about restoring faith in the government hiring process. Mr. Speaker, as other Members in this House have had occasion to travel to other communities and it seems that no matter where I go, whether it is Fort Smith, Hay River, Fort Providence, people are concerned with the hiring process. They are concerned with the inconsistencies between the different departments, the different processes that they use to hire people. They are concerned that people who have been laid off are supposed to have a priority when hiring is done, but they cannot even apply on most jobs because most of the jobs are internal competitions.

People are concerned that there is no central agency, that there is no independent person in the hiring process to ensure fairness. People are complaining that they get an interview, but that they have been told that they blew the interview even though they are well qualified for the job, therefore no job. People are complaining that there is no sense of fairness, that the only people in the hiring process are from the department itself and it is too easy to manipulate the end result. Mr. Speaker, plain and simply, the public has lost faith in our hiring process. We need to restore that faith.

Recently the Premier went on television and addressed the NWT and indicated he wanted to restore public confidence in our government, he wanted an open, accountable and transparent government. One of the best ways to do this is to restore faith in the hiring process. Mr. Speaker, it is important that our hiring process not only be fair, but it must appear to be fair. What I am saying is that it may be fair now, but it does not seem accountable, it does not seem to be fair. If we put an independent body into the hiring process from the start to the finish, this will verify fairness and accountability. Mr. Speaker, at the appropriate time I will be asking the Premier questions in this area. Thank you.

Member's Statement 46-13(7): GNWT Hiring Process
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 68

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Members' statements. Item 4, returns to oral questions. Mr. Arlooktoo.

Return To Oral Question 18-13(7): Update On Down Payment Assistance Program
Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions

March 23rd, 1999

Page 68

Goo Arlooktoo Baffin South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a return to an oral question asked by Mr. Steen on March 16, 1999, on the Down Payment Assistance Program. Mr. Steen asked whether there was a residency requirement attached to the Minimum Down Payment Assistance Pilot Program (MDAPP).

Mr. Speaker, the objective of the MDAPP is to provide financial incentives to individuals or families, regardless of income, to become homeowners as a means of stimulating economic activity. The target audiences for this pilot program are NWT residents who lack the savings required for a down payment, those residents who may wish to move from one community to another in order to access employment or training opportunities and workers on rotational shifts who work in the NWT, but live in the south.

Mr. Speaker, because the NWT Housing Corporation is trying to attract these rotational workers to take up residence in the NWT, there is no residency requirement for this pilot program. If there was a residency requirement, Mr. Speaker, then these workers who earn a living in the NWT, but pay their taxes and spend their wages down south, would not be attracted to move up here.