This is page numbers 91 - 116 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 aboriginal.

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Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

March 24th, 1999

Page 112

The Chair Vince Steen

I would like to call the committee to order. For consideration by the committee of the whole this afternoon, we have Bill 13 and Bill 14. Could I get some direction how the committee wishes to proceed? Mr. Dent.

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I recommend that we proceed with Bill 13 and Bill 14, in that order.

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Vince Steen

Thank you, Mr. Dent. Does the committee agree?

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Vince Steen

Thank you. We will proceed in that order after we have taken a break. Thank you.

--Break

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Vince Steen

I call the committee to order. I would like to call on the Minister responsible for Bill 13 for consideration by the committee, we have Bill 13 and Bill 14 and we have agreed to proceed with Bill 13 first. I would like to call on the Minister responsible, on behalf of Mr. Todd, I would like to call on Mr. Dent to introduce the bill. Would you introduce the bill, Mr. Dent?

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Mr. Chairman, I am introducing Bill 13, An Act To Amend the Financial Administration Act. This bill amends the Financial Administration Act in two ways: by permitting the Minister of Finance to invest surplus money in accordance with the regulations and policies established by the Financial Management Board, and by clarifying the definition of a Public Officer.

Sections 57 and 81 of the Financial Administration Act, which defines the securities eligible for investment by the government and by public agencies, makes reference to the federal Canadian and British Insurance Companies Act. This act was repealed in 1991 and, therefore, the reference is no longer appropriate.

Bill 13 amends the Financial Administration Act to outline the investments in securities, investments or loans which may be made by the Minister of Finance.

Currently, Mr. Chairman, subsections 57(1)(A) and (B) are very narrow in scope because reliance was placed on subsection 57(1)(C) for inclusion of all other acceptable investments. With the repeal of the federal Canadian and British Insurance Companies Act, section 57(1)(C) became meaningless and it is now necessary to amend each subsection to permit the Minister of Finance to invest surplus money in accordance with the regulations and policies established by the Financial Management Board.

However, these amendments, Mr. Chairman, do not broaden the range of investments permitted under the act but provide enhanced flexibility for the Department of Finance to invest the government's funds. The department has developed internal investment policies consistent with these guidelines and these policies are regularly reviewed by a departmental investment committee.

Mr. Chairman, Bill 13 also changes the definition of "Public Officer" from "individual" to "person". Since the legal definition of a "person" includes a corporation, this amendment will allow the Minister of Finance to appoint a corporate agent, such as a fund manager, to invest the government's money. This change will allow the government to access the broader and more sophisticated knowledge of fund managers expert in the investing business.

The investment powers and responsibilities of the act are delegated to the deputy minister of Finance by directive. The deputy minister is responsible for ensuring prudent investment and management of government funds. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Vince Steen

Thank you, Mr. Dent. I would like to call on the Member for Hay River, Ms. Groenewegen, on behalf of the Infrastructure Committee for the committee's comments on the bill.

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Jane Groenewegen Hay River

The Standing Committee on Infrastructure reviewed Bill 13, An Act to amend the Financial Administration Act, on March 23, 1998.

The committee would like to thank the Minister of Finance and his officials for presenting the bill. The bill will amend the Financial Administration Act to expand the definition of a public officer to include a person acting as an agent of the government, authorize the investment of funds in the consolidated revenue fund and money belonging to public agencies in specified classes of investment, add a regulation-making power respecting the investment of money by the government and public agencies, and finally, permit the Workers' Compensation Board to invest in any securities and investments that it deems to be prudent.

The committee expressed concern that the amendment would not ensure investments meet conventional standards of creditworthiness. The Minister assured the committee that the amendments would provide the necessary regulation-making ability to set prudent and comfortable standards of investment guidelines.

Finally, the committee was concerned as to why an amendment was required now when the investment guidelines under the Canadian and British Insurance Companies Act expired in 1991. The Minister replied that the government's investment guidelines need to be established to ensure a greater degree of clarity and accountability.

Mr. Chairman, following the committee's review, a motion was carried to report Bill 13, An Act to Amend the Financial Administration Act, to the Assembly as ready for the committee of the whole. Additional comments or questions of Members may be posed as we proceed. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Vince Steen

Thank you, Mrs. Groenewegen. On behalf of the committee, I offer the Minister the opportunity to bring in witnesses if he wishes.

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Yes, Mr. Chairman, if you please.

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Vince Steen

Is it agreed that the Minister will bring in witnesses?

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Vince Steen

Thank you. Sergeant-at-Arms, bring in the witnesses, please. I call on the Minister to introduce the witnesses.

Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. On my right I have Ms. Margaret Melhorn who is the deputy minister of the Department of Finance. On my left is Mr. Douglas Doak who is the Director of the treasury.