This is page numbers 117 - 133 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 nunavut.

Topics

Members Present

Honourable Goo Arlooktoo, Mr. Barnabas, Honourable Charles Dent, Mr. Erasmus, Mr. Evaloarjuk, Honourable Sam Gargan, Mrs. Groenewegen, Mr. Henry, Honourable Stephen Kakfwi, Mr. Krutko, Mr. Miltenberger, Mr. Morin, Honourable Kelvin Ng, Mr. Ningark, Mr. O'Brien, Mr. Ootes, Mr. Rabesca, Honourable Floyd Roland, Mr. Steen, Honourable Manitok Thompson.

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 117

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Ms. Thompson. Good afternoon. Before we proceed with the orders of the day, I would like to make a special announcement. If the Members would allow me I would like to make it as informal as possible so that we can allow some pictures to be taken.

Members of the Legislative Assembly, clerks, Pages and members of the public in the Speaker's gallery; I would like to break with tradition today and ask the Sergeant-at-Arms to lower the Mace. Please stand.

Please be seated. I have asked the Mace to be lowered so that we may recognize this special moment. There is a tradition, that when we are in the House we concentrate only on House business. But today is different. Because today is the last day we will all be sitting in this House. Tomorrow, the Members from Nunavut will be leaving. They are going to prepare for the Nunavut celebrations in Iqaluit and some will take their place in the new Legislative Assembly of Nunavut.

And I think that it is fitting to take a moment today to recognize that this is the end of a very long journey. I would also like to mark this moment with the recognition in this House of some people who have made all of our jobs easier.

When I first became a Member of this Assembly on October 16, 1983, I was new and young,

--Laughter

bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. The Clerk at that time had started his job on March 3, 1983, only seven months before I got elected. He quickly became respected for his advice and personality. As the Clerk of this Assembly, Mr. David Hamilton has been the guardian of all of our affairs. He has been an advisor, coach, counsellor, referee, mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandmother and grandfather to all of us.

I have worked with Mr. Hamilton now for 16 years and naturally, as the Speaker, I rely on his continued good judgment for all activities. With division one week away, it would be a shame if we did not honour our own because there are a lot of deserving staff, but the recognition must first go to Mr. Hamilton for his years of service to this Chamber.

So, Mr. Hamilton, on behalf of all of the Members of both Territories, I would like to express our gratitude and thanks for all of your work and present to you a gift, which reflects our appreciation. Mr. Hamilton.

--Applause

Mr. Arlooktoo.

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

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Goo Arlooktoo Baffin South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am very honoured in joining you in recognising our Clerk and our friend, Mr. David Hamilton, who has served us so well for so many years. One thought that did occur to me when you were talking about Mr. Hamilton being our father and mother and grandfather and uncle, et cetera, was that it is not a well-known fact that my father's father was a Scotsman. He was a Hudson Bay trader who now rests peacefully behind the beautiful church in Fort Good Hope, but he was born very near where Mr. Hamilton was born. So we could be cousins.

--Laughter

I have been here for three and a half years as a Member, but before that I worked as one of the clerk's and Members' assistants for a number of years in the old Assembly and I have much to thank Mr. Hamilton for, for his guidance and for his honesty. I also wish to pay tribute to his lovely wife, Kate, who has been a nurse in the north for many, many years, and who has also recently been taking care of my children in the health area where she works, and we are very fond of her also. So with that, Mr. Speaker, I have many stories to tell about our little adventures, but many of them are not suitable for this House. I would like to join you, Mr. Speaker, in thanking Mr. Hamilton as well. Thank you.

--Applause

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mr. Ootes.

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

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Jake Ootes Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. For the information of our young people that are in here today, this is indeed a very historic day, because it marks two functions. One is the last day of the meeting of the Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories and those Members from the east who will be moving to Nunavut and this is our last day together. But, secondly, it is to honour the gentleman who has been our mainstay in this Legislative Assembly and has been our nemesis in many cases, and a great help to us. On behalf of all the Members on this very historic day, the last day during which our honourable colleagues from Nunavut will be in attendance here at the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Hamilton, I would like to thank you for your tremendous dedication and your commitment for the last four years that I have been here, but certainly many , many more years before that and the guidance that you have provided

for this particular House and the previous Assemblies, and Members of the Assembly.

Mr. Hamilton first came north on a whim and a fancy in 1970 and he said, pardon my language, why the heck not, and you children out there do not repeat me on that. He said that when he first applied for a job with the Hudson Bay Company, out of 500 applicants, he was the lucky one to be chosen and he first went to Fort Simpson, I understand, and then he went on to work as the settlement manager in Aklavik. He has worked in the eastern Arctic as well and in Cambridge Bay and some of the other communities. In 1980, Mr. Hamilton applied for the job as the clerk assistant of this Legislative Assembly in which he served for a period of time, and then he became the clerk. He went from a Bay clerk to the clerk in the House here and more appropriately called the Clark, according to Mr. Binx Remnant, one of his previous predecessors. For almost 20 years now, and through eight elected Assemblies he has worked with more than 100 different Members.

He has been generous, he has been very kind, and certainly he has been very patient. I have yet to see him lose his patience and he has seldom shown any kind of disrespect for any Member here. I would like to thank you, Mr. Hamilton, for your dedicated service for the many years and certainly, I would like to say a few words personally here; I came in four years ago and I would have been lost without your guidance. I truly mean that. It is wonderful to have someone with Mr. Hamilton's experience and knowledge to be able to go to and seek advice. He provides that sitting in committees as well. Quite often we are in a quandary as to what to do, and Mr. Hamilton's information that he puts forward, allows us to proceed again and to resolve our issues, differences and problems. I would like to thank you, Mr. Hamilton, for your many, many years of dedication. On behalf of all the Ordinary Members and I am sure, as the Honourable Goo Arlooktoo has said, on behalf of the Members and his Cabinet colleagues, thank you.

--Applause

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

As most Members know, Mr. Hamilton has worked tremendously hard for division and also on the work that was necessary for the elections to happen in Nunavut. The amount of time he spent away from home doing that and trying to also keep up with his duties here in Yellowknife. So there was a tremendous demand on Mr. Hamilton for the last one and a half years. It is very much appreciated. I forgot to give Mr. Hamilton his name tag. Mr. Hamilton.

--Applause

Now, Mr. Hamilton and I have grown old in this Assembly. But I have grown old with another person here as well. Ms. Sheila MacPherson has always been an inspiration. As our law clerk she has been direct and truthful in her advice to all of us. Her laughter and easy smile have been the bright spot on many a dark day. She is very much respected by the Members of this House and we know that she has a great love for her home of Iqaluit but we are grateful that she is going to remain with us here for the near future.

On behalf of all Members I would like to present Ms. MacPherson, my dear friend, with a gift for her work over the years.

--Applause

The present itself, there is also a book that I bought for Ms. MacPherson, out of my own pocket,

--Laughter

and it is called the Pleasure of the Crown. It is one of the best books that I have read on courtroom performance by governments in the litigation of aboriginal title. I think that it is fitting that it is presented to you. As well, Ms. MacPherson, you will notice that we have also included a pair of moccasins, if you would open it. I would like to let the Members know that in order to keep this as much a secret as possible I had to tell Mr. Hamilton I wanted Ms. MacPherson inside the chamber so I can present it to her and I told Ms. MacPherson I wanted her here because I had a present for Mr. Hamilton. It was sort of like trying to disguise everything. Anyway, there is a pair of moccasins in there. There is an old saying about walking in the shoes of another person. With this pair of moccasins we recognize your commitment to the Assembly, and we appreciate the fact that you have listened to all of us and have walked in all of our shoes over the years. Mahsi Cho.

--Applause

There are also two people sitting on either side of the chair, the clerk's sealskin chair, who deserve our recognition. As Clerk of the Committees, Mr. David Inch, has served this House well. He started in the Assembly on April 4, 1994. He was born and raised here in the North. His interests, work ethics and his helpful hints have been both welcome and appreciated in his time here. Mr. Inch has kept the committees running smoothly and the information and arrangements for all matters have always been in place. For that we thank you. Mr. Inch.

--Applause

The other individual is Mr. Doug Schauerte, our Deputy Clerk. I have known him since he first started and I have seen him adopt an aboriginal process of education in his role, which is learning by doing. As an aboriginal Member I have been impressed by his progress and I would like to say that I still maintain that hands-on learning achieves more than academics. On behalf of the Legislative Assembly, I would like to present you both with these gifts in appreciation for the work which you have done to help us reach this point.

--Applause

And now to our Members from Nunavut.

In 1965, the first aboriginal Member, Abe Okpik of Iqaluit, was appointed to the Council of the Northwest Territories. In September 19, 1966, the first elected aboriginal Member from the Northwest Territories took his seat in the Government of the Northwest Territories. His name was Simonee Michael and he was elected from the constituency of the eastern Arctic. All Members in this Legislative Assembly, aboriginal and non-aboriginal, from the east or from the west, from the High Arctic or from the South Slave, have followed in Mr. Simonee Michael's footsteps.

I would like to recognize these Members from Nunavut now and have them come up and accept these special gifts from the Legislative Assembly. The Honourable Goo Arlooktoo, MLA for Baffin South ,and Mr. Levi Barnabas, MLA for High Arctic.

--Applause

Mark Evaloarjuk, MLA for Ammituq; Honourable Kelvin NG, MLA for Kitikmeot; Mr. Kevin O'Brien, MLA for Kivallivik; Honourable Manitok Thompson, MLA from Aivilik; Honourable John Todd, MLA for Keewatin Central.

Recognizing those Members who are not here: Mr. Ed Picco, MLA for Iqaluit; Tommy Enuaraq, MLA for Baffin Central. A special thank you goes to my friend and the Deputy Speaker of this House, John Ningark, MLA for Natilikmiot.

On behalf of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories, I wish all of you well and I thank you for your many years of service in this Assembly. It has been a long journey with a happy ending and we look forward to many successes under your continued leadership in Nunavut.

I now ask the Sergeant-at-Arms to raise the Mace and declare this House in Order.

Please stand. Thank you. Orders of the day. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Mr. Arlooktoo.

Minister's Statement 21-13(7): Northwest Territories Electoral Boundaries
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 119

Goo Arlooktoo Baffin South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday, Members of this House passed a motion recommending that the government appeal the recent court decision on electoral boundaries. My Cabinet colleagues and I feel it is only right that we respond to the views expressed here yesterday. Mr. Speaker, when he presented his motion, Mr. Morin stated that it was imperative that this issue be resolved by a political decision, not by a court order. And Cabinet agrees that a political solution is necessary.

It is clear, from the statements in this House and from the various comments that have been made publicly, that no one likes the short time period we have been given by the court to resolve this issue, because we believe it will preclude a political solution.

I think we can all agree that everyone wants more time to deal with this. Mr. Speaker, our opinions differ only when it comes to finding a way to get more time. Some of the Members of this House, and some of the people outside the government, believe an appeal of the court decision is the right way to go.

Mr. Speaker, Cabinet has thought very carefully about this option. We have reviewed legal advice and we have come to the conclusion that the government does not have grounds to appeal the decision. Others may think differently, but that is the advice we have received and we trust in that advice. Therefore, we do not see any point in appealing the case only to be turned down by the Court of Appeal. That would be a waste of precious time and resources. In addition, Mr. Speaker, appealing the ruling puts us in the position of accepting a court order rather than working out a political solution.

That is not to say that other groups involved with this case should not appeal, if they think they have grounds to do so. The Aboriginal Summit, for example, may have a good legal argument that should be heard by the Court of Appeal. If the Summit wishes to take that argument to an appeal court, then the government will support their application to be heard and will assist them with legal costs. The government will do the same for the other intervenors.

Some people may ask why the government does not appeal on behalf of the Aboriginal Summit. Mr. Speaker, part of the Summit's argument to the court was that the territorial government is illegitimate. As the government that represents the interests of all Northwest Territories residents, how could we agree with that?

Mr. Speaker, after careful consideration of all our options, Cabinet concluded that the best course of action was to introduce legislation to amend the electoral boundaries, and then to apply to the court for more time.

We have introduced Bill 15 and it has been referred to committee for consideration. Mr. Speaker, Cabinet has absolutely no desire to ram legislation through this House just to meet a court-ordered deadline. The extension we are requesting would allow Bill 15 to be reviewed in the same way as any other piece of legislation. We think it is only fair that the politicians and the residents of the Northwest Territories be given the normal amount of time to review and comment on this extremely important bill.

Our application for an extension will be heard on Monday morning at approximately 11:00 a.m. in open court. Everyone is welcome to come listen to the case. I would also like to advise this House that, if application on Monday is not successful, we will immediately go to the Court of Appeal to ask it to grant an extension.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, it seems clear that there is a desire for more time to deal with the electoral boundaries issue. There are differences of opinion in how to get more time and the Cabinet respects those different opinions. We are proceeding, based on sound legal advice and serious reflection, in the way we believe is best. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 21-13(7): Northwest Territories Electoral Boundaries
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. At this time I would like to recognize in the gallery some students. I do not know who are the students and who are not, but everyone looks so young up there, I am not too sure, but one of the classes is Mr. Bunin's, class of grade 5, and the other is Mrs. Tricoteux's, class of grade 6 and they are from Range Lake North School. Welcome to the Assembly.

--Applause

Ministers' statements. Ms. Thompson.

Minister's Statement 22-13(7): Territorial Strategy For Community Fire Protection
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 120

Manitok Thompson Aivilik

Mr. Speaker, on two other occasions I advised this House that there is a real need for change in the area of community fire protection. Consistently high rates of fire loss, including the loss of life and the loss of major public buildings in communities across the north continue to illustrate this point. Mr. Speaker, our fire loss statistics are still well above the national average. These high rates jeopardize the availability of reasonable insurance coverage, not to mention the risk to human life. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report that the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs has developed a Territorial Strategy for Community Fire Protection. This protection strategy is the best approach to introducing changes to the current fire protection system. Areas requiring immediate attention are included in the department's business plan for the fiscal year 1999-2000. For future years, MACA will work with its stakeholders to determine the fire prevention needs of communities.

Mr. Speaker, the department is focused on improving current conditions. Changes include additional firefighter training, financial support to communities, fire inspections and fire prevention. Communities will be supported as they develop proper control systems to make sure construction projects meet fire safety requirements. MACA works with the Northwest Territories Fire Chiefs Association to provide fire- fighter training programs for community volunteers and professional firefighters. It must be pointed out that this government is only one of the partners involved in improving the overall condition of the Northwest Territories fire protection system. Communities and local fire departments also play a critical role in maintaining adequate fire protection. Elected officials and community fire chiefs can also provide the leadership to guide the development and maintenance of effective fire departments.

Mr. Speaker, the department needs the support of key stakeholders in finding solutions to improve fire protection at the local level. Since most fires can be prevented, an important part of the strategy includes the continuation of public education campaigns. When lives and property are at risk, it is everyone's responsibility to help find solutions. Fire prevention must be a priority for communities, parents and families as well as government.

Mr. Speaker, MACA will continue to work with its partners in fire prevention to improve the overall fire protection system. I am confident that the Territorial Strategy for Community Fire Protection is the step in the right direction. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 22-13(7): Territorial Strategy For Community Fire Protection
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 120

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Ministers' statements. Mr. Roland.

Minister's Statement 23-13(7): Transportation Of Dangerous Goods Report For 1998
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Floyd Roland Inuvik

Mr. Speaker, later this afternoon, at the appropriate time, I will table the Department of Transportation's 1998 Transportation of Dangerous Goods Report.

Section 62 of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act requires that the Minister of Transportation table an annual report in the Legislative Assembly on the department's activities under the legislation.

The report for 1998 shows a decrease from 1997 in the movement of dangerous goods, largely hydrocarbon fuels, diesel and gasoline, over the territorial highway system. The report attributes the drop in dangerous goods traffic to the completion of the construction phase of BHP's Ekati diamond mine.

There were three reportable spills of dangerous goods on the highway system in 1998. All three involved the transportation of fuel oil. The circumstances were very similar. They involved a total of 16,000 litres of spilled product. All three occurred during the winter months. The Department of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development's environmental protection division reported that the spill containment and cleanup was satisfactory and complete.

Of the 5,464 trucks carrying dangerous goods that were monitored by the department's highway patrol officers, there were only 13 infractions of the act. The infractions involved improper markings displayed on the vehicles and improper documentation of the dangerous products. They resulted in the issuing of five summary offence tickets and eight written warnings.

Mr. Speaker, I believe the annual reporting requirement in the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act helps to satisfy this Assembly and the general public that hazardous products move safely and responsibly on our highway system. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 23-13(7): Transportation Of Dangerous Goods Report For 1998
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Ministers' statements. Mr. Dent.

Minister's Statement 24-13(7): Towards Excellence: A Report On Education In The Northwest Territories
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to speak today about the recently published 1996-97 edition of Towards Excellence: A Report on Education in the Northwest Territories.

This report gives education staff, parents, students and the public a set of indicators to help measure the progress of our kindergarten through grade 12 system.

The first indicators report was published last February and includes data on the school system up to 1994-95. That baseline document introduced 30 indicators of community access to quality programs, courses and supports. Mr. Speaker, the indicators in this second edition are similar, and can be compared to the baseline to help assess how well our education system is working. In response to comments from educators, parents, students and members of this Assembly, some new indicators have been added to help measure student achievement.

The report includes data from the whole Northwest Territories as well as a breakdown for Nunavut and the West. In the future, it will be up to each territory to publish its own report. Publishing reports like this helps us to be more accountable to the people we serve.

I encourage Members to share these reports with your constituents. Copies will also be available from district education authorities and councils, community learning centres and libraries, and the Department of Education, Culture and Employment's website. I look forward to hearing from Members and people across the north when everyone has had the opportunity to review and compare the reports. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Minister's Statement 24-13(7): Towards Excellence: A Report On Education In The Northwest Territories
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Ministers' statements. Mr. Arlooktoo.