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.

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Member's Statement 62-13(7): Farewell To Nunavut Colleagues
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 125

Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I too, would like to take this occasion to say a few words to those Members who are departing, but before that, Mrs. Groenewegen, I had a little bit of concern when this afternoon started. I thought the west had come out on the short end of the stick when it came to division of assets and liabilities.

--Laughter

I was a touch concerned.

I too, would like to express my thanks to Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Schauerte and Mr. Inch as they have very ably served all of us in this House. I know I could not have accomplished nearly as much as I have without their assistance.

Mr. Speaker, in a few days this House will change significantly with the Members from Nunavut leaving us. I know that many of the Nunavut Members are going on to form a new government. They face many challenges associated with setting up a new administration. I talked to some of the Members who have been elected to Cabinet and they have expressed to me how they realize now that there is still an immense amount of work to do to get the administration in place. I know that very soon they will find out, Mr. Ng, that there is never enough money. I am sure that in spite of the fiscal negotiations that have taken place it will continue to be a challenge. I am confident, Mr. Speaker, that the people who are moving on to the government and the people of Nunavut are ready to face those challenges. I am also sure that they will live up to the expectations of the residents of Nunavut.

Mr. Speaker, the interesting thing that will happen in this chamber is that I think the tenor of the debate will change somewhat. Having the Nunavut Members here with us has affected the style of our debates in this House. Some have said they think our debates will become more focused; but perhaps they will become more fractured, I do not know. We will have to work to find some way to bring back the stabilizing influence that will be missed. Mr. Speaker, I certainly will miss our colleagues from Nunavut. I am also going to miss the opportunities that being part of a bigger territory has brought us all to travel across this immense and beautiful part of Canada and visit with a unique and varied population. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Member's Statement 62-13(7): Farewell To Nunavut Colleagues
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 125

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Member for Yellowknife Frame Lake is seeking unanimous consent to conclude his statement. Are there any nays? There are no nays. You have unanimous consent, Mr. Dent.

Member's Statement 62-13(7): Farewell To Nunavut Colleagues
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 125

Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to, in particular, the Nunavut Members of Cabinet for the support and assistance that they have given me over the past three and a half years. There have been difficult times and we have worked well as a team together. Ms. Thompson, in particular, has found many occasions to challenge me and hold my feet to the fire when it comes time for discussion in Cabinet. I will miss her comments in those early morning meetings. Mr. Speaker, I will also miss the friendship

with the Ordinary Members from Nunavut and, in particular, Mr. Ningark, who was a Member in the previous Assembly with us and has always provided sage advice. In conclusion I would like to wish our friends, the Members from Nunavut, the very best in whatever capacity they will or choose to serve the residents of Nunavut, or move on to retirement, as Mr. Ningark claims he is going to do. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Member's Statement 62-13(7): Farewell To Nunavut Colleagues
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 126

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Members' statements. Mr. Steen.

Member's Statement 63-13(7): Farewell To Nunavut Colleagues
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 126

Vince Steen Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my constituents in Nunakput I would like to say farewell to those Members from Nunavut who will be leaving tomorrow. My constituents, I am sure, appreciate the help the Members from Nunavut have shown my constituents' communities obtaining services as needed. I think, Mr. Speaker, that my constituents realize that the Members from Nunavut, it was easy to convince them of the situations in my community because we lived in the same type of weather conditions, we experienced the same type of problems north of the treeline. I do not know, in the future, whether this is going to have an impact in my community's ability to obtain the same amount of good services, but I wish the Members from Nunavut know that we did appreciate your understanding and assistance.

I appreciated working on the Nunavut Caucus, although I was a Member of the west. I was still allowed to sit as a Member of Caucus and I appreciated working with them. I compliment the Nunavut Caucus and the Members of the Nunavut Caucus for their ability to compromise. I cannot say the same for the Western Caucus, unfortunately.

--Laughter

Perhaps some of the wisdom, experience and ability to compromise will be left behind and the west will be able to pick it up and use it to their benefit. We definitely need it.

I ask for permission to finish my statement, Mr. Speaker.

Member's Statement 63-13(7): Farewell To Nunavut Colleagues
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 126

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Member for Nunakput is seeking unanimous consent to conclude his statement. Are there nays? There are no nays. Mr. Steen, you have unanimous consent.

Member's Statement 63-13(7): Farewell To Nunavut Colleagues
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 126

Vince Steen Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker and thank you, my colleagues. If I may finish my statement, Mr. Speaker, rather than recognize the Members by name and their connections or relationship with me over the three or four years, has all been favourable from my point of view. I thank them equally, all of them, for allowing me to work with them on the Nunavut Caucus in this House. It was a pleasure to work with them, Mr. Speaker. It would perhaps be appropriate for me to mention that when I first approached the House, I asked the previous Member that was representing Nunakput, Ms. Cournoyea, as to some advice and guidance as to how to conduct myself in this House and she advised me that one of the main things I should do is never to cross Mr. Hamilton. So, I have made a point of that in the last three or four years. I have not crossed Mr. Hamilton and it has been to my benefit, I believe. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Laughter

Member's Statement 63-13(7): Farewell To Nunavut Colleagues
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 126

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Members' statements. Ms. Thompson.

Member's Statement 64-13(7): Appreciation Of Support
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 126

Manitok Thompson Aivilik

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I was just going to say thank you very much and goodbye, I am going home tomorrow. I would just like to mention a few people who have helped me here while I have been here. The first person I would like to say thank you to and I do respect this man very much, as I have a lot of respect for David Hamilton. When I became a Minister, I was given the portfolio of Municipal and Community Affairs and I wanted to do my best for my Premier, Mr. Don Morin. I do appreciate all the advice and support he gave me. He just treated me like a human being, I was not treated like the only female on Cabinet. I am still not the only female in Nunavut so there is a lot more of us out there, we just cannot get to the seat very fast.

I would like to thank everyone that I have worked with, the staff, Mr. Hamilton, who I have a lot of respect for and all the research staff, the staff in my office, my past secretaries, and my executive assistants.

It seems to be graduation day for me today. I thought I was going to last for two or three months on Cabinet, but I have lasted this long and I do appreciate all the support I have received from my western colleagues and my Nunavut colleagues, more from my western colleagues because I did not really get along with some of my Nunavut colleagues. I hope we do get along better in the future government.

Anyway, I would also like to say thank you to Mark Evaloarjuk, I really appreciated his friendship, his understanding, his wisdom during Nunavut Caucus meetings, in and outside of the meetings. I guess, at this time, I also would like to thank my husband whom I really appreciate a lot and I have a lot of respect for. I think he is the only husband I know of who would play the guitar for his wife because she is too tired from travelling and needs a good sleep.

Just recently, my 15-year-old son Trevor, last year I guess he had learned to play the guitar and because of my travelling, I have not kept up with what has been happening at my home. Tom was away from town, I went to bed, and I heard somebody playing music and I did not realize, I thought it was a CD playing and I went out and it was my son playing the guitar for me so that I could have a good sleep. For that, I appreciate my boys and my husband. Without their support, I think I would have surely failed. We need a support system as women and I appreciate their support.

I really do get tired of being told that I am the only aboriginal woman and also the only woman in Nunavut. I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Member's Statement 64-13(7): Appreciation Of Support
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 126

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Member for Aivilik is seeking unanimous consent to conclude her statement. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Ms. Thompson, you have unanimous consent.

Member's Statement 64-13(7): Appreciation Of Support
Item 3: Members' Statements

March 25th, 1999

Page 127

Manitok Thompson Aivilik

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I was saying, I felt like a foreign object so many times when I am being told that I am the only woman in the Nunavut government, but the decision was made by the people of Nunavut. This is a decision that was made by the people and it has already been discussed and it should no longer be open for discussion.

I would like to thank every one of my staff who have been very supportive and loyal to me, I respect them highly. I have gotten to know a lot of them, which I have tried to do. I appreciate them for the last supper that they had for me, where I just started crying because I appreciated the time they had for me and the organizing that went into that supper. I would like to thank each and every one of the Nunavut Members who will be going to Nunavut with me and also to the western Members who voted me to be on Cabinet. Thank you for your confidence. I hope I have done you well and I hope I have served your communities well. I hope that I have served the aboriginal leaders here in the west well, I hope I have listened to them and understand their determination and aspirations.

I think we are lucky in a way that in Nunavut we have 80 percent aboriginal. I am very happy that we will be speaking our language in our Nunavut government. It is my language, I dream in it, I think in it, it is part of me and I will be so glad to speak without thinking. When you have to speak English, it is a little bit more difficult because you have to think before you speak so that you are not using the wrong words. When you are speaking your own language, it is like you are in paradise or something, it is a completely different world. I do not know what paradise is like, but it certainly feels like that to go home to Nunavut to speak in my own language, to live in my own culture, to govern the people with the language they understand, the majority of them. I do know it is going to be a public government, it is going to be the people's government. I do know that and everybody should feel welcome to our government.

There will be non-aboriginals in our government and they will be as welcomed as anybody else. We are partnerships, they are family to us, but when you speak your own language, it is a different experience.

Thank you so much, all the staff upstairs, all the staff downstairs. You have made my life a lot easier. I would like to say goodbye to all my friends that I have made here in Yellowknife, in the western Arctic. I would like to say thank you to my Mom and Dad, they believed in me, and the Ministers that I sat with, they believed in me also and I appreciate them. Whoever takes my seat here, all the luck. Thank you.

--Applause

Member's Statement 64-13(7): Appreciation Of Support
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 127

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Members' statements. Mr. Morin.

Member's Statement 65-13(7): Appreciation Of Colleagues And Staff
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 127

Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It gives me pleasure today to thank Mr. David Hamilton, the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, for all his help in the past 12 years. Mr. Hamilton, some may say that the most powerful person in this House is Premier Antoine, some may say Mr. Speaker, some may say it is the Minister of Finance. But we all know, it is Mr. David Hamilton. Mr. Hamilton has been a counsellor to us and has helped us in many ways, over the past 12 years for myself.

I can remember in the fall of 1987 when I first came to the Legislative Assembly, we were meeting in the Yellowknife Inn in those days and they had a Caucus meeting. It was the first Caucus meeting I had to go to. I had to buy a buy a suit too, before that, I remember that because I did not have any. There were 24 Members sitting around that Caucus and I did not know very many of them. It was the first time I had ever seen them. I walked in there and I saw all these guys in their suits and all these people dressed up and we had to sit there and introduce ourselves. I was so nervous and I said, what did you get yourself into, Donny? What are you doing here with all these smart people. I found out very quickly that MLAs are human beings, Ministers are human beings, and they are normal people. They all have families, relatives, homes, and they have to work hard because they are public people. They have to work hard on behalf of their people and they are in the public eye all the time, but they are human beings.

So, Mr. Hamilton, you helped us many times. Twelve years in politics, you have good days and you have bad and with the Nunavut Members and all Members in this House, let me assure you, I have had more good days than bad days in politics.

Kelvin Ng. Mr. Ng is moving to Iqaluit. I remember when I first met Mr. Ng, he struck me as kind of a cheeky little guy, he kind of knew everything. This 13th Assembly, I was fortunate enough to serve as Premier and one of the jobs as Premier is to hand out portfolios. I would like to seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Member's Statement 65-13(7): Appreciation Of Colleagues And Staff
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 127

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Member for Tu Nedhe is seeking unanimous consent to conclude his statement. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Mr. Morin, you have unanimous consent.

Member's Statement 65-13(7): Appreciation Of Colleagues And Staff
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 127

Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Members and thank you, Mr. Speaker. One of your jobs as the Premier is to appoint the Ministers to their portfolios and you do that by meeting with them and finding out what their interest is. Mr. Ng came in and I knew Mr. Ng fairly well by now, and he says, I would like to have Health and Social Services. I said, well, good thing he is asking for it because nobody else wants it. It is too tough. Maybe we should check it out and see if he needs a psychiatrist first. Mr. Ng has served the people well in the Western Territory, the Nunavut territory, and all the people in the Northwest Territories. He is a hard-working Minister, very straightforward, very honest and he never says no to a challenge. Mr. Ng, it is an honour to have served in this House with you and even though you are moving to Iqaluit, in Nunavut, you will always be good friends with myself and my family.

Manitok Thompson. I remember when Ms. Thompson first came to the House in a by-election. We taught her everything about bird dogs, she said, myself and Jeannie Marie Jewell.

--Laughter

I remember when Ms. Thompson first got elected as Minister. She came in and her attitude was basically, well I am not quite sure of how to be a Minister. I am not quite sure how to do the job, so do not give me anything hard. There is no easy jobs as Ministers in the government. Ms. Thompson, you took on a responsibility of community governments in the whole Northwest Territories. You did an excellent job. You always brought sanity to the issues. You are a very strong- willed person and you have always worked hard for your people. Keep up the good work. It was a pleasure working with you.

I first met Mr. Arlooktoo when he was a Member's assistant in the Legislative Assembly. I used to sit next to his father in the 11th Assembly, I believe it was. I got to know Mr. Arlooktoo very well over the years. He has always had my respect and Mr. Arlooktoo as well, when he first got elected. I knew what it meant coming in green because I had been there. I was very nervous. Mr. Arlooktoo served in different capacities of Ministers in the government representing the whole Northwest Territories. Mr. Arlooktoo, you did an excellent job, you have grown so much in the past few years and I am proud to say you are my friend.

Mr. Ningark and his wife Celine are very special people. Mr. Ningark always brought a calmness and sanity to this House. You always knew that Mr. Ningark will be fair with everyone. Mr. Ningark, I thank you for working with you for the past many years. I wish you the best in your retirement. I know you have done a good job to represent your people and I thank you for your friendship.

I met Mr. Evaloarjuk and Mr. Barnabas in this Assembly. Mr. Evaloarjuk, I have not had the opportunity to get to know you very well, but I am impressed from what I have seen. The same as yourself, Mr. Barnabas, I know you will do a good job as the Speaker of the new Nunavut government. Keep up the good work. You are both very honourable people and it was a pleasure to have served with you.

What can you say about Mr. Picco. Mr. Picco is a great guy. Some may think, the public perception may have been that he was hammering at people or doing things, but we always got a kick out of him, he was so much fun. He is a good guy and his heart is in the right place. He is always thinking of the social issues and I hope him the best of luck as Minister of Health and Social Services in the Nunavut government. Good job for Mr. Picco and it was a pleasure serving him here with Mr. Picco.

I hope Mr. Enuaraq the best. Once again, a new Member, I never had an opportunity to know him well, but I did enjoy working with him.

I met Mr. O'Brien when he worked with the Housing Corporation. I never got to know Mr. O'Brien that well, because we have only worked for three short years together, but it has been a pleasure working with you and I hope you the best in the Nunavut government.

Mr. Todd is going to be hanging around for awhile. It has been a pleasure. I am going to say something about Mr. Todd at a later date. I am going to save him for last. I have worked very close with Mr. Todd over the years. Next week in the Legislative Assembly I will say goodbye to Mr. Todd.

Mr. Speaker, I hope I never missed anyone, but it has been a pleasure working with the Nunavut Caucus in this Legislative Assembly. Mr. Dent mentioned that the level of debate, the attitude in debate, just the atmosphere in this House will probably change when you guys go to Nunavut. I agree with him, it will probably change. I have appreciated, over the past 12 years, working with all the Nunavut Members. I know Mr. Pudluk, is not a Member here today, he is retired. He was my seatmate for four years in the Legislative Assembly. Mr. Pudluk, if you are listening, you taught me lots, thank you for your guidance and support. I would like to thank you all. I hope everyone the best of luck with the Nunavut government and I hope that we will see each other again. With that, mahsi cho.

--Applause