This is page numbers 135 - 148 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 decision.

Topics

Member's Statement 71-13(7): Rationale For Supporting Appeal Of Electoral Boundaries Decision
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 137

Roy Erasmus Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the other day I voted in favour of a motion to appeal the Friends of Democracy decision. Of course, that debate was not televised in the House that night and I was not interviewed as to why I had made that decision although other constitutional experts from the south were. I just saw a paper which says Roy Erasmus votes for appeal, but, of course, again, does not explain why. Mr. Speaker, a while back I voted in favour of more seats for Yellowknife and I still believe that it probably should receive more seats, but this issue goes well beyond how many seats Yellowknife or Hay River or any community gets. It is about how aboriginal and treaty rights, indeed, how the rights of every citizen in the NWT are supposed to be interpreted. Mr. Speaker, the Supreme Court of Canada is very clear. It has ruled that the constitution is to be read as a whole, that various provisions of the Charter must be read together, not in isolation of each other. In this case, Justice de Weerdt said: he was

Unpersuaded that section 3 of the Charter is in any sense to be understood as qualified as section 25 of the Charter or section 35 of the Constitutional Act, 1982, at least in the present case.

Mr. Speaker, this is tantamount to reading sections 25 and 35 out of the Charter altogether. On Wednesday I tabled a 50-page paper that I had researched and wrote in law school and it describes how sections 25 and 35 are supposed to work. You simply cannot read any individual rights provided in section 3 in isolation from section 25 or 35. In other words, to me this is not about his final decision, but how he arrived at it. I indicated at the time that I know some people will see this as a vote against Yellowknife, but it was not. It was about getting rights interpreted in a proper manner. Not just Treaty and aboriginal rights, but the individual rights emanating from section 3 also. Mr. Speaker, I also indicated that I will be seeking re-election and I knew how I voted on this issue would likely hurt me. I also knew that my constituents expect me to live up to the oath that I swore November, 1995, when I vowed to execute the trust reposed in me to the best of my skill and knowledge, not to do what is easy to try to reassure my re-election. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Member's Statement 71-13(7): Rationale For Supporting Appeal Of Electoral Boundaries Decision
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 137

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Member's Statement 71-13(7): Rationale For Supporting Appeal Of Electoral Boundaries Decision
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 137

Roy Erasmus Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I also indicated during the debate that during my campaign I said that I would look at both sides of an issue and do what I thought was right, not do what was best for the career of Roy Erasmus. Mr. Speaker, in this case...

--Applause

Mr. Speaker, in this case I believe this is a very dangerous precedent, that this government cannot allow it to stay intact for other courts to follow. I voted for a second judicial opinion from a higher court to get a proper ruling on what the Charter rights are and how they are to be interpreted in the future. Mr. Speaker, this government has a fiduciary duty, indeed, a legal duty to protect the interests of the aboriginal people. When somethng happens we are supposed to act to rectify that. Not only aboriginal and Treaty rights are involved here. It involves the rights of every citizen in the NWT. If anybody wants to hold it against me for voting to get their rights clarified, for voting to do what I feel this government is legally obligated to do, so be it. I will live with that. I urge you first to read the March 24 Hansard, page 187 holds my reasoning for the way I voted. Please also give me a call if you wish me to clarify my position. Thank you.

--Applause

Member's Statement 71-13(7): Rationale For Supporting Appeal Of Electoral Boundaries Decision
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 138

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Members' statements. Mr. Miltenberger.

Member's Statement 72-13(7): Accreditation Of The Fort Smith Health And Social Services Board
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 138

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to rise to congratulate the Fort Smith Health and Social Services Board which just received three year accreditation from the Canadian Council on Health Facilities Accreditation. This is a nationally accrediting body, it has a three year accreditation as one of its highest honours. This is the first time in about ten years that the community of Fort Smith and the health centre has managed to achieve that honour. It means that the people of Fort Smith are in good hands when it comes to good health services.

Mr. Speaker, this is a credit to the board which is made up of equal representation from the town, the Metis and the band under the able chairmanship of Mr. Roy Scott and we have a very qualified and dedicated staff under the able direction of Mr. Brent Whitford. Mr. Speaker, I think this award speaks volumes to the benefit of working together, of cooperating, of resolving issues and taking control of programs at the community level. It is a real credit to the people of Fort Smith and I would hope that we would continue to use those kind of principles as well in this House as we try to resolve these very thorny issues that are before us. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Member's Statement 72-13(7): Accreditation Of The Fort Smith Health And Social Services Board
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 138

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Members' statements. Mr. Rabesca.

Member's Statement 73-13(7): Applauding The Efforts Of Local Rcmp
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 138

James Rabesca North Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today, Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk briefly about the change in attitude in dealing with the RCMP. I would like to give Members an example of how the relationship is changing between the community and the RCMP. Over the holiday season in December of 1998, the RCMP and the chief and mayor got together to see how we could limit the amount of alcohol coming into Rae-Edzo, for the purpose of bootlegging. It was decided that the RCMP would have checkstops set up and would stop all vehicles. This one step alone on New Year's Eve prevented approximately $5,000 worth of alcohol from entering the community.

The local RCMP are getting out into the communities more and encouraging residents to call if they know of people bringing in large quantities of alcohol. This again is having a positive affect by reducing the amount of alcohol coming into the communities. These two initiatives are having a very positive impact on the community. Less alcohol in the community means more residents are looking after their families and realizing the need for alcohol is not the best thing.

In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to applaud the efforts the local RCMP are doing to make my home community a better and safer place to live for our children and families. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Member's Statement 73-13(7): Applauding The Efforts Of Local Rcmp
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 138

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Members' statements. Mr. Roland.

Member's Statement 74-13(7): Caribou Carnival Queen Hilda Camirand
Item 3: Members' Statements

March 26th, 1999

Page 138

Floyd Roland Inuvik

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this is the season of carnivals in the territories. We know, for example, this weekend Caribou Carnival is being held in this fine city. As well, back home in my area the Muskrat Jamboree is being held. Today I stand up and know that being Friday that I will take a lighthearted approach to my Member's statement. I was informed this morning, Mr. Speaker, that someone I work with, Ms. Hilda Camirand, was the successful candidate to Queen of Caribou Carnival.

--Applause

I wonder how she is going to wave to all the people with her arm in a cast. I wish her luck, I know she will do the carnival very good and she is a hard worker so she will do well out there. Just make sure she puts spikes on her shoes so she doesn't slip once again. I hope she will be back to work early next week. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Member's Statement 74-13(7): Caribou Carnival Queen Hilda Camirand
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 138

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Members' statements. Mrs. Groenewegen.

Member's Statement 75-13(7): Clarification Of Supreme Court Decision On Electoral Boundaries
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 138

Jane Groenewegen Hay River

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, with only six days left to division I would like to set the record straight. Putting aside the issues of whether to appeal or not to appeal, the decision of Justice de Weerdt on the matter of our Electoral Boundaries and the aboriginal rights issue, I believe that we, the 14 Members who on April 1st will be the NWT Legislative Assembly, will not be unconstitutional. I believe that Justice de Weerdt would never intend for the Legislative Assembly and its duly elected Members to be put into a constitutional vacuum. I believe that a clarification should have been sought of his decision on the matter of the April 1st deadline. Mr. Speaker, I am of the opinion that, in declaring the three electoral districts of Yellowknife North, Yellowknife South and Hay River to be invalid and without force or effect in law, that Justice de Weerdt, knowing that the next general election was to be held in October, 1999, set the April 1st date to meet a six-month implementation provision in the Elections Act.

Mr. Speaker, Justice de Weerdt wanted the Legislative Assembly to fix the problem of representation in time for the next election and that any changes that were made to our boundaries would normally not come into effect until after the dissolution of this Assembly. So, Mr. Speaker, I feel we should seek clarification from Justice de Weerdt that this is what he meant. I also suggest we do indeed seek an extension of the time as this Legislative Assembly has, in good faith, introduced Bill 15 that is before a standing committee of this House. This will allow for constructive input by all residents and will be brought back for consideration of the Assembly. In the meantime, it is my understanding that on Monday morning at 11 o'clock legal counsel for our government will meet with Justice de Weerdt with a request to vary his order to allow us more time. Pending his decision, if we are unsuccessful, an appeal, not on the merits of the ruling, but regarding the timing of the judgment, will be immediately filed with the Appeals Court.

I want to make it clear that neither Bill 15 or the granting of a variance will affect the ability of the Aboriginal Summit to seek leave to appeal this ruling, and our advisors tell us that this opportunity would in all likelihood be granted. If we as legislators fail to show any movement on this court ruling, I think we could be judged by our electorate as being less than responsible. By failing to act, we would be allowing ourselves very little latitude to enact a political solution and will allow our options to be dictated by the courts. I do not believe that we should be abdicating our responsibility to the courts. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Member's Statement 75-13(7): Clarification Of Supreme Court Decision On Electoral Boundaries
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 139

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Members' statements. Mr. Henry

Member's Statement 76-13(7): Absence From The Vote On Appealing The Electoral Boundaries Division
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 139

Seamus Henry Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I wish to give my sincere apologies to my constituents for my absence from the House during Wednesday's vote on the motion put forward by the Member for Tu Nedhe. Mr. Speaker, I spoke to the motion on Wednesday, and my constituents know that I strongly opposed the motion. I intended to vote accordingly. Unfortunately, in this Assembly, many things are uncertain, and not the least of these is timing. I knew after my comments that there were Members who had yet to speak. As well, under our rules, the Member who moves the motion has the right to conclude the debate, and that Member can speak for up to 20 minutes. Therefore, I fully expected that once I finished my comments the debate would still be lengthy.

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, when I stepped out of the Assembly for a few minutes I missed the vote. My constituents know my position, but I do apologize to them that I was not able to be counted with the other Members who opposed this motion. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Member's Statement 76-13(7): Absence From The Vote On Appealing The Electoral Boundaries Division
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 139

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Members' Statement. Mr. Antoine.

Member's Statement 77-13(7): Farewell To Nunavut Colleagues
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 139

Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the people I represent in the six communities of Nahendeh, since it will be the last time we sit together in the 13th Assembly with our colleagues from Nunavut, with division coming around on the first of April, I want to express my appreciation. I have been here eight years with some of the Members here and I think that it has been a very good learning experience for me, learning from the Members from Nunavut, working with them, with the amount of dedication and work that they put into representing their own constituents. It is with mixed feelings today that I stand here and say thank you to the Members that have represented the constituency and the territory of Nunavut now.

I want to say, mahsi (translation, translator not available). I do not have a translator today even though it is aboriginal language month. I am just saying in my own language that we are going to continue to be neighbours, that we will continue to see each other and we will be working with each other for the years in the future. Your Premier-elect was here last week, Paul Okalik. We already had some discussions about how we should work together, so I think there is opportunity in the future that even though division is going to happen that we will continue to be neighbours and will continue to work together. With that I would like to thank you. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.