This is page numbers 149 - 169 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 Jim Antoine, Honourable Goo Arlooktoo, Honourable Charles Dent, Mr. Erasmus, Mr. Evaloarjuk, Honourable Sam Gargan, Mrs. Groenewegen, Mr. Henry, Honourable Stephen Kakfwi, Mr. Krutko, Mr. Miltenberger, Mr. Morin, Mr. Ningark, Mr. Ootes, Mr. Rabesca, Honourable Floyd Roland, Mr. Steen, Honourable John Todd.

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 149

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Rabesca. Good afternoon. Orders of the day. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Mr. Antoine.

Minister's Statement 28-13(7): Western Boundaries
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to update Members on recent discussions with Mr. Justice de Weerdt. The parties spoke to Mr. Justice de Weerdt by conference call on Friday, March 26, 1999. We are all concerned about the April 1st deadline. I instructed my officials to seek an interim extension to the April 1st deadline to give us a comfort zone to work out a longer extension on the time. Mr. Justice de Weerdt agreed on Friday to an interim extension to April 10, 1999. In addition, a motion to extend that time further will now be heard by Mr. Justice de Weerdt in Yellowknife on Wednesday March 31, 1999. Open court will be held at approximately 10:00 a.m. to hear this motion. Everybody is welcome to come and listen to the case.

We have consistently said that the best decision for all residents of the Northwest Territories is to try to find a political solution. All parties seem to agree to that. We also agree that we have to buy some time to talk about that political solution. Hopefully, we will get that time on Wednesday. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Minister's Statement 28-13(7): Western Boundaries
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 149

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Ministers' statements. Mr. Antoine.

Minister's Statement 29-13(7): Resignation Of Ministers
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 149

Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Mr. Speaker, I wish to advise the House that I have received resignations, effective 5:00 p.m. today, from the Honourable John Todd and the Honourable Goo Arlooktoo. As Minister of Finance and Government House Leader, Mr. Todd has been a true leader during some of the most difficult years this government has faced. He has worked relentlessly to manage our limited resources in an environment full of challenging issues and demands on those resources. His vision, energy and his colourful personality will be missed.

Mr. Arlooktoo has continually displayed political skill and wisdom beyond his years. His quiet confidence and his sense of humour have been a stabilizing element in Cabinet. He has capably managed his portfolio responsibilities and has, on many occasions, demonstrated his leadership as Deputy Premier.

On behalf of Cabinet, I would like to say to these two Ministers that we are grateful for your work, your sacrifices and your inspiration and we wish you the best for the future. Mr. Speaker, I wish to advise the House that I will take over responsibility for their portfolios on an interim basis. Mahsi, Mr. speaker

--Applause

Minister's Statement 29-13(7): Resignation Of Ministers
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 149

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Ministers' statements. Mr. Kakfwi.

Minister's Statement 30-13(7): National Wildlife Week, April 4-10, 1999
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 149

Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Mr. Speaker, this is in regard to National Wildlife Week, April 4-10th. Mr. Speaker, the biggest threat to wildlife today is the loss of suitable habitat. In southern Canada, animals are being squeezed out of areas where they once flourished. Fortunately, wildlife in the Northwest Territories has not been threatened to the same extent. We have a unique opportunity in the north to be proactive in looking after our wildlife and its habitat.

Please join me in celebrating National Wildlife Week during April 4-10, 1999. This year's theme, Home is Where There is Habitat, reminds us that without sufficient food, water, shelter and space, wildlife simply cannot survive.

Many wildlife species travel great distances through a variety of habitats. For example, grizzly bears wander hundreds of kilometres looking for food while caribou travel vast distances during the annual migration. Even though wildlife species may not live permanently in an area of development, their needs must be considered in planning for any development. With growing interest in the resource development potential of the NWT, including oil, gas and minerals, it is increasingly important for us to remain good stewards of our wildlife and their habitat. The Protected Areas Strategy will help us maintain wildlife habitat by protecting wilderness and important traditional harvesting areas. As we enter our first year as the new Northwest Territories, we want to celebrate our wildlife and their habitats. National Wildlife Week provides an excellent opportunity to profile our rich wildlife resource and its importance in our northern culture. Thank you.

--Applause

Minister's Statement 30-13(7): National Wildlife Week, April 4-10, 1999
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 149

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Before we go to Members' statements I would like to begin by recognizing the Honourable John Todd, who unfortunately was not present last week when the name plates were presented by the Legislative Assembly to

the eastern Members. This was to recognize their services to the 13th Legislative Assembly. Mr. Todd, you will find your name plate in front of you and our appreciation attached to it. At the same time, Members from the western Northwest Territories will also find their name plates on their desk. This gift from the Legislative Assembly also recognizes your services and commitment to the issues of the continuing 13th Assembly. With that I will continue with the business of the House. Item 3, Members' statements. Mrs. Groenewegen.

Member's Statement 79-13(7): Cabinet Selection Reflections And Experiences
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 150

Jane Groenewegen Hay River

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mr. Miltenberger and Mr. Steen as the two Members elect to Cabinet today. I had them both over for supper last night and they were joking with me about whether or not the turkey was cooked and whether I was taking this opportunity to feed them so that I could poison them. I must confess, at the time I did not think it was necessary.

--Laughter

They kidded me about what time the Leadership Committee started today attempting to lead me to believe that it started later than it did. You might think them honourable men, but they also suggested that they might hijack some of the candidates on the way to the Legislature today and lock them up in a room with a television so they could follow the proceedings, but not get out until it was too late to vote.

All this talk of pranks and capers resulted in me having a terrible dream last night and this was what I really dreamed. I am not making this up. This is not a joke. I dreamed I was in Hay River trying to get to Yellowknife for the Cabinet selection. I was driving an old car and after loading it up to set out the door fell off. I then rushed to the airport to catch Buffalo Airways at 7:30 and in my dream it was just taking off the runway and it was only 7:27, three minutes ahead of schedule. I then called Landa Aviation to charter a flight, and Larry and Anne were away. The replacement pilot told me he could not fly me to Yellowknife, because his dog had just had puppies the night before. Just as I was resigning myself to the fact that, perhaps, I was not meant to be in Yellowknife today, I woke up and was pleasantly relieved to see that I was in Yellowknife. So as to avoid any unforeseen circumstances, such as hijackers, I left for the Legislature at 7:00 a.m. As the morning proceeded I realized that it might have been better if my nightmarish dream had in fact been a reality.

Seriously, everything turns out the way that it was meant to be. Now I do not have to be away from Hay River for the next six months, I do not have to move my office, I don't have to put my business into a blind trust, yet, and yahoo, I can spend the summer at home in my constituency. As I always believe, all things do work together for good.

Congratulations and thank you to all the candidates who had the courage to put their names forward and especially good wishes to Mr. Miltenberger and Mr. Steen. Thank you.

Member's Statement 79-13(7): Cabinet Selection Reflections And Experiences
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 150

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Members' statements. Mr. Ootes.

Member's Statement 80-13(7): Congratulations To Cabinet Members-elect
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 150

Jake Ootes Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would also like to add my congratulations to Mr. Steen and Mr. Miltenberger for being elevated to our exalted positions of Cabinet Ministers. I am confident they will do excellent work there and do an excellent job of representing all of us, Mr. Speaker. However, I would like to make reference to Mr. Steen's promise that he would continue to be one of the Ordinary Members in thought, and sometimes in practice. I think we should hold Mr. Steen to that, because we may, from time to time, need a vote on this side of the House. I think it is important for you to remember that, Mr. Steen, because it was a promise and I think there were Members that voted a specific way in considering that.

I would like to say, Mr. Speaker, that it was a pleasure to be able to take part in the leadership race. Certainly I think it was a good process and one that I enjoyed taking part in. Naturally I am disappointed I did not get elevated to that exalted position, however, there will be another race hopefully in November, in which hopefully I will be able to return and seek a position then.

That particular opportunity this morning gave me a chance, Mr. Speaker, to speak about a number of areas, and one was the need to address a program over the next ten years to address the needs of our youth. I see we have many of them in the House here today, and I think that is a critical area for us to address our concerns. After all, here sit the future leaders of the Northwest Territories. Here are the leaders in the next millennium. People who will be sitting in this House perhaps in ten or 15 years, perhaps in five years depending on their age. I think it is important for this government to dedicate itself to youth issues, youth programs and youth needs. Be they whatever they are, social areas, economic areas. That is what is really important, Mr. Speaker. I think everybody in the territories will agree with me if we do that. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Member's Statement 80-13(7): Congratulations To Cabinet Members-elect
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 150

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Members' statement. Mr. Miltenberger.

Member's Statement 81-13(7): Acknowledgement Of Colleagues' Support
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 150

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to take this one opportunity in three and a half years to say hello to my family back home. I will be hopefully home in the next day or so. I would like to thank my colleagues for the honour they have bestowed upon me, by electing me to Cabinet. I will work as hard as I have to, and as long as I have to, to do the job on behalf of all the people of the Northwest Territories. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Member's Statement 81-13(7): Acknowledgement Of Colleagues' Support
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 150

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Members' statements. Mr. Morin.