Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, Mr. Ootes has spoken in his Member's statement today about the serious issue of turnover rates in the ranks of northern educators. With increased pressures and diminishing resources for teachers to cope with, it may become rare in the future to see the kind of recognition which took place in Hay River last week.
A number of teachers and public servants were honoured at the 1998 Long Service Awards. I would like to make special mention of some of the teachers. A number received awards for five, ten and 15 years of service. Of course, this is an accomplishment and we appreciate all of our teachers in Hay River and the fact that solid, stable role models are still choosing education as a career. Mr. Speaker, I want to name the 20-year recipients: Robert White, Jennifer Turvey, Linda Hobson, Gladys Norwegian, Marilyn Carroll, Carol Grimm.
Support staff also play an integral role in the life of our schools so, it is important that we take note of the 20-year service awards that were presented to: Linda Atwell, Jun Lau-a, and also especially, Mabel Wright for 30 years of service. Mr. Speaker, if you think that eight staff members with 20 years service in a small community like Hay River is remarkable, let me tell you about Patricia Burnstad and Janet Fahl both receiving 25-year service awards.
Now we come to two of the institutions of education in Hay River; Mr. Peter Osted, and Mr. Romeo Gonzales, who were recognized for 30 years of service.
I have stated in this House before that Hay River has been extremely fortunate and when you add the combined years of teaching, the average number of years must be as high, if not higher, than most communities anywhere in Canada, let alone the Northwest Territories.
When we look at statistics in turnover rates in other communities, the national shortage rates, the increasing rate of burnout, combined with the recruitment efforts of the United States and the United Kingdom, we had better indeed take a very sober look at the resource we have in staff in northern communities like Hay River. If the pressures in the system in the north become too great, in years to come we will not be afforded the luxury of celebrating long service records such as we had last week. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.