This is page numbers 273 - 302 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 chairman.

Topics

Members Present

Honourable Jim Antoine, Honourable Charles Dent, Mr. Erasmus, Honourable Sam Gargan, Mrs. Groenewegen, Mr. Henry, Honourable Stephen Kakfwi, Mr. Krutko, Honourable Michael Miltenberger, Mr. Morin, Mr. Ootes, Mr. Rabesca, Honourable Floyd Roland, Honourable Vince Steen.

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 273

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Minister's Statement 40-13(7): Discontinuing The Internal Competition Process
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 273

Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to announce that Cabinet has decided to discontinue the internal competition process.

--Applause

In March 1998, the government approved a no layoff policy to support stability in the public service. Downsizing was still required as a result of division of the Northwest Territories. The internal competition process was put in place in August 1998 to create mobility for GNWT employees so that layoffs would not be required as a result of this downsizing.

A review of the internal competition process has been completed. It is clear that a continuation of this process will not provide any additional benefit in terms of eliminating positions affected by division. Therefore, the government will discontinue the internal competition process effective April 26, 1999.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to express my continued confidence in the skills and abilities of GNWT employees. Returning to open competitions will allow us to recruit the best people from within our own ranks and from the labour force outside the public service. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Minister's Statement 40-13(7): Discontinuing The Internal Competition Process
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 273

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Ministers' statements. Mr. Steen.

Minister's Statement 41-13(7): Report On Public Works And Services Staff Performance
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 273

Vince Steen Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, last week, Members of this House asked several questions concerning a review being done into the processes followed by employees of the Department of Public Works and Services. I made a commitment at that time to consider making this report available to Members once it became available.

Mr. Speaker, the focus of this review was the manner in which PWS employees performed their duties in relation to the lease of office space in Fort Resolution, the renewal of the lease for the Lahm Ridge Tower, and in the preparation of ministerial briefings. In summary, Mr. Speaker, Mr. McLennan has concluded in his report that PWS employees substantially complied with the processes and policies of the Government of the Northwest Territories in the conduct of their duties. Mr. Speaker, I will be tabling this document at the appropriate time today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Minister's Statement 41-13(7): Report On Public Works And Services Staff Performance
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 273

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Ministers' statements. Mr. Miltenberger.

Minister's Statement 42-13(7): Aurora College Jewellery And Metalwork Program
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 273

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight a successful program that is helping northerners combine artistic and business training. The Jewellery and Metalwork Program is a partnership between Aurora College, Nunavut Arctic College and the Dogrib Community Services Board. It has been operating out of a classroom in the Chief Jimmy Bruneau School and is staffed by experienced instructors and professional jewellers.

Ten students from Rae-Edzo have taken part in the program since January. They have learned design, small business operations and metalsmithing techniques for silver, brass and copper jewellery. Mr. Speaker, one of the many important aspects of this program is the opportunity it provides these young people to eventually participate in the secondary diamond industry. Aurora College is currently working with the department to identify funding through Labour Market Initiatives to continue this program in the fall. The next session would focus on lapidary and facetting skills. It is hoped that indicator stones from kimberlite pipes could be cut, polished and incorporated into the students' work.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to invite all Members and the public to support this program by attending the students show later today. They will be exhibiting their work between 3:00 pm and 8:00 p.m. at the Aurora College campus here in Yellowknife. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Minister's Statement 42-13(7): Aurora College Jewellery And Metalwork Program
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 273

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members'

statements. Mr. Krutko.

Member's Statement 113-13(7): Reductions To NWT Development Corporation Programs
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 274

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Regarding the Budget Address, it stated that there will be no cuts to the existing programs in the Northwest Territories. Mr. Speaker, I do have some concerns regarding the cuts that are taking place in the government and, especially in the area of the NWT Development Corporation. In particular, Mr. Speaker, my concerns are in regard to two particular projects which are in my riding, the Fort McPherson Tent and Canvas Shop and the Aklavik - Tuktoyaktuk Fur Limited project. Mr. Speaker, these two projects are critical to the economic well- being of those two communities. It not only brings pride to those individuals working there, but it also gives them a feel for being respected for work that they do.

Mr. Speaker, I think it is essential that this government not only look at how it can improve our economies but also try to expand these economies. In both cases in Aklavik and Fort McPherson, the work- force is getting older, we have to spend more money on training new people and bringing them into that particular sector. Also, Mr Speaker, in meeting with the managers of the Fort McPherson Canvas Shop and the Aklavik Fur Shop, that one of the big concerns that they have is their involvement in what goes on within the Business Development Corporation and how they are monitoring these two projects.

Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of concerns raised about their involvement in what is happening in this particular department. At no time in the last three years, there has been no effort made by this department or the Minister of this portfolio to make an attempt to go into these two fine businesses that we have in place in Fort McPherson and Aklavik to see exactly who is making these canvas bags and the fur hats and see the pride of those people that do work on these specific projects. Mr. Speaker, the concern I have is that there is talk about revising or restructuring this particular corporation or organization and I feel this may threaten the jobs of these people in my riding. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Member's Statement 113-13(7): Reductions To NWT Development Corporation Programs
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 274

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Members' statements. Mr. Rabesca.

Member's Statement 114-13(7): Recognition Of Successful Bid By Dechi Laot'l Holdings Limited
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 274

James Rabesca North Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate the community of Wekweti and their newly formed company Dechi Laot'l Holdings Limited for the successful bid that was award recently to build the Wekweti fire hall. This newly formed company was able to successfully compete against six other contractors. The total contract price for the completion of the Wekweti fire hall came in at $470,137 and the interesting thing about this contract is the fact that the Dechi Laot'l Holdings Limited won it. This is very good news for the community of Wekweti as it will give a number of residents in the community employment and also will provide a boost in the local economy. I again would like to congratulate the community and its company for a job well done. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Member's Statement 114-13(7): Recognition Of Successful Bid By Dechi Laot'l Holdings Limited
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 274

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Members' statements. Mr. Ootes.

Member's Statement 115-13(7): Transfer Of Federal Positions To Nwt
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 274

Jake Ootes Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I see a lot of similarities, Mr. Speaker, between our government and the federal government. Both do studies, consultations and produce reports and produce only meagre meat and potatoes. My comments today though, will be in regard to the federal government, Mr. Speaker. Two years ago we considered a motion that I put forward before the House and passed it that we have a comprehensive list developed of federal positions that are dedicated to policy and development in the Northwest Territories of positions located in the south and these positions be repositioned here in the North. There are hundreds of positions all across Canada better placed here in the Northwest Territories and the Nunavut areas. No longer should important decisions be left to those in southern Canada who do not have to live with the consequences of their decisions and their actions.

In response to our motion, Mr. Speaker, DIAND hired a consulting firm to assess potential transfers. A report was issued in July of 1998 and it confirmed that there is solid rationale of a transfer of federal positions. In December, we were informed by the Deputy Premier that of the three federal government departments with significant staff dedicated to the north, such as DIAND, Environment and Fisheries and Oceans, it is likely that only staff from the Northern Affairs program of DIAND would be considered. Now the Northern Affairs Program has 135 positions, but only 80 to 90 might be classified as solely dedicated to work in the north. Last fall the federal government signed a devolution protocol with the government of the Yukon and reached agreement to transfer a potential 20 NAP positions. Yet DIAND has been silent on the transfer with respect to the Northwest Territories. There are hundreds of jobs that should be located in the north. I say to the federal government, stop spending those thousands of dollars on studies and just get on with it and give us some meat and potatoes.

--Applause

Member's Statement 115-13(7): Transfer Of Federal Positions To Nwt
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 274

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Members' statements. Mr. Henry.