Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to update this House on the activities that are taking place in the Northwest Territories to celebrate the International Year of Older Persons, 1999. The International Year of Older Persons has been designated by the United Nations to recognize the important role seniors play in society. The Canadian theme for the year is, Canada, a Society for All Ages.
We are pleased to have the Honourable Flora McDonald with us today. Ms. McDonald is the co-chair of the Canada Coordinating Committee for the International Year of Older Persons. Her co-chair, Mr. Don Harron, is unable to be in the NWT to join in today's celebrations. The Canada Coordinating Committee, which has representation from all the provinces and territories, was formed to encourage participation in activities of the International Year of Older Persons. The committee also helps create sponsorships, partnerships and links among the public, voluntary and private sectors. It encourages collaboration, information exchanges and project coordination across Canada. The committee monitors and evaluates outcomes of the year and reports on progress to the Ministers responsible for Seniors.
Mr. Speaker, the International Year of Older Persons gives us an excellent opportunity to talk about issues relating to aging. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the many valuable contributions seniors and elders have made, and continue to make every day. Activities are well underway all over Canada, as well as in the Northwest Territories. The NWT/Nunavut Coordinating Committee has been established to coordinate and promote activities that support relationships between the generations and honour our elders.
The NWT/Nunavut representative to the Canada Coordinating Committee is the Right Reverend John Sperry. Bishop Sperry's many years serving the people of the north and his ability to speak both English and Inuktitut, make him a most suitable and effective representative for both the NWT and Nunavut. Many communities have already started to celebrate the International Year of Older Persons. For example, Inuvik has planned a number of activities. These activities include having feasts, dances, games and berry picking events and discussions on nutrition. In Yellowknife, the Yellowknife Seniors' Society is celebrating the year by producing a book of history and stories which reflect the early days of Yellowknifers. This book will not only be an interesting read, but will also be an educational resource for school children.
All Northerners over the age of 60 will receive a special commemorative pin. People over the age of 80 will also receive special recognition and gifts. One of the most exciting events being undertaken in Canada and the Northwest Territories is an oral history project. Elders and seniors will be interviewed and their stories will be recorded on audio or videocassettes by students and other members of the community. The coordinating committee will provide prizes for the best submissions. These will be forwarded to a national competition.
Mr. Speaker, this is but a small sketch of the activities that are underway in the Northwest Territories in honour of the International Year of Older Persons. I would like to encourage NWT communities to take part in activities that will strengthen harmony between generations, and honour our elders. We can support International Year of Older Persons' activities by doing simple things such as hosting a family reunion, volunteering time to support activities for seniors, encouraging information sharing across the generations, and supporting projects to make communities safe for elders.
I am also pleased to announce that I will be presenting a discussion paper on older women's issues at the meeting of Ministers responsible for Seniors, which is to take place in St. John's, Newfoundland, on June 28. The discussion paper was prepared by the Department of Health and Social Services in consultation with other provincial and territorial governments. It highlights the significant barriers to well-being faced by older women. In closing, Mr. Speaker, I ask that we all take the opportunity to celebrate and promote the International Year of Older Persons and to honour our elders. Thank you. Mahsi cho.