Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to direct my statement to the issue of seniors living in the Northwest Territories. Our senior citizens bring a special dimension to the quality of life in our communities. In Hay River we have a large contingent of seniors. They are involved in a diverse array of activities, volunteering in the schools, visiting in the hospital, delivering meals on wheels, supporting our service clubs with their efforts and much, much more.
They are organized politically. A force to be reckoned with you might say. They watch the proceedings of this government very carefully. In the near future, we are going to have a Youth Assembly. Young people from our communities will come here and take our seats in this Legislature. It would be very interesting to conduct an Elders Assembly and see what seniors would have to say about the many issues facing our new territory.
As senior citizens of our communities, they are the bastion of historic knowledge about us. If we take the time to listen, they have so many interesting things to tell us about the way things were and even the way things should be. We have benches in front of Riverview Lodge in downtown Hay River. I have enjoyed so much the times I have stopped to sit and chat with a senior that would be sitting there, someone like Lionel Gagnier or Maurice Hyland. Uncle Maurice, as we fondly called him, recently passed away and now I am especially glad for the opportunities I took to sit and visit with him.
I have said this before in this House, but too often we wait until a person has passed on before we stop to honour them. Yesterday I had lunch with Joe McBryan to hear all about his Dad's 80th birthday party. Joe was saying and I totally agree, we need to have more community barbecues, potluck dinners, informal gatherings, not necessarily with any special agenda, just to get together and visit and this would include our seniors.
I appreciate the special camaraderie I observe at the many community functions which our seniors attend. Besides their monthly meetings in Hay River, they also bowl together once a week. They just care about and look out for each other. In this the International Year of Older Persons, it would be good for every community in our territory to honour our seniors with a special community gathering so they will be reminded once again how important they are in our society.
Mr. Speaker, both of my parents are now deceased. When we were young, we were taught to respect our elders. My parents ran a small town, main street, meat market and grocery store. There were many seniors in our community, many, like when we were kids, we thought Saint Mary's was just one big retirement home. Our store took phone orders for groceries and delivered them to the homes. My Dad was the boss. He was a slave-driver, but my mother would send us off to deliver groceries. Mr. Speaker, I would like to seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement. Thank you.