This is page numbers 357 - 395 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 highway.

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Further Return To Question 139-13(7): Auditor General's Report On Development Corporation Operations
Question 139-13(7): Auditor General's Report On Development Corporation Operations
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 369

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Oral questions. Mr. Henry.

Question 140-13(7): Development Corporation Project Evaluation Criteria
Item 6: Oral Questions

April 27th, 1999

Page 369

Seamus Henry Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We have heard many questions posed to the Minister of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development, and I believe I was the only one who has not asked him any questions, so I would not want him to feel left out. So I will address my question to him, Mr. Speaker. The Minister and his officials, sometime ago, made a presentation to the Infrastructure and Resources Committee on the Development Corporation, which I found most informative. Mr. Speaker, it was clear then and it is even more clear in the Main Estimates that we are looking at that there is a lack of funds to support the present corporation's endeavour, not to mention looking at new programs. Mr. Speaker, my question to the Minister is, could the Minister tell the House how proposals for funding are evaluated for consideration by the corporation to joint venture with or to financially support? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 140-13(7): Development Corporation Project Evaluation Criteria
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 369

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Minister of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development, Mr. Kakfwi.

Return To Question 140-13(7): Development Corporation Project Evaluation Criteria
Question 140-13(7): Development Corporation Project Evaluation Criteria
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 369

Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I believe that there is some criteria that the Development Corporation uses to decide which projects to become involved in. What type of subsidiaries or initiatives that could be supported. For instance, we get involved in buying shares in certain businesses and we become partners in certain business initiatives.

How those decisions are made, I would have to provide that to Members at a later date as I am not privy to the exact criteria that are used. For instance, if subsidies are going to be provided, what is the percentage of the subsidy in relation to the overall cost of the operation. That is one of the issues that is going to be raised. As I said, some of the subsidies that we fund, all of them have subsidies that are approved to the level by the Financial Management Board. In some cases, the amount of funding that is directed by the Development Corporation to the subsidiaries has gone far beyond the level that was approved by the Financial Management Board. We are working on that to make sure we operate in a way that is acceptable to the FMB and to the Auditor General of Canada. Thank you.

Return To Question 140-13(7): Development Corporation Project Evaluation Criteria
Question 140-13(7): Development Corporation Project Evaluation Criteria
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 369

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Question period is over. Mr. Henry do you wish a final question? Supplementary, Mr. Henry.

Supplementary To Question 140-13(7): Development Corporation Project Evaluation Criteria
Question 140-13(7): Development Corporation Project Evaluation Criteria
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 369

Seamus Henry Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, we have heard many times about having funds evenly distributed in this House between the regions. Can the Minister tell us if the Development Corporation funds are evenly distributed through all the regions of the Northwest Territories? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Supplementary To Question 140-13(7): Development Corporation Project Evaluation Criteria
Question 140-13(7): Development Corporation Project Evaluation Criteria
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 369

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mr. Kakfwi.

Further Return To Question 140-13(7): Development Corporation Project Evaluation Criteria
Question 140-13(7): Development Corporation Project Evaluation Criteria
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 369

Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Some of the subsidiaries that we have operating in our communities require less than $100,000. For instance, one particular community would take $93,000 as an operating subsidy. Others would be approved for $380,000, in fact, in excess of $700,000 and the projections are even higher as to perhaps exceed $1 million. We are working to make sure that the subsidiaries operate within acceptable guidelines and that we are not taking money from other places in order to off-set the losses that some of them incur. That the subsidiaries should operate within an approved amount each given year and that if they are not, then it is the responsibility of the Development Corporation and the board to set up a plan to address this. As I have said earlier, there are other communities and other initiatives that could be funded if we shore up our present operations and make sure that they do not become a drain on the very limited resources we have at this time.

In response to the Member's question, we do not allocate on a regional basis or on a community basis. It is a first-come, first-served basis. The different subsidiaries have been set up so there is no way that we can say that it is not fair the way in which we disburse the funds that the Development Corporation has to operate with. Thank you.

Further Return To Question 140-13(7): Development Corporation Project Evaluation Criteria
Question 140-13(7): Development Corporation Project Evaluation Criteria
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 369

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 7, written questions. Mr. Krutko.

Written Question 4-13(7): Decentralization Of Human Resources Functions To Departments
Item 7: Written Questions

Page 369

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

My question is to the Premier, Jim Antoine.

1. Was the decision to decentralize personnel functions to the departments a cost-saving measure? How much is being spent annually for all human resources costs (staffing, advertising, et cetera) currently compared to what was spent prior to decentralization?

2. Is there evidence that the quality of service has improved since decentralization?

3. How many people were staffed in the Personnel Department prior to decentralization?

4. How many people are currently staffed in the area of human resources in each department?

5. Prior to decentralization, how many aboriginal senior staff were in the Personnel Department and in Financial Management Board Secretariat (FMBS)? How many senior human resources personnel in this government are non-aboriginal?

6. Since the decentralization of the Personnel Department, how many appeals have been filed annually? How many have been upheld?

7. What training has been provided to departmental human resources staff?

8. Have there been any government-wide professional development initiatives?

9. How is consistency of the staffing process being maintained across the GNWT?

10. Who is responsible to deal with individual complaints from the public or to respond to technical questions from human resources staff?

11. What are the current affirmative action statistics by position in each department? What were the affirmative action statistics prior to decentralization for each department?

12. Is there evidence that human resources services have improved to each department and the general public since decentralization?

13. Since the decentralization of Personnel, is there evidence that the relationship between the general public and the government has improved?

14. Is there any evidence that the departments and the general public view the staffing process as more positive now as compared to before decentralization?

15. Are staffing procedures consistent throughout the Government of the Northwest Territories?

16. Who has the authority to ensure staffing procedures are consistent among the departments?

17. Where can a person go if they want to file a complaint in relation to the staffing procedures for various departments?

Written Question 4-13(7): Decentralization Of Human Resources Functions To Departments
Item 7: Written Questions

Page 370

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Written questions. Item 8, returns to written questions. Mr. Steen.

Return To Written Question 1-13(7): Report To Minister Of Public Works And Services On Issues Raised By The Conflict Of Interest Commissioner
Item 8: Returns To Written Questions

Page 370

Vince Steen Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I have a return to written question asked by Mrs. Groenewegen on April 23, 1999.

Report of the Minister of Public Works and Services on Issues Raises by the Conflict of Interest Commissioner

1. The decision to proceed with an independent third party review of the issues raised in the Report of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner was taken by the deputy minister of the Department of Public Works and Services in consultation with the former Minister of Public Works and Services, the Honourable Floyd Roland.

2. The legal consultant was recommended by the Financial Management Board Secretariat and chosen by the Department of Public Works and Services after consultation with the Department of Justice. Cabinet approved award of the negotiated contract on February 12, 1999.

3. The review was conducted by Mr. Graham McLennan, a partner in McLennan Ross, a well respected Edmonton law firm with expertise in labour law. Mr. McLennan is a Member of the Law Societies of Alberta and the Northwest Territories and has extensive experience at all levels of the court system, as well as boards of inquiry. He was appointed as an Inquiry Officer under the Expropriations Act of Alberta in 1993, acted as co-counsel for a major participant at the public inquiry into the collapse of the Principal Group of Companies and is co-counsel for the RCMP Public Inquiries Commission.

4. The cost of the review was approximately $47,000.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Return To Written Question 1-13(7): Report To Minister Of Public Works And Services On Issues Raised By The Conflict Of Interest Commissioner
Item 8: Returns To Written Questions

Page 370

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Returns to written questions. Item 9, replies to opening address. Item 10, replies to budget address. Mr. Ootes.

Budget Reply 4-13(7)
Item 10: Replies To Budget Address

Page 370

Jake Ootes Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The budget continues on a fiscally responsible course. We have maintained this over the last several years, ensuring that the books are balanced. It continues to fund the same programs perhaps with a few adjustments here and there, but no radical changes. The budget contains no surprises, except for the decision to use up the surplus. Budgets generally have two purposes. One is to balance the books, and two, is to give a new vision and a renewed momentum to our economic and social priorities. I was surprised that so much emphasis was placed on the Minister's Forum on Education and then the budget included little funding to address the forums recommendations. Now a similar forum

is planned for social services. I hope the approach will be different. We are quickly exhausting the public's patience with all our consulting and no action because of financial restrictions.

On another matter, every time I have gone to discuss matters with people delivering outreach programs like those at the YWCA, the NWT Seniors Society, and the Yellowknife Women's Centre, there is constant discussion of the need for multi-year commitments so staffing can be maintained and people can build on program successes.

On the economic and job creation front, the government just finished spending in the neighbourhood of $0.5 million dollars on developing a new economic strategy. It was my impression that the economic strategy was to identify areas where we could find dollars to invest in the tourism industry, improve existing road systems, further develop the Roads to Resources Initiative and continue building community infrastructure and improve social needs. There is a need to stimulate private sector investment to build a sustainable base for jobs and profits. We need initiatives that will foster trade and investment to bring new money and jobs into our territory. Our small business sector continues to play an ever greater role in our economy. We need incentives to encourage the start-up and expansion of small and medium-sized northern businesses. The economic strategy should have been designed to address our budget needs. We need to figure out how to achieve our potential. I had hoped the economic strategy would do that.

For the immediate future, no sector of the economy holds more promise than the mining industry. Our gold mines have been through a lot of upheaval over the last several years. In the immediate short term, Giant Mine may continue operations, but we need a long-term outlook for this particular operation. As a government we need to be proactive in regard to the problems of Giant Mine. We should be seeking the support of the federal government for an employee/business consortium approach, or to seek other opportunities for operators of this mine, and a plan to address the arsenic cleanup. I would like to see the federal government, through its Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, focus on the economic development needs of our gold mines and our need for value-added industries in the diamond business. Canada has over the last decade sold off much of its gold reserves. Instead of protecting a major segment of our mining industry, the sell-off has helped drive the price of gold to all-time lows.

As a matter of fact, last month the federal government continued with another large sell-off of gold. Canada is a gold producing country. The federal government needs to be constructive and show confidence in the industry by buying gold. At today's low prices, gold is a bargain for government to buy and there are spinoff benefits. The purchases would help stabilize gold prices, and give Ottawa added revenues from royalties from income taxes. In the local economies it would mean employment and corporate taxes to communities. I have suggested before that the northern development part of the DIAND portfolio deserves more attention from the Minister. The north is a large storehouse of mineral, oil and gas wealth. When the rest of Canada benefits from the royalties reaped from these resources, surely we have a right to demand fair effort from the federal government in ensuring the long-term benefits of the north which also benefit all of Canada.

There is an urgent need for the settlement of land claims and then to settle the Northern Accord so that northerners can control northern resource development. Funds received under a Northern Accord can be used to improve such areas as education, health and social services, youth programs and economic development.

That is my statement, Mr. Speaker. I know it is rather short in comparison to other Members, but I thought I would pass on my comments and I appreciate all the Members being here. I know it was a very interesting statement. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Budget Reply 4-13(7)
Item 10: Replies To Budget Address

Page 371

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Replies to the budget address. Again, for those Members that are not aware, this is the final day for the budget reply. Mr. Rabesca.