This is page numbers 431 - 469 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, Mrs. Groenewegen, Mr. Henry, Honourable Stephen Kakfwi, Mr. Krutko, Honourable Michael Miltenberger, Mr. Ootes, 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 431

The Deputy Speaker David Krutko

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

Minister's Statement 52-13(7): Progress In Education
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, thanks to the work of the Minister's Forum on Education, the challenges facing our education system have been receiving a fairly high profile recently. As I have stated in this House, the issues raised in the forum report will be addressed to the extent that we can, within the current financial situation. We are looking at improvements now and in the future. As we work to improve the state of education, Mr. Speaker, I wanted to bring a historical perspective of being involved in some way with education in the north since I was a young boy travelling by bus and DC3 to Fort Smith from Rae in the early 1960s. In the past 35 years there have been huge improvements in the quality of education and in the level of community control over education for their children. People are more aware and more involved in education and, as we saw with the Minister's forum, feel free to express their thoughts on what could be improved.

We have seen dramatic improvement in key success indicators. The number of graduates is up significantly. More students than ever are staying in school and completing more grades. More students than ever can stay at home to complete their schooling, which helps to maintain the support system of family and friends. Many people are furthering their education through Aurora College and preparing for the job opportunities around them. Adult basic education classes are full of people coming back to finish their education.

Mr. Speaker, there is no question there are serious issues to deal with in education. However, while we work to deal with these issues we cannot lose sight of the good work that is being done and has been done by many dedicated staff and parents. We cannot lose sight of the fact that, thanks to the Education Act passed in 1995, local education authorities have significant opportunities to tailor the delivery of education to best meet local needs.

As we try to make our education system even better, let us remember how far we have come and the tremendous potential we have to go even further, thanks to the dedication of students, parents, teachers and the many other individuals involved with education in the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 52-13(7): Progress In Education
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Deputy Speaker David Krutko

Ministers' statements. Mr. Steen.

Minister's Statement 53-13(7): Outstanding Volunteer Service Award
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Vince Steen Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce the recipient of the 1999 Outstanding Volunteer Service Award. Ms. Ann Kall of Yellowknife is being recognized for her extraordinary volunteer efforts to support public fire safety education in the NWT. Mr. Speaker, Ms. Kall was nominated for this award by both the NWT Fire Chiefs Association and the Yellowknife Fire Department. The award presentation was made this past weekend at the NWT Fire Chiefs Association's annual general meeting in Hay River. Ms. Kall received a personal plaque and a carving by Fort Smith artist, Sonny MacDonald. Ms. Kall has been active in many safety programs. She wrote the Juvenile Fire-Setter Intervention Program handbook for use by fire departments. Ms. Kall also started the Play Safe, Be Safe Program in the NWT. This fire prevention program focuses on child care workers, teachers and children, ages three to five.

Ms. Kall also created the Risk Watch Program, which teaches injury prevention to children in elementary school. She volunteers to instruct many of these programs in northern communities. Ms. Kall is also involved in other children's safety programs, including abduction prevention and motor vehicle safety. Because of her deep commitment to children, Ms. Kall volunteers much of her personal and vacation time to promote children's safety. Mr. Speaker, I know that all Members join me in congratulating Ann Kall for her years of dedicated service which have made a difference in the lives of northerners, especially our children. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Minister's Statement 53-13(7): Outstanding Volunteer Service Award
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Deputy Speaker David Krutko

Ministers' statements. Mr. Steen.

Minister's Statement 54-13(7): Small Boat Safety Awareness Program
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Vince Steen Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to say a few words about the Small Boat Safety Awareness Program. This will be the fifth year that the Department of Transportation has delivered the program in the Northwest Territories on behalf of the Canadian Coast Guard. In 1999, the department will also continue to deliver the program in partnership with the Government of Nunavut.

The Small Boat Safety Awareness Program is a national public education initiative to promote safe recreational boating. The Department of Transportation takes a special interest in getting the program out to the communities because, year after year, the Northwest Territories has had the highest number of drowning fatalities per capita in Canada. The program involves the federal and territorial governments, and, more importantly, volunteer organizations in the communities. The program's partners include departments of this government, the federal Department of National Defence, Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachments across the north, the Canadian Red Cross, the City of Yellowknife, the Fire Chiefs Association, the Canadian Rangers and its Youth Rangers Program, Coast Guard Auxiliaries, Chapters of Students Against Drinking and Driving and the Coroners Association.

The involvement of the Canadian Youth Against Impaired Driving has given the program a national dimension. Departmental staff recently made a presentation in Ottawa that won support for its combined anti-drinking driving and boating message across Canada. So far, three provinces have expressed interest in joining our program.

The Life Jacket Loaner Program is already available in the communities of Rae, Wrigley and Fort Simpson. This year it will be extended to include Tuktoyaktuk, Hay River, Lutselk'e, Aklavik, Deline, Paulatuk and Wha Ti. The success of the Small Boat Safety Awareness Program is measured by the interest communities show in having more involvement. Mr. Speaker, as the boating season gets underway, the Members will see more and more communities take the lead role in promoting water and boating safety. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Minister's Statement 54-13(7): Small Boat Safety Awareness Program
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Deputy Speaker David Krutko

Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Ootes.

Member's Statement 141-13(7): Side Door Youth Drop-in Centre
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Jake Ootes Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I recently had an opportunity last Saturday night to visit the Side Door Youth Drop-in Centre at the Anglican Church here in Yellowknife. It was a very busy Saturday night and on some weekends up to 100 youth frequent the drop-in centre. It is obvious that there is a lot of camaraderie and a lot of socializing between the youth. The large meeting room, Mr. Speaker, is set up with a pool table, stereo equipment, computers and a television. It is a relaxed environment and great for getting together, talking or playing a game of pool. The Side Door program has been in operation as a non-profit society since October, 1995. It is largely run by volunteers and in-kind support. The Side Door is a place for teens to have fun and feel safe and get away from pressures. There is a policy of no alcohol and no drugs.

It is a known fact that many Yellowknife youth spend considerable amount of time on the streets. It is also recognized that the young people are one of neediest groups in our city. Their over-riding need is for rebuilding self-worth in many cases. That is not all youth, but, it is the case of many of these youths. There is a need for youth to have a safe and healthy place to meet and socialize with friends. Teenagers need a place where they are accepted for who they are. The Side Door is such a place. It provides a centre for youth to come and participate in youth-centred programming. It provides a safe, friendly place for teens. It provides positive, healthy, caring role-models for youth who might otherwise have none. It provides a place to develop valuable life-skills.

The Side Door has one full-time staff person. Kevin Laframboise was responsible for setting up the Side Door program and continues to be the program's youth worker. I commend him for his dedicated work and recognize the support of the Anglican Church, which provides the program with a meeting place. The government often spends its time and social program dollars on interventions geared to treating problems. Correctional programs, alcohol and drug rehabilitation, counselling, health care and income support. The side door is a program that serves to prevent behaviors that may otherwise later require costly interventions. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Member's Statement 141-13(7): Side Door Youth Drop-in Centre
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Deputy Speaker David Krutko

Members' statements. Mrs. Groenewegen.

Member's Statement 142-13(7): Government Contracts For The Supply Of Goods And Services
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Jane Groenewegen Hay River

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, a subject of much discussion in this Legislature has been the way in which this government contracts for the supply of goods and services. Everything from the reporting of an awarded contract to the method by which contracts are awarded has been spoken to. On a positive note, I believe that progress and improvement has been made in some policy areas regarding government purchasing. The quarterly report of contracts awarded was revised to indicate not only the company and the amount of the contract, but whether the contract had been tendered, sole-sourced, or negotiated, and I understand this may now even be taken one step further and be available through an access through a Web page. Now Mr. Speaker, there is now a Web page displaying a registry of northern companies who are eligible under the business incentive policy. There are however, still gaps in the way in which the contracts and the needs for goods and services are made public. It has come to my attention again lately, that northern companies are still not always aware of potential business, government business, which is out there.

There is also the issue where departments contracting for capital projects do not seem to be aware of government directives in the area of northern manufacturing. I have provided a written question to the Minister responsible for Public Works and Services, to get a break down of how much capital project delivery is now done directly by client departments as opposed to the situation previously, where the Department of Public Works and Services was the primary overseer of these projects. As I said, I believe much progress has been made in the involvement of northern companies in supplying our government, but it is a situation we have to stay ahead of. Government departments and community governments performing the task of delivering projects, programs and services on behalf of GNWT need to be kept aware of what is available from northern contractors, suppliers and manufacturers and what this government's policies are regarding business incentive initiatives. Mr. Henry suggested last week that we need to go on a trade mission to Nunavut. This is probably not a bad idea, but I also think we need to constantly keep in the forefront the benefits of job creation and economic growth that we can create through our government's financial resources being used to buy north. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Member's Statement 142-13(7): Government Contracts For The Supply Of Goods And Services
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Deputy Speaker David Krutko

Members' statement. Mr. Henry.

Member's Statement 143-13(7): Success Of St. Patrick's School To Work "bridges" Transition Program
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Seamus Henry Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I today rise with a good news statement like my colleague Mr. Ootes, did. Mr. Speaker, it seems that it is not often that Members take the opportunity to congratulate the government on initiatives that are clearly successful. Today, Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the Department of Education, Culture and Employment and the former Minister, Mr. Dent, who had the foresight to provide funding to St. Patrick High School for a two year pilot project dealing with successful transitions from school to work.

Of course, Mr. Speaker, even higher congratulations must go to St. Patrick High School. Their two year Bridges program was recently chosen as one of the best ten programs of its kind in Canada. Their program is being included in the study by Dr. Rick Freeze, a professor in the faculty of education in the University of Manitoba. The study is called Transitions, Implementing Training in Self-determination, and it is being sponsored by the Canadian Council for Exceptional Children and funded by Human Resources Development Canada. The purpose of the study is to explore the concept of self-determination in the context of meaningful graduation and successful transition from high school to the world of work. Post-secondary education, adult life and full citizenship for students with disabilities and socio-economic disadvantages. Dr. Freeze is visiting and studying sites which have the best practices and models for teaching. Supporting and implementing self-determination for young people in transition from school to adult life. Eventually a source book and handbook of the best practices and models will be developed through these consultations. I recently had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Freeze to contribute my thoughts and support for this program.

Mr. Speaker, even though the Northwest Territories has the highest pupil/teacher ratio population, our teachers are called upon to deal with the highest rates of special needs students. Their dedication and commitment is shining through. Thanks to the initiative, competence and enthusiasm of St. Patrick High School, this program is leading the way in Canada in making the transition from school to work more successful for our students. In short, Mr. Speaker, this is what excellence in education is all about.

Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement, thank you.

Member's Statement 143-13(7): Success Of St. Patrick's School To Work "bridges" Transition Program
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Deputy Speaker David Krutko

Mr. Henry is seeking unanimous consent to conclude his statement. Are there any nays? There are no nays, Mr. Henry. You have unanimous consent.