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.