This is page numbers 491 - 519 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 education.

Topics

Members Present

Honourable Jim Antoine, Honourable Charles Dent, Mr. Erasmus, Honourable Sam Gargan, Mrs. Groenewegen, Mr. Henry, Honourable Stephen Kakfwi, Mr. Krutko, Honourable Michael Miltenberger, Mr. Morin, Mr. Ootes, Mr. Rabesca, 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 491

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Rabesca. Good afternoon. I would like to thank the Member for Mackenzie Delta for serving in my place while I was away.

--Applause

Orders of the day. Ministers' statements. Mr. Dent.

Minister's Statement 57-13(7): Northwest Territories Investment Tax Credit
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 491

Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Welcome back. Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring Members up to date on the status of the Northwest Territories Risk Capital Investment Tax Credit. This initiative was announced in last years' budget, and approved by the House last September. The program allows investors in Northwest Territories and Nunavut businesses a credit of up to 30 percent of the amount of their investment against Northwest Territories income tax payable, to a maximum credit of $30,000 a year.

The purpose of the credit is to encourage Northerners to invest in northern business operations. I am pleased to inform Members that the administration of this program is now in place, and eligible businesses may apply. The government has appointed Carron Business Services as administrators of the program. Northwest Territories businesses interested in raising capital through the plan should contract Carron Business Services directly for information. Information is also available on the Department of Finance Web site.

To date, two businesses have registered to raise a total of about $1.5 million through the program, and several more are working on applications. I am confident this program will encourage new, small and medium-sized northern businesses to start-up, and existing businesses to expand. Smaller businesses create most new jobs for Northerners and contribute to the growth of our economy. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 57-13(7): Northwest Territories Investment Tax Credit
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 491

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Ministers' statements. Mr. Roland.

Minister's Statement 58-13(7): National Nurses' Week
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

May 10th, 1999

Page 491

Floyd Roland Inuvik

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to advise the Members of this House and the public that May 10-16, 1999, is National Nurses' Week. Nurses across Canada are being recognized this week for the valuable contribution they make to the country's health care system. I would like to take this opportunity to recognize all the nurses in the NWT for the work they do to help all Northerners lead healthy and productive lives.

Nurses play an important role in keeping our communities healthy. Through their public health, health promotion and disease prevention services, nurses help to provide us with resources to lead healthier lives. Nurses are the backbone of the NWT health and social services system. They make up almost 85 percent of our health care workers. In most northern communities, a nurse is the first person you see when you need health care. As the first point of contact, northern nurses are expected to provide a broad range of services, requiring special training and knowledge.

A new initiative announced in the budget, if approved, will commit $3 million over the next two years in nurse compensation to help us attract and retain competent nursing professionals. But compensation is only part of the solution. People also want to feel that their job matters and that they make a difference. A qualified nurse can choose where she or he wants to work. Nurses are in great demand, not just in the North, but right across Canada and internationally. It is important to let them know that they are welcome and appreciated in our communities.

Communities can play a critical role in making the North a more attractive place for nurses by supporting and respecting their role at the community level. Nursing is a challenging profession.

While at the International Council in England, there will be an opportunity for the NWT delegates to do some recruiting, and hopefully attract new nurses to come to work in our territory. National Nurses' Week provides all of us with the opportunity to say thank you to our nurses for the dedicated professional care they continue to offer us. I encourage my fellow Members to take some time during National Nurses' Week to recognize and thank the nurses in their communities for the important work that they do. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Minister's Statement 58-13(7): National Nurses' Week
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 492

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. Mr. Krutko.

Member's Statement 150-13(7): Recognition Of Mother's Day
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 492

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, Mother's Day is a special day of the year to recognize and cherish all the mothers in the Northwest Territories for the caring, loving, guidance and patience they have given us. We all have been given physical attention as newborns with the love and care of our mothers. They were always there when we needed them. Mr. Speaker, I would like to extend all my wishes to all the mothers of the Northwest Territories in recognition of Mother's Day, which was yesterday. I sincerely wish that they all had their day with their loved ones and not just for recognition of one day, but throughout the whole year. I would like to recognize all the mothers in my riding of Mackenzie Delta at this time and wish them all the best for yesterday and for the year to come. Thank you.

--Applause

Member's Statement 150-13(7): Recognition Of Mother's Day
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 492

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Members' statements. Mrs. Groenewegen.

Member's Statement 151-13(7): Consultation By Cabinet And Government
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 492

Jane Groenewegen Hay River

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, there are times that I am sure the average resident of the Northwest Territories gets very confused when they listen to the goings-on of this Assembly. We constantly talk about consultation, between ourselves as MLAs and Cabinet Ministers, between ourselves as MLAs and our constituents and, even, as a government, consultation between ourselves and our aboriginal partners.

While the other side of this House certainly tries to paint a positive picture on the amount of consultation that they do with the Ordinary Members of this Assembly behind closed doors, I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that the consultation is not quite as all-encompassing as the Cabinet Ministers have led the public to believe. Mr. Speaker, I do not have to try very hard to think of examples of this government spending significant amounts of public money with no consultation with Ordinary Members of the Legislative Assembly or other affected stakeholders.

--Applause

The recent Minister's Forum on Education was formed and mandated with no consultation with the Ordinary Members or the Standing Committee on Social Programs. The $4 million and rising MDAP where any resident of the Northwest Territories could access up to $10,000 was announced by the previous Minister Responsible for the Housing Corporation with no consultation with the Ordinary Members or the Standing Committee on Social Programs.

In last year's budget there was $400,000 extra for the City of Yellowknife so that it could market itself as a potential diamond centre, again, there was no consultation with Ordinary Members.

This Government under the auspices of the former Minister of Finance spent $500,000 on an Economic Strategy, again, with no consultation with the Ordinary Members. Where was this item carefully considered in the Main Estimates?

I hope, Mr. Speaker, that by just mentioning a few examples from the past couple of years residents will realize that the Ordinary Members of this House are not consulted over every decision made by this government. And, that there are several occasions where Ordinary MLAs find our about new government programs and initiatives at the same time as residents of the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, I bring this up because the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment has stated that the Ordinary Members of this Assembly have had eight months to adjust the budget, behind closed doors, somehow implying that the failure of the government to address financial shortfalls in the education budget had to do with the inability of the Ordinary Members to make this happen.

This is not true, Mr. Speaker, as my colleague from Thebacha well knows having sat on the committee that considered the budget of the Department of Education, Culture and Employment for seven of those eight months. He is well aware of this. Mr. Speaker, I would like to seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Member's Statement 151-13(7): Consultation By Cabinet And Government
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 492

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

For the benefit of the translators, I would like to ask the Members to please slow down a bit. The Member for Hay River is seeking unanimous consent to conclude her statement. Do we have any nays? There are no nays. Mrs. Groenewegen, you have unanimous consent.

Member's Statement 151-13(7): Consultation By Cabinet And Government
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 492

Jane Groenewegen Hay River

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, throughout the budget process, Ordinary Members have stated that there is a need for more money in education. The government has stated that they agree, but instead of

dealing with the issue they have put the ball back in the Ordinary Members' court, by asking us where we should make the cuts.

--Applause

Mr. Speaker, this government appears to be able to make decisions that cost the taxpayers of the Northwest Territories money, without consulting the Ordinary MLAs or the affected stakeholders, when it suits them. However, Mr. Speaker, it appears that when there has to be a major decision made on the future of education funding in the Northwest Territories that requires a major governance decision to be made, this government is content to sit back and point fingers at this side of the House. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Member's Statement 151-13(7): Consultation By Cabinet And Government
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 493

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Members' statements. Mr. Ootes.

Member's Statement 152-13(7): Recognition Of NWT Nurses
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 493

Jake Ootes Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, on a more subdued note, Mr. Roland spoke about this being Nursing Week and I would also like to make some comments on that. I want to begin by also recognizing and thanking all our nurses for their dedication and professional commitment to the health care system in the Northwest Territories. We have often heard visitors and even residents within the territory comment that our health service workers are outstanding. We have many nurses who have been providing care in our communities for 20 to 25 years. That sort of commitment and continuity is of tremendous benefit to everyone. As a front-line profession, the trust and working relationships established by nurses is crucial to the health of our communities.

The vacancy rate for nurses in the NWT is between 25 to 32 percent, I understand. That compares with what is considered a normal vacancy rate of 7 to 9 percent. The turnover rate in the nursing profession is not an isolated problem, nor is it to the territories. Similar turnover is being experienced in the teaching profession. Some of the circumstances, of course, contributing to the high turnover have to do with wages and benefits, but also with stressful working conditions. Nurses need to be better recognized for the important and crucial role they serve in our communities.

--Applause

Member's Statement 152-13(7): Recognition Of NWT Nurses
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 493

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Members' statements. Mr. Rabesca.