This is page numbers 631 - 660 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 aboriginal.

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

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mrs. Groenewegen. Orders of the day, item 2, Ministers' statements. Mr. Dent.

Minister's Statement 71-13(7): Northern Nurse Honoured
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Floyd Roland Inuvik

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the Members of the Legislative Assembly that three long serving northern nurses have been honoured by their colleagues for their outstanding contribution to health care in the north. Ms. Mary Ellen Hoyles of Yellowknife, Ms. Rosalie Adams of Inuvik and Ms. Faye Stark of Fort Providence were nominated by nurses from across the NWT. Together, these three women have provided over 60 years of dedicated nursing service in the North.

To recognize their achievement, the Department of Health and Social Services sponsored the three nurses to attend the Centennial Conference of the International Council of Nurses in London, England, from June 27 to July 1, 1999. Ms. Sylvia Stard also attended the conference on behalf of the NWT Registered Nurses Association Board of Directors. Ms. Nell Vrolyk, manager of recruitment and retention, attended on behalf of the department. Ms. Vrolyk and Ms. Stard are also long serving northern nurses.

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is an international organization of national nursing associations. It has over 90 member countries and represents over one and a half million nurses around the globe. ICN's mission is to provide leadership and assistance in resolving present and future health care needs.

Over 5,000 nurses from member countries attended this year's conference. London was chosen for this special 100th anniversary celebration of the ICN because it is the birthplace of Florence Nightingale; the founder of modern day nursing.

We also learned that we have the display materials, handouts and information packages to be competitive in the global marketplace. Our nurses received many compliments on the quality and attractiveness of our booth display and informational materials from other exhibitors, as well as conference participants. With our high quality recruitment materials, we have now gained exposure as an employer of nurses with the rest of the world.

Mr. Speaker, recognition of northern nurses is an important part of our Recruitment and Retention Strategy. I am happy that we were able to send these outstanding northern nurses to London. I would like to thank them for the job they did to help the department recruit nurses and promote nursing careers in the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Minister's Statement 71-13(7): Northern Nurse Honoured
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Ministers' statements. Mr. Dent.

Minister's Statement 72-13(7): Annual Meeting Of Ministers Responsible For The Status Of Women
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good afternoon. Mr. Speaker, the annual meeting of Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women was held in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, from July 7th to 9th, 1999.

The meeting was co-chaired by the Honourable Hedy Fry, Secretary of State (Status of Women) and the Honourable Patricia Mella, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women for Prince Edward Island. It gave Ministers an opportunity to address a number of issues that continue to work against women achieving full social and economic equality.

Women's economic security continues to be an important issue for Ministers across Canada. In reviewing the report of the House of Commons Finance Sub-Committee on Tax Equity for Canadian Families with Dependent Children, we agreed on the importance of ensuring that all public policy, in particular, tax policy, reflects and supports economic equality for women.

Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women reaffirmed their commitments to eliminating violence against women with the adoption of "Preventing Violence Against Women, A Strategic Framework". The framework was developed to guide policy and program development in the area of violence prevention. It is based on a common vision and shared goals and follows the Iqaluit Declaration released by Ministers in December, 1998. The framework describes strategies and initiatives that work across Canada, and the important work at the community level to eliminate violence against women as well as the many consequences of violence. Ministers also agreed to pursue a collaborative approach to address criminal harassment, more commonly known as "stalking".

We agreed to follow up on issues of concern to older women and aging. Some of the major challenges facing the well-being of older women today include low income, care giving responsibilities and health issues. This being the International Year of Older Persons, we discussed the diverse needs of older women and agreed to work collaboratively with Ministers Responsible for Seniors to address these challenges.

This was my first Federal/Provincial/Territorial meeting as Minister Responsible for the Status of Women. I will continue to work with my Cabinet colleagues and the Status of Woman Council of the NWT, the Native Women's Association, as well as representatives of other women's organizations in the NWT to do what we can to improve the lives of northern women. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Minister's Statement 72-13(7): Annual Meeting Of Ministers Responsible For The Status Of Women
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Ministers' statements. Mr. Kakfwi.

Minister's Statement 73-13(7): Northern Resource Development
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the economy of the Northwest Territories depends to a large extent on the development of our natural resources. Gold, diamonds, base metals, oil and gas all play a significant role in our economy. They will continue to play an increasing role in years to come. Mr. Speaker, the economy of the Northwest Territories depends to a large extent on the development of our natural resources. Gold, diamonds, base metals, oil and gas all play a significant role in our economy and they will continue to play an increasing role in years to come. We are entering a new era in resource development here in the Northwest Territories. Natural gas demand is growing in the United States and southern Canada. We fully expect the Northwest Territories will be a source of this much needed supply. We currently possess vast resources of natural gas ranging from those on land in the Deh Cho region to those near Colville Lake, the Mackenzie Delta and the Beaufort Sea. The time to develop these gas reserves is now upon us.

I would like to take this opportunity to recognize one of the men responsible for bringing about this new era in oil and gas development. Chief Harry Deneron of Fort Liard realized several years ago the potential for gas development in the Liard area. He actively encouraged its exploration and development. This activity has resulted in substantial jobs and opportunities for northern residents and businesses. Chief Deneron is to be commended for his vision and work.

Increased exploration and development activity is already occurring. Fourteen leases have been issued in the Liard area while the Sahtu has 15 active leases. The Mackenzie Beaufort Delta is drawing renewed interest. Bids are now being accepted for four parcels of land. Eleven new wells are expected to be drilled in the Northwest Territories during the 1999-2000 season.

Mr. Speaker, the government anticipates that within ten years, a gas pipeline will link the Beaufort, Deh Cho and Sahtu gas fields to southern markets. The construction of the main trunk, the gathering pipelines and the exploration to support this development will result in up to ten times the level of employment and business opportunities and resource revenue as the north's emerging diamond industry. The government must be prepared to address the many issues that will accompany this Mackenzie Valley development. We must ensure that development of northern resources results in the maximum employment, training, and business opportunities for Northerners, who must begin to prepare for the social impacts from this short-term, large-scale development. We must ensure that the Northwest Territories benefits from resource revenue sharing. We must maximize benefits to aboriginal organizations.

Mr. Speaker, we know the benefits and challenges that come with increased oil and gas exploration. As we move forward with development, we must prepare for what is to come. Resource development does not just happen. It must be encouraged. It must be managed, and it must result in significant benefits to Northerners.

The government has approved the formation of a deputy ministers' committee to identify issues and prepare recommendations relating to the management of Mackenzie Valley development. It will be chaired by the deputy Minister of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development and include the Secretary to the Financial Management Board, the deputy ministers of Aboriginal Affairs, Education, Culture and Employment, Finance, Health and Social Services, Transportation and Municipal and Community Affairs.

Mr. Speaker, the government is taking a proactive approach to development in the Mackenzie Valley. We intend to maximize economic opportunities for Northerners while minimizing the social and environmental impacts associated with oil and gas development. Mahsi cho.

Minister's Statement 73-13(7): Northern Resource Development
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Ministers' statements. Mr. Steen.

Minister's Statement 74-13(7): Community Government Leaders' Conference
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Vince Steen Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to report on the recent conference of elected community leaders held in Hay River to discuss the various self-government initiatives that are underway in the NWT.

Presentations to the conference outlined how constitutional development and aboriginal rights could result in new types of government at the community, regional, tribal and territorial levels. Conference delegates also heard about how self-government has been negotiated and implemented in Newfoundland, British Columbia, and the Yukon. The approaches taken by the Labrador Inuit, the Nisga'a Tribal Council in B.C., and Yukon First Nations were quite different from each other, and different from what is happening here.

The success of those different approaches demonstrates that while there is more than one way to implement self-government, we are all working towards the same thing. By working together we can bring more authority to our communities.

Mr. Speaker, self-government will also mean more powers and responsibility for aboriginal governments as the inherent right to self-government is implemented here in the Northwest Territories. This includes more control for aboriginal people over such things as education, health, social services, language and culture.

Conference delegates agreed that while these changes might make our system of governance look very different from the way it is now, most of the programs and services that are delivered in our communities today will still be needed tomorrow. Community governments will still have a big role to play in delivering them.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier, the Minister of Finance, and the Minister of RWED made presentations to the delegates. They outlined how the government's plan is to work with the Aboriginal Nations to advance aboriginal rights negotiations in all regions of the NWT and to work towards developing a new constitution.

Conference delegates were assured that as we engage in these processes, we will make sure that the result is an effective and workable system of government - a system that can deliver affordable programs to all residents. One of the priorities my department has set to make this happen is to bring proposals forward to make municipal programs work better, to be more effective, to be more efficient, and to bring more authority to the local level. To do this we are moving ahead with the municipal finance review and the municipal legislation review.

These two initiatives were also discussed at the Community Leaders' Conference. They should be seen as complementary to self-government and not as an alternative process. They are intended to provide more authority to community governments and to allow for more flexible, equitable, and transparent arrangements between the central government and community governments.

Mr. Speaker, while self-government may take those processes much further in some communities or regions, we will be moving ahead with legislative and financial reform, because the people want to have more authority at the local level. They want to have decisions made closer to home. They want to be making those decisions themselves.

At the end of the three days, delegates to the conference concluded that they need to be better informed as progress is made on the establishment of self-government authorities. Procedures need to be in place to provide this information and the department will attempt to address this issue. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 74-13(7): Community Government Leaders' Conference
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Ministers' statements. Mr. Miltenberger.

Minister's Statement 75-13(7): Canada Millennium Scholarship
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you. Mr. Speaker, it was my great pleasure to sign an agreement recently with the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation. This will bring up to 4.3 million dollars to the NWT post-secondary students over the next ten years.

The first scholarships will be awarded in the coming school year. In 1999-2000, 133 awards of $3,000 each will be given to NWT students. This is an additional $413,000 available to post-secondary students. This number of scholarships will be available in each of the next three years for a total of $1.239 million. The 133 scholarships will be awarded based on financial need and academic merit.

There is also a category of awards for exceptional merit. These awards are based on leadership, academic excellence and community service. Five awards will be made at the community level and two more at the territorial level. The seven winners of these awards will also receive an additional $3,000.

The names of the territorial level award winners will be forwarded to the Foundation which will also select a single national level scholarship. Mr. Speaker, all of the awards will be provided to the successful student applicants on top of their existing student financial assistance entitlement.

The Canada Millennium Scholarships will be processed through the existing NWT student financial assistance program. All students who have successfully completed at least one year of post-secondary program with a 60 percent average or better are eligible to apply for the scholarships.

The Department of Education, Culture and Employment is currently informing students who have applied for student financial assistance about the scholarships and the application procedures for the financial need awards. The department is developing the guidelines for administering the exceptional merit awards and will be communicating the details to students and the public shortly.

Candidates for the scholarships will be identified by the end of October and the names forwarded to the foundation so that cheques can be produced and in the hands of students by January, 2000.

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories is very pleased to be a partner with the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation in this program to provide increased support to our post-secondary students. With the high cost of post-secondary education, these scholarships are a welcome addition to our existing student financial assistance program. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 75-13(7): Canada Millennium Scholarship
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Member's Statement 181-13(7): Lack Of Support To Communities Outside Yellowknife
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday in the Legislative Assembly we raised the issue of the brand new Yellowknife correctional centre. That is another capital project for our great city of Yellowknife. Along with that capital project, Mr. Speaker, comes a brand new paving project for the city of Yellowknife and the highway coming into Yellowknife. Along with that also comes millions of dollars of assistance to the gold mines in Yellowknife. Along with that comes the majority of effort of the economic development department and the Minister of RWED and that whole department in encouraging diamond-cutting facilities and polishing facilities in Yellowknife. On top of that, they are going to take a trade mission to Nunavut for the businesses in Yellowknife. I congratulate the government for all those things they are doing for our great capital.

Mr. Speaker, we have many, many other communities out there. We have many regions out there that are going through economic hard times. We do not have enough money to assist the fishermen who come off the lake after 40 below in the winter, frostbitten, skin-tight, working hard, pulling nets. What do we do with those people? We cut $150,000 from their subsidy. That is a whole winter freight subsidy for those poor hardworking men and women. We are cutting drug and alcohol programs. We cut funding to the small communities that harvest renewable resources and try to make a living by producing final products for those, but yet we can continually invest in our great capital city, Yellowknife, and we do that by putting budgets forward in this House that call for renovations. Then we change them to new projects. No debate, no process for Ordinary Members in this Assembly to have any input into making those decisions. I guess this is a new era, a new way of governing. It must be a government that cannot see beyond our city limits. There are people out there who depend heavily on this government. I would like to ask for unanimous consent to continue, Mr. Speaker.

Member's Statement 181-13(7): Lack Of Support To Communities Outside Yellowknife
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Member for Tu Nedhe is seeking unanimous consent to conclude his statement. Do we have any nays? There are no nays. Mr. Morin, you have unanimous consent.