This is page numbers 661 - 692 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 yellowknife.

Topics

Member's Statement 188-13(7): Comprehensive Approach To Adult Education
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 663

Jake Ootes Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On another subject, I along with the Minister of Education, Mr. Miltenberger, and the other Yellowknife MLAs, attended a meeting with Yellowknife

adult educators. This group included representatives from eight organizations, such as Aurora College, the Yellowknife Association for Community Living, Tree of Peace, and the FOCUS Program of the YWCA to name just a couple of them. Many concerns were raised including the lack of federal and territorial government funding for education and training programs for income support recipients, policy changes within the federal Ministry of Human Resources Development Canada, which now provides no training support for individuals who face employment barriers, and inconsistent and non-standardized program delivery in communities.

Overall, this translates into significantly reduced training and support services for individuals with limited literacy skills. It also points to a lack of overall vision and comprehensive approach to adult education here in the territories. The Minister recently was able, and I commend him for this, to fund community literacy projects through the Yellowknife Association for Community Living, the YWCA, and the Neshda Child Care Centre. But funding commitments like that are badly needed, and we also need to address some fundamental issues. The adult educators have asked the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment to evaluate the department's strategic approach to adult education, to review and implement core funding to appropriately support its vision on adult education, to make multi-year funding available for adult education programs and services, and to work collaboratively with community-based organizations which have experience in adult education service delivery.

Mr. Speaker, investment in adult education and literacy upgrading will pay off many times down the road, with savings in such areas as justice and income support. We need to work and continue to refine a vision and a plan for a comprehensive approach to adult education here in the Northwest Territories. Thank you.

--Applause

Member's Statement 188-13(7): Comprehensive Approach To Adult Education
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 664

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Members' statements. Mr. Erasmus.

Member's Statement 189-13(7): Concerns Of Post-secondary Students
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 664

Roy Erasmus Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to speak today about students as well, so I was very pleased to hear the two Ministers making some good news statements about bursaries and support for students. Mr. Speaker, I just finished a meeting with a couple of very, very frustrated students. They had a complete list of problems that they with other students have identified. This includes inadequate funding, late arrival of funding, issues concerning approval for funding, funding being revoked without notification and/or explanation, no funding for third semesters and the summer sessions, no explanation for funds given or confirmation of deposits. The spirit of the transition allowance is inconsistent, in fact with funds for 1999 arriving in 1998. There is no funding for books, lack of funding for graduate studies, and accountability issues. There are clerical errors. There is no way to change a student officer if you are having a problem. There is lack of flexibility with travel. You are locked right into whatever you get. There is no emergency loans process, no money management support. There are poor appeal mechanisms. When they are phoning in, they are getting voice mail. There is insufficient contact information. Student officers are going on vacation in August and, worse, in September.

There is a whole list of things here, Mr. Speaker, so I was very pleased to hear the Minister indicate that they are going to be making a number of changes to improve service to students and streamline the student financial assistance. I would like to congratulate him on making these changes, but, Mr. Speaker, where is the major change that is needed to address the student financial assistance, the insufficient amount of funding that our students are getting? Right now they are getting about half of what is required for tuition. Student allowances are low, the whole works. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Member's Statement 189-13(7): Concerns Of Post-secondary Students
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 664

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

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

Member's Statement 189-13(7): Concerns Of Post-secondary Students
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 664

Roy Erasmus Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I was saying, the biggest problem is the insufficient amount of student financial assistance. This government has been sitting on a plan for two years now that was going to be put forward and passed so that students could get funding this year. Where is it? The other thing is that students need some type of association, a students' union, and this government should help them to achieve that, in fact provide some funding so that there is consistency. We know that students come and go as soon as they have their degrees. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank everybody for allowing me to conclude my statement, and I will be having some questions for the Minister of Education later. Thank you.

Member's Statement 189-13(7): Concerns Of Post-secondary Students
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 664

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Members' statements. Mr. Morin.

Member's Statement 190-13(7): Cabinet Decisions To Construct Yellowknife Correctional Facilities
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 664

Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I talk about the Yellowknife Correctional Centre once again. It is with a heavy heart that I heard about this decision, Mr. Speaker, by the Minister of Justice. Ultimately it was the Minister of Justice that sent this proposal forward to Cabinet and his Cabinet colleagues. They in their wisdom decided to build a new facility in Yellowknife, not to renovate an old facility but to build a new facility in Yellowknife. It is also public knowledge that the majority of the dollars are going into Yellowknife at this time. Everything announced recently coming out of this government has been Yellowknife, Yellowknife, Yellowknife. Yellowknife's economy is bad, so they have to shore it up with a housing program. Yellowknife's gold mines are being threatened, so we have to help them out. Yellowknife's diamond polishing needs help, so we help that out. Now we take the government money and we spend it in our great city of Yellowknife again. I wonder whatever happened to places like Inuvik, Hay River, Fort Smith, Fort Resolution. Maybe they do not exist anymore. Maybe because they are outside the boundaries of the city of Yellowknife, they are not qualified anymore to put in proposals to this government. This government has shut the door on other regional centres to even bring forward a proposal to build a new correctional centre for the Northwest Territories. They have shut that door. They never even had the door open. The Minister in

his wisdom felt no one else was qualified. It is here. We will keep it here.

They even carried on further, Mr. Speaker. Before the money for that budget was approved in this Legislative Assembly, they put an ad in the Globe and Mail. That was a week ago today, an ad in the Globe and Mail. I tabled that in this House. I checked through all the newspapers in the Northwest Territories. Now they are shutting the door to northern businesses because they have not even put an ad in a northern newspaper. They have given southern businesses a hand-up against northern businesses. Maybe there are no northern businesses qualified. Maybe they have made that decision already. I do not know. But what I do know is that the government of the day and especially the Minister of Justice has forgotten that anything exists outside this Legislative Assembly and Yellowknife. They are a government for Yellowknife, not the people of the Northwest Territories. Thank you.

--Applause

Member's Statement 190-13(7): Cabinet Decisions To Construct Yellowknife Correctional Facilities
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 665

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Members' statements. Mrs. Groenewegen.

Member's Statement 191-13(7): Purchasing Policies Of The GNWT
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 665

Jane Groenewegen Hay River

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I am going to speak again today about something that I have brought up in this House before, and that is the purchasing policies of this government. Purchasing policies have been developed and implemented by the GNWT to provide incentive for the establishment and sustainability of northern businesses. With the advent of community empowerment, there was a shift to devolving responsibility to communities, band councils, local development corporations, et cetera, for the delivery of programs, services and capital projects. In this shift, my concern is with what happened to government policies such as the Business Incentive Policy and the Manufacturing Directive Policy. Has the enforcement or implementation of these policies been lost in this shuffle?

Northern businesses have made investments on the basis of these policies and now rely on happenstance to learn the projects and who is delivering them. I have said before in this House and I will say it again, every project funded directly and delivered on behalf of this government by various departments, local or regional governments, should be made known through a central information source such as a government Web site. Mr. Henry has spoken about the need to make Nunavut aware of what we have to offer by northern contractors, suppliers, and manufacturers, and I think this is a good idea. But before we run off to Nunavut, I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that we need to make more efforts to make our own western communities, development corporation, government departments, and agencies aware of what we have to offer here in the North. Then we need to make sure that contracts funded by this government adhere to our own purchasing policies in order to realize maximum benefits from our limited government expenditures to northern businesses, and these northern businesses in turn employ northerners.

Hay River has a largely self-reliant manufacturing sector but yet, over and over again, I hear of government contracts going out specifying southern suppliers. Just today, I got another fax from another manufacturer in Hay River where it is not even left open. A southern supplier of a product which is manufactured here in the North is actually specified in a government contract. A call had to be made again to the deputy minister, to the regional people, and now this has been corrected. But the business only heard about this just by circumstance. This is not satisfactory.

We do have a limited number of capital dollars, and if we cannot take and make maximum benefit of these to the benefit of Northerners, well then we are not doing our job. I do not know how we can look further afield when we cannot even take care of making this information known and enforced right here in our own territory. Later on, I will have questions again for the Minister of Public Works and Services regarding this. Thank you.

--Applause

Member's Statement 191-13(7): Purchasing Policies Of The GNWT
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 665

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Members' statements, Mr. Rabesca.

Member's Statement 192-13(7): Support For The Aspirations Of Native People
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 665

James Rabesca North Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to make a comment about how, over the last few years, this government and the federal government both have changed their thinking in relation to the needs and aspirations of our native population. As many of you may remember, it was not long ago that our native population were not elected and totally forgotten. Many various concerns were being raised over the years. Many concerns have been addressed and others are still being worked on.

This is the point that I am saying, today we have land claims set in only three areas of our territory and one more in the final stages. Recently, on the federal level, many more claims are being worked on and many have finalized agreements. This, I believe, is a complete change in thinking than it was only a few years ago. I would also like to say this is the way of the future, and all departments should see this positive move as one of the opportunity for a strong partnership, investment, and strong human resources. The native population needs the support of the federal government and the territorial government for the initiative to ensure our voice is heard and our aspirations for self government are made a reality. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Member's Statement 192-13(7): Support For The Aspirations Of Native People
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 665

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Members' statements. Item 4, returns to oral questions. Mr. Kakfwi.

Return To Oral Question 230-13(7): Yellowknife Correctional Centre
Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions

July 28th, 1999

Page 665

Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have two returns to oral questions, first in response to Mr. Krutko who asked a question on July 26th in regard to the Yellowknife Correctional Centre.

The Financial Management Board reviewed and approved the Department of Justice's proposal to reprofile the Yellowknife Correctional Centre capital project from enhancement and renovation project to a replacement project on June 4th, 1999.

Ferguson, Simek and Clark, a Yellowknife engineering and architectural company had been retained earlier in the year to complete the functional plan for the proposed enhancement and renovations project. They concluded that it would be cheaper and more efficient to build a completely new facility over a shorter period of time. It was also concluded that further savings could be achieved by sharing plant and services between the Yellowknife Correctional Facility and new male young offenders facility. Savings were estimated at $1.34 million in capital costs and $262,000 annually in on-going operations and maintenance.

The department accepted the consultant's conclusions and proceeded to the Financial Management Board with a recommendation to revise the capital project. According to agreed procedures by advising MLAs and the Standing Committee on Government Operations on capital project changes, the government was obligated to forward information on this Financial Management Board decision of June 4th, 1999. Information was forwarded on July 14th, 1999. An apology has been forwarded to the chair of the Standing Committee on Government Operations for the delay.

Return To Oral Question 226-13(7): Yellowknife Correctional Facility
Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions

Page 665

Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Mr. Speaker, I have also a return to oral question asked by Mr. Morin on July 26th, also in regard to the Yellowknife Correctional Facility.

The Member from Tu Nedhe asked when the decision was made to reprofile the Yellowknife Correctional Facility capital project from a renovation to a replacement project. This decision was approved by the Financial Management Board on June 4th, 1999. The Standing Committee on Government Operations was provided a draft of the supplementary appropriation bill on June 14th, and the Minister of Finance appeared before the committee on July 16th to discuss this matter. Thank you.

Return To Oral Question 226-13(7): Yellowknife Correctional Facility
Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions

Page 666

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Returns to oral questions, Mr. Antoine.