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

Committee Motion 37-13(7): Establishment Of Constitutional And Electoral Reform Commission
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Madam Chairperson. I think that one of the points that came out during our review -- it came from, I believe, someone from Fort Simpson -- really hit on exactly, what has this government been doing? We pull up an issue. We work on it for a while. We drop it, and we go work on something else. We drop that. We work on a different process. We have been working on processes but never completing the process. I think that is the problem that we have run into with everything in the North, the Northern Accord, the constitutional process. Now we are looking at self-government. There is talk about community empowerment initiatives. That sort of slid off onto the back burner. Then basically we formulate a constitutional process on one hand, and we formulate a boundaries commission on the other hand. So everybody is sort of running around not really realizing exactly who is doing what and who is pulling it all together.

Basically, what this does is, it establishes a mechanism where everybody will have an opportunity to deal with the two issues which are probably the most sensitive issues in the North right now, the constitutional question and the boundaries question. This group will deal with the two issues which are probably the most crucial issues that we will probably see in this territory going into self-government agreements and all the land claim agreements being settled. We go around spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on economic strategies and education forums. Yes, we have spent money on constitutional processes, but there are materials that have been catalogued, collected, and it is available to basically start the forum off.

We have terms of reference in place. We have an existing constitutional development committee structure in place already. We are not starting from ground zero. We are basically forcing what people are asking for, a process to deal with, the roadblocks that we find ourselves in now, to move over to the side, get past the roadblocks, and start focusing ourselves in taking a new direction and getting this thing concluded. That is more than what this government has put forth or a judge has put forth. This is the compromise where basically people can finally say, this process is a process we can trust. It is not a government process. It is not an aboriginal process. This process will be there strictly to work on a constitution and election reform commission. They are the ones that at the end of the day will make a package for everyone in the Western Territory to vote on. Once the ratification has taken place, it is binding. It is binding on the government, and it is binding on all the other people in the Western Territory, the residents. So what else can you ask for? I strongly urge those six Members on the other side of the House to support this initiative. Thank you.

Committee Motion 37-13(7): Establishment Of Constitutional And Electoral Reform Commission
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Thank you. To the motion. Mr. Morin.

Committee Motion 37-13(7): Establishment Of Constitutional And Electoral Reform Commission
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Madam Chairperson. Madam Chairperson, I can clearly remember the debate in this Legislative Assembly on urging the government to appeal Justice de Weerdt's ruling. I can clearly remember the government's view, and we quoted the government's view in our report. It was one of the most troublesome and diverse issues that we had to deal with in this Legislative Assembly. It was one of the hardest things for the government and Members to deal with. A complete change in the political structure of the Northwest Territories is what we are dealing with. I can remember very clearly this government saying, we need a political solution, we need a political solution, we need a political solution. Where is the political solution? Do you know where the political solution is for this government, Madam Chairperson? We will pass the buck to the 14th Assembly. A great political solution. It completely astounds me that elected people to the Legislative Assembly, our government -- you are supposed to be leaders. Is that how you lead? You pass the buck.

No wonder many people are calling this a lame-duck government, that will not make a fundamental decision on the basic principle of a political solution. You have the opportunity to supply the glue, the fabric to hold the Western Territory together. I have never been so disgusted in my life to see people sit on their hands and offer no solution. We are Ordinary Members. We have very limited resources. We have very limited staff. Yet we went out and tried to create a political solution. We knew from day one that you cannot change Justice de Weerdt's ruling, and this government knew it too. But what we also knew was there was a political commitment by this government to look for a political solution. So what did we tell the people of the Northwest Territories when we went out to see them? We said, we have come to hear you, we want your advice. We are looking for a political solution that we can take back and offer. But the bill is in the House. The judge made his ruling, they said. Can you really do something. Oh, the government has assured us. They assured us publicly that they were looking for a political solution. But all they were looking for was time in order to pass the buck to the next Assembly, so you have to make no decision, no decision.

There are those, Madam Chairperson, that criticize the Members for going to listen to the public. They said it was a waste of time and a waste of money. Well, you know what? Today I say I agree with you and I apologize to them. I apologize to the public of the Northwest Territories because I misled them. I went out there and told them that government was going to listen to them. I went out there and told them that the government was looking for political solutions to this issue. But alas, it was a waste of time. It was a waste of money because the government was not looking for any political solution. All they were looking to do was pass the buck to the next Assembly.

I apologize, Madam Chairperson, to all those people that took the time to come and make presentations to our committee, and I am deeply sorry that we wasted their time. I was being paid to do it, they were not. I honestly thought, when the government stood up and said they were looking for political solutions, they meant it. But alas, they did not. All they wanted was time so that could pass the buck, and that is what they are doing. There is no other process. Intergovernmental forum, this is going to go through an intergovernmental forum to buy us time so we do not have to make a decision, is basically what you are saying. This is a dark day.

This is a dark day in the history of the Northwest Territories and a dark day for this 13th Legislative Assembly. But it is going to be very clear to the people of the Northwest Territories what this government stands for. It stands for doing nothing. It stands for passing the buck. So I hope you are all proud of yourselves that you stood up for what you believed in, passing the buck. With that, I will request a recorded vote. Thank you, Madam Chairperson.

Committee Motion 37-13(7): Establishment Of Constitutional And Electoral Reform Commission
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 692

The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Mr. Morin. Mr. Morin has requested a recorded vote. The question has been called. All those in favour of the motion, please stand.

Committee Motion 37-13(7): Establishment Of Constitutional And Electoral Reform Commission
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 692

Clerk Of The Committee Mr. Inch

Mr. Morin, Mr. Erasmus, Mr. Krutko, Mr. Rabesca.

Committee Motion 37-13(7): Establishment Of Constitutional And Electoral Reform Commission
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 692

The Chair Jane Groenewegen

All those opposed to the motion, please stand.

Committee Motion 37-13(7): Establishment Of Constitutional And Electoral Reform Commission
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 692

Clerk Of The Committee Mr. Inch

Mr. Ootes, Mr. Henry.

Committee Motion 37-13(7): Establishment Of Constitutional And Electoral Reform Commission
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 692

The Chair Jane Groenewegen

All those abstaining from voting on the motion, please stand.

Committee Motion 37-13(7): Establishment Of Constitutional And Electoral Reform Commission
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 692

Clerk Of The Committee Mr. Inch

Mr. Miltenberger, Mr. Kakfwi, Mr. Antoine, Mr. Dent, Mr. Roland, Mr. Steen.

Committee Motion 37-13(7): Establishment Of Constitutional And Electoral Reform Commission
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Chair Jane Groenewegen

The results of the voting are four for the motion, two against, six abstentions. The motion is carried. Does the committee agree that consideration of the report concluded? Mr. Morin.

Committee Motion 37-13(7): Establishment Of Constitutional And Electoral Reform Commission
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Madam Chairperson. I move we report progress.

Committee Motion 37-13(7): Establishment Of Constitutional And Electoral Reform Commission
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 692

The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Thank you. The motion is in order. It is not debatable. All those in favour of the motion? All those opposed to the motion? The motion is carried. I will now rise and report progress. Thank you.

Committee Motion 37-13(7): Establishment Of Constitutional And Electoral Reform Commission
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The House will come back to order. Good evening. Item 20, report of committee of the whole. Mrs. Groenewegen.

Item 20: Report Of Committee Of The Whole
Item 20: Report Of Committee Of The Whole

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Jane Groenewegen Hay River

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, your committee has been considering committee report 2-13(7) and would like to report progress with four motions being adopted. Mr. Speaker, I move that the report of the committee of the whole be concurred with. Thank you.

Item 20: Report Of Committee Of The Whole
Item 20: Report Of Committee Of The Whole

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Seconded by Mr. Henry. The motion is in order. To the motion. Question is being called. All those in favour? All those opposed? Motion is carried. Item 21, third reading of bills. Item 22, orders of the day.