This is page numbers 693 - 720 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

Member's Statement 193-13(7): Planned Construction Of Correctional Facility
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 696

Jane Groenewegen Hay River

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you, colleagues. Moving this project from a GNWT capital project to a P3 eliminated the requirement for usual consultation and review by the Standing Committee on Social Programs. Then even P3 protocol was breached when I came to learn that the P3 was in fact being split and going to Inuvik and to Yellowknife for a new young offenders facility. I found this out through a press release issued by then Minister Goo Arlooktoo when I walked by the Member's fax machine and happened to see a press release laying on it. I was assured by the Deputy Minster of Justice that the decision was a result of a report called the McCready report, which provided several options for meeting the future needs for young offenders facilities and programming. But a nagging doubt persisted, based on the Mr. Todd's opinion that this decision had been based on politics. If the decision had truly been made in the best interests of our youth, how could I reasonably argue with it? But was it political?

For this reason, shortly after the departure of the Nunavut Cabinet Ministers, I wrote to Mr. Kakfwi, the new Minister of Justice, asking him to revisit this decision so that I could be assured the decision was made for sound reasons and not as a result of any political attentions which might have existed at the time. I received a response from Mr. Kakfwi, and since Mr. Kakfwi was and is a Minister I have a great deal of respect for and confidence in, I again laid aside the issue of the young offenders facility, somewhat more confident that I had enough information to satisfy my own concerns and any concerns that might still linger for my constituents. Then came this week and the revelation that with no consultation with the Standing Committee on Social Programs, the location, method of delivery, and scope of this facility has again changed. To me, this reinforces the need to re-examine the whole issue and assessment of all factors affecting this project. The best decision must be evaluated on the basis of many factors, some of which include cost, available services in the community, and the fair distribution of government infrastructure.

Mr. Speaker, sometimes I wonder if this Cabinet thinks that capital budget means money to be spent in the capital, Yellowknife.

--Applause

Mr. Speaker, I appeal to the Minister of Justice, in the name of justice and fairness and in view of the many ironies, contradictions, and deviations from normal process, not to change his mind as to where this facility should be located but to go back to the drawing board and put in place proper consultation with the appropriate committees, and put in place a process whereby communities such as the one that I represent could have a fair and level opportunity to prepare a proposal and make presentation to him and his department for the proper, careful, and comprehensive consideration of this very important decision, because I know that we could make compelling arguments just given the opportunity. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Member's Statement 193-13(7): Planned Construction Of Correctional Facility
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 697

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Members' statements. Mr. Morin.

Member's Statement 194-13(7): Government Inaction On Governance Issues
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 697

Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Earlier in this same session, last winter, once Justice de Weerdt's decision had become public knowledge and after a motion passed in this Legislative Assembly urging the government to appeal that decision, the Premier, speaking on behalf of the government stood in this Legislative Assembly and said he would not appeal because of the advice that he received from this government.

At that time, the government said they were looking for political solutions. I said at that time that this government abandoned the aboriginal governments of the western Arctic and I feel more strongly about that today, Mr. Speaker, that this government abandoned the aboriginal governments of the western Arctic.

Yesterday, Mr. Speaker, July 28, 1999, July 28, 1999, is a dark day in the history of the 13th Legislative Assembly because now what this government has chosen to do is abandon the rest of the people of the Northwest Territories. Why do they choose to do that? Because they choose not to take action. They choose to pass the buck to the 14th Legislative Assembly, the next Legislative Assembly. There was plenty of time left in our mandate, Mr. Speaker, to carry out a constitutional commission for this Assembly to develop it and carry it out. What does the government choose to do? The government chooses to do nothing. Why are they here? To do nothing, to do nothing for the people of the western Arctic. That was the last hope that you could deal with it on the same level as Bill 15 is being dealt with. Bill 15 will be considered in this House, that should be considered in this House as well. It is an equal level playing field.

Mr. Speaker, walking into this Assembly today I had the opportunity, right out these doors, to talk to a member of the Aboriginal Summit, the Premier was there as well. What is the clear message from the Aboriginal Summit? They want this government to adopt the recommendations that our committee put forward. They want this government to do something. They will not live on borrowed time or broken promises or hollow promises.

Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Member's Statement 194-13(7): Government Inaction On Governance Issues
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 697

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 to conclude your statement.

Member's Statement 194-13(7): Government Inaction On Governance Issues
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 697

Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Aboriginal Summit have made it very clear to this government through the Premier that they want an electoral boundaries and reform constitutional committee formed so something can happen. We cannot go round any longer promising people that you are going to do something in the next Assembly. You have the ability to do it now. Mr. Speaker, I quote from Hansard on March 24, 1999, the government, the Premier, on behalf of the government.

First it gives us an opportunity to find a solution to this issue. It is not the intention of the government to try to ram this legislation through even if we could. We know there is no consensus at this time to resolve the major constitutional issues. Taking the time to build this consensus is important. We do not have consensus with our aboriginal leaders or with our communities leaders. In our view, building of the understanding of the issue and reaching a political resolution is critical.

Reaching a political resolution is critical. We have given you that opportunity. You still have today and tomorrow to reconsider your point of view, to reconsider the stand that this government took yesterday in this Legislative Assembly, passing the buck to the 14th Legislative Assembly. I ask you on behalf of all the people in the western Arctic, try to keep the western Arctic together, be a leader, be leaders, that is what you are there for, all six of you. Stand up and form a reform commission that will look at the constitution for the western Arctic and give everybody a fair government, not just the capital city of Yellowknife. Thank you.

--Applause

Member's Statement 194-13(7): Government Inaction On Governance Issues
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 697

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Members' statements. Mr. Krutko.

Member's Statement 195-13(7): Resource Agreements With NWT First Nations
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 697

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, we have heard a lot of statements in this House about resource agreements being made between the Alberta government, this government and TransCanada Pipelines. We have heard agreements made with the mining companies in regard to accessing diamonds and also accessing lands within the Northwest Territories. Mr. Speaker, I think there is one group that this government does not seem to be making any progress on in making agreements with and that is the First Nations people of this territory.

I am talking, Mr. Speaker, on the Northern Accord process, which was signed off by this government and the federal Government of Canada to negotiate the Northern Accord Agreement to transfer oil and gas mineral authority to the Government of the Northwest Territories. As part of that arrangement it was clear that they had to negotiate agreements with First Nation governments of the Northwest Territories. Here today we are seeing the government signing agreements with other jurisdictions in Canada. We are giving them access to our resources. Pipeline companies are coming up and building our pipelines, but there is nothing in place to protect the First Nations people of the land. There is nothing in there to protect the environment in regard to that protection. Ensuring that the aboriginal people when impacted will be compensated for harvesting. Also in regard to maintaining the impact that will be affected to these communities with regard to alcohol and drugs that will flow into these communities because of these developments. Mr. Speaker, we can go around telling the industry, the mining companies, Diavik, and all these other companies that who is in control here is the Government of the Northwest Territories. Yet the Government of the Northwest Territories does not own any land or have any jurisdiction on land outside the municipalities.

Until the transfer of the Northern Accord Agreement if finalized, no resource development should take place in the Northwest Territories. Until this government sits down with the Aboriginal First Nation governments and negotiates a Northern Accord Agreement and spells out exactly how those agreements are going to impact on development and how the aboriginal people will benefit from it, we should not be signing any agreements with any jurisdictions in Canada giving them the authority to our resources. The First Nation governments do not have the ability to generate revenues, or have a say on how they are going to benefit these programs. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Member's Statement 195-13(7): Resource Agreements With NWT First Nations
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 698

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Member for Mackenzie Delta is seeking unanimous consent to conclude his statement. Do we have any nays? There are no nays. Mr. Krutko, you have unanimous consent to conclude your statement.

Member's Statement 195-13(7): Resource Agreements With NWT First Nations
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 698

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you, colleagues. In regard to how these agreements are going to be finalized we have to establish a table to sit down and negotiate with Aboriginal First Nations. The Inuvialuit and the Gwich'in are the regions I represent. They are in the process of negotiating a self-government agreement. They want to know exactly how are they going to have access to the resources in their jurisdictions, in the Beaufort Delta, so that we know that we will be able to arrive at some financial arrangement between the First Nation People, the developers and also know that we will be able to use some of those resources for our self-government programs and services. I think it is essential that this government, on one hand they can say they are showing that aboriginal rights are being negotiated, and they are also saying that the Government of the Northwest Territories is moving forward on the position of these negotiations and also concluding these agreements.

The Inuvialuit signed their agreement in 1984 to establish the Inuvialuit Final Agreement, 1984, that is 25 years ago, excuse me, that is 15 years ago. In regard to the Gwich'in they signed their agreement off in April 22, 1992. That is seven years ago. Now you have the Dogrib coming forth with an agreement-in-principle. These land claim agreements are constitutionally protected agreements. They are there to ensure that the people know that these rights are there for the First Nation people. This government refuses to conclude commitments that they have made in these land claim agreements and the government is going off negotiating agreements with other jurisdictions in Canada without concluding its obligations to the Aboriginal First Nation people of this land.

I find it pretty sad. On the one hand we are saying we are working in partnership with the aboriginal people, but not living up to the commitments that we make to these First Nations People. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Member's Statement 195-13(7): Resource Agreements With NWT First Nations
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 698

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Members' statements. Mr. Erasmus.

Member's Statement 196-13(7): Comments On Electoral Boundaries Debate
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 698

Roy Erasmus Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday we discussed Bill 15 and our recommendations in this House. Today I had the opportunity to speak to a person who watched those deliberations on television. That person lives in Yellowknife and has done so for a long time. What he had indicated to me is, what do you think it will take to get across to Cabinet the fears of the people, do you have to hit them over the head with a hammer?

Mr. Speaker, I do not know, but it is obvious that this Cabinet did not read our report. It is obvious that the Ministers present at the community hearings did not listen to their constituents' presentations. We must have sat there like the proverbial wooden Indian, because they did not hear a word. They did not hear the constituents saying we are afraid of the next Assembly, we are afraid of the next Assembly. Put these things in place to protect us. What is this government doing to allay those fears. What are they doing to the words of the Premier on March 24th? Nothing. They are telling their constituents, trust the next Assembly. We will not put one concrete thing in place, but do not worry, we will make recommendations to the next Assembly. We know they will listen.

Mr. Speaker, I do not know what it will take to lead our colleagues out of the wilderness, but I implore this Cabinet, do not close your minds. Those of you who still live in your constituencies, consult with your constituents. Consult with the Aboriginal Summit about our recommendations, and maybe, just maybe in September, we will greet you as come stumbling out of the wilderness. Thank you.

--Applause

Member's Statement 196-13(7): Comments On Electoral Boundaries Debate
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 698

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Member's statement. Mr. Rabesca.

Member's Statement 197-13(7): First Aboriginal Youth Conference
Item 3: Members' Statements

July 29th, 1999

Page 698

James Rabesca North Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this past Sunday, I was privileged to attend the opening ceremony of the first Aboriginal International Youth Conference which was being held in Rae-Edzo. Myself, the mayor, and the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories presented comments to the delegation of approximately 60 youth from across Canada and the Philippines. The focus of the conference was to bring youth together in a forum to discuss the common concerns that youth face today. I see this as an excellent forum that I am sure this is providing some direction to these participants to return to their home communities and hopefully start implementing them.

The youth of today face many different challenges than we did when we were growing up. It is very difficult for the youth to retain their language and culture, as a result they are lost between their culture and that of the non-aboriginal population. They also find it frustrating because few will listen to them. In all communities, we hear the youth are bored, there is nothing for them to do. How can the youth balance their heritage and tradition with that of this modern world?

Over the week-long conference, many discussions and workshops took place with a list of concerns and recommendations that would be presented to the community leaders which I hope will include this government. It is important that we hear what their concerns are, how we can help them develop and prosper. The youth need your support for they are our future leaders. Today, youth need to be strong like two people, retain their culture and language but also able to adapt to this modern lifestyle. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Member's Statement 197-13(7): First Aboriginal Youth Conference
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 699

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Member's statement. Mr. Ootes.

Member's Statement 198-13(7): Transfer Of Federal Government Positions To The North
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 699

Jake Ootes Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My comments today are on the transfer of federal positions to the North which we are still awaiting word on when a decision will be made, how many, if any, positions from the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development may be moved North. For the last three years, the government has been pursuing this, and I have been asking questions and making statements on this quest arguing that the North will be better served if those people were to live here in the North.

Several studies have been completed to address this matter, Mr. Speaker, and I was on the understanding that Indian Affairs Minister Jane Stewart was to make an announcement on this matter several weeks ago. All sorts of studies can be done, but the reality is that DIAND staffers cannot effectively carry out their duties half a continent away. When we see how they fooled around with the diamond issue, the value-added industry, if it had not have been for this government, these Members, the communities, and members of the public here in the Northwest Territories, with the support from our communities, Canada would have lost a whole industry. Mr. Speaker, it is time that DIAND got on with the job of addressing the issue of transferring those positions North. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause