This is page numbers 721 - 753 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 housing.

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.

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Samuel Gargan Deh Cho

Thank you, Mr. Rabesca. Good morning. Mr. Antoine, your point of order.

Point of Order

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Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in reviewing unedited Hansard, I noticed yesterday in his Member's statement, the honourable Member from Yellowknife North used the phrase "proverbial wooden Indian" in regards to Members of this House attending committee hearings this summer. Mr. Speaker, I am not quite sure from reading the unedited Hansard which Member the honourable Member was referring to.

I find the reference itself quite offensive and unparliamentary. I would like to ask the honourable Member if he would withdraw the remarks so that it does not remain as part of our public records. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

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Speaker

Proverbial - proverb - the word itself is not unparliamentary. The Members of the Executive can take offence in the context in which the word has been used and I will allow debate on the point. Mr. Erasmus.

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Roy Erasmus Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I do not believe there is a point of order there. Mr. Speaker, I have no problem with removing that. What would the Premier wish to replace those words with? The sentence is still there. There has to be something, we cannot just leave it blank.

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Speaker

I think if the Members would look at the Hansard, page 1170, you look at the first sentence before the point of order was raised, following the sentence after that, that it does not affect the reading. "It is obvious that the Ministers present at the community hearings did not listen to their constituents' presentations. They did not hear the constituents saying we are afraid". So removing that is what the Minister is requesting. The sentence still makes sense. Mr. Erasmus.

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Roy Erasmus Yellowknife North

Mr. Speaker, it loses some of the meaning. I do not mind taking out those three words. If he wants to tell me what else he wants to have sit there like I do not mind. I will take out the proverbial wooden Indian. He can put whatever else he wants to sit there like. Thank you.

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Speaker

It is not up to the Premier to make suggestions on what should replace those three words. Eventually, it is still the Speaker who will decide whether or not the Premier does have a point of order. Mr. Kakfwi.

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Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. There have been a lot of remarks made in the course of this Assembly in the session this week. There have been many remarks made about the rift that is existing or going to be created between the non-aboriginal and the aboriginal people of the North if this government does not take decisive action and provide leadership and whatever other remarks were made. I believe that the remark "wooden Indian" is stereotyping with racial overtones. It is a racial slight on those of us that sit in this House that of are aboriginal decent. I do not believe that the point is to get into grammatical discussion about what should replace those remarks. The point is an apology and a withdrawal of those remarks will correct the record that they were said, they are not acceptable, and there should be an apology and an acknowledgement that they should not have been said. That would, I believe, help to correct the record and the perception of the public about how we do business in this House. Thank you.

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Speaker

Thank you. To the point of order. Mrs. Groenewegen.

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Jane Groenewegen Hay River

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to indicate that those words, in reference to our Premier, as a Member of this House, I find offensive and insulting. I agree they were made by an aboriginal person. Just to put them in context, if they had come from one of the non-aboriginal Members, I think that there would have been a huge uproar. I think just because Mr. Erasmus is also a First Nations person does not excuse that, and I take offence as an insult against our Premier. Thank you.

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Speaker

Thank you. To the point of order. Mr. Dent.

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Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would argue that the Premier does have a point of order under either section 23(k) or perhaps 23(h) of our rules. I believe that the Premier, in raising the point of order, indicated that he was not certain that it was to him that the words were referring, but if I correctly heard the Member from Yellowknife North in his initial response to this, he asked "What would the Premier like me to replace those words with, what did he sit there like?", which makes it very clear to me that this sentence does, in fact, refer to the Premier and, therefore, if the Premier believes that he has been slighted under rule 23(k), I believe that there is a point of order.

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Speaker

Thank you. On the point of order. Mr. Erasmus.