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

Motion 44-13(7): Termination Of Planning For New Yellowknife Correctional Centre
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 746

The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Mr. Erasmus. Mr. Dent.

Motion 44-13(7): Termination Of Planning For New Yellowknife Correctional Centre
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 746

Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Madam Chairperson. I can deal with the financial part of the question, and that would be that the financing is proposed to be spread over four years rather than seven. The other questions the Member asks could better be answered by the Minister of Justice.

Motion 44-13(7): Termination Of Planning For New Yellowknife Correctional Centre
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 746

The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Thank you. Minister Kakfwi.

Motion 44-13(7): Termination Of Planning For New Yellowknife Correctional Centre
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 746

Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Chairperson. The general intent is to provide facilities in the same geographic area. They are not even visible by each other. To find a way within the parameters of legislation to have, for instance, the young offenders have access to a gymnasium and perhaps some other facilities that the adult offenders would also have access to, that is the intent. It may be what you would say is podular in design. It may be separate but connected. We have not drawn up the blueprints, but we will begin the design that will lead into blueprints.

If there is interest, we would be pleased to involve those MLAs that would have time to get off the campaign trail this fall to be involved in the design and planning of it. As the Minister, I will be in office until hopefully at least the latter part of December or January, so I can provide that. We can be involved in the work, and we will undertake to get into the design. The design is really the part that I think you would be interested in, so we would be quite happy to provide that to Members. Thank you.

Motion 44-13(7): Termination Of Planning For New Yellowknife Correctional Centre
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 747

The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Mr. Kakfwi. Mr. Erasmus.

Motion 44-13(7): Termination Of Planning For New Yellowknife Correctional Centre
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 747

Roy Erasmus Yellowknife North

Thank you, Madam Chairperson. Is the Minister offering to go through the proper consultation process?

Motion 44-13(7): Termination Of Planning For New Yellowknife Correctional Centre
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 747

The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Thank you. Mr. Kakfwi.

Motion 44-13(7): Termination Of Planning For New Yellowknife Correctional Centre
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 747

Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Madam Chairperson, we have to get into the business of designing what it is that we are willing to pay for. We have the money. We just have to do the work to design something that we want or pick a design that we want. I am offering to involve Members of the Legislature, along with myself, in that as I get information, to inform them of it. A most generous offer. I should note again that these were approved by the Legislature and by Cabinet well over a year ago. There was no idea at all of what these facilities would look like, but we went ahead anyway. As I say, if you are interested in knowing what the facilities are going to look like, I would be very pleased to keep you informed of it. Thank you.

Motion 44-13(7): Termination Of Planning For New Yellowknife Correctional Centre
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 747

The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Mr. Kakfwi. Mr. Erasmus.

Motion 44-13(7): Termination Of Planning For New Yellowknife Correctional Centre
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 747

Roy Erasmus Yellowknife North

Thank you, Madam Chairperson. It is interesting to note that the department has been warehousing inmates for years with no programs and proper space. Now all this whole schemozzle, putting youth together with adults because of a gymnasium. That is it? That is the Minister's reasoning for putting these guys together, so they can share a gym? Very compassionate. I do not agree. We do not have the money. The Premier said the other day that we might have to borrow the money. I am sure that is what he said in this House. If the Premier is saying that we might have to borrow the money to do this project, could I have an explanation of how someone can say that we have the money to do this? How do you reconcile the two statements?

Motion 44-13(7): Termination Of Planning For New Yellowknife Correctional Centre
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 747

The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Mr. Erasmus. Mr. Dent.

Motion 44-13(7): Termination Of Planning For New Yellowknife Correctional Centre
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 747

Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Madam Chairperson. The Premier responded to a question from yourself, Madam Chairperson, about how capital projects are financed. Typically the government uses a variety of forms of financing from cash on hand to short-term borrowings to long-term borrowings, depending on what it takes to finance the operations of the government. In this situation, it had been proposed that to carry on with the plan as was first projected, we would have been spending $35 million. As things stand now, we will be spending $30 million, so in fact we have found a way to do this less expensively than we might otherwise have done. The government typically chooses the best way to finance a project by what its needs are at any given time. The government does borrow money. In fact, when I became Minister of Finance, we were some $40 million in debt in short-term notes. I believe that figure is probably much reduced by now, but it all has to do with how our finances, our revenues flow. We do often borrow money..

Motion 44-13(7): Termination Of Planning For New Yellowknife Correctional Centre
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 747

The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Thank you. I have Mr. Morin and Mr. Krutko. Mr. Morin.

Motion 44-13(7): Termination Of Planning For New Yellowknife Correctional Centre
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

July 30th, 1999

Page 747

Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Madam Chairperson. It is interesting, I do not know if there is a lack of understanding or if there is just not a will at all, once a decision is made, to listen to any other input on it. I see the slipping and the sliding. A renovation can be changed to build a new building because the function of the program delivery has not changed. That is amazing. It has not changed the project. That is totally, totally amazing. The next thing we are going to hear in this Legislative Assembly is probably that we have now decided to build a brand new highway between Fort Rae and Yellowknife instead of reconstructing the old one over many years - and we can do that all on our own - because the function of the program delivery has not changed. There are still going to be the same vehicles going over and over it. It is the same type of issue. Some of us may be going on the campaign trail later, but I think some are there already.

It is amazing to hear the Minister, who did not have the decency or the foresight to follow the process and consult with the committee or Members that it affects, now offer for us to have some input into the building design. He is going to be involved. I do not know what his qualifications are, but he is going to be involved. There are a lot of people and organizations in Canada that say these cement buildings with bars, stuck on the outskirts of populated areas to house aboriginal inmates, do not do their job. The numbers of people going in there just keep going up and up and up, and there is never any change. The numbers just increase. I have seen programs and talked to people. People are taking different approaches on how to house and give program delivery to aboriginal inmates. There are different approaches all through Canada. It seems ironic, Madam Chairperson, that in the Northwest Territories, where aboriginal people are just about the majority, close to 50 percent of the population, we are going to build a building to warehouse inmates. I think it is safe to say it is over 90 percent aboriginal people in our correctional centres, but there is no imagination to do anything different.

Before this Minister became the Minister, the previous Minister had no choice but to make the decisions he made, for the simple reason that you are talking about a renovation of a building. Nothing else, just a renovation. You had to do it because of a fire marshal's order. Now all of a sudden you have brand new dollars. You are going to build a brand new facility. What do they want to build? They want to build a cement building with bars on the windows and a gym that young offenders and adult offenders can share, and I believe it is a kitchen that they both get to share as well. I do not know if that is the answer at all. I do not even know if this is the proper place to put a brand new building of that type. I do not even know, if you have $35 million kicking around, if that is the right approach. I do not know that. I do not have the information that you all have. What I do know is that if you take the opportunity to consult with the standing committee, if you take the opportunity to consult with MLAs and other interest groups, if you have the time, maybe somebody with some qualifications, maybe somebody with some experience may have another answer. Then again, maybe those same people will say, you are doing the right thing, that is the right thing to do. I do not know that. We have not been given the opportunity to go explore that. The Minister says this is the first time his department has a capital expenditure budget. Well, if it is the first time, he should attempt to do it right. He should attempt to make the right decision. But then alas, again, you would never want to question the Minister that knows what is good for all because he has made the decision. He went south. I think he went to Alberta and Saskatchewan. I am not sure where he went, but he went somewhere anyhow where these facilities exist. No, no I am bragging you up, Mr. Minister. You are such a great guy with great vision. Very short-sighted vision but great, anyhow.

But what I cannot understand is what we are attempting to do and we are meeting great resistance from the government is to have the ability to go out and get some advice as well. We would like that opportunity as well. You have had the advice of your departments, of the bureaucracy, of the people in the system. I do not know if you had advice from people outside the system, from the inmates themselves. I do not know if you have gotten that advice. I have not seen any of that information. Maybe this is the greatest decision that was made in the 13th Legislative Assembly, or is going to be made. I do not know that.

Motion 44-13(7): Termination Of Planning For New Yellowknife Correctional Centre
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 748

The Chair Jane Groenewegen

When we are speaking, Members, we should refrain from speaking directly to the Minister we are talking about. We should refer to them as second, not in first. You would have to say he because you will be speaking through the Chair. I just wanted to remind Members of that, refrain from speaking directly to the Minister. Thank you. Mr. Morin.