This is page numbers 73 - 92 of the Hansard for the 13th Assembly, 8th 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 assembly.

Topics

Reply 5-13(8)
Item 9: Replies To Opening Address

Page 88

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Replies to opening address. Mr. Antoine.

Reply 6-13(8)
Item 9: Replies To Opening Address

Page 88

Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, given that this is the last sitting day of the 13th Legislative Assembly, I would like to make a few brief remarks. Mr. Speaker, I have had the pleasure to have been selected to Cabinet during the 13th Assembly including the last nine months as Premier. Mr. Speaker, during the first four months of my term as Premier, we concentrated to a great extent on finishing the job of dividing the Northwest Territories. I often believe that because we were so close to this process that we do not recognize the magnitude of the job that we have done. Often when I travel, people tell me that they are amazed that this process seemed to have gone so well. I cannot remember any meaningful disagreements during the entire process. I believe that the people of both territories should be proud of this accomplishment.

Mr. Speaker, after we had finished the job of division, the past six months have been spent developing a vision for the Northwest Territories that all of our residents can share. This vision is incorporated in the Agenda for a New North which we have recently finalized. The agenda deals with five key and interrelated elements such as governance, our fiscal capacity, economic potential, control of northern resources and our many social challenges. Mr. Speaker, the past five or six months have been spent trying to explain the key elements of this agenda and to build support throughout the North for the process to deal with these issues. Whenever I had the opportunity to speak about these issues I have said the same thing. These are the issues facing the Northwest Territories and it does not matter who is elected into the next Legislative Assembly or who represents aboriginal governments in the future. These are the issues that must be dealt with.

It is for this reason, Mr. Speaker, that we have been trying to build support for an intergovernmental process that will allow for governments in the North, both public and aboriginal, to come together to discuss how we can work together to deal with these issues. We often focus on our differences. However, over the past six months of meeting with organizations and individuals in different regions, these differences seem to be more rhetoric than substance. In fact, what strikes me the most is the similarities of the positions on many issues. It is my belief that public and aboriginal governments must sit together around a table to discuss these issues if they are to be resolved. It is also critical that the federal government participates in this process as a full and equal partner. The time is right to begin this intergovernmental process and it is the intention of this government to continue to move forward on this process over the remainder of our term.

Mr. Speaker, I promised that I would be brief so I just want to touch on two other issues before I finish. The first is northern control of northern resources. Mr. Speaker, we spend a great deal of time discussing the challenges that we face. As we travel across the territories I am struck by the tremendous potential that we have. For example, the current gas play in the Liard Valley has brought a very real sense of economic potential of this resource. In Fort Liard, the chief, Harry Deneron, and his people are doing a tremendous job of maximizing the local benefits from the search for gas in that region and I applaud them for that.

However, I remain concerned about what happens once the gas begins to flow south. Where then is the benefit to the people of the Northwest Territories? Where is our opportunity to share in the long-term wealth generated by this industry and redistributed to pay for badly needed programs and services to all our citizens here in the Northwest Territories? I know that Chief Harry Deneron shared my view that these benefits can only be realized through a Northern Accord that ensures that royalties from these resources flow to northern governments. The example in Fort Liard is reason enough for northern governments to sit down to discuss how we can share control and revenues from northern resources.

On the other side of the issue, Mr. Speaker, the current situation with Giant Mine is another reminder to me of how important it is for northern people to take control of northern resources. This situation has resulted in an environmental mess and the very real possibility that well over 200 of our residents will be out of work. This situation is not isolated to the people currently working at Giant Mine and their families, but the effects will trickle down to affect all the people in our territory.

Mr. Speaker, the simple fact of the matter is that the Government of the Northwest Territories and northern people have little or no control over this situation because jurisdictions for minerals remains with the federal government. We, however, are left to live with the aftermath. Mr. Speaker, I cannot say, with any degree of certainty, that Northerners would have managed the situation with Giant Mine in a better fashion, but I do know this, I know that we would have had a better opportunity to deal in a more constructive and productive manner if these decisions were made by people who live in this community, who breath the air, who drink the water, and who feel the economic impact of potential closure of this mine rather than, as it stands now, that decisions of this matter that affect us here in the North are being made in Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker, the final issue I would like to speak to you about today is the significant progress we have made over the past four years on the recognition and implementation of aboriginal and treaty rights. A most recent example was the initialling of an agreement in principle with the Dogrib people of the first combined land claim and self-government agreement in the Northwest Territories. I am hopeful that we will be in a position to sign this AIP prior to the end of this Assembly. We have also made significant progress, and I believe we are only a short time away from reaching an agreement with the Gwich'in and Inuvialuit on their self-government agreement in the Beaufort Delta. We are well on our way to a self government agreement with the community of Deline. The process is beginning in my home region of the Deh Cho that I hope will result in formal negotiations that will meet the aspirations of my people of my region. I just had a very productive meeting recently with the chief from Salt River First Nations, Chief Nora Beaver, as representative of the band. I believe that we are moving forward in a positive way to a resolution of the treaty land entitlement process they have begun.

Mr. Speaker, we must continue to look for ways to move forward in other regions as well. These processes represent real and measurable progress in the recognition and implementation of aboriginal and treaty rights in the Northwest Territories. I believe that this progress has been made because we have developed negotiating mandates that are flexible enough to recognize the different aspirations of different regions while, at the same time, maintaining our core principle of an efficient and relevant central government.

Mr. Speaker, before I end, there are a great many people I would like to thank for their support over the past four years. Mr. Speaker, politics is sometimes exciting, as well as a demanding and often unforgiving vocation. I am blessed to have a family that supports my career and forgives me for the absences that are many, the long hours, the occasional stressful times we all face. For that I would like to thank my wife Celine, my children Denezeh, Melaw, Sachey and Tumbah.

Mr. Speaker, I have been honoured to have been selected by my colleagues in this Legislative Assembly to have served as Minister for the past three years of this Assembly and as Premier since December. During this time, Mr. Speaker, there have been agreements on many issues and occasional disagreements on others. At all times, Mr. Speaker, I have tried to serve as best I can. I would like to thank all the Members in this Legislative Assembly for their support over the past four years, and I hope that I have served you well.

Mr. Speaker, during my time as Cabinet Minister, I have been fortunate to have worked with many capable and committed public servants. I would like to recognize some of these people today and thank them for their effort, their commitment, and their professionalism. In particular, I would like to thank Bob Overvold, Fred Koe, Andrew Gamble, Bruce Rattray, Liz Snyder, Ron Williams, Peter Vician, Charles Overvold, Lew Voytilla, Gabriela Sparling, and others that I may have missed, but I would like to mention these.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to thank my personal staff for putting up with me for the past four years, mainly my executive secretary, Edith Mack. She was my first official executive when I became Minister, and she is still here with me, and I just want to say that she has been a very capable assistant to me and that I think she is capable of doing bigger and better things.

As well, I would like to mention my executive assistant, Pietro de Bastiani, who came from within the government system in Transportation. Many people ask why I selected Mr. de Bastiani. I think I would like to say that as a politician, I know the politics that goes into it, and I needed somebody that knows the system from within the bureaucracy. I think he was quite capable the last four years that he helped me out in this area.

I also want to mention my correspondence secretary, Shelley Muller, who has been helping us out since becoming Premier. She kind of filled in when Ms. Mack was not around. I would like to thank her for her support and putting up with me.

When I first came in as a Premier, I had Paul Bachand as the principal secretary for the beginning. I would like to thank him for his support in the beginning. He is with the Department of Justice now and is quite capable in the work that he does.

Finally, I would like to mention my current principal secretary, Rick Bargery, who was supposed to provide me with political advice and other direction in all the issues that we deal with. I would like to thank him for his help.

Finally, I have been fortunate that the people of Nahendeh have twice put their trust in me to represent them in this House. For this trust, I would like to thank the people of Liidli Kue, which is Fort Simpson, Echaot'le Kue, which is Fort Liard, Tthekehdeli, which is Jean Marie River, Pedzeh Ki, Wrigly, Sambaa K'e is Trout Lake and Tthenaago, which is Nahanni Butte. These are the six communities that are represented in the southwestern part of this territory. I would like to thank the people there for having the honour and the trust put in me for representing them for the last current four years and the four years before that.

Mr. Speaker, I could name many people from my constituency that have supported me. I would like to mention my constituency assistant Bob Villeneuve, and my previous one, Eric Menicoche, for helping me out in my constituency. There are a great many people I would like to thank for giving me advice over the past eight years but I would, no doubt, miss some. Therefore, I would like to thank all my constituents, and I hope that they feel that I have served them well.

Mr. Speaker, the people of the new Northwest Territories will be going to the polls for the first time on December 6 of this year, and I intend to put my name forward for another term. I hope that the people of Nahendeh would once again consider honouring me with their support. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Reply 6-13(8)
Item 9: Replies To Opening Address

Page 90

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Antoine. Replies to opening address. Mr. Rabesca.

Reply 7-13(8)
Item 9: Replies To Opening Address

Page 90

James Rabesca North Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to make a Commissioner's reply as short as possible. I rise today to get the last word in prior to leaving, concentrating on the election at hand. During our Commissioner's address, I found his speech giving me a feeling of fellowship and unity. I am very glad to see he has gone on the road, so to speak, and is spreading the word of unity and how this territory should and can work together to provide our residents in all areas on a better and more prosperous way of life. Over the last year our residents have suffered many hardships as a result of actions that we were forced to take. We have met many challenges facing us and I feel we have come out ahead. I realize there are still many issues to be resolved, and I hope I can return and again make my mark in this Assembly. It was also good to hear our Commissioner recognizing the role models in all our communities. There are the individuals that, in every community, are very important to communities who, most times, do not get this recognition.

As we go forward, we must strive to unite our territory. We all have seen what can happen when we work together. We can, while achieving greatness, it is important that we look ahead to these opportunities and we can achieve and reach for them. Our residents need this and we are obliged to provide this. One united territory will make a difference and this is what must be in the forefront of our minds.

In closing, I would like to thank my constituency for the honour of representing them in this Assembly. We have achieved much more than many ever thought possible. We must continue to look to the future and strive for a much better life for all the residents in the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Reply 7-13(8)
Item 9: Replies To Opening Address

Page 90

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Replies to opening address. I just wanted to remind the Members of an oversight on my part and that is we know that, and most Members knew, that today was the last day. As part of the prorogation, we usually do not have item 9, replies to opening address. Usually on prorogation day, we do have a very short day, but again an oversight on my part has allowed for it to be a very long day. It is very clear, in the rules, regarding the replies to opening address, they shall be placed on the orders of the day for the day after opening day and for every following sitting day except the day designated for prorogation. My apologies for that. Item 10, petitions. Mr. Krutko.

Reply 7-13(8)
Item 9: Replies To Opening Address

Page 90

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to go back to item 6, oral questions.

Reply 7-13(8)
Item 9: Replies To Opening Address

Page 90

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Member for Mackenzie Delta is seeking unanimous consent to go back to item 6, oral questions. Do we have any nays?

Reply 7-13(8)
Item 9: Replies To Opening Address

Page 90

Some Hon. Members

Nay.

Reply 7-13(8)
Item 9: Replies To Opening Address

Page 90

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mr. Krutko, you do not have unanimous consent. Petitions. Item 11, reports of standing and special committees. Item 12, reports of committees on the review of bills. Item 13, tabling of documents. Mr. Miltenberger.

Item 13: Tabling Of Documents
Item 13: Tabling Of Documents

Page 90

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Tabled Document 5-13(8): Promising Practices: Ideas That Work in Northern Secondary Classrooms

Item 13: Tabling Of Documents
Item 13: Tabling Of Documents

Page 90

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to table the following document entitled Promising

Practices, Ideas That Worked in Northern Secondary Classrooms. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Item 13: Tabling Of Documents
Item 13: Tabling Of Documents

Page 91

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Tabling of documents. Mr. Dent.

Tabled Document 6-13(8): 1999 NWT Labour Force Survey

Item 13: Tabling Of Documents
Item 13: Tabling Of Documents

Page 91

Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I have two documents to table. I wish to table the document entitled 1999 NWT Labour Force Survey and, Tabled Document 7-13(8): Interactivity Budget Transfers Over $250,000 for the Period April 1, 1999 to July 31, 1999.

Mr. Speaker, as required by section 32.1, subsection (2) of the Financial Administration Act, I am tabling a list of all interactivity transfers exceeding $250,000 within departments for the period April 1, 1999 to July 31, 1999.

Item 13: Tabling Of Documents
Item 13: Tabling Of Documents

Page 91

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Tabling of documents. Mr. Kakfwi.

Tabled Document 8-13(8): NWT Development Corporation Annual Report, 1995-96

Item 13: Tabling Of Documents
Item 13: Tabling Of Documents

Page 91

Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the following document entitled Northwest Territories Development Corporation Annual Report, 1995-96. Thank you.