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.

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Member's Statement 24-13(8): Appreciation To Colleagues And Staff
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 78

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Members' statements. Mr. Henry.

Member's Statement 25-13(8): Appreciation To Constituents, Colleagues, Family And Staff
Item 3: Members' Statements

September 10th, 1999

Page 78

Seamus Henry Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I feel a little lost for words. I have many emotions about today. It is the last day of the Assembly and for some people that would offend my Irish heritage. We are supposed to be never lost for words. My Irish heritage also would suggest that we can drown our

sorrows the odd time in a little alcohol but, Mr. Speaker, with what the Minister of Finance has done three weeks ago, I cannot even afford to do that.

--Laughter

Mr. Speaker, there are a few people I would like to take this opportunity to thank. The first one is my wife, Linda. I would like to thank her very much for the continued support that she has given me. I cannot help but think of a lot of the Members who, when they leave this building after a hard day's work and many frustrations, I can only think of those Members who do not have a spouse or a companion to be with, other than at the other end of the phone. I appreciate the work that those Members have done in this Assembly without having the support from people they love and care for.

I would like to thank you, Mr. Speaker, I think it goes without saying with your impartiality and how you have conducted and regulated the Members in this House through some pretty difficult times. I would like to sincerely thank each and every one of my colleagues. I have learned much from you. Hopefully, I have been able to give you some insights and wisdom also. I know none of us are above learning from each other.

I would like to thank the staff, not only of the Legislative Assembly. I have said a number of times that it is the staff that work for each Member that makes us look as good or as bad as we do. I think they are to be commended on the work they do on an ongoing basis. I would be remiss, Mr. Speaker, if I forgot about the staff that work for this government outside of this building. There are many, many capable and competent people that work for this government and they have always provided information on a timely basis. Nothing was ever too much to provide the information and get it to the committees or to individuals. I would like to thank each and every one of the bureaucracy, both in Yellowknife and around the rest of the Northwest Territories, for their service and dedication to this government. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Member's Statement 25-13(8): Appreciation To Constituents, Colleagues, Family And Staff
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 79

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Member for Yellowknife South is seeking unanimous consent to conclude his statement. Do we have any nays? There are no nays. Mr. Henry, you have unanimous consent.

Member's Statement 25-13(8): Appreciation To Constituents, Colleagues, Family And Staff
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 79

Seamus Henry Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you, colleagues. I would like at this time to also thank the constituents of Yellowknife South, I would like to thank them for first of all sending me to this building to do the job on their behalf. I have received that as an honour and hopefully I have done an acceptable job for each and every one of those constituents. I certainly understand, Mr. Speaker, now what baptism by fire really means. It means coming to an institution such as this and getting into and dealing with the situations that we have had to deal with as a collective. I found the past four years very challenging and very difficult. As I look back on my life to date, I find that the most difficult times in my life were the ones that have got meaning to me. I am quite sure that I will look back with fond memories on the four years that I have spent with each and every one of the Members here today.

Mr. Speaker, I think it is fair to say that a number of times during this Assembly I have had my bubble burst and I think we all know what that means. I would like to, seeing as the closest person to me is Mr. Ootes here on the right, I would like to take this opportunity in closing and sort of give him an understanding sometimes of what it is like to have your bubble burst. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Member's Statement 25-13(8): Appreciation To Constituents, Colleagues, Family And Staff
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 79

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Henry. Members' statements. Mr. Morin.

Member's Statement 26-13(8): Level Of Commitment Required By Mlas
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 79

Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I would like to talk a little bit about being a Member of the Legislative Assembly and what that means and what type of work does that also include. It is just about 12 years ago, Mr. Speaker, that I ran for office as a Member of the Legislative Assembly for Tu Nedhe. Only yourself, Mr. Speaker, has served longer in this House. Mr. Kakfwi has served the same length of time as I have. Mr. Kakfwi served as a Minister for the past 12 years. I have had the opportunity of serving around five and a half years as an ordinary Member in this Legislative Assembly.

What does it mean for people to run for MLA? What does it really mean? When people first run do they have any idea at all of what they are getting themselves into? Do they realize when they wake up the day after election they are no longer just a person, they are now an elected Member of the Legislative Assembly. They now represent people. That is their job. Do people run just for a job or do people run to do a job? I myself, Mr. Speaker, ran 12 years ago to do a job, to come to Yellowknife to change the way the government worked. The people wanted a change and I hope over the past 12 years we were able to create some good change. When you run and when you do become a Member of the Legislative Assembly your life changes. In order to do the job properly you have to be totally committed, 100 percent of your time has to be committed to representing your people. That is what they elected you to do. In a very short period of time some of the Members of this Legislative Assembly will seek re-election. Many others, citizens of the Northwest Territories will also seek election. I urge the voters in the Northwest Territories in every riding to ask the candidates about their commitment to representing them as constituents. What is their commitment or do they have other commitments as well? I seek unanimous consent to continue, Mr. Speaker.

Member's Statement 26-13(8): Level Of Commitment Required By Mlas
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 79

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.

Member's Statement 26-13(8): Level Of Commitment Required By Mlas
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 79

Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. When you are a Member of the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Speaker, I do not know about anybody else, I can only reflect on things I have done for my constituency. You do everything from fix peoples' toilets to try to get them housing, to get them lawyers, to help with education, help with health problems, you counsel them, you help with deaths and you help with general things that the territorial

government supply. That is a full-time job. The Member of the Legislative Assembly job is full-time.

Later today, Mr. Speaker, we are going to pass a new Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act that makes it very clear that Members of Cabinet, if you own a business, you have to put it in blind trust. That is the right thing to do. You should have to do that if you are a business person. What about Members of the Legislative Assembly, ordinary Members of the Legislative Assembly? There is no fine line, Mr. Speaker, it must be a big line, a thick line. If you are a businessman, can you walk into a deputy minister's office and say, I need this for my business or I want to do this for my business? You are an elected Member. Can any Member sit across from another Member and not be a Member at any given time? No, they cannot. You are always a Member 24 hours a day. You are a Member of the Legislative Assembly and supposed to be representing your constituency. There are prime examples of that already.

Mr. Seamus Henry, my good colleague to my left, can he walk into a deputy minister's office and talk about business and say I am only coming here as a businessman? What is the public's perception of that? Did he leave his MLA job at the door? I do not think you can do that. I urge constituents in the Western Arctic, ask the question of those candidates, no matter who it is, are you going to work for us every waking moment of your life for the next four years because, if you are going to represent people, you should do it properly and you should do it full time?

We are passing this act today and it clearly states Members get paid 70 some thousand dollars per year. That is what they get paid and this act is good. Now finally people can understand what Members of the Legislative Assembly are getting paid. But is that a part-time job? Is that part-time wages? It is suppose to be a full-time job. Always talk to your candidates and ask them the question, are they fully committed to work for them and also are you fully committed to the North, or do you have a house in BC that you are going to retire to if you lose or retire to right after you are finished, after you make decisions in this House, then are you going to go south and leave the North to live with those decisions? Ask those potential candidates, are you only keeping an apartment in Yellowknife, an apartment and you have your wife and a house down in BC, is that commitment? I do not think so, Mr. Speaker.

Can an MLA, an ordinary Member walk into a Minister's office and say, I have come to meet with you as a business person and I would like you to increase the rent in my apartment buildings or the rent on my leases and extend the leases? Where do you draw the line? You cannot. That is why I would encourage all candidates to put their businesses in blind trusts if they are going to run for an election. I would encourage all voters to ask those candidates whether or not they are going to do that and commit to the people for the job that they are supposed to do.

The election is coming soon, I wish everybody luck that is running. It has been a pleasure working with the Members of this Assembly and with that, Mr. Speaker, I thank you.

--Applause

Member's Statement 26-13(8): Level Of Commitment Required By Mlas
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 80

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Members' statements. Mr. Steen.

Member's Statement 27-13(8): Reflections On The 13th Legislative Assembly
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 80

Vince Steen Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I have found the last four years to be very educating to myself. I have learned much about politics and I suppose, like everyone else, I learned that you do not always achieve what your goals and objectives are. I am sure that we all realize now that after four years that it is not a simple matter when you leave your communities to come forward and represent them. It is not a simple matter that you are going to change the way government thinks or the way government operates. Perhaps in the first year, we are all under an illusion that we can do this, but after a year or so you soon learn that is what it is, just an illusion. Nevertheless we try and we do, I think, obtain some results, favourable. Of the four years I have been here as an MLA and in trying to reflect as to what I enjoyed the most, I think the position I enjoyed the most was when I was actually helping people at home. Individuals that needed to obtain whatever they were trying to get from the government and they were unable to. It was so rewarding to see them happy and thankful for whatever little thing you did for them. I think that you can expand that to include your whole constituency. Hopefully the majority of them are satisfied with the work you have done and the sacrifices that we had to make to come here.

It is not easy always coming here and spending time away from home, but we do it knowing that somebody back home might appreciate it and it helps. I would like to thank all of the Members here for tolerance. I am not always the easiest guy to get along with. I know I am quite persistent if I want something for my constituents. I have noticed that with the other Members too. In the end when it is all compromise and trying to do what is best for the territories in general as a whole.

I want to thank my constituents for allowing me to represent them and I thank the Members for allowing me to represent them on Cabinet and to serve them on Cabinet. I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me to go over my time once in awhile. With that I thank everyone and I look forward to seeing you in the next Assembly. Thank you.

--Applause

Member's Statement 27-13(8): Reflections On The 13th Legislative Assembly
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 80

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Members' statements. Mrs. Groenewegen.

Member's Statement 28-13(8): Tribute To Speaker Gargan
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 80

Jane Groenewegen Hay River

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it is Friday, our last day here and I would like to make my Member's statement on the lighter side. Mr. Speaker, I thought I would share a little poetry. Most of you would not know about my compositions in the poetic field. I had to keep some of my talents a secret. I did not want to make everybody else look bad. Something else you probably did not know about me is that I have a wee tad of a rebellious streak in me. I have always wanted to talk back to the Speaker, but, of course, that has been forbidden. This morning I wrote a little poem about the Speaker. I would like to have written something about all of the Members here because heaven knows there would be no shortage of material. I have to confess that not all of them inspire me in that

way. If I talk back a little bit today, what is the Speaker going to do? Throw me out? Okay. The one and only Speaker, Samuel Gargan early made us very aware, never challenge the Chair and use only parliamentary jargon. Completely loyal to his aboriginal roots in word and deed, in doctrine and creed, except for his fetish for cowboy boots. He gave up his right to speak, being Speaker we are told, but silent he is not, look at what his riding got. What was he doing during committee of the whole?

He fed us on Fridays, Member's Lounge out back, ham, hashbrowns, eggs with cheese, pork sausages dripping and oozing with grease.

I wonder, will he come and see us after the big heart attack. There is a little mischief in those smiling eyes.

His name shows up on a sign, to me seemed fairly benign, but now he is the MLA for Enterprise.

Mr. Speaker, point of order, Mr. Krutko's tie offends me, Mr. Speaker, point of order, Mr. Kakfwi said quibble.

Some may have dismissed our concerns as dribble, but you took us all seriously, a most honourable referee.

He has been around here the longest and that makes him the dean.

We should never bring up colour if we are having a fight, because whether we are yellow, red, black or white, as long as he is here, most of us are just a lovely shade of green.

Thank you.

--Applause

Member's Statement 28-13(8): Tribute To Speaker Gargan
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 81

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mrs. Groenewegen. Members' statements. Item 4, returns to oral questions. Item 5, recognition of visitors in the gallery. Mr. Ootes.

Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 81

Jake Ootes Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a number of people I would like to introduce this morning. I would like to start with a lady who has been a longstanding member of the Canadian Mental Health Association, NWT division. She has worked tirelessly over the past many years as it's president. She was recently elected as the vice-president of the National Mental Health Association and she is the first person from the Northwest Territories to be on the National Executive. As I say, the first person I would like to introduce, Mr. Speaker, is Ms. Kathryn Youngblut who is in the audience with us today.

--Applause

I would also like to introduce Mr. Mike Mann, who is also with the Mental Health Association and is also the Executive Assistant to our Commissioner, Mr. Dan Marion.

--Applause

Two other people that I would like to introduce, a constituent of mine and former mayor of Yellowknife, Ms. Pat McMahon, and she is with Terry Balta, a Yellowknife resident for many years. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 81

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Mr. Krukto.