Good morning. Before we get underway this morning, I would ask the Members' indulgence in allowing me to say a few words. Being Speaker of the 13th Assembly was a privilege and an honour. The role of Speaker is at times challenging and rewarding, not to mention confusing and exasperating. Sometimes I felt that I was nothing more than a well paid daycare worker.
I seriously doubt that some of you would have ever played well together.
As Speaker, I have had limited opportunity to comment on the goings-on in this building, with the end of this Assembly and being a Friday, I would like to offer up some humorous comments on you my colleagues, and I hope, my friends.
The honourable Member from Hay River, Mrs. Jane Groenewegen, was one of two women to serve the residents of the Northwest Territories during the life of this Assembly. She may never be a member of the so-called old boys club by virtue of her gender, however she sure made a dent on the clubhouse door.
I have always envied that she does not have to wear a tie.
The Honourable, hello to the wife and family back in Inuvik, Floyd Roland, has survived his first term, and he is right, it is a growing process, although he is now somewhat grey, he still has the same enthusiasm as he did four years ago. For Mr. Roland, two words, Grecian Formula.
I have been a Member of this Assembly with the Honourable Stephen Kakfwi longer than either of us care to admit. I have seen him crack more jokes and smile in this Assembly than all of the others we have served in.
I no longer think of striking a match off him as I walk by.
You see, Mr. Erasmus, you can get away with things when you are subtle. It probably helps that I am still Speaker and would not think of ruling myself out of order. I would ask the Members to join with me to congratulate our colleague from Yellowknife North on his successful acquisition of a multitude of wardrobes over the last four years. I am sure that the late Mr. Jim Evoy would have been proud of you.
In regard to the Member from Mackenzie Delta. What can we say in regard to David Krutko.
What can we say about David Krutko in this Assembly? He is probably the only MLA in the history of the British Parliamentary system to stop proceedings by virtue of his choice of ties. Keep on trucking, David. And David, I apologize for some of the "Mickey Mouse" rules around here.
My oldest and dearest friend, the honourable Member for Nahendeh, Jim Antoine. Imagine the Premier for the Northwest Territories coming from the Deh Cho. Some might argue its like making Lucien Bouchard Prime Minister.
Work hard and have fun in Japan, we need more tourists. And you are right, the Northern Lights are better in the Deh Cho.
Mr. Henry, the honourable Member from Yellowknife South. It would be very easy to stick in a Dairy Queen joke here. However, I hate standing in lines.
Two scoops for a job well done. You have been a calming influence in this Assembly when tempers ran short. I thank you.
The Honourable Vince Steen, you scared us with that little heart attack you had. I knew, however that you were just too ornery to let a little thing like that set you back.
It seemed like two weeks later you did become a Cabinet Minister. Amazing. I thank you for your wisdom, common sense and selective hearing;
we needed them around here.
The honourable Member from Thebacha, Michael Miltenberger, is finally breathing the rarified air of Cabinet and eating all the shrimp rings his heart desires.
All's well that ends well. I might suggest a flak jacket before you return for the election in Fort Smith. Do not forget the back way out of this building.
The Member from Yellowknife Frame Lake has got his wish and is now in charge of all the marbles. The Honourable Charles Dent as Minister of Finance will work hard to ensure the future of the Northwest Territories fiscal health. He will make the hard choices. No politician down south would have the guts to increase the price of booze three months before an election.
A tireless promoter of northern solutions for northern problems, Donnie Morin, worked hard for the people of the Northwest Territories. Tough choices were made and implemented under his stewardship and he deserves our thanks. The teflon Don will be back, I hope, and the North will be better off because of it.
The Member from Yellowknife Centre, or as I like to call him the master of the indignant sound bite, Jake Ootes,
certainly showed the rest of us what a bit of media savvy could do. Vince McMahon and the WWF could use a man like you. Fight the good fight, Jake. Do not eat all the grayling.
The Member from the North Slave, James Rabesca, was another calming influence around here. The only thing phoney about James is his plastic hip. Best wishes always, James.
In closing, I will need a couple of volunteers to help me carry my cowboy boots out to my vehicle, please see me after Session. I thank the Members for their patience and allowing me to thank you and to have some fun.
Orders of the day, item 2, Ministers' statements. Mr. Dent.