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

September 10th, 1999

Page 91

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Tabling of documents. Item 14, notices of motion. Item 15, notices of motion for first reading of bills. Item 16, motions. Item 17, first reading of bills. Item 18, second reading of bills. Item 19, consideration in committee of the whole of bills and other matters. Item 20, report of committee of the whole. Item 21, third reading of bills.

Before closing this final sitting of the 13th Legislative Assembly, I would like to take a few moments to make some closing remarks. Unless for unforeseen emergency, this will be the last time we sit as Members of the 13th Legislative Assembly and as I said earlier this week, the last four years have not always been easy and that the Members of this Assembly have probably faced more difficult situations than any previous Assembly.

The next time we meet, at least those of us who are successful in our bids for re-election, will be in the 14th Legislative Assembly. The first of a new millennium. Not only will the 14th Assembly take office in a new year and century but it will also be with a new mace and other symbols and with plans for a new coat of arms and flag set to be unveiled. These are truly historic times. It is only the start of a new journey for the people of this great land.

I would also like to take this opportunity to wish each of you well in the coming months and offer my best wishes to those of you who are seeking re-election. To those of you who are not running or are not re-elected, I wish you the best in the future.

Each of us leaves here today with our own personal memories and sense of accomplishment. However, I hope you have fond memories of the past four years and know that you did the best you could to represent the people of the North.

Before closing, it would be remiss of me if I did not offer, on behalf of all Members, our thanks to the staff of the Government of the Northwest Territories and to our professional people in the communities including the nurses, teachers and social workers who tirelessly provide a most valuable service. A special thank you must also go to the staff of the Legislative Assembly for their hard work and efforts in the last four years. We have been well served by the clerk and his staff here at the Legislature, and I am sure Members of the 14th Legislative Assembly will see the same professionalism.

On a personal note, David Hamilton has worked tirelessly on division and our thanks must go to him not only from the Western Arctic, Denendeh, but also from Nunavut. Thank you, Mr. Hamilton.

--Applause

I would also like to thank my constituency assistants. The first one that I had was Mr. Mark Dickie, who is now working for a reformer and Mr. Ben Nind who is presently my constituency assistant, who I hope does not work for a reformer.

A very special thanks goes out to our families, who have also had to endure the last four years with us often not being home for family events. I would like to express my personal thanks to my other half, my partner, my friend, my wife, Alphonsine, and my children and grandchildren for being there for me when I needed the support. I certainly needed that.

As Arnold Schwartzeneger says, I will be back. Wherever the trail takes you, may you travel it safely and God bless. Mahsi cho.

--Applause

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

Page 91

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The Commissioner is not here at the moment to assent to the bills, so we will take a short break and come back in at the ring of the bell.

--Break

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

Page 91

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The House will come back to order. It is my understanding that the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories is prepared to enter the Chamber to assent to the bills and prorogue the Session. Mr. Clerk, will ascertain if his Honour, the Commissioner, is available to enter the Chamber.

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

Page 91

Commissioner Marion

Thank you. Mr. Speaker, Premier and Members of the Legislative Assembly, it is my pleasure to be here today to assent to bills and to prorogue this Session.

Since this is the last time you will meet as the 13th Legislative Assembly before the general election for the 14th Assembly, I would like to take a few moments to reflect on the achievements and notable events since you were elected in 1995.

This government was elected at a crucial time of change. The Northwest Territories was facing uniquely difficult and challenging problems. Rapid population growth and related social problems were making it increasingly difficult to maintain adequate housing, employment, health and education services. At the same time, like the rest of the country, the NWT had to deal with significant fiscal restraint measures and federal cutbacks.

Meeting these many challenges head-on required hard, and in some cases, unpopular choices. Government programs and benefits were downsized. We had to learn to do more with less and find new and innovative ways of providing services to people.

At the same time, we had to address our social and economic conditions, not only in an effort to control costs in the future, but also to create more healthy, self-reliant communities. We had to find new ways to break the old cycle of dependence on government, to build pride in our communities and faith in our ability to take care of ourselves.

This new focus meant a shift to greater regional and community control of programs, investments in training and in the school system, new infrastructure and a greater focus on preventing health and social problems. It meant supporting aboriginal rights negotiations and working towards a productive and respectful relationship with new aboriginal governments.

Some of these initiatives have already shown success. With others it is too soon to tell. A society does not change overnight. I believe this government was correct in setting the priorities that it chose and trust that future governments will build on this promising beginning.

A great deal has happened since 1995, more than could be captured in this address. I would like to mention some highlights that stand out for me:

During this term of government a package of new and modern laws dealing with Family Law was enacted. As well, a comprehensive reform of Business Law was completed with the passage of the Business Corporations Act. Members will also recall the many division measures bills passed to facilitate the creation of two new Territories on April 1, 1999.

The government's Public and Private Partnerships Initiative allowed the continuing development of infrastructure in the NWT in a climate of fiscal restraint. The opening of the Ekati diamond mine and its related socio-economic agreements was a much needed boom to the northern economy.

During the life of this government the Wire North Program brought all northern communities closer together by providing access to the Internet. The Digital Communications Network has greatly improved the speed and efficiency of information management.

New collective agreements with government employees and teachers were reached and new formula financing agreements for both the NWT and Nunavut were established with Canada.

The NWT has been a part of the Canadian delegation on international trade missions and has gained additional strength in federal/provincial forums. The GNWT recently signed the Social Union Framework Agreement with other jurisdictions, signalling a commitment to renewing social programs at home and nationally as well.

Plan 2000 and the Minimum Down Payment Assistance Program provided new and innovative kinds of assistance to northern families that would not otherwise be able to purchase homes.

I would like to offer special thanks to our public service who have proved themselves more than competent during the past four years. Time and time again they came through for us under some very trying conditions.

I would also like to recognize the support that Members have received from their families whose patience and caring made this job a little easier.

I wish you all good health, happiness and success in all of your future endeavours. It is my hope that all people of the NWT will look to the future and the new millennium with optimism and good will.

As Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, I am pleased to assent to the following bills:

Bill 1: An Act to Amend the Public Colleges Act

Bill 2: Supplementary Appropriation Act, No. 2, 1999-2000

Bill 3: Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act

Bill 4: Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Statutes Amendment Act

Bill 5: An Act to Amend the Workers' Compensation Act

As Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, I hereby prorogue the Eighth Session of the 13th Legislative Assembly. Thank you.

--Applause