This is page numbers 41 - 72 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 information.

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Further Return To Question 31-13(8): Addressing Special Needs In Nwt Schools
Question 31-13(8): Addressing Special Needs In NWT Schools
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 55

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, what I indicated was that we are continuing to operate with the money that has been approved in this Legislative Assembly for the Department of Education, Culture and Employment. Thank you.

Further Return To Question 31-13(8): Addressing Special Needs In Nwt Schools
Question 31-13(8): Addressing Special Needs In NWT Schools
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 55

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Oral questions. Supplementary, Mr. Erasmus.

Supplementary To Question 31-13(8): Addressing Special Needs In Nwt Schools
Question 31-13(8): Addressing Special Needs In NWT Schools
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 55

Roy Erasmus Yellowknife North

Mr. Speaker, I was wondering what has been done to comply with the motion that had been passed earlier to put more money into the area of special needs. Thank you.

Supplementary To Question 31-13(8): Addressing Special Needs In Nwt Schools
Question 31-13(8): Addressing Special Needs In NWT Schools
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 55

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mr. Miltenberger.

Further Return To Question 31-13(8): Addressing Special Needs In Nwt Schools
Question 31-13(8): Addressing Special Needs In NWT Schools
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 55

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this issue is a continued topic of debate in Cabinet within the broader context of planning for the financial future of the Northwest Territories. But today I just have to repeat that we are operating within the funds that have been allocated to us, that there has been no new money added to the budget for education.

Further Return To Question 31-13(8): Addressing Special Needs In Nwt Schools
Question 31-13(8): Addressing Special Needs In NWT Schools
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 55

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Oral questions. Final supplementary, Mr. Erasmus.

Supplementary To Question 31-13(8): Addressing Special Needs In Nwt Schools
Question 31-13(8): Addressing Special Needs In NWT Schools
Item 6: Oral Questions

September 9th, 1999

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Roy Erasmus Yellowknife North

Mr. Speaker, I just want to indicate that I am very disappointment that there has not been any effort made to comply with a motion from this House that is supposed to give direction to the Cabinet. We will just have to wait and see if they are going to try to do anything in this area. Thank you.

Supplementary To Question 31-13(8): Addressing Special Needs In Nwt Schools
Question 31-13(8): Addressing Special Needs In NWT Schools
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 56

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Question period is over. Mr. Miltenberger.

Further Return To Question 31-13(8): Addressing Special Needs In Nwt Schools
Question 31-13(8): Addressing Special Needs In NWT Schools
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 56

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As Minister of Education, I am very aware of the motion in this House for more funding. With the issue of special needs, we are looking at what we are doing and how we do it so that we could hopefully improve on that. One example I can use is dealing with autistic children. There is an Autism Society in Yellowknife. I know, for example, in my community alone, there are at least three or four autistic children and they were, for the most part, not tied in as effectively as it could be. We are trying to connect those kinds of resources within the Northwest Territories within existing budgets to try to deal with some of these special needs issues. Thank you.

Further Return To Question 31-13(8): Addressing Special Needs In Nwt Schools
Question 31-13(8): Addressing Special Needs In NWT Schools
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 56

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Item 7, written questions. Item 8, return to written questions. Item 9, replies to opening address. Mr. Roland.

Reply 1-13(8):
Item 9: Replies To Opening Address

Page 56

Floyd Roland Inuvik

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I do not intend to be very long with my replies to opening address. I thought of writing something out some time ago to try to prepare for this, but over time, I thought it is just best to speak off the cuff. I have learned a lot from my colleague, Mr. Miltenberger. He showed me that it can be done. Mr. Speaker, there has been much that has happened in the last four years. I recall coming in here with a suit that was actually a little too small, my hair was still black, and I felt a lot more fit. There have been a lot of positive change, as I see it, Mr. Speaker. We have all, I think, come away from this session richer than when we first came here, not in the sense of monetary value but in the sense of personal value. I know I have grown as an individual being amongst all my colleagues before division had gone on and happened. As well, I have been able to adapt to some of the barbs that have been thrown my own way from my colleagues, even on this side of the floor. They have showed me that it can be done in a quicker way. As Mr. Miltenberger keeps prying at it, I keep trying to resist trying to throw something back.

We have grown together as an Assembly. We have had some trying times and at times it feels like we have gone through a furnace but I know, as well, when we go through difficult times, it brings out the best in us. I know they will be looking back on the 13th Assembly and many people will look back and remember the dark days of the 13th Assembly being the first two years. I recall a cartoon being done about me in a newspaper showing me wearing nothing but a barrel because Inuvik was being pillaged by the rest of the government.

But I think we have done quite well, and I have always believed in the people of the Northwest Territories that we can and show that through the difficult times, we can hold our heads high and show that by being positive, we can bring more out of it than we have lost. It has not been easy and I have had trying times of my own when I go back home and had to share the message with my constituents. In fact, I know the first few months of the life of this Assembly, it was quite difficult but I think we have come through those days. Although Mr. Dent has gone on to lay a bit of vision out there and he is painting some cloudy pictures on a somewhat blue sky in the last days of the 13th Assembly, and I believe his nickname is even changing too, but I will keep that for ourselves. I think we have done a great deal of work. We have seen the completion or somewhat of a completion of Nunavut's creation, and they are on their way. We are now, in the west, undergoing a lot of changes from the impacts of division and moving forward in that aspect. I think we still have some work to do in that area.

As well, when we talk about governments, we have come a long way in dealing with other governments within the Northwest Territories. I think the future holds a lot of challenge yet, but if what we have done is an example of what can be done, we have a lot of promise out there. We have talked about the resources available to us in the Northwest Territories, and there are a great deal of resources that have been untapped, both renewable and non-renewable, as well as our youth coming up. We have a large population of youth, and I think if the Youth Assembly is an example of what happens, we have a lot of keen young people out who could be eyeing our seats in the upcoming years and looking to put their mark on the Northwest Territories. We have seen great changes, and I believe we will see more changes.

But if I have shared my way of thinking with the departments that I have been fortunate to work with is that if we are involved at the front end of this change, we can have a positive impact as to where we are going to go as the Northwest Territories. I think the future is full of hope, but if we do not work together, that hope can somewhat be diminished because, as we have know and we have heard many times in a lot of our meetings, that the development of the Northwest Territories has taken a long time. At sometimes I have said, in this House, that we have to look to when we first came in and the ideals we came in with and the ideas of change we brought with us. I think a lot of us can go back and say that we have met a lot of those ideas we came in with.

I know for myself that it has been a very good experience. I have wished for more time at home, but at the same time, I know my wife has mentioned to me on a number of occasions, she does not see me pulling wrenches anymore. I know when I have tried to do that on occasions, my hands do not quite meet to the task that they once used to. But I have also grown in another way here and that is, I feel, through a nurturing of staff and the Assembly helping us getting our work done. They put a lot of energy and effort into what we have done in the Northwest Territories, and there is a lot behind the scenes. Many people of the Northwest Territories only see a certain portion of this House and what happens in the life of this government, but there is much more that happens behind the scenes. I know, at times, I have been in a position where I feel, as a human race, I guess, we can say we have done good things and that there is hope for us in the future. But I have also sat back at times and said an extra prayer because I wondered where we were going as a human race and as a government. I know I can say that quite freely because I believe that what we have gone through has not been easy, not only for ourselves, but our families and as a Territory as a whole right from the unemployed person, the person in health care, the person looking for employment, and the person employed within the government. We have all felt the impacts of what we had to go through.

I was corrected, at one time, in my community when I said that this Assembly was doing good work, and I was corrected rather sternly, and I agree with what was said. In fact, it was not good work, it was necessary work. It was work that had to be done. If we all had our choices, we would have made other decisions, but we knew, by what was put in front of us, that the path for the future was going to be a difficulty, narrow and ragged path. But I think at the end of this life of this Assembly we can all, I believe, hold ourselves high and say, we have done work that was necessary, and I do not think we will see the payoff until a few years down the road that we have spoken so much about our youth that, in fact, the decisions we made yesterday and today is going to benefit our youth. There is much that needs to be done. I continue to try and hold a brighter picture of the future. I think we need to look ahead to see the potential there and how we can capture some of the potential to benefit residents of the Northwest Territories. Not an easy task, Mr. Speaker, but to many occasions, I think we have risen to that task.

Sometimes we have come away feeling a little afraid, a bit burnt out. But I think, every day as we start, I know I start my day a certain way, Mr. Speaker, and I ask for the wisdom and guidance from the good Lord above because I feel without that, I am not sure where I would be in this whole process. If it has not been for the help I have received from my colleagues that are around here, from the wisdom given to me from previous Members as well, from the staff that help us day to day, they have given me much insight. I must say that my children, when I first got into this work, my son Justin used to ask me, "Daddy, why did they have to elect you?", and he said it in a tone that it was like a sentence I had to fulfil. But I think he has come to appreciate the work I do and that I think my family realizes, as well as many residents in the Territories that we all put it on the line here for the future and for the generations to come. We have made difficult decisions. I know for myself, I have told people back home that I will always come back and face the heat, if that was the case, but as well, I would always try and come back and bring some good news. And thankfully, since the first two budgets of this government, I have been able to go back home and show them that there is some positive to working cooperatively with the people of this Assembly. Hopefully, those things will come into reality in the future.

As I said, it has not been without difficulty, Mr. Speaker, but I think when we look back, we need to look at the positives we have done. The world is much too full of negative things. When you turn on the TV, you look at newspapers, we see the front pages with disasters and murders that are happening and so on. I think we need to, as a society, and this is coming from my own, is try to look for the lining in the clouds. And I think that is one way I have been able to manage working in this forum for, I guess, coming out as a survivor, in a sense, that we have, in all that we have done, come out with good things.

One thing I must say, going to the lighter, again trying to find that lining in the cloud, at different times I have had the opportunity to have lunch at an establishment here in Yellowknife and at times my colleague Mr. Miltenberger would sit with me. At the end of lunch, we would get a fortune cookie, and every time that afternoon I would get up to make a Member's statement, he accused me of speaking as if I was speaking out of a fortune cookie.

--Laughter

He would scratch his head and wonder what I really said at the end of the day. So I must have learned something. But I have always said and tried to operate in being an up-front and open person, and I hope that my colleagues around here will be able to look back and say, with some reflection, on how we have worked together, that I have been open and honest and able to work with. There are always disagreements, but I think in the long run, even those disagreements have brought good things.

I have used a lot of parables in speaking to my colleagues in this arena. I will do one more, in a sense. I had used this earlier when we were speaking with members of the Aboriginal Summit. I think today, more than anything and of the future government as well, is that, as a territory we have come to a cross roads. We are on the brink of a lot of change, and it is challenging but yet it is exciting. We have many self-government tables that are going on that will change the face of the Northwest Territories and how government operates. That is why I saw if we can be involved up front, we can all work together to achieve a better Northwest Territories for the residents of the Northwest Territories for today and for the future.

But at that cross roads I use an example that again, coming from my previous work, that using an automobile as an example, in the Northwest Territories, when we first sat down as a 13th Assembly, we tried to put constitution package in place for April 1, 1999, and we worked feverishly for almost two years to develop what I saw was a cadillac that could be in place and ready to go as of April 1, 1999. But as we found, as past Members and people working in the area of constitution for the Northwest Territories, that it was not easy to implement any real changes. It is an issue that goes to everyone's heart in the Northwest Territories. They feel an impact from any change we make at this level to the way they carry on their daily lives and work in the Northwest Territories.

The face of the Northwest Territories has changed. I look at the change we have gone through and I look at my own family. Mr. Speaker, my cultural background is Inuvialuit and I am a registered Inuvialuit. But at the same time, when my children stand beside me, they stand beside me with their blond hair and blue eyes and if we ever had to stand up and show a card in the Northwest Territories, they would have a bit more difficulty then I would.

If you looked at them from the outside, they would not pass for what people would normally look as an aboriginal child. In fact, they do qualify as Inuvialuit. That is the thing I bring to the table. We need to be open to everyone in the Northwest Territories to show them that our differences are, in fact, what strengthen us, not what weaken us.

It goes back to this cadillac, Mr. Speaker, we worked so hard to build this vehicle, to carry us across the bridge of April 1, 1999. When it got close to the date of April 1, we realized that was not possible. I reflected, in one of our earlier meetings when I discussed this vehicle, that instead we should be working on probably a chevy. That is something that would get us across the line and keep us moving, that we can build on as a future generation. I think, in fact, when we came to crossing that bridge, we found the bridge was not built and we still have to complete that bridge. That is going to be the work of the next Assembly as well, is to build that bridge. That bridge, Mr. Speaker, has got to be built by many different people. Different nationalities, different cultures. That bridge will be built even stronger, I believe, if we endorse our differences and realize it is those differences that make us strong. In this world today, as a global economy, I do not believe we can say that we can live within ourselves or as an island. I do not believe that is possible anymore. Even to this level in our communities, we hear of the NAFTA and the Free Trade Agreement. I think that just shows that it can reach the smallest community.

Mr. Speaker, as my friend, Mr. Miltenberger suggested that I close, he must realize that the difference we are in two people is that because of my height I think I can go on a little longer than he can.

--Laughter

I had to get that in as a parting shot.

Mr. Speaker, one of the things I have done quite regularly and thank you for the opportunity as well, to be able to do something for me that showed that I was still connected to my family back home in Inuvik. That was, as I either opened or I closed my Member's statements, I would send greetings back to my family back in Inuvik. I do that again, because I believe and I stood by and I am committed to what I say, that my family, my home is in Inuvik and that is where home is and that is where they have remained and they have watched me from afar on the TV or listened to the different news clips. In closing I would like to send greetings back to my wife and children and that I will be seeing them, hopefully tonight. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Reply 1-13(8):
Item 9: Replies To Opening Address

Page 58

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. We will take a 15 minute break.

Reply 1-13(8):
Item 9: Replies To Opening Address

Page 58

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

The House will come back to order. Good evening. We are on item 10, petitions. Item 11, reports of standing and special committees. Mr. Henry.

Committee Report 1-13(8): Report Of The Special Committee On Western Identity
Item 11: Reports Of Standing And Special Committees

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Seamus Henry Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Members of the Special Committee on Western Identity, I am pleased to present the report of the committee.

Division of the Northwest Territories into two new jurisdictions require many changes to take place. Legally, politically and socially. One area identified for review was that of the official symbols which includes, among others, the flag, the mace and the coat of arms.

Symbols such as these have always been important to the public they represent. A great deal of ownership and pride is placed on these images, images that are seen as a reflection to the world. It was, therefore, important to Members of the Legislative Assembly to ensure that the official symbols of the new western territory be truly representative of the new geographical region and its people. They must reflect the identity of the people and the land, an identity that would truly be worth celebrating. To that end, the Special Committee on Western Identity was established on June 4, 1998 to consider and make recommendations on officials symbols and celebrations for the Northwest Territories.

Each of the five committee Members had a keen and genuine interest in how the people of the new NWT would consider their new identity and were honoured to accept a position on the committee that would help to define and reflect that reality. A coordinator was hired to handle administrative affairs and ensure the business of the committee proceeded as directed. One of the main tasks of the committee was to review the current official symbols and heraldry of the Northwest Territories. Members needed to determine if the symbols were appropriate for the new territory or whether they should be revised or completely changed.

Designs for a new flag and coat of arms were deemed appropriate by the committee as well. It was crucial to the Members that the people of the NWT have an opportunity to communicate their thoughts on these symbols. A nation-wide competition for designs was initiated, which resulted in 250 submissions for ideas for the new flag and the new coat of arms. The committee is pleased to have selected three designs for each symbol and due to time limitations, has recommended that the work of the committee in this area be passed onto another committee of the 14th Legislative Assembly to carry on with the final selection process.

The final official symbol under consideration by the committee was a mace. The Northwest Territories needed a new mace that would reflect the new territory. A call for proposals was awarded to three artists well known in the North. The mace is due to be completed by the end of October and the committee recommends that it be unveiled at the beginning of the 14th Legislative Assembly in the new year.

To develop an awareness of 1999 as a special year of change and new direction for the territory, the committee developed a visual identity program with an event name and logo, "NWT '99, Catch the Spirit". A line of promotional items featuring the festive and colourful logo was developed and distributed at a wide variety of events in the NWT, Canada and overseas.

The NWT '99 spirit set the stage for western identity celebration activities which was another mandate of the committee. It became apparent to the Members that the most appropriate way to celebrate the life of each community, would be in each community. It also seemed appropriate that each community should decide how and when during the year they would like to celebrate their identity in the new territory.

A one-time grant of $5,000 was made available to every community in the Northwest Territories for events or projects which reflected our new western identity. Those events were posted on the NWT 99 web site calendar and communities are welcome to post photos of their events afterwards.

While official symbols may depict the land and the people, a true western identity in the hearts of the people is not something that happens over night. The new NWT is on a road to a new future and it is this future, "of one land, many voices," that will create new identity.

Mr. Speaker, that concludes my overview of the report of the Special Committee on Western Identity and I move, seconded by the Honourable Member from Nunakput, that the report be received by the Assembly and referred to committee of the whole. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Committee Report 1-13(8): Report Of The Special Committee On Western Identity
Item 11: Reports Of Standing And Special Committees

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. The motion is in order. To the motion. Question has been called. All those in favour? All those opposed? The motion is carried. Committee Report, 1-13(8) is referred to committee of the whole. Mr. Henry.