This is page numbers 673 - 696 of the Hansard for the 14th Assembly, 3rd 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 chairman.

Topics

Members Present

Honourable Roger Allen, Honourable Jim Antoine, Mr. Bell, Mr. Braden, Mr. Delorey, Mr. Dent, Honourable Jane Groenewegen, Honourable Joe Handley, Honourable Stephen Kakfwi, Mr. Krutko, Mr. Lafferty, Ms. Lee, Mr. McLeod, Mr. Miltenberger, Mr. Nitah, Honourable Jake Ootes, Mr. Roland, Honourable Vince Steen, Honourable Tony Whitford.

-- Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

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The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Kakfwi. Good afternoon, colleagues. I would like to provide at this time my ruling on a point of order raised yesterday, Wednesday, November 1, 2000.

Speaker's Ruling

The point of order was raised by the Member for Weledeh, the honourable Mr. Handley, and is contained on pages 1479 and 1480 of the unedited Hansard.

The point of order was raised during question period when the Member for Thebacha, Mr. Miltenberger, was questioning the Premier. The point of order raised by Mr. Handley, and I quote from page 1480 of the unedited Hansard:

"Mr. Speaker, the Member is referring to a document that is not before the House. That is my point of order."

A review of the unedited Hansard on page 1478 indicates that Mr. Miltenberger's question concerns statements the Premier, the honourable Mr. Kakfwi, had made on page 1415 of the unedited Hansard of October 31, 2000 concerning job descriptions for executive assistants. However, upon further review of the preamble to Mr. Miltenberger's question, he did make mention, and I quote again from page 1478:

"That there was compelling legal evidence that pointed to the fact that Cabinet had probably contravened its own legislation"

Although the actual question related to the Premier's comments concerning job descriptions for executive assistants, the Member for Thebacha did mention the matter of legal evidence.

The question I have to answer, is there precedent that requires a Member to table a document that they refer to in debate, or in this case, during question period? There have been a number of rulings by my predecessors, but those are related to the requirement for Ministers to table documents that they mention in debate. The rulings have focused on the tabling of Cabinet documents or sections of documents that may or may not have fallen under Cabinet confidentiality.

There are three rulings that I reviewed to assist me in this matter. One was made on June 12, 1995, by Speaker Gargan; on February 13, 1998, again by Speaker Gargan; and lastly, again by Speaker Gargan on February 18, 1998. These rulings did not directly deal with a document being cited by an

Ordinary Member, but dealt with documents being mentioned by a Minister.

In considering my ruling, I referenced two parliamentary authorities: Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms 6th Edition; and Marleau and Montpetit - House of Commons' Procedure and Practices. The question is not the tabling of a document that may have been cited or quoted from, in part, by a Minister as there are precedents for that occurrence, but whether an Ordinary Member can be compelled or required to table a document that he or she may cite or quote from.

In making my ruling, I was guided by Beauchesne's 6th Edition, Citation 495.(1) which again addresses documents cited by a Minister. I quote from 495.(2):

495.(2) "It has been admitted that a document, which has been cited, ought to be laid upon the table of the House if it can be done without injury to the public interest. The same rule, however, cannot be held to apply to private letters or memoranda."

It may assist Members if I indicate how the term "cited" is interpreted in the parliamentary context. Again, I quote from Citation 495.(5) of Beauchesne's 6th Edition:

"To be cited, a document must be quoted or specifically used to influence debate. The admission that a document exists or the reading of the salutation or address of a letter does not constitute citing"

Another reference contained in Beauchesne's 6th Edition should also be considered. I quote:

"A private Member has neither the right nor the obligation to table an official, or any other, document."

When it comes to tabling a document, a practice has been developed in this House which is not common among other jurisdictions in Canada. Other jurisdictions vary from only Ministers that are permitted to table documents to tabling documents by any Member, which is the case in our House.

There are, however, limitations as to what is permitted to be tabled. In considering our precedents and other authorities, I rule that the Member for Weledeh, Mr. Handley, does not have a point of order.

As the rules and practices do not indicate that an Ordinary Member can be compelled to table a document unless expressed through some formal discussion in the House, I indicated that the requirement for Ministers concerning the tabling of documents is different and would depend on the circumstances as they arose.

However, if an Ordinary Member feels that a document that he or she continues to cite from would be in the public interest to make public, then the opportunity does exist under the item on the orders of the day. That item is tabling of documents. Thank you.

Orders of the day. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Frame Lake, Mr. Dent.

Addressing Northwest Territories Seniors' Issues
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Charles Dent

Charles Dent Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I recently received the annual report from the Yellowknife Association of Concerned Citizens for Seniors. This association was formed in 1983 by a group of citizens concerned about issues facing seniors. Their mission statement is "Building the support of communities for the health of seniors." Mr. Speaker, over the past 17 years, the association has provided a range of good programs and services in support of seniors. They have found sources of funding that help to build much needed facilities such as the Aven senior's home and the Baker Community Centre.

With seniors being the fastest growing segment of the Northwest Territories population, the association's board stresses in this report that a coordinated plan is necessary to address the issues facing seniors across the North.

Mr. Speaker, our government has recognized the need for a Minister responsible for seniors and it has appointed one. However, Mr. Speaker, he has no budget. Depending on which programs or services are required, right now, seniors may have to deal with either the Department of Health and Social Services, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment, the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation or local health and social services boards.

It is time, Mr. Speaker, for this government to develop a long-term plan that is coordinated at the territorial level to address issues facing seniors. The Minister responsible for Seniors should be tasked with bringing different government departments together to ensure that seniors enjoy a one-window approach to services.

Mr. Speaker, the Yellowknife Association of Concerned Citizens for Seniors and other seniors' organizations across the Northwest Territories cannot achieve their goals by working alone. We owe it to our seniors. We must develop a coordinated approach that provides programs and services for the maximum benefit of all. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Addressing Northwest Territories Seniors' Issues
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Dent. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Mackenzie Delta, Mr. Krutko.

Support To The NWT Fur Industry
Item 3: Members' Statements

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David Krutko

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my statement today is in regard to the fur industry and the importance of it, especially in my riding. The fur industry has built this country to what it is today and we have seen the history of the fur industry as bright. However, we have to realize the importance of the fur industry to our small aboriginal communities, and improving and enhancing that industry like we are improving and enhancing the oil and gas industry or the diamond industry. We are giving loan guarantees in the range of $9.2 million to certain industries to enhance their ability to market the different trades.

We have to do just as well in the fur industry when we talk about enhancing the fur markets, making the fur products, and also enhancing the ability of the trappers themselves to be able to continue to carry out this activity.

Everyone knows that there has been a major impact on the fur industry in regard to the European boycott and the efforts by this government to impose the leg-hold trap on the trapping industry which, to date, is one of the biggest factors for a trapper to continue with traditional trapping methods which are no longer there. Also, the high cost of fuels, gas, transportation and food for people to continue that practice.

We hear a lot of things on the radio lately about the trapping industry and how we can enhance it. We can enhance it as we have in this government where we heard yesterday from the Minister responsible for Education. He has found $12 million to do a study in regard to non-renewable resources. Yet we are seeing dwindling resources in the resource-based economy to assist trappers to go out and harvest their furs. Also, the ability for them to purchase traps to go out and carry out that activity is no longer there.

I think it is essential that this government implement a similar program that we have in regard to other industry, enhancing those industries. However, this government also has to spend the money resources on the trapping industry as we are in other sectors.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I will be asking the Minister responsible for Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development questions on this matter later. Thank you.

Support To The NWT Fur Industry
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Krutko. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Inuvik Boot Lake, Mr. Roland.

Female Young Offenders Facility In Inuvik
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Floyd Roland

Floyd Roland Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this day I refer to an issue I have been working on since my days in the 13th Assembly. It is regarding the justice facility that has been planned to be constructed in Inuvik, Female Young Offenders Facility, to be specific.

Mr. Speaker, it has been a growing concern in the community of wondering when this will proceed and there have been a number of times that the Minister has committed that this project is still moving ahead. There are continuing concerns where the Department of Justice has raised issues of cost expenditures and the first time it came forward was the cost of the utilidor to the proposed building. The Town of Inuvik, along with the Housing Corporation, worked together to get the proposed utilidor to the property line at no cost to the department.

Now, Mr. Speaker, an issue that has come up is the area that is selected and the cost overruns that it would probably receive. I have a concern with this because the community has once come forward and come to the table and offered what it can. In fact, on the utilidor extension alone, the community of Inuvik, the Town Council of Inuvik, is ready to put forward up to $350,000 to ensure that this project proceeds. Now I know there are concerns when this decision was made back in the 13th Assembly that this was a project that was picked out of somebody else's back yard. I think there has been work going on to try and bring this back to where some people feel it should go.

The facts are very clear, Mr. Speaker. Over 40 percent of the young offenders in that facility are from the Beaufort Delta area. We need the opportunity to deal with our own people with families to have a solid impact in turning some of these young people around before they become a permanent fixture in the justice system. With that, Mr. Speaker, I will have questions for the Minister responsible for Justice at the appropriate time. Thank you.

Female Young Offenders Facility In Inuvik
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Roland. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Tu Nedhe, Mr. Nitah.

Fur Industry Potential
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Steven Nitah Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I want to speak about the potential here for developing the fur industry. This is an industry that has been neglected largely due to market demands. Now is our chance to strike while the iron is hot. The price for many types of fur is on the increase and there is a resurgence of need for this product. We have many people here who can benefit from this international trend. However, what we need from this government is a major commitment to help the growth of a secondary industry, Mr. Speaker.

We can help provide employment to depressed economies by giving opportunities in areas of taxidermy, manufacturing fur products and providing other related services. Our people are experienced in trapping, but they need the training to expand this market potential, Mr. Speaker.

In the past, this government supported the secondary diamond industry with loans and loan guarantees as my honourable colleague alluded to. We have seen that was a smart move. It allowed us to participate on another level of development and growth. This government has also supported exploration for oil and gas through its financial resources over many decades, $8.5 million in the last five years alone, Mr. Speaker.

Is it time to re-evaluate our participation in the fur industry? I understand we give $15,000 to the Fur Institute to promote the fur industry. While that is fine, there is another level of funding we should be looking at. That area is developing a secondary fur industry, especially in depressed economic areas. We must promote fur bearing humans, Mr. Speaker. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

-- Applause

Fur Industry Potential
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Nitah. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Great Slave, Mr. Braden.

Increasing Rental Rates And Cost Of Living
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Bill Braden

Bill Braden Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We are in the midst of a welcome increase in our economy in the Northwest Territories and the good things that come with it: jobs, investment, long-term hope and stability as we work toward becoming a have Territory. However, along with that, Mr. Speaker, come the negative consequences of a boom economy and the demands it is putting on our already limited infrastructure. This is not news. We knew it was coming and one of the earliest signals we are getting is the pressure on the cost of living. I am particularly concerned about the trend in rental accommodation developing in Yellowknife.

In the last two years, we have seen vacancy rates drop from 11 percent to 2.5 percent. A quick survey of some landlords shows that, at this time, rents are increasing from three percent to in some cases over 20 percent as businesses move to capture fuel costs that are up some 70 percent and take advantage of demand in a market that has not seen rent increases in more than a decade.

Along with the increasing work force, the rental shortage is compounded by the conversion of rental units to condominiums and executive suites.

Mr. Speaker, in Yellowknife, we are facing a serious situation. The impact on low-income families being squeezed out and having fewer and fewer choices is of particular alarm. Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Inuvik Boot Lake has similar stories where a one-bedroom apartment is now $1,000 a month, a 25 percent increase in the past year.

While developers need to cover their costs and make a fair return on their investment, the trends are cause to examine the situation at various levels of government. Let me make it clear, Mr. Speaker. In saying this, I oppose anything that looks like rent controls. The free rules of supply and demand are firmly established here and I do not believe they should be interfered with. However, I also feel our government has as much responsibility to manage both the good and the bad sides of economic growth. My message, Mr. Speaker, is that our municipal governments, our territorial government, landlords, developers, lenders and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation need to collectively work together to balance our housing situation. We have also got something to gain and lose by how we manage this. I will be asking the Minister responsible for the Housing Corporation questions related to this. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

-- Applause

Increasing Rental Rates And Cost Of Living
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Braden. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Nahendeh, Mr. Antoine.

Visit To Nahendeh Communities
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Jim Antoine Nahendeh

(Translation starts) Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am going to be speaking in my language today. I do not have an opportunity to speak in my language too often, so I am very happy today to be able to speak in my language. I am happy for that occasion.

October 23rd to the 26th, I visited six Nahendeh communities... Minister Roger Allen, the Minister responsible for Municipal and Community Affairs, Housing and Youth. There were several Government of the Northwest Territories regional staff who travelled with us as well. Liza McPherson from the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs; Larry Campbell and Steve Moses from the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation; and Paul Kraft from Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development. I would like to thank each of these communities for the wonderful hospitality they showed Mr. Allen and myself. I would also like to thank you for sharing your concerns and your suggestions to improve services for our communities.

You can be assured that Minister Allen and I have taken note of all the items discussed and are looking at ways to address your concerns. Whether we were meeting with the hamlet or village mayors and councils, First Nations chiefs and councils, Metis presidents or private residents and businesses in Nahendeh, we were clearly made aware that people want to work together to find community solutions to community problems. So I am thankful for that.

We, the Government of the Northwest Territories, are here to help the people, so we look forward to helping with people in the communities. (Translation ends) Mr. Speaker, I would like to seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Visit To Nahendeh Communities
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

The Member is seeking unanimous consent to conclude his statement. Are there any nays? There are no nays. You may conclude your statement, Mr. Antoine.

Visit To Nahendeh Communities
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Jim Antoine Nahendeh

(Translation starts) Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Government of the Northwest Territories' and its boards and agencies must be committed to work with all the people and the communities to address local problems and support local initiatives, whether they are in the areas of housing, business development, transportation, education, health and social services and justice. They are all there to help the people of the communities, so we continue towards that initiative. I will continue to work hard to ensure that the regional government staff are available to follow up on your concerns and have strong support from their departments. To the people of Fort Liard, Nahanni Butte, Trout Lake, Jean Marie River, Fort Simpson and Wrigley, a special thank you. To the people of Trout Lake and Wrigley, thank you for the special feast arranged in our honour. So for now, this is all I have to say. Thank you. (Translation ends)

Visit To Nahendeh Communities
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Antoine. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Deh Cho, Mr. McLeod.

Impacts Of Residential School Abuse
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Michael McLeod

Michael McLeod Deh Cho

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My comments today are on residential schools. It is very evident now that residential school abuse has had a serious and traumatic impact on the aboriginal people of the Northwest Territories. Many of the social problems affecting Northerners today can be traced to residential school abuse. Granted, not all students that attended residential school suffered abuse. Many of our leaders today attended these schools and are now role models for our communities. There are others who claim that the residential school program is the best thing that could have happened to them at the time.

For many years, society has refused to admit that anything so horrendous could have taken place at the hands of people in religion or in government-run facilities. However, Mr. Speaker, we have to admit that the abuse has taken place at the hostels and residential schools. The abuse came in many forms; physical, mental, sexual or neglect. It all added up to abuse.

Mr. Speaker, these same students were also forbidden to speak their own language. They also no longer had the opportunity to pursue traditional activities. Mr. Speaker, many of these students lost their identity and their sense of self. In short, Mr. Speaker, they became paradoxes in their own land. We cannot ignore the fact that a great deal of abuse that has happened in the North is the result of government failing to protect children while in their care and housed in their facilities. We will probably never be able to right that wrong and we will probably have to live with the consequences for many generations to come.

However, Mr. Speaker, we have to recognize the impact that residential schools have had on the people of the Northwest Territories. We have to provide the support to the victims during the trials and the hearings and encourage this government to provide the programs and services that support the healing and foster safe environments for individuals, families and communities as a result of this big injustice that we are finally able to admit has taken place. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

-- Applause

Impacts Of Residential School Abuse
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 676

The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Merci, Mr. McLeod. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Thebacha, Mr. Miltenberger.

Michael Miltenberger

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in this House on previous occasions I have raised the issue of a recruitment and retention plan and the need for the department to focus more on the retention aspect of that program. I rise once again to speak about that issue.

In the last number of months, Mr. Speaker, I have had experience with four different health and social service professionals and their trials and tribulations in terms of training and trying to get funding to go to school. If the way they are being treated is any indication, then we are not doing enough in the area of the retention side of this program.

We do not seem to be willing to make a true commitment to supporting ongoing education. When students apply, the program is so complicated and has so many pots of money, they are forced to go to many different places trying to get money rather than having a convenient, one-window approach. When we do send them away on a practicuum, they are expected to look for other pots of money from outside of government or we will nickel and dime them over issues like travel and meals, which government employees take for granted. When they do get their education, once again we are less than supportive. We insist that they need two to three years experience to be hired. If they do not have that, we offer them a mentorship. Unfortunately, the mentorship is at a wage that is so low and for such an extended period of time, most people cannot afford to do that. After that, we seem to be offering terms or keeping them on tender hooks waiting for a permanent job offer.

We are also I do not believe doing a good enough job working with northern students who have gone south to school. Only as recently as today, I have received a message from one of those students saying she is being swamped with offers to stay down south. She was rejected for assistance last year, and she was going to try one more time this year, but very clearly if the government was not interested, she would not be out of work. If this in fact happens, Mr. Speaker, it would be a failure. It would be unfortunate and it would be to our detriment. I mean not only from the North, but in this case to the people of Fort Smith. Lots of time and money has been spent encouraging people to train, to become educated, to become nurses, and to have them leave for other jurisdictions would be the greatest failure of all. So I hope that the department will in fact take the steps necessary to improve in this area. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Miltenberger. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for North Slave, Mr. Lafferty.

Literacy The Key To Employment Success
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 677

Leon Lafferty North Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, a common concern that I hear from many of my constituents about career advancement is that southerners get promoted instead of local northern employees. This is a particularly big issue in my riding and throughout the Territories. In September, I brought this issue up with BHP. I was told that because many Northerners have low literacy levels, they do not get promoted. Many positions require the use of computers. All positions require the ability to read whether it be about following directions, operating equipment, or about ensuring a safe workplace. Literacy is the key to career development. Workplace literacy programs are essential if we want to ensure that Northerners benefit from northern development. The territorial government has educational facilities for adult education. Partnerships between our existing learning institutes and northern developers are needed. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Literacy The Key To Employment Success
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Lafferty. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Hay River North, Mr. Delorey.

Recognition Of Hay River Students And Teachers
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 677

Paul Delorey

Paul Delorey Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to recognize a number of Hay Riverites in the academic field. Firstly, Mr. Speaker, I want to recognize a constituent of mine and one who I am sure has made at least one Member sitting across extremely proud. Mr. Speaker, my congratulations go out to Geoffrey Groenewegen on receiving the Minister's award for academic achievement. Geoffrey obtained the highest mark in the Northwest Territories in the 1999-2000 social studies departmental exam.

Mr. Speaker, I want to recognize residents of Hay River for their participation in the Northwest Territories Literacy Council Read for Fifteen campaign. Hay River, Mr. Speaker, recorded 1,203 participants. In comparison, Yellowknife, with five times the population, recorded 880.

Mr. Speaker, I would like at this time to recognize Harry Camsell Elementary School staff in Hay River for a recent technology award they won. They were the only school in the Northwest Territories to win this award. They were one of the 20 grants awarded to the schools across Canada. It made me very proud to have a school from Hay River among this elite group.

Mr. Speaker, the award was bestowed by Industry Canada. It was in recognition of schools demonstrating innovative uses of a technology. Harry Camsell School, in particular teacher Tyler Hawkins, is very progressive in their use of the software programs to promote communications and research skills. Mr. Speaker, Harry Camsell School is part of a very large network of schools involved in educational research. The information communications technology programs currently employed by the school have helped them build team learning within the school. This is vital to the enrichment of our students. Mr. Speaker, I would also like to add that the students, through the use of a database they created, are able to communicate, do research, and link up with students in other parts of Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I would just like to close by saying that our teachers are to be commended for the valuable work they do on a daily basis. Their ability to guide our children through the information highway will result in unparalleled opportunities for our children in the future. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Recognition Of Hay River Students And Teachers
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 677

The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Delorey. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Yellowknife South, Mr. Bell.