This is page numbers 729 - 749 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 community.

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

Bonjour, bienvenue. Good afternoon, Members.

-- Applause

Thank you, thank you. I was keeping up with tradition. If not keeping up with it, setting it. Orders of the day. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Hay River North, Mr. Delorey.

Paul Delorey

Paul Delorey Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Hay River District Education Authority and their efforts to alter the governance structure of the Hay River education district. Mr. Speaker, on October 6, 2000, the Hay River District Education Authority put forward a position to the Honourable Jake Ootes, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, requesting the creation of a Hay River and area education division and divisional education council. This request, Mr. Speaker, is being made with a desire to streamline the administration of resources and maximize the results of programs and services they deliver. Mr. Speaker, the Hay River District Education Authority is comprised of a very dedicated group of volunteers and I commend them for the excellent job they perform week after week.

As you are probably aware, Mr. Speaker, Hay River is presently part of the South Slave region, which is headquartered out of Fort Smith. From day one, Mr. Speaker, this arrangement has proven problematic for Hay River and area. In 1997, the Hay River DEA proposed that each DEA negotiate its own individual agreement regarding the sharing of powers with the South Slave Divisional Education Council.

However, Mr. Speaker, in April of 1998, a motion to accept a single sharing of power agreement was passed by the South Slave Divisional Education Council by a vote of four to one with Hay River opposed. This motion, Mr. Speaker, closed the door to change within the existing structure and has compelled the Hay River DEA to petition for an alternate government model.

Mr. Speaker, 52 percent of the students in the South Slave region are based in Hay River. To this end, I feel strongly that Hay River should have local control over its resources. Mr.

Speaker, I am very much an advocate of having more control of resources at the community level. The community of Hay River is simply trying to take the next step in the evolution of community empowerment.

Mr. Speaker, Hay River is a very large and diverse community. By allowing the local education authority control over its own resources, it would be better able to focus on the concerns of the community it serves. Mr. Speaker, I believe that if the Hay River District Education Authority were granted control over their own schools, then this would provide for quicker and more efficient decision-making. It would also provide programming that better serves the needs of the multicultural makeup of Hay River.

Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

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

Paul Delorey

Paul Delorey Hay River North

Mr. Speaker, I cannot stress enough that our children are our most valued resource. Mr. Speaker, I believe all of these factors would result in improved community relationships, more efficient use of resources and improved overall student performance. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

-- Applause

The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

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

Addictions Services In The North Slave Region
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Leon Lafferty North Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In February, on the first day of my first Session in this House as an elected Member, I made a statement on the critical issue of addictions in my region. I shared a petition containing over 600 signatures asking for better services to deal with alcohol and drug addictions in the North Slave.

Last week was the implementation of Family Violence Awareness and Action Week across the Territories. I think if we were to go and talk with anyone in the present system, they would say that there is a direct link between alcoholism, drug abuse and family violence. I think the awareness is there. It is simply the action to deal with these issues that needs to take place. To this end, the Minister responsible for Health and Social Services is correct when she says we each have a role to play in working to eliminate family violence. I think that we, as a government, not only have a role to play, we have a responsibility to address concerns that people are raising. From our region alone, there were over 600 signatures gathered from one community asking for better addiction facilities. I know the government has limited funding available. I also know that having only one facility in the entire Northwest Territories to deal with addictions does not begin to address the issue. At the appropriate time, I will have questions for the Minister regarding this. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

-- Applause

Addictions Services In The North Slave Region
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 Thebacha, Mr. Miltenberger.

Michael Miltenberger

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to speak briefly on the issue of the conference that is being held in the South Slave, in Fort Smith from the 7th to the 9th. It is the third phase of the Building Communities Strategy. The focus and theme is, Tourism, A Tool for Community Development. I would like to commend all the players that have come together to pull this conference off. We have RWED, MACA, and Education, Culture and Employment as the main Government of the Northwest Territories players, along with Aurora College, Wood Buffalo National Park, Northwest Territories Arctic Tourism, Northwest Territories Association of Municipalities and Canadian Tourism Commission. As well, the participants include all levels of leadership at the municipal, Metis and band level, and at the community level.

Mr. Speaker, this is a very, very important conference. The issue of tourism has been before this House for years. I would like to commend the three main departments for the work they have done and the fact that they are working so cooperatively at the regional level.

I would also like to commend all the communities that are taking the time to attend this conference. There will be a host of us going down tomorrow. I would like to thank my colleagues for taking the time to come to Fort Smith, along with our constituents who will be there from the South Slave. As well, we are going to get the benefit of Mr. Lafferty and some Ministers coming down as well.

I think this is a very valuable conference. Tourism for us is critical. We do not have oil, we do not have gas or diamonds, but we do have a lot of tremendous tourism assets. I would like to thank all the participants. I look forward to our visit tomorrow. I would like to commend the departments within the Government of the Northwest Territories that have worked so hard, and a lot of the other staff at community and regional levels for pulling this together. Thank you.

-- Applause

The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Merci, Mr. Miltenberger. Declaration des depute. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Frame Lake, Mr. Dent.

Charles Dent

Charles Dent Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I rise to speak about northern development and the regulatory process. Mr. Speaker, the Premier, the Minister of Finance and others from this government have been spreading the word that consensus is building among Northerners that we want to see a pipeline down the Mackenzie Valley.

Mr. Speaker, it is important to do this, but I think it is also important to remember the decision will not be made on the basis of political leaders' statements. The final decision will be a business decision on which route is the most efficient.

Our government needs to be sure that we continue to build a strong consensus of Northerners and that the regulatory process will work efficiently or, by default, the route outside the Northwest Territories may become more attractive to industry. We have heard that there will be a meeting shortly of regulatory boards in the North to discuss a cooperative approach and this is a welcome idea. The Government of the Northwest Territories has a role to play here and should work with those agencies to ensure that we facilitate a cooperative approach.

There is a potential problem that we must be aware of and it has to do with the funding for the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board. Mr. Speaker, since 1992, the funding for the board has been fixed at about $540,000. This level of funding is aimed at environmental hearings, not at the cost of running the office or other infrastructure needs.

Mr. Speaker, given the current continually increasing developments in oil and gas and other mining developments in the Territories, the board probably needs more like $1 million to $1.2 million to continue their program at the current levels. Given the increase in prospects for development, more funding is required to effectively deliver the mandate of the board.

In the last fiscal year, Mr. Speaker, the board proposed funding of $1.7 million to the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, but they only received $1.1 million. That is obviously a substantial improvement from the $540,000 they had received before but more funding is needed to meet increasing demand. Mr. Speaker, if additional work is required this year, such as consideration of a Mackenzie Valley pipeline, the current funding will not be sufficient. This could lead to delays, Mr. Speaker.

Our government needs to go after the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs to ensure that adequate funding is available or our chances of becoming a "have" Territory could be seriously endangered.

-- Applause.

The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

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

Michael McLeod

Michael McLeod Deh Cho

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My statement today concerns commercial hunting of wood bison in the Fort Providence area. Mr. Speaker, there are many commercial opportunities associated with big game hunting, in regard to the Mackenzie wood bison that are being missed at the present time due to problems with the regulations.

Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that the wood bison were originally listed as an endangered species. This endangered species classification resulted with the wood bison originally being placed on the international CITES, appendix 1 list. However, it is further to my understanding that the wood bison have now been down-listed to the CITES appendix 2 listing. Species on appendix 2 are species not threatened with extinction but may become threatened if the trade goes unregulated.

Regrettably, Mr. Speaker, the United States legislation still prohibits the importation of wood bison and does not recognize the animal has been down-listed. This is unlike every other country in the world that now allows for importation of wood bison. This is a similar situation that we faced with the polar bear and big game outfitters a number of years ago. On that occasion, the Government of the Northwest Territories supported a lobby to have the United States laws changed for the importation of polar bears. I understand that the lobbying efforts were successful and that polar bears from certain areas of Canada can now be imported to the United States.

Mr. Speaker, similar efforts are now required of the Government of the Northwest Territories to assist for the changes of laws for the wood bison as well. This would greatly enhance our abilities to market the wood bison to the significant big game markets in the United States and thereby increase the value of the hunting tags.

The Government of the Northwest Territories should apply pressure to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for importation privileges in regard to Wood Bison. We should let them know that we have a sport hunting program based upon sound scientific principles that allow for the maintenance of the wood bison population. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

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

Brendan Bell

Brendan Bell Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Tonight, Mr. Speaker, at 7:00 o'clock in the city hall chambers, the City of Yellowknife will be swearing in a new council. They have eight councillors and a mayor. This new council was elected by the residents of Yellowknife last month and will serve our city for the next three years.

Residents of Yellowknife elected Mr. Gord Van Tighem to serve as mayor for our city. City council is represented by the following incumbents; Mr. Blake Lyons, Mr. David McCann, Mr. Ben McDonald, Mr. Kevin O'Reilly and Mr. Alan Woytuik. New councillors elected are: Ms. Wendy Bisaro, Mr. Robert Hawkins and Mr. Dave Ramsay.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to publicly congratulate these individuals on their election and wish them well as they serve Yellowknife for the next three years. Along with my fellow Yellowknife MLAs, including yourself, Mr. Speaker, I would also like to extend our welcome to this new council. We look forward to working with them on common issues and concerns in our community.

At this time, I believe it also important to recognize the other candidates who put their names forward to represent Yellowknife. We are very fortunate to have a choice for representation at the municipal level. I would like to thank the following individuals. Candidates for mayor, Ms. Cheryl Best, Mr. Bob Brooks and Mr. Dave Lovell. Candidates for council, Mr. Travis Armour, Mr. Wayne Bryant, Mr. Bruce Coomber and Mr. John Murray. As Members of this Assembly are well aware, it is not an easy task to run in an election and I would like to thank these individuals for their hard work and dedication. Residents not only of the Northwest Territories, but all of Canada are fortunate to live in a democracy where we have the right to vote for and elect who we want to represent us in government.

We will soon have another opportunity to exercise our right to vote with the federal election on November 27th. I hope all eligible voters take this opportunity to choose their federal representative. In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like again to acknowledge Yellowknife's new council and mayor and say we look forward to the coming three years. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

-- Applause

The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

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

David Krutko

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, there was a meeting held earlier this morning with the mayor of Fort McPherson, Mr. William Koe; acting SAO, Mr. Don Smith; the honourable Minister responsible for the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs; and also, the honourable Minister responsible for the Department of Public Works and Services in regard to the extraordinary circumstances that Fort McPherson finds themselves in with the contaminated water supply and the increasing costs associated with it.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to let the Members know that when the cost of maintaining a service jumps from $220,000 to $400,000 that impact could be greatly felt by the people in the communities, especially in the case of Fort McPherson where you have contamination of the water with a product known as THMs. The water is not suited for human consumption and people are depending on bottled water.

Mr. Speaker, the outcome of the meeting was not too satisfactory because we did not really get an answer. I feel that this government does have an obligation to the health and well-being of all residents of the Northwest Territories, especially with the circumstances that we find ourselves in Fort McPherson.

Mr. Speaker, there is an agreement in place, one that I believe most provinces and the territories probably have, for the Department of Public Works to operate the water and sewage systems. There is a water and service operation agreement between the municipality and the Government of the Northwest Territories, in particular, the Department of Public Works and Services.

Mr. Speaker, one of the items which is clear in that agreement states that:

"it is further agreed that the committee, complete with representation of the Municipality of Fort McPherson, the Government of the Northwest Territories, Department of Public Works, and the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs shall meet twice a year on or about the first of April and again on or about October 1st of that particular year to review the expenditures that have occurred in the operating of the water and sewage distribution and removal systems within a six month period".

Mr. Speaker, that has never happened, and we find ourselves in a deficit situation.

The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Mr. Krutko, the time allotted for your Member's statement has expired.

David Krutko

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

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

David Krutko

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is not ordinary and because of the contamination this government should realize that the associated costs are unforeseen costs. We do need assistance from this government to ensure that the community does not find itself in a financial situation where it is running a deficit because of the impact of contamination on the water systems. With that Mr. Speaker, I will be asking the Minister responsible for Municipal and Community Affairs a question on this matter later. Thank you.

The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

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

Bill Braden

Bill Braden Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I join with my colleague from Yellowknife South and all the other Yellowknife MLAs in acknowledging the importance of another major aspect of our local government structure.

Mr. Speaker, school boards and educational authorities across the Northwest Territories are part of the community government structure which guides our education. They have a historic place in Canadian governance and Yellowknife school board members, like their municipal counterparts, are being sworn in at the next meeting and I would like to recognize these people and the contribution they make to community education operations.

For Yellowknife Education District No. 1, I acknowledge returning board members, Terry Brookes, and Dan Schofield who are being joined by new members, Marlo Bullock, Ann Enge, Rob Meckling, Jim White and Mildred Wilke.

For Yellowknife Separate Education District No. 2, I would like to acknowledge the new board members, Nancy Gardiner, Raymond St. Arnaud, and Francis Chang. Returning board members are Larry Purka, Mary Vane, Jane Haley and Debbi Ross.

It is unfortunate, Mr. Speaker, that there is not greater interest in school board elections, as acclamations to these offices are not infrequent. It is one part which is generally paid little attention in local government, but these people have a significant impact on our children's future and municipal government taxation levels. Mr. Speaker, I see that my time is up, I seek unanimous consent to conclude.

The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Braden. The honourable Member is seeking unanimous consent to conclude his statement. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Mr. Braden, you may conclude your statement.