This is page numbers 169 - 202 of the Hansard for the 14th Assembly, 2nd 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. Miltenberger, 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

Good afternoon, Members, and welcome back. I wish to advise the House that I have received the following message from the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories:

"Dear Mr. Speaker:

I wish to advise that I recommend to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories the passage of the Supplementary Appropriation Act, No. 4, 1999-2000, and the Interim Appropriation Act, 2000-2001 during the Second Session of the 14th Legislative Assembly.

Yours truly, Dan Marion, Commissioner."

Members of the Assembly, before beginning the continuation of the Second Session this afternoon, I would like to take a moment on behalf of the Members of this House to offer condolences to the wife and family of Mr. Ipeelee Kilabuk, who passed away earlier this month after suffering a heart attack. I know many of my colleagues in the House today probably did not personally know Mr. Kilabuk when he was a Member of this House. However, I had the pleasure of serving with him as a Member of the 11th Assembly. I am sure that Mr. Kakfwi, who also served with Mr. Kilabuk in the 11th Assembly, shares fond memories of this gentleman.

Mr. Kilabuk was first elected in March 1975 as the Member for Central Baffin in the 8th Legislative Assembly and was re-elected to the 9th Legislature in a by-election in September, 1980.

As I said, I had the pleasure of working with Mr. Kilabuk as a Member of the 11th Assembly. I must say that it was indeed a pleasant experience. Despite a language barrier, Mr. Kilabuk was always quick with a smile and very easy to communicate with. He always had a kind word for everyone and was truly a pleasure to serve with whether it be in the House or on a committee.

Among his many other contributions to public life, Ipeelee was a founding member of the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada in 1971. As a statesman and gentleman, he was a true representative of the Inuit people, a gentleman who never had an unkind word for any one and treated everyone with respect and compassion.

Once again, I offer condolences and our deepest sympathy to the Kilabuk family on behalf of the Members of this House and all people of the Northwest Territories. Thank you.

Orders of the day. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Minister responsible for Health and Social Services, Mrs. Groenewegen.

Jane Groenewegen

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this week marks a special celebration. March 20th to March 26th is being recognized as Social Workers Week. Health and social services boards in the Northwest Territories are honouring social workers and their contribution to building healthy communities.

Mr. Speaker, as you know from personal experience, social workers greatly contribute to community wellness. They provide a variety of services in the areas of mental health, community wellness, child protection, adoption counselling and crisis intervention. Social workers practice their skills in a number of settings, such as health care centres, family violence shelters, social work offices, correctional facilities, and in counselling settings.

Social workers have a challenging profession that demands flexibility and the skill to adapt to the priorities of the communities they serve. They make a difference and deserve our recognition.

The Department of Health and Social Services and boards were recently faced with a shortage of social workers. Today we are pleased to announce we have reduced this shortage and the department continues to receive inquires about social work employment opportunities. Perhaps the best news is that more and more Northerners are selecting social work as their career of choice. Recognition of social workers is important for recruiting and keeping social workers.

I am also pleased to give recognition to the work of the Association of Social Workers in Northern Canada that was formed two years ago. This organization represents social workers from all three territories. The association provides a collective voice to address the issues of practice and policy for their profession.

Fostering a network of peer support across the North is a priority. The association sponsors an annual general meeting that has an educational component. They have a regular newsletter that the department is pleased to co-sponsor this month.

They are also developing a web site. This web site will offer social workers the opportunity to get online to discuss issues and share ideas.

As part of Social Workers Week, I was pleased to join the celebration for Mary Beauchamp, who is a very committed social worker. She was given the first honourary lifetime membership to the Association of Social Workers in Northern Canada.

Mary began her social work career 34 years ago. This commitment is a statement of her dedication to the profession. Today, Mary provides her expertise as an adoptions consultant with the department. Much of her work is helping adults search for their biological parents and siblings. The rewards of this work are realized when there is a successful reunion of family members.

Mr. Speaker, I invite my colleagues to join me in an enthusiastic round of applause for Mary Beauchamp and all our social workers who are making a difference in our communities. Thank you.

-- Applause

The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mrs. Groenewegen. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Minister responsible for the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs, Mr. Antoine.

Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. I recently had the pleasure of representing the Government of the Northwest Territories at the Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse along with my colleagues Premier Kakfwi, Minister Allen and MLAs Paul Delorey, David Krutko and Michael McLeod. The Arctic Winter Games provided us with an important opportunity to meet with and learn about our neighbours from around the circumpolar region. Every two years, the games help foster friendship and cooperation among all participating contingents.

The Northwest Territories contingent in Whitehorse included over 300 athletes, coaches, cultural delegates and mission staff. All members of Team NWT were excellent ambassadors for the Northwest Territories.

Team NWT turned in a strong performance and demonstrated outstanding commitment and sportsmanship. Northwest Territories athletes participated in 17 of the 19 sports that were part of the Arctic Winter Games this year. Our team brought home 42 gold, 29 silver and 37 bronze ulus. Our total of 108 ulus put us in second place overall, behind Team Alaska with 174 ulus.

But our success cannot be measured in ulus alone. I would like to congratulate all the members of Team NWT. They all showed great determination in their competitions and each athlete did their very best. We can be proud of the whole team.

I would also like to congratulate the parents, coaches and volunteers across the Northwest Territories. The dedicated support you provide to our young athletes is an important part of their success, Without your efforts, our athletes would not have the opportunities that they do to participate in events like the Arctic Winter Games.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to share some of Team NWT's successes with my fellow Members today:

  • • Eleven year-old Jason Baxter of Inuvik won three medals in dog mushing, including two gold and one silver. The silver ulu was in a team event and was shared with Jordee James-McQueen of Yellowknife;
  • • Our speed skating team won a total of 34 ulus, leading all other speed skating teams;
  • • Our wrestling team won 11 medals, second only to a powerful team from Alaska;
  • • Our hockey teams played in three gold medal games, bringing home silver in midget, bantam and peewee hockey;
  • • Our women's team also brought home the bronze in their tournament;
  • • Twelve year-old Janesta McLeod of Aklavik and ten year-old Jennifer Waugh of Yellowknife were the youngest team ever to win an ulu in badminton. They won bronze in the juvenile ladies doubles;
  • • As always, one of the most popular events was the Arctic sports and Dene games. Team NWT won a total of 23 ulus, including 11 gold, three silver and nine bronze.

We finished in second place, just behind Alaska in the overall medal count. This was a remarkable accomplishment when you consider that previous Northwest Territories teams always had good representation from the Eastern Arctic in the Arctic sports category.

During the opening ceremonies for the Dene games, I had the pleasure to introduce a new Dene games resource, called Dene Games: A Culture and Resource Manual. This manual describes the role of the traditional games in Dene culture and how the games are played. The resource is part of a traditional games series which includes an Arctic sports manual that was launched during the 1998 Arctic Winter Games.

Two new manuals on snowshoeing and Inuit wrestling are already in development. A number of partners have been involved in these projects, including the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs, Aurora College, Sport North, The Mackenzie Regional Recreation Association and the Government of the Yukon. These resources have been well received by everybody who has seen them.

Mr. Speaker, the opportunity to participate in the Arctic Winter Games is an important experience for young athletes all across the Northwest Territories. The Department of Municipal and Community Affairs will continue to work with community governments, Sport North and other partner organizations, such as the Aboriginal Sport Circle, to improve opportunities for participation for all Northwest Territories athletes.

I would like to invite all Members to join me now in congratulating Team NWT. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

-- Applause

The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Antoine. Indeed, we have a lot to be proud of in our young athletes. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Premier, Mr. Kakfwi.

Stephen Kakfwi

Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I wish to advise Members that the Honourable Jake Ootes will be absent from the House this week to attend the International Rough Diamonds Conference in Tel Aviv, Israel. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Premier Kakfwi. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. The Member for Yellowknife South, Mr. Bell.

Yellowknife Members' Constituency Meeting
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Brendan Bell

Brendan Bell Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Last night, all of the Yellowknife Members had the privilege of hosting our first joint constituency meeting here in the Great Hall. It was very well attended. It was about a three-hour meeting. We must have had about 60 to 80 people in attendance and about 20 presenters. There was a wide variety of very important issues raised. I would just like to report to the House at this time on some of those issues, so we are all more aware.

I appreciate everyone who took time to attend, but especially those individuals who were there to address the Giant Mine pension issue. One individual, Mary Kosta, who I think we all know, now, has been on a hunger strike for three weeks in support of laid off miners who will soon have their pensions reduced by 25 percent. There were several very emotional appeals made for help. I think we can all realize that this is an emergency issue and action must be taken on compassionate grounds.

Several others raised concerns about changes to the Student Financial Assistance Act, Bill 4. Most of the concern focused around the impact on Metis and Inuvialuit students, and the change going from grants to remissible loans will have on their situation. Delays in passage of the bill were requested because there are more concerns that need to be addressed.

One of the most important concerns was that student input seems to be lacking. We have new legislation, but there is no new money. I think we need to talk to the students and see how they feel this will affect them.

There were also concerns raised over travel by Members. I think it was mentioned that it is very important for us to realize that we are travelling on public money, and we are accountable to the public when we return.

Roads were mentioned, specifically the road between Yellowknife and Rae, and an all-weather road to the Slave geological province. Money was mentioned, but I think the underlying factors were that we cannot put a price on safety. It is important to do something about this now.

One constituent mentioned the idea of possibly setting up a trustee for territorial pensions. He suggested this might help people in the North have protection against similar situations as those experienced by the Giant Mine pensioners.

Devolution of resources from the federal government was also mentioned. When will we receive control of our resources? What will this do to our federal grant? Do we have a plan or a timeframe? These are all very real concerns that were raised, Mr. Speaker.

A bill of rights is also needed in the North, and we have mentioned this many times.

Yellowknife Members' Constituency Meeting
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Mr. Bell, your time is up.

Yellowknife Members' Constituency Meeting
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Brendan Bell

Brendan Bell Yellowknife South

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

Yellowknife Members' Constituency Meeting
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

The Member for Yellowknife South is seeking unanimous consent to conclude his statement. Are there any nays? There are no nays. Mr. Bell, you have unanimous consent.

Yellowknife Members' Constituency Meeting
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Brendan Bell

Brendan Bell Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. There were also concerns about layoffs in the public service. People fear government will reduce the public service due to our deficit, and they wanted these concerns allayed.

The sunset clause was once again raised. When and how will it be dealt with? We do not want to see more committee reviews.

There was also some concern regarding government contracts. Regulations need to be changed to protect northern business. We need to establish a formal policy. There is a feeling that there is too much left for interpretation at this point. There was also concern about where and how government contracts are advertised.

The Business Incentive Policy was also discussed. It needs a review. People wanted to know why there are southern firms and international companies receiving BIPs. The policy should be there to support independant northern businesses, not corporations.

It was also mentioned that we need to be more aware of social agencies at work in the North and in Yellowknife, specifically groups like the Salvation Army, the Women's Centre, and the YWCA. They need the support of their MLAs and the government to continue providing the services they are delivering. Community service groups and social agencies also wanted involvement during committee decision-making, instead of being advised after the fact.

We also discussed sole-sourcing of contracts. There was concern with businesses taking contracts funded by social agencies.

Affirmative action issues also came up. The concern is the Affirmative Action Policy may not be doing what it was initially set up to do. It needs a review. All Members were asked and gave their support for an Affirmative Action Policy, but we want to see one that works.

I would like to thank everyone who took the time to attend the meeting and voice their concerns. I would especially like to commend those individuals who are committed to fighting for the Giant Mine pension plan, and let them know they have our support as a House. Later in the week, we will be moving a motion to this end. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

-- Applause

Yellowknife Members' Constituency Meeting
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Bell. Item 3, Members' statements. The Member for Thebacha, Mr. Miltenberger.

NWT Power Corporation Employee Contribution
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Michael Miltenberger

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in 1999, the 64 employees of the central region of the Northwest Territories Power Corporation achieved zero loss time due to industrial accidents. These are all of the employees in Yellowknife, Fort Smith, Rae-Edzo, Fort Resolution, Wha Ti, Rae Lakes and Lutsel K'e. This includes both management and employees. The Northwest Territories Power Corporation recognizes this considerable achievement with a $10,000 bonus to the group of employees. The employees in turn gave this funding to the central region Joint Occupational Health And Safety Committee to distribute.

This committee addresses workplace health and safety issues, and tries to eliminate the risk inherent in the work situation. Apparently, various ideas were considered, including something for each employee. However, in the end the committee decided to make a contribution of the full amount to the Fort Smith Health Centre.

The presentation was made last week during the committee's March meeting in Fort Smith. I would like to acknowledge this very generous contribution in this House from the Northwest Territories Power Corporation central region employees. I know the health centre will put the funds to good use, as they intend to purchase a signovscope. On behalf of the Fort Smith residents, to the central region employees, thank you very much.

-- Applause

NWT Power Corporation Employee Contribution
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

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

Mackenzie Hotel Group Training Efforts
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Floyd Roland

Floyd Roland Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to recognize the efforts of the Mackenzie Hotel Group in Inuvik. They just recently launched "A Fast Track to a Management" training program. They are looking for 25 people to enrol in a two-year Hospitality and Tourism Diploma Program. This program is being made possible through the commitment of the Mackenzie Hotel Group. The Mackenzie Hotel Group is working with the Aurora Campus and Red Deer College so that the participants can be prepared to take on the jobs after graduation.

The Mackenzie Hotel Group will guarantee jobs to participants who receive a 70 percent plus average. This is good news for the people of Inuvik and surrounding communities. Mr. Speaker, this is the spirit of entrepreneurship we have not seen for quite sometime in the region. During the 13th Assembly, it was said the government could no longer be the engine of the economy. But it was also stated that the government had to at least supply the fuel.

With that, I hope this government will provide some support to entrepreneurs like the Mackenzie Hotel Group, who have expended much in resources to date to develop the Fast Track Program.

In closing, I would like to congratulate the work of the Mackenzie Hotel Group for their effort and I hope that they indeed fill the 25 training positions. I believe they have filled ten of them to date. I would also like to send greetings back home to my wife and children. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

-- Applause

Mackenzie Hotel Group Training Efforts
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Roland, we always look forward to that. Item 3, Members' statements. The Member for Hay River North, Mr. Delorey.

Reflections On 2000 Arctic Winter Games
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Paul Delorey

Paul Delorey Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to reflect on the week of March 5th to the 11th and the Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse, Yukon. Mr. Speaker, I had the privilege of attending and taking part in the games as the coach of the Northwest Territories Junior Women's Curling Team. Although our team schedule kept us very busy and allowed us very little time to take part in any of the other sports, I can safely say that we enjoyed the games very much.

Mr. Speaker, the more than 315 participants from the Northwest Territories should be congratulated, first for being such great ambassadors and, secondly, for bringing home some 108 ulus including 42 gold.

As a coach, I get a great deal of satisfaction watching young athletes achieve their personal best performance when everything is on the line. Throughout the week there were many great performances, such as the 11 year-old Jason Baxter from Inuvik, who won a silver and two gold ulus in dog mushing, the first ever gold for the Northwest Territories in that sport.

There are many other examples far too numerous to mention here today. However, there were other events of a less positive note and some of these I will address during question period. Mr. Speaker, I would like at this time to recognize all the athletes from Hay River, who participated in the 2000 Arctic Winter Games and I congratulate all the ulu winners in all the sports. I want to especially recognize the following athletes:

  • • Megan Crowley from Yellowknife;
  • • Ashley Hval, Fort Smith; and
  • • Dayna Haley and Katrina Delorey, both from Hay River.

These four young athletes made up the Northwest Territories junior women's curling team. I want to point out, Mr. Speaker, that they did not have the opportunity to curl together as a team prior to the games. However, they were able to pull it all together and bring home silver ulus, losing the final game to a stronger Alberta North team. However, Mr. Speaker, their silver ulu performance is not the reason for their special recognition here today. This team was able to overcome any personal differences they may have had, overcome two player injuries that occurred, as well as a few defeats along the way.

But more importantly, this team was able to seize the spirit of the games and as a result received the Fair Play Award for female curling. These girls were very happy to receive this award. As their coach, I was extremely proud of them. Fair play and good sportsmanship, Mr. Speaker, I believe is what the games are all about. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Reflections On 2000 Arctic Winter Games
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Delorey. Item 3, Members' statements. The Member for Range Lake, Ms. Lee.

Sandy Lee

Sandy Lee Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to ask all Members to pause for a moment today, March 21st, in recognition of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Mr. Speaker, discrimination refers to actions at the individual level which assert the natural superiority of race, gender, religion, ethnicity or culture over another. It also involves institutionalized discriminatory practices that protect and maintain the position of certain groups, and continue the inferior position of others.

The Northwest Territories is blessed with a diverse population made up of peoples of different history, culture, education, religions, languages, gender and lifestyles. And with these rich blessings also come immense challenges. As citizens of the Northwest Territories, we must ensure that our actions embrace, value and respect this diversity through our words, actions, customs and styles and attitudes.

As legislators of the Northwest Territories, it is our duty to remove structural and behavioural barriers which inhibit the full participation of all members of society in all aspects and at all levels through inclusive policies, programs and practices that are adaptive to the needs of our evolving society.

We must be diligent, Mr. Speaker, that the Government of the Northwest Territories policies such as affirmative action and the equality of men and women in the Northwest Territories are continuously monitored for proper application and effectiveness and, when necessary, amended to meet our common goals.

Discrimination takes many forms, Mr. Speaker, as do the steps needed to eradicate it. Mr. Speaker, I firmly believe that together we can make a difference. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

-- Applause

The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

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

Leon Lafferty North Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to congratulate the athletes and coaches from the North Slave who recently participated in the Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse. I would like to send congratulations to:

  • • Freddie Tinqui from Rae Edzo, who earned a gold ulu in Dene games and who was acknowledged as the all-around individual in the open male category. As well, Freddie received a gold ulu in the snow snake competition, throwing the stick 35 feet farther than anyone else. Freddie also earned a bronze ulu in the stick pull event with Fred Steinwand and joined two other Team NWT members to win a gold ulu in hand games, and a bronze medal in the pole push competition;
  • • On his own, Fred Steinwand earned a bronze in the finger pull event; and
  • • I would like to acknowledge Colinda Blondin, who earned a silver medal in wrestling.

Along with their coach, Mike Botermans, seven soccer players from Rae Edzo joined Team Northwest Territories and placed fourth in juvenile men's soccer. I would like to send congratulations to:

  • • Glenn Blondin;
  • • Tyron Fish;
  • • Melvin Lafferty;
  • • Jonathan Mackenzie-Zoe;
  • • Shane Mackenzie-Zoe;
  • • Cody Mantla; and
  • • Marvin Migwi.

Team Northwest Territories was well represented in women's volleyball. Along with their coach Sara Tkaczuk, Tracy Beaulieu, Wendy Mantla, Kerry Lee Rabesca, and Pamala Richardson of Rae Edzo teamed up with four Wha Ti women to participate in women's volleyball. The players from Wha Ti were Bernice Beaverho, Katrina Jeremick'ca, Christina Simpson and Tephanie Wedawin.

Although not all the athletes that went to the Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse received medals, each and every athlete that participated deserves recognition. I would like to acknowledge the fine job they did in representing not only the North Slave region, but the entire Western Arctic. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

-- Applause

The Speaker

The Speaker Tony Whitford

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