This is page numbers 425 - 456 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, MR. BELL, MR. BRADEN, 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

Page 425

The Speaker

Thank you, Mr. Bell. Good afternoon everyone, bonjour. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Minister for the Financial Management Board, Mr. Handley.

Minister's Statement 26-14(2): Position Reports
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 425

Joe Handley

Joe Handley Weledeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to make a statement on the position reports. Mr. Speaker, last week the Member for Thebacha tabled several summaries showing the change in reported headquarter positions and non-headquarter positions between April 1997 and December 1999.

These position summaries were extracted from two position reports provided by the former and current governments. From this information, the Member suggested that the former government had reduced more positions outside of headquarters than in headquarters itself. We have now had the opportunity to review the comparisons made.

Mr. Speaker, based on the analysis and explanations I have been provided, I do not believe there has been a disproportionate reduction in positions in headquarters versus non-headquarters. There are some corrections that need to be made to the summary Mr. Miltenberger tabled. There also needs to be adjustments to the two position reports used in the tabled document to allow for meaningful comparisons. But more importantly, it is the interpretation that must be corrected.

Most of the non-headquarter position changes were not due to cuts or funding reductions, but were due to position transfers, privatization, and other factors. One example is education boards and Aurora College, which control their own position levels and where our position reports show a 134 position decline between 1997 and 1999.

When we examine our formula funding levels to these agencies, we see that we have not reduced the levels of positions we fund since 1997. Clearly, the explanation for these position changes must lie elsewhere than in the funding levels. Mr. Speaker, reviewing all of the corrections and explanations would take too long for this forum. However, I have had a summary prepared that I will table later today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 26-14(2): Position Reports
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 425

The Speaker

Thank you, Mr. Handley. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Inuvik Boot Lake, Mr. Roland.

Non-renewable Resources Sector
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 425

Floyd Roland

Floyd Roland Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it has been discussed a number of times during the interim appropriation as well as in previous Assemblies about the Department of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development, where right now there is the potential for the Northwest Territories to see a large development occurring. The concern is that we do not have a known non-renewable resource policy as a government.

Mr. Speaker, the opportunities are there. We need to focus and make clear the role that we play as a government in the Northwest Territories when it comes to private sector development. Right now, in the Northwest Territories, between Ottawa, this government, and aboriginal land claim groups, for a private sector outfit to come to the North and try to do some development, they will have a difficult time in finding out all the processes.

For example, I believe within the next day or so, a new act will come into force that will change the map of regulatory reform and the process that is used. Mr. Speaker, as a government, I think we need to focus on making our role in the non-renewable resources sector clearer.

Later, I will be questioning the Minister responsible for Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development in the area of this non-renewable resource sector. What are we going to do as a government to try and make the way clear for not only this government but for other governments, as well as the private sector, so we know where we are standing. If we want development, we will have to be proactive and work with the aboriginal governments as well as Ottawa and the private sector businesses. With that, Mr. Speaker, I will have the questions for the appropriate Minister later. Thank you.

Non-renewable Resources Sector
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 425

The Speaker

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

Community Energy Planning
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 425

Michael Miltenberger

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, within the broad framework of the non-renewable resource strategy for the Government of the Northwest Territories, I would like to raise the issue of the need for a territorial energy strategy once again.

As we know, with international conferences, interest tends to peek at the conference, and then drift away. Mr. Speaker, this is not the case with the Kyoto Accord and conference. The issue of greenhouse gases and the need to reduce the emissions of these gases continues to be raised around the world and across the country.

Mr. Speaker, the 1990s was the warmest decade in recorded history. I think we just have to look around our own environment to see that, with the ice road closing in March. To me, that is a very early indication of how important this issue is. The Northwest Territories is a major contributor to the greenhouse gas problem on a per-capita basis. It is a key part of the need for a broad, comprehensive territorial energy strategy.

While I have not talked about it in the past, Mr. Speaker, I would like to touch on this briefly today. That is the role municipalities can play in this strategy. According to the Pembina Institute, municipalities control, either directly or indirectly, more than half of all the emissions released in Canada of greenhouse gases. Direct control comes from municipal buildings and operations, such as the provision of water and waste management. In our case, Mr. Speaker, this is all of our diesel, power plants and the provision of electrical services at the community level.

Mr. Speaker, many communities and municipalities across Canada are already exploring what they can do in this area, through improving building design, shifting to cleaner, renewable energy sources, improving efficiencies in transportation and making good decisions about land use.

Mr. Speaker, many municipalities have joined Partners for Climate Protection, a program sponsored by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. As part of the territorial government's comprehensive energy strategy, they should be encouraging all municipalities to develop community energy plans of their own. The energy strategy should have the municipalities, along with the Northwest Territories Power Corporation, as key partners in the design and implementation of the strategy. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Community Energy Planning
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 426

The Speaker

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

Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 426

Bill Braden

Bill Braden Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to reinforce the remarks of Mr. Miltenberger. I was pleased to hear remarks by the Minister responsible for the Power Corporation on Tuesday regarding the national recognition the Northwest Territories Power Corporation has received for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It is an excellent example of what can be done.

I am particularly interested in how we will be able to expand on this good work. Our own greenhouse gas emissions in the Northwest Territories are about 0.2 percent of Canada's, but on a per-capita basis, we are one of the highest emitters of greenhouse gases in the industrial world.

Today, Mr. Speaker, we have a fine spring day. But a check with the weather office shows that our minimum daily temperatures for this week are about ten degrees above normal.

From 1988 to 1998, Great Slave Lake is breaking up an average of three weeks earlier and freezing later in the year. As well, the late opening of the Mackenzie ice bridge is one of the most evident indicators of what is going on in our environment.

Whatever the cause, we will encounter enormous positive and negative effects in the upcoming decade in our northern environment and way of life. The impact on our economy and how we develop our non-renewable resources in our own interests and for the world is something that we are compelled to pay very close attention to.

Mr. Speaker, on a related issue, the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy is an independent agency of the federal government. They are providing decision makers and opinion leaders with reliable information and objective views on the current state of the environment and the economy.

Today, in Yellowknife, the aboriginal communities and non-renewable resource development issue is having a workshop, which is being co-chaired by Cindy Kenny Gilday, well known for her work in the Northwest Territories, especially with the people of Deline. I am pleased to hear they have chosen to meet in Yellowknife. I wish them well in their deliberations.

Mr. Speaker, I believe we have to develop a co-ordinated energy and environmental strategy in conjunction with stakeholders, which recognizes our obligation to the reduction of greenhouse gases. These are complex issues and I intend to seek more information on how our government will be demonstrating leadership. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 426

The Speaker

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

David Krutko

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as a government and Legislature, we play a key role in economic development. We play a key role in ensuring that when development happens, we are prepared, we have the people trained and the resources in place to develop the infrastructure needed for development.

Mr. Speaker, in regard to my riding, the Mackenzie Delta, we have the potential of being one of the best oil and gas suppliers, not only to the North American market, but possibly to Asia and other places in the world.

Mr. Speaker, in order for us to do that, we have to ensure we play our part in getting the returns we should be getting. Specifically, ensuring people are employed and ensuring the resources that come from these developments stay here in the North. We need to develop that industry so it is there for the long-term, not just the short-term.

Mr. Speaker, it is imperative that this government continue to develop the infrastructure in our communities and our regions, especially the college programs we are going to need to ensure our people are qualified in the areas these developments will be demanding, such as engineering, biology, and chemistry.

We have to make sure that those people who are trained are able to expand their knowledge and move up, so they not only work within the industry, but have a say in how the industry is being controlled, managed and developed and sustained here in the North. Also so we can depend on the industry to sustain ourselves.

With that, Mr. Speaker, it is important that we, as a government, reach out to industry and see what they need, by way of developing needed infrastructure. We talk about a highway strategy. We talk about improving the airports. We talk about improving the infrastructure in our communities, but what do we do when a major development is on our doorstep, and we need 30 or 40 houses? Is this government ready to take that on? If we are not, I think we should prepare ourselves for a better scenario, because there may be a time where these developments will take place in the Beaufort Delta. Thank you.

The Speaker

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

Consultation On Timber Permits
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 427

Michael McLeod

Michael McLeod Deh Cho

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I rise in the House to talk about the definition of consultation. In my office I have a file on timber permits and land use applications relating to logging within the boundaries of the settlement of Enterprise. In this file are letters from the Department of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development, its Minister and the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board, stating that adequate consultation on the timber permit took place with the settlement of Enterprise. Also in this file are letters from the settlement of Enterprise stating that no such consultation took place.

Mr. Speaker, as the MLA representing the settlement of Enterprise I have no alternative but to take their concerns seriously and act upon them. I believe, Mr. Speaker, that the department and the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board acted within a narrow definition of the word consultation.

The Forest Management Division of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development referred the timber application to the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board under Section 125(1)(b) of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act citing that they had identified potential public concern over the development.

The settlement of Enterprise was told that the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board would be holding public hearings in September of 1999. In late August, Mr. Speaker, the settlement of Enterprise was informed that a decision had already been made. The settlement had no opportunity to comment directly to the Impact Review Board. The department informed the board of the concerns of the settlement.

I looked in the Hay River Hub and I did find notices from the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board that the matter was referred to them and that they would be visiting the site of the proposed timber cutting. The notices I saw did not call for public submissions on the proposed timber cutting development. The notices did not ask for interested parties that wanted to participate in the site visit. All the notices said was that if you wanted more information, you could phone the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board in Yellowknife. This is consultation? Notices in a newspaper?

Mr. Speaker, the concerns of the settlement of Enterprise, the West Point Dene Band and the Hay River Reserve were dismissed by the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board because it would not be fair or reasonable to delay the development while a timber inventory or policy was developed. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Consultation On Timber Permits
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 427

The Speaker

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. The Member for Deh Cho is seeking unanimous consent to conclude his statement. Are there any nays? There are no nays. You may conclude your statement, Mr. McLeod.

Consultation On Timber Permits
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 427

Michael McLeod

Michael McLeod Deh Cho

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Premier and the department are off the hook on this one. The Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board is available as a convenient scapegoat. There is probably little that can be done to stop the timber cutting permit within the settlement of Enterprise. The operator has his permits and the work is underway. I would suggest however, that all parties involved examine what consultation means and how it can be achieved, so that we can avoid this situation in the future. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

-- Applause

Consultation On Timber Permits
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 427

The Speaker

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

Regulatory Regime For Resource Development
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 427

Charles Dent

Charles Dent Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, we have heard much about the potential that we have in non-renewable resources in the Northwest Territories. Mr. Handley and Mr. Kakfwi have told this House about Mr. Martin and Mr. Chretien also being excited about the potential for the Northwest Territories to become a "have" Territory.

This potential and excitement is something that I share. However, Mr. Speaker, even with the rise in the prices of oil and gas, it is far from certain that the Northwest Territories will achieve that potential. As one mine has found out recently, the environmental and regulatory review process can be a lengthy and complex process which can delay the opening of a new mine.

Mr. Speaker, developers must deal not only with regulatory agencies being set up as a result of self-government, but also with territorial expectations and federal regulatory regimes. The lack of a one-window approach to environmental and developmental regulations in the Northwest Territories presents a significant deterrent to investors.

Mr. Speaker, potential investors may choose to invest elsewhere, where the regulatory demands are more clear or less redundant, in spite of our unmatched potential. I think the ultimate best result, in this situation, Mr. Speaker, is one where Northerners own the resources and share the control and the ownership. I think we will make the right decisions. Mr. Speaker, it is important to protect the environment, but I would argue that a coordinated approach for developers would also allow us to ensure that the environment was better protected.

I urge this government, as part of a non-renewable resource development policy and strategy, to take the lead at working to facilitate a one-window approach. With that, Mr. Speaker, we can ensure that we do achieve our potential in the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

-- Applause

Regulatory Regime For Resource Development
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 428

The Speaker

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

Sandy Lee

Sandy Lee Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to speak on a topic a little different from what has been heard here. I have not had a chance to do this, but I want to recognize and show appreciation for the generosity and community spirit shown by the people of Yellowknife following the house fire which resulted in the loss of a great deal for a young family in town.

Mr. Speaker, we are blessed in the North and in Yellowknife to live among friends and neighbours who do not hesitate to come to the aid of people in need. This is only the latest example of a very strong community spirit shown over and over again in Yellowknife.

Another example I can think of, Mr. Speaker, is the efforts by the Literacy Council, which raised $35,000 yesterday through the Peter Gzowski Invitational Golf Tournament.

Mr. Speaker, for the young family, I know that they have gained a lot of strength from the overwhelming support shown by Yellowknife residents, businesses and service clubs. On behalf of all of the Members here, and all Yellowknifers, I would like to especially thank the Elks and Lions Clubs for coming into action, the business of Northwest Transport, as well as all of the other people who have donated goods and cash so that this family can move on from this tragedy. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

-- Applause

The Speaker

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

Budget Resources For The North Slave Region
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 428

Leon Lafferty North Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, during the past three months that I have spent as an MLA, I have become very concerned about the lack of recognition for the North Slave region in the budget. Money is allocated for the North Slave region and yet that money ends up being spent on items outside of my area.

For example, Fred Henne Park improvements and Ingraham Trail signs are paid for from the North Slave budget. In the actual North Slave region, which is Rae, Rae Lakes, Wha Ti and Snare Lakes, it seems as though there is no funding for parks or anything of the sort. As well, when money is allocated for highways, my region is grouped in with Fort Smith. Mr. Speaker, as I am sure the Members know, the Dogrib Treaty 11 Council are negotiating the final agreement right now. We will have our own government and land claim area.

I urge the government to recognize this and to reflect the status of the North Slave region in the June budget and future business plans by excluding Yellowknife from the North Slave area. As well, there is no need to include the North Slave in with the Fort Smith region. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

-- Applause

Budget Resources For The North Slave Region
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 428

The Speaker

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

Caribou Carnival Festivities
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 428

Brendan Bell

Brendan Bell Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yellowknife's annual winter Caribou Carnival kicks off tomorrow at noon. Our city mayor has declared tomorrow afternoon a civic holiday so residents can come down to the carnival grounds on Frame Lake and enjoy the various events. This year's carnival will boast a number of events, including the 2000 Canadian Dog Derby Contest, set to start tomorrow at noon. Also scheduled to draw considerable attention is the Celebrity Trappers Festival Contest.

Various individuals have been invited to participate in this challenge including heads of corporations, local governments, and Members of this Assembly. As one of the MLAs representing Yellowknife who will be participating in this Celebrity Trappers Festival Contest, I am taking this opportunity to challenge other MLAs from outside Yellowknife in this competition. This special contest includes events such as rat skinning, log throwing, and pancake flipping. Recognizing these events require special skill, I hope my fellow Members from outside our city will prove themselves worthy to such a challenge.

Knowing the compassion of my fellow Yellowknife MLAs, I am sure we can provide a moderate head start so as to not show up other Members of this Assembly willing to take up the challenge.

On Sunday afternoon, the Yellowknife Members will be sponsoring free hotdogs, marshmallows and hot chocolate during a family bonfire scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. at the carnival grounds. I invite all Members of this Assembly and the public to show their support and community interest and join Yellowknife in the various carnival events which should prove to be an enjoyment for all. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Caribou Carnival Festivities
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 428

The Speaker

Thank you, indeed, Mr. Bell. It sounds like a fun time for everyone. Unfortunately, we do sit tomorrow. Item 3, Members' statements. Item 4, returns to oral questions. Item 5, recognition of visitors in the gallery. The honourable Member for Yellowknife Centre, Mr. Ootes.