This is page numbers 515 - 539 of the Hansard for the 14th Assembly, 4th 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 tax.

Topics

Members Present

Honourable Roger Allen, Honourable Jim Antoine, Mr. Bell, Mr. Braden, Mr. Delorey, Mr. Dent, Mrs. 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

October 30th, 2001

Page 515

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Ms. Lee. Please be seated. Good afternoon, Members. Before we begin, I have a ruling on a point of order. At this time, I wish to provide that ruling on the point of order raised by the Member for Frame Lake, Mr. Dent, on Monday, October 29th, 2001. Mr. Dent's point of order was raised under Rule 23(m) for comments made by the Member for Yellowknife Centre, Mr. Ootes, on Friday, October 26th.

Rule 23(m) states:

In debate a Member will be called to order by the Speaker if the Member introduces any matter in debate that offends the practices and precedents of the Assembly.

The comments that the Member for Frame Lake feels that Mr. Ootes used that gave rise to this point of order are contained on page 1079 of unedited Hansard. I quote:

The Supreme Court Justice commented to me a while back, Mr. Speaker, his feelings of disgust that we still have leadership elections by secret vote. Poignant words from someone of the stature of the Supreme Court Justice.

I heard from the Member for Yellowknife Centre, Mr. Ootes, on the point of order and his comments are contained on page 1134 of unedited Hansard. I quote:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I do want the transcript of the tapes checked because it is my belief that I said "a" Supreme Court Justice stated and I did not identify a Supreme Court Justice as being a Supreme Court Justice of the Northwest Territories. Thank you.

I have had the tapes reviewed and, for the record, it is not clear if it is an "a" or "the", and in my view it does not change the context.

In considering this point of order, I was unable to find a specific rule that Mr. Ootes may have breached. There is, of course, the sub judice convention, which is an unwritten rule that during debate, restrictions are placed on the freedom of Members to make reference to matters awaiting judicial decision in the interests of justice and fair play.

This is not the case in relation to the point of order before me today. However, there is also an understanding that it is not appropriate in the House to make reference to conversations

that took place outside the walls of this Chamber. It might also be inappropriate, out of respect to the judiciary, to attribute comments on a political issue to a Supreme Court Justice, whether they are a Justice resident in the Territories or not.

Therefore, I do not find that Mr. Dent has a point of order. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Minister for Education, Culture and Employment, Mr. Ootes.

Minister's Statement 46-14(4): Canada Career Week
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 515

Jake Ootes Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, November 4th to 10th is Canada Career Week. The theme this year is Learning - Power for Life.

In the NWT we will celebrate Career Week with a series of events intended to emphasize that career development is a life-long process of managing learning and work. Thoughtful career planning gives us control of our lives and our careers.

Often the biggest challenge in reaching a career goal is knowing where to start. One of the goals of Career Week activities is to make people aware of the many places individuals can turn for help. Talk to a teacher, a school or career counsellor, friends and parents. Explore personal interests through volunteer work, continuing education, student exchange or apprenticeship programs. Check out resources available on the Internet and at NWT career centres.

Mr. Speaker, in Yellowknife, a series of brown bag lunch workshops on education and career development preparation can provide useful tips. In other locations, interpretive displays, career planning workshops at schools and career planning open houses are only a few of the special events that will mark Canada Career Week. The events taking place in communities throughout the NWT are designed to increase awareness about the range of programs available to support NWT residents in their efforts to find and keep work, to change careers and to acquire additional skills.

Mr. Speaker, many events influence the direction of one's life. The Government of the Northwest Territories is committed to developing innovative career development supports for NWT residents. This will help to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to acquire the education and skills necessary to take advantage of new opportunities. This enhances further our ability to take control of our own careers and lives.

Career choices that suit individual lifestyles and personal priorities will create a productive workforce. This, in turn, will help the GNWT realize the goal of a healthy and diversified economy. I encourage each of you to get out in your community November 4th to 10th and participate in Career Week activities. Learning is power for life. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 46-14(4): Canada Career Week
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 516

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Minister. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Range Lake, Ms. Lee.

Funding For Elite Athletes
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 516

Sandy Lee Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to speak on behalf of a constituent of mine who supports two children who are in elite sports programs. Just last year they spent $10,000 for the training expenses, including the airfares and the programs they have to attend for their swimming training in the south. Just last year they spent $10,000 and they have been doing it every year. They are not able to access any sports programs to help them with this cost.

Mr. Speaker, as you are aware, the Members in this House have been focusing their attention on the sports and recreation policy and I commend the Minister for circulating a discussion paper not too long ago. I have had a chance to take a look at it and it covers a lot of issues, but it does not really have any allocations for elite athletes.

I realize, Mr. Speaker, that the funds are limited and that we have a lot of need in this area. We need to support athletes at all levels. We should also respect those who work hard, really hard, to support their children to develop their talent to a maximum.

I would just like to ask the Minister to revisit or add to his discussion item a possible support program for elite athletes. As well, I would like to take this opportunity to give notice to the Minister of Finance, who I know is working on restructuring our income tax program, if there could be any possibility for tax deductions for those with low disposable incomes for families with elite athletes who have to incur extra expenses where they may be able to claim these as income tax deductions.

Mr. Speaker, with that, I would like to give notice to the government that this is an issue I will be pursuing in the days and months to come. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Funding For Elite Athletes
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 516

The Speaker Tony Whitford

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

Support For Volunteer Firefighters
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 516

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to recognize an important group of people in our communities, our local volunteer fire men and ladies. I think we have to realize, with the circumstances that we have come to see in the last number of weeks, how important it is that the firefighters who volunteer their time to protect and ensure the safety of the Northwest Territories. These members of our communities put their lives on the line every time they respond to a fire in our communities. Most importantly, they volunteer their time at no cost.

Yet, Mr. Speaker, I think it is important, as a government, that we start taking hold of the importance that these people play in ensuring the protection of the lives of the people and the property in our communities. Mr. Speaker, in a lot of our communities we have over 20-year-old fire trucks and outdated equipment. We have to give them the tools to do their job and give them the training so that they can do the best job expected of them. Mr. Speaker, we do have to realize that there are people out there who have volunteered their time and have put time and effort into ensuring that they protect the property in our communities.

Mr. Speaker, at this time, volunteer firefighters in our communities are having to raise money through bingos to acquire the equipment that they need and which is essential for them to maintain their equipment in our communities, and to ensure that they have the quality of equipment. Presently, a lot of that is outdated.

Mr. Speaker, as a government, I believe we have to put a higher priority on the firefighting protection in our communities so that we can ensure that the volunteers feel that we are showing respect for what they are doing; putting their lives on the line and not asking for anything, but for us to stand up and support their endeavours.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I will be asking the Minister some questions on this matter. Thank you.

-- Applause

Support For Volunteer Firefighters
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 516

The Speaker Tony Whitford

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

Day Care Subsidies
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 516

Floyd Roland Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on an issue that has come to my attention, and it is in the area of day care and day care subsidies for establishing day care programs in a community, and how parents can access a day care subsidy to have their children in these programs.

It is unclear when a constituent looks at the matter. They have just moved into a community to try and see how things work, and there are some questions that have been raised that I think we need to clear the air on. That is the fact that there is an opportunity and a responsibility to ensure that the message we are sending out there is clear. My understanding of the concern here is that, in fact, day care programs that are established out there and funded through this government sometimes lack inspection. I am not sure of that, but I would like to confirm with the Minister later on during question period as to how a program is established and how it is monitored.

With that, Mr. Speaker, speaking of children, I would like to send greetings back to my wife and children.

-- Applause

Day Care Subsidies
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 516

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Roland. It was nice to hear that spontaneous applause there. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Thebacha, Mr. Miltenberger.

Accomplishments Of Fort Smith Writer Richard Van Camp
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 516

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to draw attention to Richard Van Camp, a young Dogrib Northerner from Fort Smith, who has just won a very prestigious journal literary prize.

Richard Van Camp's first novel, The Lesser Blessed, was published in 1996. A year ago the novel was translated into German and the German rights sold at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The translation of Richard's book has now won the youth literature prize in the juvenile fiction category. Richard says he is delighted to have won the prize, as I am, and as are all Northerners, Mr. Speaker.

He does not yet know what the monetary reward is connected to this prize, but whatever it is he intends to put it towards his masters degree in creative writing which he is pursuing at the University of British Columbia.

Mr. Speaker, Richard has been writing for ten years and has won several other awards before this, including awards for his two children's books, A Man Called Raven, and, What's the Most Beautiful Thing You Know About Horses? In 1997 he was also recognized by the Canadian Authors' Association as the most promising Canadian author under 30. Richard says that he loves the North and Northerners very much, and he intends to celebrate life in the North in all his writing. His second book, a collection of short stories called, Angel Wings Splash Pattern, is currently at the printers and will be released shortly.

I am sure, Mr. Speaker, that we are all proud that Richard is a Northerner and that he is doing such a great job through his writing of celebrating life in the North, both in Canada and beyond. Mr. Speaker, I ask you and Members in this House to join me in expressing our most sincere congratulations to Richard Van Camp. Thank you.

-- Applause

Accomplishments Of Fort Smith Writer Richard Van Camp
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 517

The Speaker Tony Whitford

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

Yellowknife Chamber Of Commerce Annual General Meeting
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 517

Bill Braden Great Slave

Mr. Speaker, when we look at the big picture in the NWT we see tremendous economic opportunities available across the NWT. What really makes this all work and what brings it home are people at the community level and in the small- and medium-sized business sector.

Last Friday, Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to attend the annual general meeting of the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce, along with many other members of that organization in this community. I want to take this opportunity, Mr. Speaker, to recognize the contribution of the Yellowknife chamber and its 450 member businesses. The chamber has been participating in the economic life in this community since 1946. That is 55 years, Mr. Speaker, longer than many of us in this Chamber have been around.

The chamber has been active this past year with the cost of living study and initiatives, a Buy North campaign and Small Business Week. It has demonstrated fiscal responsibility in its operations, and their efforts benefit residents and businesses across the NWT.

I would like to congratulate the new president, Mr. Speaker, Mr. David McPherson, and his new executive including vice-president, Shawnette MacNeil; second vice-president, Jerry Jaud; treasurer, John Taylor; and past president, John Ondrack. They, along with their directors, have a challenging and, I hope, rewarding year as they represent the business community of this city.

The chamber provides a focus and an opportunity for us as MLAs and government to consult and hear the opinion of the business community. I encourage the government to actively improve its communication in this area. As with all organizations, administration is critical for continuity and getting the job done, and I would also like to recognize Ellie Sasseville who has served the chamber for four years as their executive director and who is moving on. Dale Thompson, after 35 years in the service of this government, will be taking up the post of executive director. I wish them both continuing success.

Volunteerism is important to us all, whether it is in the social, economic, sporting organizations at the local, regional or national levels, Mr. Speaker. We should continue to recognize and appreciate their efforts. The Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce is an excellent example of this kind of contribution. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

-- Applause

Yellowknife Chamber Of Commerce Annual General Meeting
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 517

The Speaker Tony Whitford

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