This is page numbers 1105 - 1142 of the Hansard for the 14th Assembly, 6th 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 justice.

Topics

Members Present

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

---Prayer

Speaker's Ruling

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

October 1st, 2003

Page 1105

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Hello, my colleagues. Before we go to the Orders of the Day, I wish to provide my ruling on the Point of Order raised on September 30, 2003, by the honourable Member for Frame Lake, Mr. Dent.

Before addressing the specific Point of Order, I would like to make some comments to refresh Members on the procedural purpose of a Point of Order. A Point of Order is a question raised by a Member who believes that the rules or customary procedures of the House have been incorrectly applied or overlooked during the proceedings. Members may rise on Points of Order to bring to the attention of the chair any breach of the relevance or repetition of the rules, or the utterance of unparliamentary remarks. Members are able to do so at virtually any time in the proceedings, provided that the Point of Order is raised and concisely presented as soon as the irregularity occurs or as soon as practicable thereafter. As a Point of Order concerns the interpretation of the rules, it is the responsibility of the Speaker, or chair in Committee of the Whole, to determine its merits and to resolve the issue.

To the specific Point of Order raised by Mr. Dent. I find that the Point of Order was raised at the earliest opportunity, based on the facts as outlined by the Member for Frame Lake. The honourable Member contends that the Minister of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development, the Honourable Mr. Antoine, may have misled the House as his comments during question period on February 21, 2003, were not consistent with the Minister's subsequent actions.

Any allegation that a Minister may have misled the House is a matter that the chair and all Members must take very seriously. In this light, as I do with all Points of Order, I took some time to review the facts available to me. Some of the facts raised by Mr. Dent unfortunately touched on matters that occurred outside the House and cannot be confirmed, as to whether or not they are an accurate account of events. The facts available to me were the comments made by the Minister on February 21, 2003, as outlined by Mr. Dent in his Point of Order. The comments are contained on pages 235 and 236 of Hansard. I am drawn to the comments of the Minister in responding to an oral question by the Member for Hay River South, Mrs. Groenewegen, and I quote from page 236 of edited Hansard, "so at this point in time, the decision is for us to not proceed, but to have a mechanism in place developed by RWED."

The chair, and all honourable Members, must assume that the statements made in the House were an accurate reflection of the Minister's and the government's intent at that particular point in time, as there is no evidence to suggest otherwise. Circumstances obviously change over time and can influence future decisions. This cannot be viewed as evidence to show that the Minister intentionally and willfully misled the House. I, therefore, find that the Member for Frame Lake does not have a Point of Order.

Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Member for Sahtu, Mr. Kakfwi.

Minister's Statement 79-14(6): Premier's Award For Excellence
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1105

Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to take this opportunity to announce this year's recipients of the Premier's Award for Excellence. The Award for Excellence was recently created to recognize our employees who have distinguished themselves through work-related achievements and contributions. Today I honour the following employees and teams for their accomplishments:

  • • Dr. Anne Gunn, a biologist with the Department of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development who has made a significant contribution to our understanding of caribou ecology;
  • • Keith Hickling, manager of fish and wildlife with the Department of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development, who has undertaken many initiatives to help the youth of the Northwest Territories through programs such as the Youth at Risk Trapper Training Program;
  • • Karen Hicks, a program advisor with the Financial Management Board Secretariat, who had the lead in developing and implementing the government's performance measurement system;
  • • John Nishi, a bison ecologist with the Department of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development, who has represented our government on all fronts regarding the control of bison disease;
  • • Raymond Tuccaro, traditional counsellor at the Yellowknife Correctional Centre for the Department of Justice, who has played an important role in assisting inmates, families and their community in the process of rehabilitation;
  • • Al Woods, who is the interim chief executive officer of the Stanton Territorial Health Authority, as well as the Yellowknife Health and Social Services Authority. Through a period of great transition, Mr. Woods has provided the necessary leadership to ensure that the region's health care system was maintained at an effective level.
  • • The equal pay team of the Financial Management Board Secretariat was instrumental in reaching a settlement of the long outstanding pay equity complaint and was responsible for the smooth implementation of the settlement. The team members include Shaleen Woodward, Andy Bevan, Daniel Grant, Vishni Peeris, Jami Semenoff, Jeff Barichello, Tracey Rumig, Alexandra Robles and Colette Perry.
  • • The territorial biomedical engineering team from the Stanton Territorial Health Authority also introduced innovative processes to improve their liability and operations of biomedical equipment across the Northwest Territories, and this team has shown an extraordinary commitment to the development of a homegrown biomedical engineering workplace. The members of this team include Kevin Taylor, Christine Roemer, Phil Borer, Erwin Sumcad, Keith Deans and Doug Osmond.
  • • The Tlicho GNWT negotiating team is also recognized, having worked diligently towards the Tlicho agreement, now seen as an historic and unique agreement that was ratified in June and signed by the Prime Minister of Canada in August. The Tlicho negotiating team includes Paul Beauchamp, John T'Seleie, Steve Iveson, Mark Warren, Kevin Campbell, Lorraine Whiteman, Jim Cunningham, Fred Chambers, Joe La Ferla, Mike Kalnay.
  • • As well, today we recognize the Idaa Trail project team who were successful in developing an innovative program that invites people to learn about the Dogrib culture and heritage as they embark on a virtual journey through a traditional Dogrib travel route. The members of this team include Tom Andrews, Richard Valpy, Mark Heyck, Wendy Stephenson, Barbara Cameron, Lucy Lafferty, Gerriann Donahue, Kyle Kelly and Rosa Mantla.
  • • We also recognize the Inuvik Regional Health and Social Services Centre project team who was responsible for the construction of a new health centre in Inuvik which is the largest, most complex project carried out in the Inuvik region to date. Members of this team include Brent Rausch, Ted McLeod and Len MacDonald.

Mr. Speaker, all teams and employees who have been chosen to receive this award were nominated because they demonstrated excellence, innovation and dedication to their work. They have provided a valuable contribution and it is my great pleasure to honour them. Please help me congratulate them on their achievements. Thank you.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 79-14(6): Premier's Award For Excellence
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1106

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Premier. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Member for Sahtu, Mr. Kakfwi.

Minister's Statement 80-14(6): Premier's Sessional Statement
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1106

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to address you, my colleagues in this Assembly and the people of the Northwest Territories today. It is time to reflect on the term of this government, on the challenges we faced, the opportunities that we created, and the successes we have to date.

We have taken some risks. We have made strategic investments. We certainly have moved the Northwest Territories' agenda forward. We have assumed responsibility beyond our jurisdiction. But most importantly for me, we have achieved incredible success by working together.

This is not work, Mr. Speaker, that we could have done alone. It is time to take a few moments to take stock and pay tribute to our partners who have worked with us and helped achieve our collective goals.

The evolution of the Northwest Territories as a society is directly linked to the strength we get from unity and common purpose.

Today, the Northwest Territories is, without question, the most exciting jurisdiction in Canada. It has captured the attention of the national media. It is discussed in the boardrooms of major national and international corporations, and it has the economy that is envied by other jurisdictions.

This remarkable success did not happen overnight. Our history and the achievements of our elders, like Alexi Arrowmaker, Paul Baton and the late Agnes Semmler, demonstrate that when we are united by common goals we get things done.

Think back to the long struggles to recognize aboriginal land and self-government rights; to create two new territories; to be recognized at the national level; and to raise awareness of our fragile northern environment.

We succeeded on these issues when and because we were united. We are a better territory for our collective efforts.

During the past four years, unity and common purpose have expressed themselves in many ways. They represent the defining moments of our term.

Early in 2000, as newly-elected Members of this legislature, the first Assembly of the new Northwest Territories and the first Assembly of the new century, we gathered in Fort Providence. There, together, we produced a vision for our Assembly and our government, an agenda based on common purpose and collaboration.

At the same time as we were setting out our vision, aboriginal leaders met in Fort Liard and agreed they would have ownership in a Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline. Strong common purpose, the willingness of all partners to take a risk and the leadership of many individuals like Harry Deneron, Nellie Cournoyea and Fred Carmichael have made aboriginal equity participation a reality of northern development. As a government, we have worked with and supported aboriginal leaders in achieving this goal.

In May 2000, aboriginal, territorial and federal government leaders met as an Intergovernmental Forum, a place where territorial-wide issues could be discussed among equal partners and resolved.

As a result of the forum's work and much goodwill, aboriginal, federal and territorial governments renewed devolution negotiations based upon sharing of jurisdiction and revenue.

Under Minister Antoine's leadership, we have worked together with the Aboriginal Summit leadership to ensure that our constituents have a clear understanding of what devolution and resource revenue sharing means and how it can meet our overall objectives.

I commend the aboriginal governments and their leaders for having the courage to work with us to develop joint northern positions on such critical issues as sharing power and resources.

In this term, with a renewed commitment, numerous aboriginal land and self-government rights agreements were signed by the Inuvialuit, Dene and Metis, some involving working together to make difficult decisions on things such as boundaries.

The Tlicho agreement, signed last month, marked an historic milestone in the conclusion of a land and self-government agreement by a common commitment and shared purpose to work together. Grand Chief Joe Rabesca and all the Dogrib Nation are another example of how unity and common purpose produce results.

It is important to acknowledge and commend Metis in the Northwest Territories for their role in advancing the recognition of their rights. The recent decision by the Supreme Court of Canada has huge national significance for Metis of this country and of this territory.

At Hay River in June 2002, the Northwest Territories' social agenda was forged by frontline workers, NGOs and our employees who saw strength in a unified, collaborative approach to building our social fabric. It took the work of individuals like Arlene Hache, Margaret Thom and Evelyn Storr, and all participants of the Social Agenda Working Group, to press the critical importance of ensuring our residents are healthy and have the social support necessary to balance and cope with a booming economy.

On the government's part, Health and Social Services Minister Miltenberger has completed and started implementation of the health and social services action plan, with a renewed focus on community wellness.

NGOs and their volunteers also have a prominent role in building the social fabric of our North. James Ross has worked tirelessly every year for many years now to establish the Midway Lake Music Festival where Delta people get back to the land, enjoy country food, play old time music, and visit as a people with friends and relatives over the course of a long weekend in August. We also remember the late Vi Beck who had a long and distinguished career dedicated to the people of Yellowknife and the people of the Northwest Territories.

Our social fabric was improved dramatically with the passage of the Northwest Territories Human Rights Act. It is a progressive model for the rest of Canada, placing us in the forefront of recognizing and protecting human rights. Minister Allen, Ministers, MLAs, NGOs and all northern residents who championed tolerance and this legislation are to be commended.

Throughout this term, we have worked to make sure industry provides employment and training opportunities for northern residents. Through government programs like maximizing northern employment, we encouraged our young graduates to return home to a job. Minister Ootes was instrumental in the outstanding success of these programs.

Women have always had a strong and particularly important role in our ambitious agenda. I want to acknowledge the work of the only two women in this Assembly, Mrs. Groenewegen and Ms. Lee, for their vision and their contributions. We need to encourage more women to take their positions and take prominent leadership roles at the territorial level.

This Legislative Assembly has also taken great strides to raise our collective awareness of key issues and concerns critical to bettering the lives of our residents. Through its special committees dealing with official languages, self-government implementation and rural communities, this Assembly has brought focus to the importance of maintaining our aboriginal languages; preparing for implementation of self-government agreements; and the need to balance critical needs of small communities in the Northwest Territories with investments in the capital and regional centres. Steve Nitah's efforts and commitment to the renewal of aboriginal languages is to be commended.

The standing committees on Accountability and Oversight, Governance and Economic Development and Social Programs, under the able chairmanship of Mr. Dent, Mr. Roland and Mr. Bell respectively, have contributed to our common commitment to an open and accountable government.

We have built upon our territorial identity elevating June 21st, National Aboriginal Day, to a statutory holiday, so all our people can participate in this special day of recognition of our aboriginal cultures and heritage.

We can also measure the achievements of unity at the community level.

The people of Fort Providence, and their MLA, Mr. McLeod, are going to build one of the most important pieces of territorial transportation infrastructure: the Deh Cho Bridge. An achievement of national significance, I believe, because it is completing the link between the Northwest Territories and the rest of Canada that has been facilitated by the support of our government and the energy of the Deh Cho Bridge Development Corporation.

Other critical infrastructure such as roads, winter bridges, municipal services, communications and housing have moved forward through partnerships in the efforts with the federal government and aboriginal businesses.

Under the leadership of Minister Steen and Minister Handley, our roads and bridges have been improved and our case has been made very effectively to the federal government that more infrastructure funding, based on needs, not just per capita, is required by our people.

We have also heard the Sahtu Women Warriors and we applaud their ingenuity, commitment and drive to realize the dream of a highway linking our more northern communities with southern highways.

Mr. Lafferty must also be given credit for his relentless pursuit of improvements on Highway No. 3 and road access for the smaller communities in his region.

Municipal governments have also been instrumental in making the decisions and implementing the programs and services which are so critical to our quality of life at the community level. We especially appreciate the support of our mayors on changing the approach of the federal government to funding municipal infrastructure.

Housing remains high on our agenda, primarily because of the work of Housing Minister Allen, under the watchful eye of Mr. Braden, who pursued a housing agenda based not only on the needs of local residents, but on the needs of all Northerners who aspire to home ownership or affordable accommodation.

Key to all these achievements was the decision to invest, even though we started our term in difficult fiscal circumstances and we have been facing significant financial challenges ever since. The Minister of Finance, Mr. Handley, though, has never wavered from the fundamental commitment to invest in our people and our territory to ensure maximum returns and benefits in the long term.

We not only had to deal with our own internal agenda, we had to take into account ongoing diamond mine development and renewed interest in northern gas and a Mackenzie Valley pipeline.

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

Minister's Statement 80-14(6): Premier's Sessional Statement
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1108

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you. The honourable Minister is anticipating that his time will run out and he's seeking unanimous consent of the House to conclude his statement. Are there any nays? There are no nays, Mr. Premier, you may conclude your statement.

Minister's Statement 80-14(6): Premier's Sessional Statement
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1108

Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. With limited capacity, facing some of the most powerful mining and oil and gas corporations in the world, together we staked out an agenda for ourselves for non-renewable resource development.

We were the first in Canada to recognize the magnitude and impact that Northwest Territories' diamonds would have on the world diamond trade and to push for a Canadian diamond policy and a secondary diamond industry in the Northwest Territories and Canada. We are also sharing our expertise now with other governments through initiatives such as the national diamond strategy.

We were clear that development in the North would not occur at the expense of the environment. We supported the implementation of the Kyoto Accord and support Mr. Krutko in bringing his message about the protection of the Porcupine Caribou to Washington and the U.S. government.

We were committed to ensuring that development of northern resources be determined by market forces and that Canadian gas in the Beaufort and Mackenzie Delta and in the Liard Valley is not stranded.

We have been relentless in our demand for northern long-term benefits flowing from our development and our resources.

We have collaborated with other northern governments and the private sector through the Northwest Territories Business Coalition on the need for investments in infrastructure and training to make sure that our residents in our territory manage and benefit from development.

The heavy load of all these files was primarily carried by Minister Antoine who worked closely with our business community and the representatives of industry, like Imperial Oil's K.C. Williams, who truly wants to see the Northwest Territories realize its economic, social and political agenda.

We should be proud that we have, along with our 42,000 people, unified together, agreed on a common purpose, and have together made such incredible results and progress.

At this time, I want to acknowledge the contributions made by my colleagues in Cabinet and all of you as Members of the legislature for the past four years.

While the role of seasoned politicians is critical to the momentum and stability of our governments, the energy and new ideas injected by new Members such as Mr. Bell, Mr. McLeod and Mr. Delorey are important and essential to the success and future of our territory.

I want to encourage all young people in the Northwest Territories, especially aboriginal youth and young women, to look to a career in politics whether it is at the territorial government level or with aboriginal governments.

Whatever direction they choose, we must keep focused on the need for our youth to be raised in strong families and communities. We must encourage them to remain in the North, to take advantage of the opportunities and quality of life that we all have to offer, and to get them to help us build a better future for our territory.

As our term draws to a conclusion, it is only fitting that I thank all our employees, the territorial administration, here at the Yellowknife level, in the regions and communities. All of you out there should be proud of your collective accomplishments during this term and your contribution to the amazing future of our territory and its people.

In particular, we have benefited from an outstanding group of deputy ministers who take seriously their responsibilities for implementing our agenda. As a key source of advice, some of which sometimes we don't want to hear, but which is necessary, they have made for an effective operation as a team with us for our government.

I also want to thank personally the contributions of my staff in my office, in the Cabinet office and in the Department of Executive. All of those who have helped me, you have helped me immensely on a daily basis with my responsibilities during the past four years.

I also want to acknowledge your role, Mr. Speaker, in overseeing the operations and the work of this House and this Assembly. I want to thank you on behalf of all Members. Mr. Speaker, I also acknowledge outgoing Clerk David Hamilton for his long service in support of this Assembly and all the other ones I have served on and even before my time.

Minister's Statement 80-14(6): Premier's Sessional Statement
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1108

An Hon. Member

Hear, hear!

Minister's Statement 80-14(6): Premier's Sessional Statement
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1108

Stephen Kakfwi Sahtu

Most importantly, now I want to thank my wife, Marie, and my children: Kyla, my son-in-law Amos, my daughter Daylyn, and my son Keenan who have made many, many sacrifices in supporting me through these last four years.

Mr. Speaker, colleagues, northern leaders, elders, friends, it has been an honour and privilege to serve as your Premier. In the weeks coming, I look forward to continuing. I will work hard right to the completion of our agenda and to the end of my term as a Premier and help prepare for the transition for the next legislature. So thank you very much. Thank you.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 80-14(6): Premier's Sessional Statement
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 1109

The Speaker Tony Whitford

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

Taxation Of First Nations People
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1109

Michael McLeod Deh Cho

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, once again I want to raise the issue of taxation on First Nations people. Mr. Speaker, Treaties 8 and 11 state, "Her Majesty agrees to pay the salaries of such teachers to instruct the children of said Indians." Because of this inclusion in the treaties, Mr. Speaker, concern has been raised by my constituents in my riding on the matter of financial responsibility for Indian education. The Government of Canada's responsibility for First Nations' education is clear to my constituents, thus the concern of why are they being taxed for education when it is a treaty right.

When this government taxes First Nations people and their property, a portion of this tax is identified for education. Is such taxation a contravention of both Treaties 8 and 11?

Mr. Speaker, taxation of First Nations people has and will continue to be a concern. The Government of Canada provides this government with transfer payments and powers upon which we are able to provide services within this jurisdiction. However, it is important that this government provide our constituents with a breakdown of what portions of funds are for First Nations; further, what amounts are allocated for various services such as education, health, housing, economic development, et cetera. Mr. Speaker, I will have questions for the Minister of Finance during question period.

---Applause

Taxation Of First Nations People
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1109

The Speaker Tony Whitford

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. Item 2, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Mackenzie Delta, Mr. Krutko.

Essential Services In Remote Communities
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1109

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker today I raise an important point of essential services being provided to our communities. This summer again we find ourselves in the Mackenzie Delta communities with emergency services being provided at our centres in which daily clinics have been cancelled. Mr. Speaker we talk about improving the lives and well-being of the residents of the Northwest Territories and improving the quality of life for the residents of the Northwest Territories, yet today we still cannot even deliver the basic essential services to our communities such as health care, the lack of mental health and alcohol and drug workers in our communities or the lack of police.

Essential Services In Remote Communities
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 1109

An Hon. Member

Shame.