This is page numbers 69 - 100 of the Hansard for the 15th 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 communities.

Topics

Motion To Move Ministers' Statements 1-15(4), 3-15(4), 4-15(4) And 5-15(4) Into Committee Of The Whole For Consideration, Carried
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 70

The Deputy Speaker Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Mr. Braden. The motion is in order. To the motion.

Motion To Move Ministers' Statements 1-15(4), 3-15(4), 4-15(4) And 5-15(4) Into Committee Of The Whole For Consideration, Carried
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 70

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Motion To Move Ministers' Statements 1-15(4), 3-15(4), 4-15(4) And 5-15(4) Into Committee Of The Whole For Consideration, Carried
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 70

The Deputy Speaker Jane Groenewegen

Question is being called. All those in favour of the motion? All those opposed? The motion is carried.

---Carried

I order Ministers' Statements 1-15(4), 3-15(4), 4-15(4) and 5-15(4) be moved into Committee of the Whole for consideration. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Sahtu, Mr. Yakeleya.

Recognition Of Graduates In The Sahtu
Item 3: Members' Statements

May 30th, 2005

Page 71

Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, at this time of the year, many colleges, universities and other post-secondary institutions and high school academic years are coming to an end. For most students, their semester is already over and this is the time for celebration. I'm sure many students are happy that their final exams are over and that summer has arrived. But more importantly, this is a season in which graduation is celebrated and it is in recognition of a student's successes, success for all the students in the Northwest Territories.

Madam Speaker, I'm proud to recognize the academic achievements of nine students from the Sahtu who have recently graduated from Aurora College in Fort Smith and two students at the Yellowknife Campus. For the individual graduates and for their communities and Aurora College, this is a celebration of talent, sustained effort and belief in the importance of learning.

These graduates work hard and the graduation day captures the pride and accomplishment and success of these students. Every single graduate represents a story of achievement and a wonderful promise for the future, just as these students have become important role models and future leaders in their communities. There are also 23 potential high school graduates from the Sahtu who have demonstrated commitment and discipline to create a brighter future for themselves and their determination has been recognized by all.

Madam Speaker, these students can be proud of the education they receive here in the Northwest Territories. This will reward them for the rest of their lives.

Madam Speaker, I would like to also recognize Sheena Kochon of Colville Lake who will be celebrating her graduation ceremony at 4:00 today with her community.

In addition, Madam Speaker, two elders from the Sahtu region were recognized and awarded special certificates by Aurora College in Inuvik for their contribution and dedication to teaching their aboriginal language. Mr. Maurice Mendo of Tulita and Ms. Rosie Sewi of Deline received honourary Aboriginal Language and Culture Instructor Certificates and both of them are called our Dene professors of linguistics.

In closing, I would like to recognize the parents and the teachers and the various organizations that have fostered and developed the academic successes of our students. Their constant support provides a foundation of success of individuals and entire communities that deserve recognition. Mahsi cho, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Recognition Of Graduates In The Sahtu
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 71

The Deputy Speaker Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Mr. Yakeleya. Item 5, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Range Lake, Ms. Lee.

Income Support Policies For Special Needs
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 71

Sandy Lee Range Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, in honour of the Disability Awareness Week which was celebrated at our luncheon in the Great Hall this afternoon, I would like to take this opportunity to once again call upon this government to move quickly in revising the income support policies in ways to understand and address the particular needs of those with physical or mental disabilities.

Madam Speaker, in a nutshell, the problem with the government's income support policies is that it's largely an effort to fit a square peg into a circle. Madam Speaker, generally speaking, it makes sense to encourage able-bodied and able-minded people on income support to train and to take life skills courses in order to maximize their potential for gaining better employment and eventually getting off the income support system. But what this does not recognize is that there are people in our society who are not able to ever work on a temporary basis or permanent basis, no matter what we do for them and no matter how much they want to. Right now our income support policies do not treat these citizens with the necessary sensitivity and comprehension.

Madam Speaker, it makes no sense to ask someone who is physically weak and on a waiting list for a heart transplant to attend a life skills courts to improve herself. This is what's happening out there.

Madam Speaker, it equally does not make sense to require someone with severe cognitive disabilities, such as Down's Syndrome, to ask them to take a training course and to take life improvement courses that would normally benefit able-bodied and able-minded people on income support. Madam Speaker, it also doesn't work for the government to insist that these people are left in abject poverty, supposedly aimed at encouraging them to get off the system, because we know no matter how much they want to, it's not possible.

Madam Speaker, when you know that there are those very small segments in our society who could never get off this income support system, I think we, as a decent society, must do what we can to help them in a different way. Madam Speaker, I believe those in our society who are clinically determined not to be able to work in any reasonable capacity should be given a certain minimum standard of living in the form of minimum government disability pension. Madam Speaker, in other words, this government once and for all has to understand and act on a deep appreciation that there has to be a separate set of policies and guidelines for those with special needs. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Income Support Policies For Special Needs
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 71

The Deputy Speaker Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Ms. Lee. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Nahendeh, Mr. Menicoche.

Youth Activity Funding
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 71

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Madam Speaker, today I am responding to a very alarming situation regarding the youth program budget for this year; or rather, the lack thereof. Several communities within my constituency have waited for this fiscal year to apply for youth activity

funding, hoping their early application could enhance their chances for funding. I regret to say that to my chagrin the recent response from the Minister's office was unfavourable. What was alarming was that the funds were exhausted already. How can this be when we're only in the first quarter, Madam Speaker?

If the GNWT had little or no funding to put towards youth initiatives, then the government should not be giving the impression that they will evaluate applications or have the means to provide for them. This response, along with the drastic decrease with community-based partnership funding such as a Youth Employment Program, is very concerning to me and my constituents. Youth within communities such as Fort Liard or Wrigley have very limited opportunities and exposure with post-secondary education and youth activities. The cost for youth to visit colleges and universities or attend sports functions limits many of our youth in these communities.

Secondly, the small populations of the communities and the enormous costs often create an unrealistic or very gruelling fundraising situation. There's really no other presence in that community other than government, Madam Speaker. With such differences in regions, this across-the-board standard calculation for evaluating funding requests alienate the communities and are unbalanced when comparing them to larger centres.

During my recent community visits, some of my constituents have expressed their opinion that the GNWT has dramatically reduced high profile community-based funding to support for the recent resource revenue sharing negotiations with the federal government. During a time when youth programs such as Healthy Living initiatives and education-based activities are regarded as crucial to a healthy development of the North, why then has this government reduced the budget for so many youth deliverables?

The youth are our future; they need our support and guidance and we, as the government of the people, cannot let them down. Mahsi cho.

---Applause

Youth Activity Funding
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 72

The Deputy Speaker Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Mr. Menicoche. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Kam Lake, Mr. Ramsay.

Closing Of Sleep Centre At Stanton Hospital
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 72

David Ramsay Kam Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Sleep apnea is a very common medical disorder that our adult population suffers from. Sufferers of this condition need to have their condition properly diagnosed in a sleep lab prior to deciding on a form of treatment. Unfortunately, Madam Speaker, the Department of Health and Social Services is closing down the sleep centre at Stanton hospital. It is estimated that 80 percent of sleep apnea sufferers go undiagnosed and this is a real shame, because sleep apnea can have a detrimental effect on your quality of life.

This condition can cause severe drowsiness, so the sufferer is unable to concentrate on work, stay alert or take care of children or drive somewhere without severely injuring themselves or others. A sleep apnea sufferer recently wrote a letter to the Yellowknifer, describing the devastating effects of sleep apnea. Madam Speaker, this woman couldn't even lay down to go to sleep without suffocating. Needless to say, she also couldn't believe that the sleep centre was being closed when she had been told there was a three-year waiting list to get in.

It's not only sleep apnea patients that can use the help of a sleep centre, Madam Speaker. A constituent of mine suffered from a heart defect and had severe arrhythmia. One of the most significant symptoms is a marked decrease in oxygen while he slept. Once he was tested and given oxygen while he slept, he felt immediately better and the stress to his heart decreased significantly.

Madam Speaker, not only does the Northwest Territories not have a program to address sleep and oxygen related disorders, but the CPAP machines used to treat sleep apnea are not covered by the NWT health insurance. My constituent with the heart condition is also having trouble getting the government to pay the contractor that is providing him with oxygen.

Madam Speaker, I have some real concerns about how people with these disorders are being treated by our government and I'll have some questions for the Minister of Health and Social Services at the appropriate time. Thank you.

---Applause

Closing Of Sleep Centre At Stanton Hospital
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 72

The Deputy Speaker Jane Groenewegen

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

Mackenzie Valley Land And Water Board Appointments
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 72

Robert Villeneuve Tu Nedhe

Mahsi, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, today I'd like to speak about some of the recent negative developments that the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board has been experiencing over the past couple of months. The federal government, as we are all aware, Madam Speaker, made a chair appointment without the consent of northerners and this government. Last April, the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board raised the issue of conflict of interest of the chair and in rebuttal the chair suspended the board operations, which could and has resulted in serious repercussions to mineral explorations in the form of jobs to northerners and potential future developments within the Northwest Territories being shelved by exploration companies, which we have already witnessed last week with the seven applications that were put on hold because of the petty quarrelling amongst many board members and the chair.

Madam Speaker, not only has the appointment of a non-northerner by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Andy Scott, and supported by our own MP, Ethel Blondin-Andrew, opened up some old wounds already within the unsteady

Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board and now the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board, and also now in our bureaucratically bloated regulatory regime here in the North, but the federal non-northerner appointee is now pouring salt on the wound by suspending the board's business of issuing permits in a timely manner.

Madam Speaker, all this mayhem could have been avoided had the federal government, more specifically Minister Scott and MP Blondin-Andrew, heeded the advice of northerners. What do we as northern residents and government representatives have to do in order to be taken more seriously by our federal counterparts?

Issues that are specifically northern related can and should be resolved by northerners in true northern fashion, which is by consensus and merit, and viewed as favourable by all northerners. This has to be considered sacred, not just out of respect, but because only northerners know what is good for northerners. I would encourage this government's leadership to express our frustration and disagreement toward the legislative process and establishment of such an important regulatory body, and take responsibility and the leadership position to direct the board to act and work effectively and cooperatively on behalf of northerners and not put northern development on hold for personal agendas. Mahsi, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Mackenzie Valley Land And Water Board Appointments
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 73

The Deputy Speaker Jane Groenewegen

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

Relocation Of Territorial Treatment Centre
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 73

Bill Braden Great Slave

Thank you, Madam Speaker. In the last few days the issue of the government's decision to move the Territorial Treatment Centre from Yellowknife has captured a lot of attention and certainly a lot of it is centred on Members of this Assembly and where we're going with this very sudden decision by the government to relocate something that has a very significant part of this community's and this region's service to children with severe behavioural disabilities.

Madam Speaker, on Friday I was comforted to hear the Minister of Health and Social Services tell us in relation to a discussion about dialysis services in Nahendeh that it makes far more sense to have services as close to the people it serves as possible. This is something that I am certainly learning a lot more about in relation to this particular issue.

Madam Speaker, I've heard from the YWCA here in Yellowknife that the loss of this service here in the city, of course, is going to potentially mean that some of the staff involved in delivering care for the young people at the Territorial Treatment Centre will also be lost to other related programs in the city. For instance, there are three at the YWCA: Project Child Recovery for children who witness violence in the home, a Teen Dating Violence Prevention Program, and a Support for Adults with Disabilities. All have staff who are very much involved in the delivery of service at the Territorial Treatment Centre.

My growing concern here, Madam Speaker, as I am learning more about the significance of this service, is that the government has made this decision without fully developing the plan, the consequences for it and how our region and our community are going to cope with this through the transition of this service to Hay River. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

---Applause

Relocation Of Territorial Treatment Centre
Item 3: Members' Statements

Page 73

The Deputy Speaker Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Mr. Braden. Item 3, Members' statement. The honourable Member for Yellowknife Centre, Mr. Hawkins.