This is page numbers 13 - 38 of the Hansard for the 16th Assembly, 1st 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 assembly.

Topics

Mr. Abernethy, Mr. Beaulieu, Ms. Bisaro, Mr. Bromley, Hon. Paul Delorey, Mrs. Groenewegen, Mr. Hawkins, Mr. Jacobson, Mr. Krutko, Hon. Jackson Lafferty, Hon. Sandy Lee, Hon. Bob McLeod, Hon. Michael McLeod, Mr. McLeod, Mr. Menicoche, Hon. Michael Miltenberger, Mr. Ramsay, Hon. Floyd Roland, Hon. Norman Yakeleya

---Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Good morning, colleagues. Welcome to the House. Orders of the day. Ministers’ statements. Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Tu Nedhe, Mr. Beaulieu.

Youth Issues In The Tu Nedhe Constituency
Item 3: Members’ Statements

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe

Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker. (English not provided)

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to talk about the youth in my constituency. During my campaign, I focused on youth. Among other things, it was one of the most important issues in Tu Nedhe. As you know, our youth represent the future. They can be a vibrant element of our communities and yet they can also be innocent victims in unfortunate situations and circumstances.

According to a census done last July, youth under the age of 19 represent almost one-third of the total population in the Northwest Territories. In my riding of Tu Nedhe, youth under age 24 represent 41 percent of the population. With this statement, Mr. Speaker, I am making a commitment to the people of Tu Nedhe that in addition to the many important issues and concerns I have heard during my campaign, I will be paying special attention to the concerns and needs of today’s youth in Tu Nedhe, Mr. Speaker, including recognizing and honouring, from time to time, the successes and achievements of various youth from my riding here in the Legislative Assembly.

We are all familiar with the saying "It takes a whole community to raise a child," but what about the resources, tools and expertise needed to support the community, Mr. Speaker? We need to ensure that, as a new government, we continue the good work of the work that has begun before us. Also, it is incumbent upon the new government to take a proactive approach to ensure that the appropriate resources, tools and expertise needed to support our youth are not only maintained, but identified as one of the government priorities. Thank you.

---Applause

Youth Issues In The Tu Nedhe Constituency
Item 3: Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Beaulieu. Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Yellowknife Centre, Mr. Hawkins.

Resources For Non-Government Organizations
Item 3: Members’ Statements

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Before I begin today, it is Friday, which is Red Friday, and I am wearing

red to show my support to the troops and their families and their commitment to us, as well.

Mr. Speaker, NGOs are a vital component to the fabric of the NWT. They offer and deliver programs, important programs and services that the government can’t do and sometimes doesn’t even want to do. In my opinion, these organizations are, in essence, picking up where government fails to act. In some cases, as well, these NGOs continue to get the short end of the stick when it comes to funding, lack of core funding, Mr. Speaker. Their funding does not reflect the increased costs of the times that we’re living in now. Many of these NGOs operate on shoestring budgets and contributions given by government, and this will be no surprise to this new Cabinet. It’s time we start showing our appreciation to this NGO sector.

Mr. Speaker, while during the election process for our Premier, I had questions for our two Premier candidates about wanting to know can we start off on the right foot by revealing NGO funding and making sure that the programming relevance is what we want. Mr. Speaker, I ask that this government take a less bureaucratic approach and start off on the right foot by taking immediate action with this problem and working and delivering a strong solution so we can finally deal with some of these shortfalls our NGOs, again, our vital fabric to the North, get treated fairly.

Mr. Speaker, the Alison McAteer House, as I pointed out the other day, is run by the YWCA and its funding struggles are well known to this community, and I’m certainly sure it’s well known to this Cabinet. Mr. Speaker, we can’t allow them to close the doors because they want to pay their employees fairly. Mr. Speaker, all they’re asking for is fair compensation.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I will have questions for our Premier later today and I look forward to his enlightening answers to make sure we start this government off, this Assembly off, on the right step. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Resources For Non-Government Organizations
Item 3: Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Hawkins. Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Mackenzie Delta, Mr. Krutko.

Cost Of Living And Poverty Issues In Mackenzie Delta
Item 3: Members’ Statements

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as we all know, we’ve just gone through an election process where we’ve heard a lot of issues, going door to door and hearing our constituency raising issues by way of problems that they see in our communities. Mr. Speaker, one of the biggest problems I see is the poverty that’s still out there in our communities. We hear about the high

cost of living, the high cost of rent, the problems delivering programs by way of income support for individuals who are walking the streets for three months with not a nickel in their pockets because they either missed a meeting or were told we can’t help you so…But, again, Mr. Speaker, the poverty that is in the Territories should not be there, yet we may rate as one of the high statistics in regards to the economic and the gross domestic product of producing diamonds in the country and we’re still living in poverty in a lot of our communities. The problem that we’re having by way of attracting people to our communities and the high cost of living, especially in the area of housing, from people that are living in income support are basically who are receiving a good paying job and having no alternative but to go to public housing to find shelter and paying $2,500 a month to rent a home to raise their families and finding out that they’re no better off going to that community find a job; they’re better off to go into larger centres.

Mr. Speaker, we also have to deal with the high cost of living by way of the power costs, the shelter costs and also the high cost of groceries in a lot of our communities. Mr. Speaker, we, as a government, have an opportunity to do right by the people we’re here to serve, and revise our programs and services so that they work; they’re not penalizing people through our income support reforms that we’ve done. If anything, we’ve got a bigger crisis by way of people in arrears, people who cannot afford shelter and people that also can’t take advantage of programs and services because of the restrictive guidelines that we’re using to enforce it.

So with that, Mr. Speaker, those are some of the issues I heard during my campaign and I want to ensure to Cabinet that we have to do everything we can to ensure that we have a process that will get our people out of poverty and put them back to be able to have reasonable and sustainable living in all our communities. Thank you.

---Applause

Cost Of Living And Poverty Issues In Mackenzie Delta
Item 3: Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Krutko. Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Hay River South, Mrs. Groenewegen.

Constituent Issues Expressed During The Election Period In Hay River North
Item 3: Members’ Statements

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the past many weeks have been a very busy time, starting with the month of September, the election period, culminating with October 1st , polling day. It was a

busy and exciting time as each of us had the opportunity for a very concentrated dialogue with constituents about the issues most important to them. I found that exercise to be invigorating, and a renewal and a recharging of my enthusiasm to pursue those issues. Some of what I heard was not new, but many of the suggestions and ideas about how to approach them were new and focused on issues in a way that I hadn’t had a chance to previously hear or think of. Now, as different areas of responsibilities are determined, we will get down to do the work that we were elected to do. I very much look forward to the next four years in this role, working with former and new Members alike. Some of the issues of great importance that I heard about in the community of Hay River include, and these are just some of them:

overdue, mid-life retrofit of the Diamond Jenness Secondary School;

progress on the replacement or renovation of our hospital;

taking the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority into the GNWT-wide system;

improvements to the communications around

medical referrals to avoid waste and valuable resources;

sufficient education resources in our classrooms;

the completion of the assisted living facility in Hay River, staffed by GNWT employees;

initiatives to address the cost of living, including a review of the payroll tax and the rebates;

a review of the support to seniors and persons with disabilities ensuring fairness to all regardless of marital status;

recognizing the value of our NGOs, such as the family support centre, youth programs and ensuring that they are adequately resourced;

support for our community's aging infrastructure challenges;

establishment of a comprehensive community energy plan;

safety and security of our community through

adequate resources to meet the demands on our local RCMP members;

providing tools and programs to our residents to allow them to participate in supporting the law enforcement activities;

crime prevention and awareness programs;

curriculum in our schools to prevent children from turning to drugs and alcohol.

These are just a few of the issues that I will be placing emphasis on in the weeks and months ahead. I believe that this is going to be a productive fours years. We share many issues in common as Members collectively. We respect and support each other and we can improve things for the benefit of all northerners.

I would like to thank the people of Hay River South for giving me the opportunity to return to this Legislative Assembly for my fourth term. I very much look forward to serving them to the best of my ability. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Constituent Issues Expressed During The Election Period In Hay River North
Item 3: Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mrs. Groenewegen.

Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Weledeh, Mr. Bromley.

Climate Change And Environmental Challenges In The NWT
Item 3: Members’ Statements

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to begin with a quote from the Earth Charter, issued in 2000:

“We stand at a critical moment in the earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace.”

Mr. Speaker, I’m very concerned about climate change and some of our environmental challenges. But as brought out in this Earth Charter statement, I am also very excited about the possibilities and the promise that’s offered in the solutions to some of these things. It’s going to take some new thinking. It’s going to take some new ways of doing things. I heard on the radio the other day where it looks like we’re a government with no change. I’m hoping that’s not true because I see a real need to do some things differently. We have now entered the point where there is an irreversible degree of climate change. Even if we stopped our greenhouse gas emissions today we couldn’t stop climate change. But we’re not at the point of dangerous climate change, as they call it, where our losses really soar. So we have a window of opportunity here and I’m really looking forward to bringing some ideas of how we can work on solutions to that. In particular, I’ve heard the word balance between development and the environment; we need to restore balance. This is clearly happening because we are out of balance, and I’m looking forward to some creative ideas of how we restore balance.

I know this has been raised throughout many discussions already that we’ve had, both informally and formally, and there’s will on both sides of the House to get to work on this. I think we can do this by drawing on local resources and local skills in new ways to meet many of our needs and address many of the things Mrs. Groenewegen was mentioning here, her list. It’s just how we do things and we can do that in ways that benefit all our residents and our northern environment and the global environment. Mr. Speaker, thank you very much.

---Applause

Climate Change And Environmental Challenges In The NWT
Item 3: Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Bromley. Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes, Mr. McLeod.

Recommendations To New Cabinet
Item 3: Members’ Statements

October 19th, 2007

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the 16th Assembly, we’re going into, I believe, the most

important four years in the history of the NWT, and all 19 of us in here play a big part in how the next four years shape up. We, as other colleagues have mentioned, have heard issues from a lot of constituents during the campaign, and we want to act on these issues. Now that we’re starting to get some order in the Assembly here, Cabinet’s been selected and -- they haven’t been

assigned portfolios yet but they have been selected -- you’re going to have to start listening to what people are telling you. We, on this side of the House, are going to tell you what people told us and want us to relay onto the government because you have an opportunity as the new Cabinet to make sure that the next four years run smoothly and things get done. If there’s deadwood within the system, get rid of it, because we have a fresh Cabinet now and it should be a fresh government, a fresh start, and start doing what people want us to do. I want Cabinet to go in there and say that I will be the dog that wags the tail; I’m not going to have the tail wag the dog. I think that would be a good attitude. You are the leaders of the department; you give them the direction based on what you hear from us and we give you that direction based on what we hear from the people.

We have to act on it, Mr. Speaker. We are in a very important four years. We have some projects coming up; we have decisions that have to be made; and we have to act on it. We can’t just go through the motions for another four years. We have to be, as one Member said the other day in his campaign speech for Cabinet, we have to be proactive to the needs of the people in the Northwest Territories and not react after the fact, which I think has been happening too much lately.

One thing I did forget to mention yesterday when I was doing my opening statement, I have to commend the people of the Northwest Territories that went out and voted, because they’ve exercised their democratic privilege and it is a privilege to be able to go out and vote. A lot of people don’t have that and sometimes we take it for granted. So I would like this new government, all 19 of us, to listen to what people are telling us, act on it and act in their bests interests…

Recommendations To New Cabinet
Item 3: Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Mr. McLeod, your time is up.

---Applause

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. Members' statements. The honourable Member for Nahendeh, Mr. Menicoche.