This is page numbers 1063 - 1110 of the Hansard for the 15th Assembly, 5th 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 Brendan Bell, Mr. Braden, Honourable Paul Delorey, Honourable Charles Dent, Mrs. Groenewegen, Honourable Joe Handley, Mr. Hawkins, Honourable David Krutko, Ms. Lee, Mr. McLeod, Hon. Kevin Menicoche, Mr. Miltenberger, Mr. Pokiak, Mr. Ramsay, Honourable Floyd Roland, Mr. Villeneuve, Mr. Yakeleya

---Prayer

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

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The Speaker Paul Delorey

Good morning, colleagues. Welcome back to the House. Orders of the day. Ministers' statements. The honourable Minister of Transportation, Mr. Menicoche.

Minister's Statement 75-15(5): Tlicho Road Studies
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to report on a number of studies the Department of Transportation has or will be completing under a new agreement that will help move forward the planning to improve road access into the Tlicho.

As we all know, the only year-round access to the three Tlicho communities of Whati, Gameti and Wekweeti is by air. Access is augmented for approximately two months during the winter road season. The provision and reliability of this seasonal access is being increasingly challenged by climate change and resulting warmer winters.

Mr. Speaker, the department last year completed a Tlicho Corridors Options Study which looked at winter road and all-weather road corridor options in the Tlicho. The department also completed an economic analysis of the benefits and costs of both realigning the Tlicho winter road to an overland route and upgrading the seasonal route to an all-weather standard. The economic analysis established that improved road access would have a number of direct benefits to Tlicho residents including:

  • • enhanced inter-community travel and access to services for residents;
  • • reduced resupply costs and improved resupply options;
  • • employment, training and contracting opportunities during winter road and all-weather road construction and maintenance; and
  • • improved opportunities for road-based tourism travel.

Improved road access could also reduce costs for resource development projects in the Tlicho and possibly other areas of the Northwest Territories.

This earlier work has set the context for two new studies, one to detail environmental impacts and the other to identify engineering issues including what alignment a road would take and at what cost.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to advise that these studies are not being initiated through a partnership involving the

Department of Transportation, the federal government, the Tlicho Government and private industry. The federal department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada has agreed to provide $460,000 towards the estimated cost for these studies. Matching funding will be provided by the Tlicho Government, industry and the Department of Transportation. These studies are expected to be completed later this year. Once completed and assessed, they will form the basis of our next steps and approach to the federal government to improve road access to Tlicho communities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Minister's Statement 75-15(5): Tlicho Road Studies
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Menicoche. Ministers' statements. Members' statements. The honourable Member for Sahtu, Mr. Yakeleya.

Candidate Protected Areas In The Sahtu Region
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my Member's statement today is about candidate protected areas in the Sahtu: Sayou and Edacho and the Ts'ude niline Tu'eyeta ramparts and the wetlands, Mr. Speaker, of Fort Good Hope.

Mr. Speaker, delegations from Deline and Fort Good Hope travelled to Ottawa last month to meet with the federal Minister of Environment, the Honourable John Baird. The delegations from Deline included Chief Charlie Neyelle, Raymond Taniton, Morris Neyelle, and Andrew John Kenny. The delegation from Fort Good Hope included Arthur Tobac, acting-chief Lucy Jackson, Henry Tobac and Harold Cook. I congratulate them on their hard work in Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker, their message to Minister Baird was clear, with the fast pace and scale of development taking place and being proposed for the NWT, communities need their most important lands protected before it's too late. Conservation priorities must advance at an equally fast pace. We urge the Minister of Environment to move forward on the permanent protection of Sayou and Edacho and interim protection for Ts'ude niline Tu'eyeta ramparts and wetlands.

In 1998, the Minister of Canadian Heritage designated Sayou and Edacho as a national historic site. This designation recognizes the contribution of these areas to our collective Canadian heritage, but it does not protect the values for which the areas were designated. It does not protect the land.

Mr. Speaker, there has been important progress; however, Deline and Parks Canada have been unable to secure the budgetary support necessary. Last month, the

community of Deline urged the Minister of Environment to work closely with his colleagues in the federal Cabinet to secure the necessary long-term funding to permanently protect Sayou and Edacho.

Mr. Speaker, the community of Fort Good Hope has been working with the NWT Protected Areas Strategy to move the Ts'ude niline Tu'eyeta to protection since 2001. In 2006, Environment Canada submitted an application for interim land withdrawals to Indian and Northern Affairs on behalf of Fort Good Hope. The community is waiting for approval for interim protection.

Mr. Speaker, I heard Premier Handley speaking on the radio on February 7th about the most recent trip to Ottawa. He is saying that he spoke with Prime Minister Harper about the shared belief that there must be a balanced approach to developing the Northwest Territories and some areas must be protected for environmental...

Candidate Protected Areas In The Sahtu Region
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Paul Delorey

Mr. Yakeleya, your time for Member's statement has expired.

Candidate Protected Areas In The Sahtu Region
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

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

Candidate Protected Areas In The Sahtu Region
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Paul Delorey

The Member is seeking unanimous consent to conclude his statement. Are there any nays? There are no nays. You may conclude your statement, Mr. Yakeleya.

Candidate Protected Areas In The Sahtu Region
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I, too, share this belief, Mr. Speaker, but belief is not enough. It is time to put some actions behind this belief. I urge all levels of government to move forward with concrete actions to implement their protected area commitments in the Northwest Territories including the Sahtu region completing interim protection for the land parts of wetlands in securing federal funding for permanent protection and cooperation of management of the Sayou and Edacho. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Candidate Protected Areas In The Sahtu Region
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Yakeleya. Members' statements. The honourable Member for Thebacha, Mr. Miltenberger.

Lessons Learned From Resource Developments In Nauru
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in the Northwest Territories, we are struggling to better balance the issue of resource development in a strong economy with protection of the environment. This is a critical issue. Around the world, there are examples of what happens if you don't do this right. There is one island country in Oceania, a small island country by the name of Nauru. It used to be called Pleasant Island when it was first stumbled across by the western sailors. It was everybody's idea of a tropical paradise with lush forests, water, plentiful fish, wildlife, very self-sustained. The islanders had been living there for over 3,000 years.

In 1907, it found out that the island was rich with phosphates. Since that time, deals were made with industry. Australia played a very key role in this. They effectively strip mined the island. Eighty percent of it has been virtually destroyed. Twenty percent of it is under enormous pressure. At one point briefly, the islanders were given money. At one point, they were at the highest per capita income of anybody in the world. They had a bank account of about $800 million. But now, in 2007, the money is gone. The island is basically destroyed. The vegetation is gone. The water no longer exists. The wildlife is gone. The surrounding fish and ocean has been so badly polluted by the dust and the strip mining that it no longer sustains much effective life. The islanders are broke. They are becoming, with a few dollars that are left, dependent on the good will of another country, Australia, to survive. They have traded their heritage for money. The money left was spent, bad decisions were made and other costs. They lost sight of the need to protect the value of their environment, the value of the trees, the land, the water, the fish, the game, and their heritage where they lived for thousands of years is gone.

There is an important lesson for us there, Mr. Speaker. We have a big territory, but we can't take for granted that the environment will be there if we don't look after it, if we don't protect the water, the land, and balance those pressures against resource development. That is a lesson that Nauru can teach us. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

Lessons Learned From Resource Developments In Nauru
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Paul Delorey

The Member is seeking unanimous consent to conclude his statement. Are there any nays? There are no nays. You may conclude your statement, Mr. Miltenberger.

Lessons Learned From Resource Developments In Nauru
Item 3: Members' Statements

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Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, to the wonders of modern technology, Google Earth, if you go on there, you could actually go to this island and you can look and you can cross-section across it. Take a look at what has happened. So this is not just an abstract issue. It is one that is real and you could actually go on and take a look at what people have done and what happens when bad decisions are made. It is something that we have to keep in mind as we forge ahead. Thank you.

---Applause

Lessons Learned From Resource Developments In Nauru
Item 3: Members' Statements

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The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Miltenberger. Members' statements. The honourable Member for Nunakput, Mr. Pokiak.