This is page numbers 495 - 544 of the Hansard for the 15th 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 going.

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mr. Yakeleya's Reply
Item 10: Replies To Opening Address

August 22nd, 2007

Page 518

Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I was sitting yesterday wondering what I'm going to say to the opening replies this afternoon. I was sitting there and I got a phone call from my wife and she said that things were going around, how long are you going to be there, when are you getting back home. Then she was talking and she said oh, little guy, Scott, he's going to school today, Grade 1, he's going to school and he's crying. I said, put him on the phone. Got him on the phone and he says, Daddy, how long are you going to be? Mr. Speaker, he was in his very sad-toned voice and I said I'm going to be a couple days and we talked and at the end of the phone call I said listen to your mom, say your prayers and you've got to go to school tomorrow. It will be okay, Dad. He made those comments and he said he loved me.

As a politician, as an MLA, I really appreciate the Members who are leaving, not because they are leaving, I appreciate them because of what they have put on line for themselves to serve their own people, the sacrifices they have made, you know. So the instances like that that we don't really talk about amongst ourselves or to the public because we're there to serve the people, but foremost we've made that choice not knowing some of the circumstances we're going to run into. The missed birthdays, the missed anniversaries, decisions that we have to make even to attend the funeral of a loved one or to stay in the Assembly or to attend committee meetings. As MLAs, though, I really appreciate the sacrifice and the work they have done on behalf of the people of the Northwest Territories, but also, more importantly, the sacrifice they had to live with for their family and their children. As leaders, that's what we strive to do.

It is said as leaders, Mr. Speaker, that in order to continue moving on up, you've got to stay up in terms of you've got to go up, you have to make some sacrifices. Those MLAs and to their families I have to really say that first and foremost to our own families and to our wives and, as Mrs. Groenewegen put it, to her husband and to our children the things that we really, really owe them at the end of the day when we put our head on the pillow, Mr. Speaker, in terms of the work that we do. At the end of the day, how is our family?

The people that work here in the Legislative Assembly daily, they put out, this is what they get as politicians, as MLAs, what they have put on the line for themselves also. We really need to think about this. This is a wonderful job, Mr. Speaker. You know, it says champions don't become champions in the ring, they're merely recognized just being there. MLAs just don't become MLAs in the Assembly, they're recognized in the Assembly and our work is very, very loud and clear, like Mr. Miltenberger told me when I came in, 24/7, 24/7, I still can hear. What did he mean 24/7? You know, it's so loud and clear.

Mr. Speaker, throughout the 3.85 years in the North as MLA at a new election here, Mr. Speaker, I heard some very good discussions in the committees in this House, good discussions with our former leaders of this Assembly, discussions with our leaders amongst ourselves about working together in the Assembly and the consensus is alive and well in the Northwest Territories. I'm so proud to be in this government that has consensus as a government. That's what we can continue to work on in terms of our vision for the people.

Mr. Speaker, I have to say that we have created a vision, it's now putting the picture together. We know what we want for our people, we've heard it, you know. We also heard that we need to have a rightful place in the Confederation of Canada. We need to look at that and see where our rightful place will be one day to sit with other provinces as equal...

mr. Yakeleya's Reply
Item 10: Replies To Opening Address

Page 518

An Hon. Member

Hear! Hear!

mr. Yakeleya's Reply
Item 10: Replies To Opening Address

Page 518

Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

...and to look and say that we could pay our own way, we could do it. You know, it's very disheartening, Mr. Speaker, when our needs are so high and our cash is so low. Earlier today I heard Mr. Braden talk about 66 days, you know, in terms of the funding that we could get for $50 million for some projects. That's possible. That's a strong mission that I'd like to continue

working, you know, in my short term in the next couple days before we leave and we become Joe Citizen.

Mr. Speaker, the North has many treasures right down from the border right up to the Arctic Ocean. We've seen them in our communities. You and I, it's gracious that, under your leadership, you took some of the Members to my community, my region. Members here who have gone, and Mr. Ramsay named out all the communities I think, and all the Members here have gone to different communities. Even over here you're invited to different communities. You know the treasure is in there, the old brandies, the old-timers that hunt and tell you stories how life was, the hardship they've gone through. Yet they still survived, Mr. Speaker. People who are not here no longer who told us to keep going. You know, they all talked about having a thick skin and it's true, but someone else told me to keep a soft heart. Grow a thick skin and keep a soft heart. A lot of things that they say intrigue us to be in this.

So, Mr. Speaker, we have wonderful treasures. Treasures that we have that are so deep with me and my people is the land. We talked about our land so importantly, but right now we're talking about resources on our land. We could do it. I believe so with the resources that we have and we have the strength and the power here, Mr. Speaker.

I want to say that one of my most memorable roles as an MLA is to be on the land. Last summer and this summer we walked the Canol hike. You know, we talked about it, we talked about it, we talked about it, we finally did it and we did 144 miles in two years. In 12 days it's possible. We ate and I can't say anything more because of the Assembly and the language, otherwise you might escort me out of the Assembly, Mr. Speaker.

---Laughter

We ate and we complained politely and we talked. For me, Mr. Speaker, a leader is one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation and yells, "Wrong jungle!" That, Mr. Speaker, is somehow interred to Mr. Handley as a leader that came as a Premier and our leader. Good or bad, right or wrong, he's our leader. Throughout the Canol trail, Mr. Handley did go into certain situations and said oh, oh, boys, I think we're on the wrong trail, I think we're on a bear trail, and we'd get back onto the Canol trail because it washed out. But to walk with the people, I think that's really important to walk on their land with them and down the Smith, Hay River or down the Deh Cho or Nahendeh or up in the Beaufort-Delta, to walk the land of the people, to know their history, to know what they're talking about, to be there, know the language, know what the people are striving for. So I wanted to say that to Mr. Handley, that I wish him very well. I sure appreciate him being on that trail. There's certain things I certainly can't divulge to this Assembly because of confidentiality, as they say.

---Laughter

Mr. Speaker, but I wanted to say I wish him the very best and I absolutely would like to see him, God willing that he be here, do the trail next year to finish off the 80 miles that we still need to do. He is a very good role model for our young people. So I want to say that, Mr. Speaker, because he is leaving and going to spend some time with his family.

Mr. Dent, in the same light, I'd like to wish him well. Mr. Dent, I have gotten to know him on a different level at one time and I really, really want to say to Mr. Dent that when my mother passed away last year, one time you and I were talking and for a brief moment you struck me with what you told me. I sat back and I said to my wife, I said, gee, I feel so funny and ashamed because I didn't know Charles was that type of a man. So I had a little different level with him of connection I guess or respect for Mr. Dent. He is consistent and he does seem to walk by the book, but this time he went out of the book, he went out of the box sort of thing. So I wanted to say that to Mr. Dent this time for that remark. It made a lot of difference for me.

Of course, to Mr. Bell, he's been one that I wanted to echo Mrs. Groenewegen here. I don't know if I'd use "top drawer," I might have a different interpretation, but he is someone that I certainly look up to as a role model and look up to as a man that would be a great contributor to the Northwest Territories and to his people and he should do other things in his life but, more important, to his family. You know, Mr. Bell and I talk a lot about our children and the sacrifices that we put them under and expect them to carry. Those little children, they carry a lot of load for us. So I wanted to say that to him. I wish him all the best and Sahtu people really saw some good things come out from Mr. Bell's leadership. I wanted to say that on behalf of the Sahtu people of all the Ministers that I spoke of.

Of course, I wanted to say to the elder, as I call him, sitting on my left, the elderly man, Mr. Speaker.

---Laughter

I know Mr. Braden, at times...He's not an elder. He's been here awhile and for me he's an elder. To call someone an elder is taken very, very serious. Sometimes I have to use another word and I think it's appropriate to call him geezer sometimes...

---Laughter

...because some of the things we work with. Jokingly we say that. So I wanted to say that to Mr. Braden that I sure appreciate him and his vision and his discussions with us in the Assembly here.

Also, Mr. Speaker, in closing I want to say to the staff and to the people that work for us in this Assembly, saying mostly all to our people about this strong nation we have in the Northwest Territories and that for the good work that a lot of you have done on our behalf and to our CAs and to continue on. I wish to all the other Members a happy and safe summer and wish good school for our children here who are going to school this year.

I guess what I wanted to say in closing here is a quote here on legacy, Mr. Speaker, in closing. It says, "A legacy is created only when a person puts his or her organization into a position for great things without him or her." That's a legacy for me. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

mr. Yakeleya's Reply
Item 10: Replies To Opening Address

Page 519

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Yakeleya. Replies to opening address. The honourable Member from Yellowknife Centre, Mr. Hawkins.

mr. Hawkin's Reply
Item 10: Replies To Opening Address

Page 520

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, four years have passed and I'm very proud of all of our time here. There have been certainly some good days and certainly some bad days, as we all know, but I've gained a lot of experience from every one of those challenges that have been put before us and I'd say it's been an incredible time, an incredible ride, Mr. Speaker.

This exciting time could not have been done without the marriage of this new family we've created when we walked through the doors, all 19 Members of us. Some knew each other, some didn't, but we found a way to make it work. Just like all the families out there, they have good days and they have bad days and, you know, we can't pick your family as the constituency picked us, but we found a way to make it work most of the time.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to be here as a politician. My interest in politics has gone back a little more than 25 years. The reason I say that is many of you know, or don't know, I am only 36, but I remember tin can TV in Fort Simpson. I certainly remember when we used to have the one channel. I used to watch Parliament on TV. I remember Trudeau, Clark and Broadbent. I used to be great fans of them and so excited to see what they were doing with issues they were discussing.

Mr. Speaker, my interest in territorial politics really came from growing up in and around the Sibbeston house. I still consider myself a great friend of Nick and Karen Sibbeston. I spent many years...I am the same age as...Actually I am in the middle years of two of their children. I spent a lot of time there. I know the family well. We had a lot of good years and certainly the inspiration and the stories I used to hear from Nick growing up certainly inspired me.

Mr. Speaker, my path to politics started seven years ago when I was elected to city council. But just before it began, my wife and I eloped and went to Las Vegas. We got married by Elvis and it was a really exciting time. She had a few more holidays left than me, so I left her in Calgary to finish her holidays and I only had a week holidays. So I had to get right back to Yellowknife. I phoned her. I said, I am going to run for city council. When she was done laughing on the phone, she said, are you really serious? I said, yes. So then she said she would do what she needed to do. So she has been a very supportive wife. I will come back to that in a minute.

Mr. Speaker, I did take that leap. My experience on city council, even with Member Ramsay, we had, again, a lot of good days, a lot of bad days. At the end of the day, it was a wonderful experience. I am glad he left council the same time as I did and we came forward over to this House.

There were a lot of highlights. I don't know if it is worth getting into today, but there are a lot of highlights I would like to talk about. Certainly, I have decided to pare it down to just a couple. The highlights that I would like to think at this time, when I refer to achievements, are the barrier-free apartment building for the disabled. Mr. Speaker, I spent many hours down with Minister Krutko, at the time when he was Housing Minister, nagging him and complaining and whining. He kept saying, go away, go away. I would come down to the House and I would nag him and ask him more questions. He would read these scripted answers that would say go away. But eventually, I have to admit in all seriousness, we had a good working relationship on that project and he heard the need. He heard the need to the point he said we are going to send people out to interview folks and see what really needs to be done. Furthermore, if we can do something, we are going to do something. And he did do that. I am very proud that Minister Krutko is...To me, he heard the concern. He sent people down to understand the problem. Furthermore, he did something. He heard what I was trying to raise. I had constituents there. When they washed their dishes, they had to drape their arms above the water and the conditions in their washroom was absolutely pathetic. He is fixing that problem by moving forward that initiative.

I had another constituent who couldn't reach the countertops. He couldn't cook and an endless amount of problems, but the bottom line is he heard those problems too. This government at that time of little more than three years ago said we are going to fix it. That is one of my personal favourite projects I helped to work on here. I am very thankful. Now, Minister Krutko is no longer Minister of Housing. Minister Handley luckily got to cut the ribbon on that project and it is opening next month. It is a good project. I have always said all along, from the start of it, I think this is a demonstration of good quality work the Housing Corporation can do to meet the needs of people in the NWT, to meet people with disabilities to help improve their quality of life. I really tried hard on that. I am glad to say it is one of my personal hallmarks of success that I will always be able to look back and say that one project alone I think really meant a lot because you can see how happy they were.

Mr. Speaker, there are some things that didn't work out. I am not going to mention a lot of them, but I am going to say when this House passed the motion to put an addictions treatment centre here in Yellowknife and in Inuvik, that was quite a disappointment. Even in motion, I often called them creative suggestions because we're united on this side of the House. We came to identify a need. We came to identify a solution, and I don't want to say Cabinet ignored it, but I don't know how else to put it other than it was ignored.

Mr. Speaker, I hope some day that can be corrected. Another area that I wish we could have made a clear statement on was, again, a personal plea in the sense of I thought it was very important to the fabric of who we are as an Assembly, was I had always hoped that we could have passed the troops motion to support our troops overseas. It was not to be. There were many people who supported it. There were many who didn't and many who found that the wording couldn't be right, so in the end it never came forward. But every Friday, I always wore my red shirt to let our troops know here in Yellowknife, and the message was spread far and wide, that people here do care about the work that they do. Mr. Speaker, one can say, though, with those sorts of things, we can't win them all, but we can certainly win as many as we can.

Mr. Speaker, I am a big fan of consensus government. The longer I am here, the more I think that party politics certainly isn't meant for this place.

---Applause

Although I am a firm believer, though, consensus government needs to evolve. It needs to respond to

people's needs. It needs to be reflective of what is going on. Mr. Speaker, I am not saying that changes I suggested last Friday had to take place, but I think what I was really saying when I had my consensus government Member's statement read out, the fact is I just think it needs to be evaluated from time to time. Nothing should go without any type of evaluation because, if we can't stand that test, then maybe we have bigger problems.

Mr. Speaker, I would say to those who want to join party politics in this Assembly, who want to slide it in under the door whether openly or informally, I would say be careful of the wolf in sheep's clothing, Mr. Speaker. I think it will be the demise of this Assembly, the free-flowing communication I think clearly highlighted by Minister Dent, I think yesterday, talks about one of the most amazing elements of our Assembly. If we were in a party style system, as everybody knows in this Assembly -- I think sometimes people forget -- you couldn't bring forward an idea.

I remember when I talked about the idea of developing and coming up with a brand new product for a driver's licence. If we were in a party system assembly, the government would just laugh and say, great idea; when you are in power, go for it. But the government here has suggested from this side of the House. They listen to them. They take them into consideration. That doesn't happen anywhere else in Canada outside of us and Nunavut. I am very thankful and grateful that we have a consensus government.

Pre-project consultations I think have set forward a great statement from this Assembly. All the Regular Members felt that this is an important thing to start talking about what the priorities are of the people of the Northwest Territories, asking them for their input on the budget to make sure it was more reflective of the people. Someday I look forward to the TV broadcasting of our committee meetings. I think that is a fantastic step forward in accountability.

Mr. Speaker, in my perspective, I believe I have taken the time to try to understand my constituents' concerns and my constituents' feelings on a number of issues. I assure you I have read probably almost every single e-mail that has come in, even the long ones and some were very painful to read and some were very enjoyable. But despite the fact that I didn't always necessarily agree with the issues, I certainly always respected the time that people took to put them together. I can't say I have been absolutely perfect in that regard by responding to them, but I have certainly made every effort I thought was reasonable and tried my very best.

Mr. Speaker, sometimes phone calls came in on family time, sometimes at 11:00 and sometimes even 12:00 at night. Sometimes some people always had something to get off their chest and they just want to say can you believe what the government is doing? I would say, okay. Then they would go on and on. Then I would say, can we talk on Monday? They say, well, actually I have already told you. Thanks very much; I appreciate your time. Sometimes that was all it really needed.

Mr. Speaker, for that, I am getting back to what I said earlier, which was I am extremely grateful for my wife. Sue has been fantastic. She is understanding of the cause. She is committed to the process. She knows that people can be demanding on her time. She knows that sometimes we have to be at meetings instead of there at suppertime and so she is committed to the bigger picture of what we do. So I am so grateful for having a strong wife. I am blessed with that support. As I said earlier about good days and bad days, she certainly was there for the good ones and I am so thankful she was there for the bad ones. But with her demanding schedule, I can't forget about my two little monsters. Sometimes I have to bring my two boys here at the office to read some e-mails and read some of my mail. They would be playing in my office. Now, I assure this House and everyone listening that the Thomas the Train toys were for their entertainment and not mine. Mr. Speaker, it was always exciting to look at them play there while I was able to read. They didn't mind at all coming to the House while I worked.

Mr. Speaker, since I have come to the Assembly, I have always had pictures of my two sons and, of course, when I only had one son it was just him, but I always had them in front of me as a reminder of why we are here. I try to look at them and I use that as my sort of test of integrity. So when we bring forward an issue, I am always having them look at me. I use that as a reminder of why we are here. So, Mr. Speaker, when issues are raised, I think of them and I always step forward in that regard, always with the integrity and sense first.

Mr. Speaker, although we raise our issues in our own way, a comment that has always come back to me, which some days they sound less good than others, but people always make the point of saying make sure your issue is true. Make sure you speak from the heart. That is all that really matters. As long as you do that, you are okay.

Mr. Speaker, I am just going to close by saying a few small things in regards to Coady Summerfield. He has been my constituency assistant now for two and a half years. He is extremely meticulous. He is extremely smart and hard working. I don't think I could have done half the work without his assistance. I would certainly say he would rival any other constituency assistant that we could ever imagine of. For him, I am truly grateful.

Mr. Speaker, personal memories in closing here will be some of the times working here late on the weekends or at night and then taking a moment or two to play with my kids and remind myself what really is important and why we do our things. Occasionally, my sons will beg me to run and chase them down the halls. I certainly hope that someday security doesn't sort of hold me hostage with those video tapes of me making screaming noises, but to my kids, that seemed to be one of the exciting things. They had always asked, "Are we going to Daddy's office this weekend?" That was very important to them.

Mr. Speaker, on the last note, I am going to point out that I had my second son born while I was here in office. Even though my wife was still two or more weeks away from being due, she thought it was important for me to go to Ottawa on NWT Day. As soon as I landed in Ottawa, I got the phone call and she said the water broke. Me being a guy, I said, can you hold it until I get home in two days? Well, like Mr. Yakeleya about being concerned about censorship and wording, I won't say what she actually said on the phone, but I will say that she did say no. She called me back a little while later and said that nothing is happening. Everything is good. Then at 6:00 a.m. in the morning, I got a phone call and there was a baby crying in the background on NWT Day. She said it was here. For

her, it was important that I was in Ottawa with the rest of this Assembly raising the issues, raising the profile of the NWT for the greater good. So, Mr. Speaker, as I have highlighted twice and I want to do it for a third time, my wife has been absolutely key to my success. I thank her many times over. I thank her quite often because she sometimes gets neglected because we have meetings and we have to travel. She has to find a way around to deal with the kids, but, Mr. Speaker, none of us could be here without our partners. I think, of everything I have said, that is the most important thing I want to finish with. I couldn't be here without the strength of my wife. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

mr. Hawkin's Reply
Item 10: Replies To Opening Address

Page 522

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Hawkins. Replies to the opening address. The honourable Member for Range Lake, Ms. Lee.

ms. Lee's Reply
Item 10: Replies To Opening Address

Page 522

Sandy Lee Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to just take a few minutes to give my thanks to many people who make it possible for me to be here today. First of all, I would like to thank my constituents for giving me their trust to serve them as their MLA for the last eight years. It is an honour like no other. I don't think there is any other...I don't even think you can call this a job. It is something that is possibly a democratic system that we have where on election day, the people across the NWT go out and put an X next to the names of people that are here. It is a complete honour. It is a trust. When you are elected into this office, it is a daunting task. Even to this day, every day, I am in awe of what the people of Range Lake have given to me for the last eight years.

I remember walking in here as the class of 1999 with Mr. Bell, yourself, Mr. Speaker, Premier Handley -- there were six of us -- Mr. Braden and myself. I remember looking at my job and going, what am I supposed to do in this job? I know I got elected and there is no manual. There is no script to follow. I remember having to think really hard about how I do my job to the best of my ability. The way I thought about it was like the people gave me this little baby, something so precious, something so honourable that I had to grow into the job. I had to become wiser, intelligent, articulate and more than anything that I ever thought possible. We all have to grow to the job and do the best we can because the people who elect us should not be burdened because or our limitations, our boundaries or lack of anything. I tried my best to do that. People of Range Lake continue to give me support. I am always in awe of that honour. I will be seeking a new mandate. I will save all of the stuff about what I have been able to do and what I would like to do for the future. I am very optimistic about the future of the North. I look forward to that debate.

Mr. Speaker, I do want to acknowledge the Members of this House. I know there is a public persona of the Members here, but the people I know here, I believe to the bottom of my heart that we are all here with honourable intentions. We all come here every day trying to do the best we can. We learn all about our weaknesses and strengths. I know lots of Members here remind me all of the time, in the second Assembly anyway, from the first one, I came in here shooting with both cylinders or speaking before thinking and just totally enthusiastic and seeing everything in black and white. I have grown so much into the job. It has just been an amazing work experience. I would not have been able to do that without having such generous people and the Members that I have had to work with. I thank you all, the Members, for giving me so much guidance for the last eight years.

I do want to wish well Mr. Bell, Mr. Handley and Mr. Braden, who are leaving and seeking other opportunities. That is my class of 1999 I wanted to acknowledge. And Mr. Dent. I don't want to go over all of the strengths of the Members. You have been great. I know you have given all your best. I know that you all are going to continue to serve. The North is going to benefit from that. I wish you and your family nothing but the best.

I want to acknowledge my committee members. I had the honour of being the chair of the Social Programs committee this Assembly, Mr. Speaker. When I first came here as a female Member trying to prove myself, I really wanted to stay away from the pink committee, so the last Assembly I made sure I got into Governance and Economic Development committee. But in this Assembly, I knew it was important work, I wanted to do it and I was honoured to be a chair of this committee. The six members in my committee, Mr. Yakeleya, Mr. McLeod, Mr. Lafferty who came on board later, Mr. Pokiak and Mr. Braden. I keep forgetting Mr. Braden.

---Laughter

It has been a real pleasure to work with all of you who I think we did a lot of good work together. We always had a very good working relationship. We put through a lot of really heavy-duty legislation like the Public Health Act. I don't want to go into all that, but it has been a total pleasure. I learned a lot from all of you. I thank you very much.

I want to, in particular, thank the staff of the Legislative Assembly, not only the committee but the entire staff. I think Mr. Mercer has an amazing group of staff he has built now. I would like to thank Mr. Mercer and everybody: Tanis and Haylee in his shop who are working in the back there; Mr. Moreside, Ms. Freisen, Ms. Menard and all of the staff in the finance section. I couldn't even begin to think how much work is involved in there. I don't think I give them as much work as some of the other Members, but I think they do a lot of work. I really want to thank them. In particular, Mr. Speaker, I really want to thank my committee staff, Ms. Bennett, sitting here. She came to us from the court services. I think losing her was the bigger blow to the judges than losing the courthouse.

---Laughter

Ms. Bennett came into our committee about a year into this Assembly. She fit in without any fuss. She has been a total professional and a woman of competence; she gets the job done. It's just been amazing and I would not have been able to do the work that we do in committee without the level of skills and just everyday just doing the job. I cannot thank her enough.

Mr. Robert Collinson, our researcher for the committee, I still maintain that he's completely underpaid. I think he should get paid $10 for every word that he puts into our report that makes our committee's work very intelligent. He expresses the views that we hear from the people, what we want to say. Mr. Robert Collinson is only one of the entire research staff under the leadership of Colette

Langlois, our director, and they really, really, single-handedly make our work possible. I have to tell you that some of the Members here who remember when I came here, you might have described me as a leader looking for a team, or maybe a lone ranger looking for a team, and working through the Social Programs committee, working with the staff that I have, with Ms. Bennett and Mr. Collinson, Mr. Glen Boyd, our legal advisor, I really think I found a team where I was able to be a leader of a team and I think together with the committee Members and our staff, we have been able to do some really, really good work. I'm very proud of the work we have done as a Standing Committee on Social Programs.

Mr. Speaker, the last person that I must thank is my constituency assistant, Cathy Olson. I first met Cathy Olson in the year 2000 when her family came into town. She and another lady named Janet Pacey started a magazine called "Yellowknife Living," and I was just so excited about there being a magazine called "Yellowknife Living." I thought any two women who would put their heads together to write a magazine have to be really driven. I met her then and I agreed to put an ad in the Yellowknife Living magazine from day one and I asked her if she could come and work for me at the same time. At the time she had lots of obligations with her family and she wanted to put that off. About three years ago she was able to free herself to come and work for me and it has been three amazing years of experience. She is a woman who like...Very few people I know who I can talk with about what's happening on CNN, what's happening with the U.S. national politics, we can talk about what's happening there, how to do the quilting, what's happening at Range Lake North School, what's happening to the teenage life, we can talk about dogs, we can talk about weather. She just knows...She's one who's as interested about life and things as I am and it's just been a complete and total pleasure to work with her. She's given me motherly advice, sisterly advice, political advice, personal advice. She works really well under pressure. We work really well together in crisis mode and I could not have done my job without her. I really want to give her thanks, and her family. All of her family has been involved in my work and I know there's lots going on in her life and her family life, and I just want to thank her very much for all that she has given me and I do hope that we can continue to have a working relationship.

Mr. Speaker, in parting, I want to just talk about two things that I think are really exciting and important. The first thing is that the Legislative Assembly is going to have its own dedicated television channel. It's something that I've always asked for and I'm so excited that it's coming to fruition in the very near future, possibly this upcoming session after October. I believe that young people, all the people in the North but especially the young people have to see their lives and their community reflected on television. I think you have to be a minority in a mainstream society to see how important that is. For the mainstream society, they take it for granted that when they turn on the movie, they turn on the news, they see people that look like them. But for the aboriginal population or the visible minority population, we take it for granted that it's okay not to see themselves on television, whether it's on the political channel, in movies, on the news, a soap opera, whatever. For that reason, that main reason, I just think that it will do a great deal of good to have a community channel where our northern people, especially the northern news, to see themselves on a television channel. For the young, community channel 20 is no different than any other fancy U.S. network channel: you're on television and you're a star. I think every child should feel like they're a star and they should see themselves debating in the House, not debating in the House but in the sporting events, in the cultural events. We could not only have these sessions of the Legislative Assembly showing on television, but also a Beluga Jamboree in Tuktoyaktuk, Mackenzie Days in Fort Providence or the Dene Assemblies. I think we as a community, as a whole in the Territories, need to have a television channel that connects together, that enables us to express ourselves as a distinct and unique cultural group of people, but also very diverse, where all the communities could come together. Yellowknifers could see people and cultural activities in other communities and other communities could also see the people in Yellowknife. So I am so excited about that channel and I will encourage the next Assembly -- and I hope to be part of it -- if my people in Range Lake send me back I want to make sure that even the committee meetings are reflected on this channel so that we get to be more transparent in the work that we do.

The second thing I want to say, Mr. Speaker, is we all know that there is an election coming up on October 1st and there are lots of people who are interested in running. I think it's great that there are a lot of people running because it speaks to the citizenship participation, it allows for vigorous debates of important issues of the day and, most importantly, it gives the people a chance to vote for a number of choices that are available. As one of the longer serving Members in this House, I've been getting a lot of calls from people who are interested in running for office, and in responding to those inquiries I realized that there is something lacking in the consensus government that is present in the party politics. I know in lots of replies to opening addresses in the last few days, many Members have spoken about the benefit of consensus government versus party politics. If this is an issue, and it is usually an issue during every election, I look forward to that debate, but the small element of that was my realization that we, under the consensus government, there is no means to involve the people, to educate them or to provide support for anyone who wants to run for public office. People come into this place and connect with this place at a personal level, whether people were here as young Pages or they have parents who are MLAs or government people, but I think in the interests of the wellness of this Assembly, and in the interests of attracting as many good calibre candidates as possible, I think it is very important for this Assembly in going forward to provide a packaged training program for youth, for anyone, to teach them about how the consensus government works; what should one do if they're interested in the political process. I've been working closely with women who are wanting to run for office but I have found there's a need for that for the young people, for anybody who's interested in the process. I would really like to encourage the Legislative Assembly to look into that. I know that the NWT office is working on that but I think it's something where we need to broaden our base to see if we can do a better job.

Mr. Speaker, on that note, I would just like to close by thanking my constituents again, and thank everybody here for making me a much better person than when I started here. I think we've done some really good work together and I would like to wish everyone all the best in the coming days. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

ms. Lee's Reply
Item 10: Replies To Opening Address

Page 524

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Lee. Replies to opening address. The Member for Nunakput, Mr. Pokiak.

ms. Lee's Reply
Item 10: Replies To Opening Address

Page 524

Calvin Pokiak Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to seek unanimous consent to go back to item 5 on the orders of the day. Thank you.

ms. Lee's Reply
Item 10: Replies To Opening Address

Page 524

The Speaker Paul Delorey

The Member is seeking unanimous consent to return to item 5, recognition of visitors in the gallery. Are there any nays? There are no nays. We will return to item 5, recognition of visitors in the gallery. The honourable Member for Nunakput, Mr. Pokiak.

Revert To Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Revert To Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 524

Calvin Pokiak Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to turn your attention up to the gallery. I see up in the gallery my nephew Mr. Robbie Pascal who works with the WCB. Along with him are his two boys, Matthew and Allen.

---Applause

...this time that Mr. Pascal has been accepted at the University of Alberta to further his career, so good luck. Thank you.

---Applause

Revert To Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Revert To Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 524

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Pokiak. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. The honourable Member for Nahendeh, Mr. Menicoche.

Revert To Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Revert To Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 524

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Today I'd like to recognize the two Pages who are from Nahendeh who are with us here this week: Ms. Hilary Norwegian and as well as Ms. Tanis Browning. I'd like to thank them for their efforts and sure glad to see our consensus government hard at work. Mahsi cho.

---Applause

Revert To Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Revert To Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 524

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Menicoche. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. The honourable Member for Kam Lake, Mr. Ramsay.

Revert To Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Revert To Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 524

David Ramsay Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I'd like to recognize a former colleague of mine on Yellowknife city council, Mr. Ben McDonald. As well, we've got two other city councillors who are with us today in the gallery: Mr. Kevin Kennedy and Ms. Lydia Bardak.

---Applause

I would also like to welcome everyone else who is with us here in the gallery today. Thank you.

---Applause