This is page numbers 2821 - 2866 of the Hansard for the 16th Assembly, 3rd 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 agreed.

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Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Paul Delorey Hay River North

In actual fact, there is only one full-time position at the Chief Electoral Office. There is a part-time position that also provides support to the Human Rights Commission or Human Rights Adjudication Panel. The only one full-time position that is associated with the Chief Electoral Officer is the DCO’s position. As far as the Chief Electoral Officer, at one time the duties were provided by the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly and ended back in the 13th or 14th Assembly. It was

at the recommendation of the then-Clerk of the Assembly, David Hamilton. It seemed very much as if the elections are running to have the Clerk do the elections and be responsible for elections. In a lot of cases they are returning Members. Because of the relationship between the Clerk and Members of the Legislative Assembly, the perception of being biased or whatever is quite strong. As well, lots of elections, there may be some complaints filed. If the Clerk was to find himself in a position where he is dealing with a complaint on a sitting Member, it could be a very…It was recommended by David Hamilton that those operations be separated. That is the way they are in every jurisdiction in Canada. Thank you, Mr. Chairman

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Again, I find it, not knowing exactly what activities that office is involved in, a bit hard to imagine they could keep themselves busy five days a week 52 weeks a year in an office that deals with an election that only takes place once every four years.

Could the Speaker provide us with any kind of idea or clue as to what these folks find to keep themselves busy? I am sure there are things like keeping and preparing voters lists and filing the annual report after a territorial election. During the election, at the last territorial election, we did not seem to have the resources or the wherewithal to even make sure that there was a returning officer in every community and that there was an office open for voting opportunities in the office of the returning officer. We had communities…I will name one of the communities, Lutselk’e, where literally there was no resources I assume available to allow for the folks of that community to have that same access to voting opportunities as most people in larger centres across the Northwest Territories had. I guess to devote the kind of resources we do to keep people employed year round for an election that happens every four years and then not be able to resource equal access to voting for Members on territorial Election Day is a bit disappointing to me.

What kinds of things are these folks involved in that could possibly keep them busy in between elections? Thank you.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Paul Delorey Hay River North

There is a fair list of items that the Chief Electoral Officer deals with during the two-year period between elections. The Chief Electoral Officer always has to be ready and have things ready in case of a by-election. For example, in the 15th Assembly there were two by-elections

that the Chief Electoral Officer had to run. They also have a registrar of territorial electors that they maintain on a continual basis. They maintain voters’ lists. There is a legislative review response from the standing committee on the Chief Electoral Officer’s report that they have to work on. Training and form revisions in between elections to do corrections on. They also assist other jurisdictions with election issues. There is general training of elections officers as well that go on, on almost a continual basis. There are some strategic initiatives and Electoral Boundaries Commission and mapping. There is a fair bit of work that they do in between.

Some of the things that the Member has brought up, it would probably be better dealt with when meeting with the Chief Electoral Officer, whoever that may be, when they file their annual report in standing committee. If it is how they operate and that sort of thing and complaints on operations would probably be better dealt directly with the CEO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

I certainly don’t have any complaints. I am just concerned about the appropriate expenditure of government funds here. Under compensation and benefits here at $152,000, would that represent a full year of the staff that would be considered government staff? Would that represent the full year? How many people would be involved in that under compensation and benefits? Thank you.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Paul Delorey Hay River North

That amount involves two people.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

That is my understanding, that that position was actually vacant for some time during the last fiscal year. I just want to know. With that $152,000 that is budgeted, that would be the estimated amount for an entire fiscal year as opposed to the actuals which would be…Well, I can’t figure that out because the actuals are even way more than that. Maybe the Speaker could just explain to me the estimate for those two positions versus the actuals for 2007-08. Thank you. I guess those would include the returning officers and so on. Anyway, I will let him explain that. Thank you.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

March 5th, 2009

Paul Delorey Hay River North

That is for a full fiscal year. The position that was vacant was actually a

funded position as well, so when the position was filled there was no money transfer whatsoever because the position was already funded. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

The $152,000 -- and I just want to be clear -- is for one full-time person and one part-time person which are both staffed at this time. Thank you.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Paul Delorey Hay River North

That is for one full-time position and one part-time position. Thank you, Mr. Chairman

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair David Krutko

We are on page 1-23, activity summary, office of Chief Electoral Officer, operations expenditure summary, $360,000. Mr. Hawkins.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am just following Mrs. Groenewegen’s question. Could we get the breakdown of that detail forwarded to us, unless, of course, Mr. Speaker has it here today? As well as on the number of years I have brought up the issue of the Chief Electoral Office being a little more challenged by being involved with municipal elections and perhaps offering services elsewhere whether communities want them or not in the context if they want them. It is not whether they want them or not. The issue is keeping that office busy as well as they go to a lot of work to develop certain expertise, skills. They ask for equipment that basically sits dormant for almost four years. I just would like to see that this office can offer those types of expertise throughout other elections that happen. Those services are going to waste if they are not being put to use. I am just wondering how much work. Has this issue come up through the Speaker’s office as instruction to look into that avenue and what work has been done as well as, of course, the breakdown Mrs. Groenewegen was asking for? Thank you.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair David Krutko

Mr. Speaker.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Paul Delorey Hay River North

I will commit to getting the information to Members on salaries. It would probably be better to get the information to the Members on that.

On the municipal election front, the CEO is very keen on doing some stuff for municipal elections. She has raised the issue a number of times with the Association of Communities, but there is some pushback in that area where they are reluctant to turn that over to the Chief Electoral Officer. They are still reviewing their options. For the time being, they want to continue to maintain their own elections. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

I appreciate that. I will take that information. I certainly support moving in that direction because the expertise offered there, if we

are vamping up an office for skills and abilities, it would be in the right direction.

Mr. Chairman, just on the area of the office staffing, what exact positions are staffed at this very moment? How long have they all been staffed? Thank you.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Paul Delorey Hay River North

The staff positions are the Deputy Chief Electoral Officer position, the administrative assistant position. As far as how long they have been staffed, maybe ask Tim if he has that.