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.

Topics

Location Of Federal Government’s Northern Development Agency Jobs
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Ramsay. The honourable Member for Hay River South, Mrs. Groenewegen.

Human Trafficking In The 2010 Olympics
Members’ Statements

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. While the Olympic Games are an international celebration of sport, sporting events such as these often attract people who traffic and exploit others for profit. I’ve received many letters from constituents and others who are concerned about this problem and who want to see action taken by Canadian governments that will prevent human traffickers from using the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver as an opportunity to exploit trafficking victims.

In 2007 The Future Group, a Canadian, non-government organization that works to combat human trafficking and exploitation, released a report entitled “Faster, Higher, Stronger: Preventing Human Trafficking at the 2010 Olympics”. The

report highlights how human trafficking increased both in Germany during the FIFA World Cup and in Athens at the 2004 Olympics. In Germany, extensive prevention campaigns, immigration controls, and law enforcement efforts prevented a significant increase in human trafficking. In Athens, where measures were not as extensive as those taken by Germany, there was a 95 percent increase in human trafficking victims identified by Greek authorities.

The report also makes the following recommendations for the Government of Canada and British Columbia to strengthen existing efforts to combat this modern form of human slavery: Deter traffickers and potential commercial sex users by implementing effective public awareness campaigns before, during, and after the 2010 Olympics; disrupt trafficking networks and prosecute traffickers through a coordinated and proactive law enforcement response at all levels of government; prevent human trafficking by identifying victims in transit through border controls and comprehensive training for border agents; and, protect trafficked persons by providing safe housing, counselling, legal aid, temporary residence status, translation, and medical assistance.

These measures are long overdue. Even without the 2010 Olympics, the RCMP Criminal Intelligence Directorate estimated, in a 2004 report, that 800 people are trafficked into Canada each year, 600 of which are destined for the sex trade. An additional 1,500 to 2,200 people are trafficked from Canada into the United States annually. The majority of these victims are women and children.

The Government of Canada has taken several steps toward combating human trafficking, such as making it a Criminal Code offence, adopting measures to provide protection to victims, and introducing legislation to prevent work visas from being used to traffic women.

I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Human Trafficking In The 2010 Olympics
Members’ Statements

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

The B.C. government has recently created a special office to deal specifically with this problem. However, to date not a single person has been successfully prosecuted for the offence of trafficking in persons under the Criminal Code and only a handful of victims have received protection through Citizenship and Immigration.

The 2010 Olympics is an opportunity to show the world that Canadians are against human exploitation. I urge the Premier and Minister of

Justice to raise this issue with his federal and provincial counterparts and ask that they step up their efforts to protect victims of trafficking and prosecute those who seek to exploit others.

Human Trafficking In The 2010 Olympics
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mrs. Groenewegen. The honourable Member for Great Slave, Mr. Abernethy.

Recognition Of Tree Of Peace Friendship Centre Contributions
Members’ Statements

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This afternoon I’d like to highlight the contributions the Tree of Peace Friendship Centre makes to Yellowknife and the Northwest Territories. Since its incorporation in 1970, the Tree of Peace has worked to improve the quality of life for aboriginal peoples in Yellowknife and the Northwest Territories by facilitating self-determined social, health, educational, recreational and cultural programs.

The Tree of Peace Friendship Centre is a non-profit charitable organization. Its 13 full-time employees are committed to developing and delivering programs in response to community needs. The community wellness programs focus on addictions, providing awareness and preventive functions, as well as assessments, counselling, referrals, and aftercare. Five community wellness workers conduct support groups, as well as home, hospital, and street visits on a daily basis. They provide an adult education program which gives adult learners the opportunity to complete academic upgrading and prepare for GED exams.

The Tree of Peace posts job opportunities in their office and the Outreach Employment Program assists clients with resume writing, career counselling and offers information on education and apprenticeship opportunities. Through its year-round Community Assistance Program, the Tree of Peace helps elders fill out application forms for fuel subsidies or pension plans and offers interpreting and letter writing services. Between February and April, clients can get assistance filing their personal income tax returns.

Mr. Speaker, the Tree of Peace makes a special effort to reach out to youth. Its urban multi-purpose Aboriginal Youth Committee offers addictions counselling and an elders-youth healing circle. This assists youths with employment and educational needs. Every year the Tree of Peace offers four to six youth the opportunity to attend the dream catchers conference in Edmonton, Alberta, and awards two $500 Linda Grey memorial scholarships to aboriginal students entering a post-secondary institution.

Mr. Speaker, the Tree of Peace Friendship Centre has been a meeting place in our community for nearly 40 years. Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage Members of this Assembly and the public to applaud the Tree of Peace for their hard work and dedication. Their services make a difference and helps empower the next generation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Recognition Of Tree Of Peace Friendship Centre Contributions
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Abernethy. The honourable Member for Mackenzie Delta, Mr. Krutko.

Income Assistance Client Satisfaction Survey
Members’ Statements

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. After yesterday’s theme day in regards to income support and housing, I have received a lot of phone calls from my constituency in my riding on the comments they heard from the Minister of ECE in regards to results of a survey that his department received in regards to clients being happy with services that they provide.

Mr. Speaker, my constituents are not aware of such a survey that took place. More importantly, they are not satisfied with the service they are receiving in regards to income support and housing. With that survey that was conducted, they would like to suggest to the Minister of Housing and the Minister of ECE, if you really want a survey, come to our communities, have public meetings and hear what the real clients have to say about programs and services in ECE and Housing.

Mr. Speaker, I think it is important that we do make such an effort to ensure that we hear firsthand from the residents of our communities and the real clients that are receiving these so-called services.

Mr. Speaker, I think it is important that we do hear from those individuals. As we all know, one of the top issues we hear whenever we have a constituency meeting or have a Minister in our ridings is the area of housing and income support.

Mr. Speaker, again, more to resolve such an issue, I think public meetings probably will be needed in all communities of the Northwest Territories and get a real survey done by way of the public having an opportunity to say what are the services that they are receiving, and in some cases the services that they are not receiving.

I will use an illustration, Mr. Speaker. An individual who applied for unemployment insurance received it just this Christmas and was told, well, because you have such a big cheque from unemployment insurance, now we are going to charge you economic rent. Again, that is another area that this

government has to be aware of. We are taking money from the feds that we pay into and the Government of the Northwest Territories is taking it back by charging people market rents because they are on unemployment insurance. Again, Mr. Speaker, that is just one illustration of the problem with this system.

I would like to ask the Ministers of ECE and Housing to take up the challenge of the residents of my riding and have public meetings in my riding and hear what the real clients have to say. Thank you.

Income Assistance Client Satisfaction Survey
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Krutko. The honourable Member for Frame Lake, Ms. Bisaro.

Transitional Housing And Powers Of Rental Officer In The Residential Tenancies Act
Members’ Statements

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have learned of yet another gap in the authority of the rental officer as laid out in our Residential Tenancies Act. The rental officer is empowered by this act to consider problems brought to his attention by either renters or landlords and to render decisions on these conflicts. He generally deals with matters such as unpaid rent or interpretations of the conditions of a rental agreement. Most people can appeal to the rental officer for an intervention and decision to solve their impasse. However, the Residential Tenancies Act does not provide for the rental officer to deal with anything encountered by renters and landlords of transitional housing. There is no definition in the act for the term “transitional housing” or “transition home,” so the rental officer has no authority over this kind of rental premise.

Transitional housing is intended as a stepping stone in the continuum of housing possibilities, a waypoint on the route from homelessness to homeownership. Yellowknife has a couple of transition homes, most notably Bailey House and the one run by the Centre for Northern Families. A recent disagreement between a renter and a landlord of a transition home has highlighted that there is no avenue of appeal for residents in this situation. The rental officer refuses to consider any conflict where transitional housing is involved, and rightly so. He cannot consider intervention under the Residential Tenancies Act because there is no provision identified. This just points out another area where the only avenue of appeal for residents is to go to court, a rather unlikely prospect for most people. It is another reason for the establishment of an ombudsman.

The other solution and probably much cheaper, Mr. Speaker, is to amend the definitions in the

Residential Tenancies Act to provide for a definition of transitional housing. I know that amendments to the act were completed just last spring and that the Minister will probably tell me that no one brought this matter up when the amendments were being reviewed and discussed. That may be so, but is it not incumbent on the department when amending any act to anticipate and consider all possible situations and ensure that the new act will cover any eventuality for many years to come? I say yes it is. That did not happen last year, Mr. Speaker. Transitional housing was missed and the Justice department needs to revisit the Residential Tenancies Act and make the changes necessary.

All NWT renters and landlords should be covered by this act, no matter what type of accommodation they are in. Thank you.

Transitional Housing And Powers Of Rental Officer In The Residential Tenancies Act
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Bisaro. Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Sahtu, Mr. Yakeleya.

Uranium-Contaminated Soil Removal In Tulita
Members’ Statements

March 5th, 2009

Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to say on behalf of the people in Tulita and people in the Sahtu that we want to say how appreciative we are to Minister Miltenberger in terms of the removal of the contaminated site in Tulita. Mr. Speaker, when I became the MLA in the Sahtu, I was driving around with some people in the community and then, at one point in my travels, I worked with my uncle Gordon who looked at the contaminated soil in Tulita. When my uncle and I went to that site close to the airport, he looked at it and was talking about it. Tears were running down his eyes. I said, how come? What is going on? He said, this contaminated soil was in our yard from our grandfather who raised us as children. I remember playing in that yard when I was young, not knowing that this site was being contaminated with uranium. When my uncle was talking and he was crying, he said, every time I come by this site, it brings me hard times in terms of what this site reminds me of. My grandfather died of cancer. I’m not sure if it is related to the contaminated site. Also, my uncle’s, one of his youngest sons died of cancer. I’m not too sure if that is related to the contaminated site. My grandmother also had cancer. I wasn’t too sure if it was related to the contaminated site. My uncle fought hard to see if something would get done to remove the contaminated site. Through last year, witnessing and having him haul the last piece of the contaminated package onto the barge was a significant joy for him.

Mr. Speaker, there are other sites in the Sahtu that haven’t been looked at right now. There are other departments within the federal government that contaminated our land in the Sahtu that needs to be looked at. I am going to ask questions to the Minister in terms of how he is working with the government and the Government of Canada to clean up their mess in the Sahtu and also in the Northwest Territories that, for once, we know that government is listening to people. However, it takes a little time, but on behalf of the people of Tulita and Sahtu, I want to thank the Minister and from my family also for doing something right in terms of cleaning up the government’s mess. Thank you.

Uranium-Contaminated Soil Removal In Tulita
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

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

Conflict Between Health Care And Dental Plans
Members’ Statements

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I want to talk about a situation of a Northerner who is caught between her dental care plan and the NWT Health Care Plan. It is a very unfortunate situation. She has a tumor in her mouth. Her dentist referred her to a dental surgeon. The dental surgeon had said she needs a biopsy and likely a removal of this growth. The reality of the situation is that care can only be provided in the South. The bad news is her dental plan won’t pay for that. They see it as a medical problem.

Mr. Speaker, so we are all assuming that she now needs to start again in the system while her family physician will have to look over this file and try to get access through the NWT Health Care Plan, but we don’t know for sure. Of course, the obvious fear is that the Health Care Plan will turn around and label it a dental problem.

Her appointment is scheduled by the specialist for April 2nd of this year, so time is short. Help and

support will be needed from the Department of Health and Minister Lee. Mr. Speaker, I can only hope that this problem doesn’t follow the usual pace, what I often describe as moving at the speed of government. Mr. Speaker, I assure you that is no compliment. I am hopeful that her family physician will respect the treatment recommendations of the dental surgeon and refer this patient to get the biopsy and, if necessary, the surgery to remove this tumor. But as we all know, paperwork is paperwork. The thing to consider is if this tumor was anywhere else on her body, it would be covered immediately and there would be no questions asked. Hopefully, the GNWT Health Care Plan and the Medical Travel Plan will accept this and, indeed, help her through this system of process. Hopefully, no one

will try to squabble with the patient’s insurer about treatment and the payment method while she sits idly by on the sidelines waiting for a clear decision of responsibility. I’m hopeful common sense will prevail.

Mr. Speaker, in closing, I hope the Minister today can confirm that this dental care has become medical care and that she will help this person through the system to make sure that this specialist appointment won’t be missed, with one organization pointing fingers at another, that she so desperately needs. Mr. Speaker, assistance from the Department of Health is needed and all we need to hear is that she will look into it and help them through this problem. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Conflict Between Health Care And Dental Plans
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Hawkins. The honourable Member for Deh Cho, Mr. Michael McLeod.

26th Annual K’amba Carnival On The Hay River Reserve
Members’ Statements

Michael McLeod Deh Cho

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today people from all over the Territories and Alberta will be gathering to participate in the 26th Annual K’amba Carnival on the Hay River

Reserve. They will be celebrating and enjoying some fun in the sun and the longer, brighter days.

This annual event is organized by many dedicated volunteers who donate their time and energy to showcase one of the bigger events of the year. Each year the K’amba Carnival Committee organizes the annual winter activities for the first weekend in March. This is when the reserve comes together to celebrate with people from all over northern and western Canada to participate and to compete in indoor and outdoor events. They have many activities that include games such as snowmobile races, dog sled races, dances, children’s events and talent shows for all to watch and join in.

Mr. Speaker, our winters are long and cold and our hardworking volunteers keep the traditions strong by organizing events for the people to shake off the winter blues. I invite people to come out and join the fun this weekend at the Hay River Reserve because it’s K’amba time.

Mr. Speaker, in closing, I would like to acknowledge and thank the many volunteers and the sponsors and the participants, as well as the contestants in the search for a K’amba Queen: Ms. Lorna Fabian, Ms. Dawn Nessel, Miss Rayleen Lamalice, Ms. Miranda St. Jean. Also mahsi cho to the organizers: Diane Tourangeau, Victoria St. Jean, Jennifer Lafleur, the K’amba Carnival Committee, Chief Alex Sunrise and his council and all the people of the

K’atlodeeche First Nations. On behalf of the people of the Deh Cho, I would like to wish everyone a safe weekend and fun time at the carnival. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.