This is page numbers 5035 - 5060 of the Hansard for the 16th 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 communities.

Topics

The House met at 1:42 p.m.

---Prayer

Speaker’s Opening Comments
Speaker’s Opening Comments

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Good afternoon, colleagues. I want to take this opportunity to welcome you all back to the Chamber after our summer recess. I hope that you return committed and eager to continue our work for the people of the Northwest Territories.

In many ways, this fall appears to be a season of change for our Assembly. First of allI would like to take this opportunity to extend a warm welcome on behalf of all Members to the new Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, the Honourable George L. Tuccaro.

---Applause

Commissioner Tuccaro was sworn into office on May 28, 2010, and one of his first official duties was to accompany me on a Speaker’s Mace Tour. Everywhere we went, it was evident that the Commissioner was well known, well liked, and well respected. Again, on behalf of all Members, I wish the Commissioner much success in his new position and we look forward to welcoming him into the Chamber.

Another timely fall change is the installation and start-up of our biomass heating system for the Legislative Assembly building. The Assembly continues to be a leader in green initiatives and I look forward to the formal ribbon cutting for the wood pellet boiler which will take place on Friday, October 29th , at 2:00 p.m. I invite all Members to

join me for this event.

Another innovative project supported by this House is the implementation of an On-line Petition Pilot Program. As directed by a motion of the House, and in an effort to increase the opportunities for participation for all citizens in the NWT, the Assembly is launching an e-Petition Pilot Program to run from October 2010 to June 2011. This program will allow residents to set up and to sign petitions on-line, in addition to the current practice of signing personally. In June 2011 the Assembly will evaluate the pilot program. The on-line petition

site can be accessed from the Assembly’s website and will go live on Friday, October 22, 2010.

I would also like to welcome the Pages who have joined us this session. We will have young people from Yellowknife, Tu Nedhe, Inuvik Twin Lakes, Hay River North, Nunakput, Monfwi and the Sahtu. It is always a great pleasure to have our young people join us.

On a more sombre note, colleagues, I would like to extend the sympathies of the House to the families and communities who have lost loved ones since last we met. The North has lost several respected elders, and while we mourn their passing, we celebrate the wisdom and knowledge they have left behind.

Colleagues, it is now my duty to advise the House that I’ve received the following message from the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories. It reads:

Dear Mr. Speaker, I wish to advise that I recommend to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories the passage of:

• Appropriation Act (Infrastructure Expenditures), 2011-2012;

• Supplementary Appropriation Act (Operations Expenditures), No. 4, 2009-2010;

• Supplementary Appropriation Act (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 5, 2009-2010;

• Supplementary Appropriation Act (Operations Expenditures), No. 2, 2010-2011; and

• Supplementary Appropriation Act (Infrastructure Expenditures), No. 4, 2010-2011

during the Fifth Session of the 16th Legislative

Assembly. Yours truly, George Tuccaro, Commissioner.

With that, colleagues, orders of the day. Item 2, Ministers’ statements. The honourable Premier, Mr. Roland.

Minister’s Statement 45-16(5): Sessional Statement
Ministers’ Statements

Floyd Roland Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I spent a great deal of time this summer talking with NWT residents and organizations about their vision and priorities in the future of our Territory. I was pleased and challenged by the many conversations that I had in various Creating Our Future Together roundtables, but even more so by the passion and commitment that NWT residents have demonstrated by their participation.

I have been particularly inspired and rejuvenated by the discussions I enjoyed with our Territory’s youth.

Today’s youth are ready and eager to meet the challenges of the future. They do not back down from tough issues, they state their positions clearly, they listen respectfully to each other, and they always work hard to find common ground. I can assure Members that our future is in good hands.

Since our election three years ago this government has remained focused on the future; a future articulated by the goals set by this Assembly:

• healthy, educated people;

• a diversified economy;

• sustainable, vibrant and safe communities;

• effective and efficient government;

• strength and independence, built on

partnerships; and

• an environment that will sustain present and future generations.

For three years the work that we have done and the initiatives that we have put in place have been firmly focused on serving and benefitting our Territory and its residents long past the term of the 16th Assembly.

We have ensured our capacity to face the future, taking a hard line on managing what’s in our means and maintaining a tight control on costs.

We have made unprecedented investments on key infrastructure projects for the future, making capital spending a priority, expected to exceed $1 billion in the life of this Assembly, building not only bridges, roads, and facilities, but capacity in our communities, businesses and people.

We have invested heavily in alternative energy options that will help mitigate the impacts of climate change going forward and help reduce the cost of living.

We have invested in education and training programs to support an expanded labour market, providing skill development, literacy programs, and increased support for apprentices to ensure that our

residents will be able to take advantage of the opportunities and choices that will come their way in the years to come.

We have moved forward with pivotal initiatives such as the Water Strategy, the Land Use Framework, and the Species at Risk Act to guide future decision-making and sustain our environment into the future.

We have increased the profile of our Territory on the national and international stage, promoting the NWT as a great place to live, work and invest, through the highly successful NWT presence at the 2010 Olympics and Paralympic Games, and building on that effort through our national marketing campaign.

All along we are invested in the long-term well-being of our people, expanding programming for children and youth, encouraging healthy choices with health and physical activity programs, improving our continuum of care for seniors with the development of the Territorial Assisted Living Facility in Hay River and the Territorial Dementia Centre in Yellowknife, and addressing the unfortunate realities of issues like addictions and family violence that threaten the well-being and health of our families and communities.

We have made considerable investments to support policing in smaller communities, implementing the new backup policy, and instituting programs aimed at reducing alcohol and drug related crimes.

Along the way, Mr. Speaker, we have encountered challenges and issues that threatened our government’s capacity and ability to look to the future.

In these cases, we have also acted decisively and effectively to protect the future we think is possible for our Territory.

In the early days of our term our immediate challenge was the reality of our fiscal situation and the need to find more efficient and effective ways to do business.

Later it was the reality of worldwide economic recession and the need to support our businesses and economy through a period of decline.

The proactive and immediate actions that we took, as a government, to secure and distribute H1N1 vaccinations last year proved to be an example for all of Canada. We achieved the extension of critical health care funding at a time of broad government fiscal restraint across the country.

We took timely but essential steps to protect our caribou for the generations that will follow ours.

Earlier this year circumstances surrounding the Deh Cho Bridge required us to take extraordinary measures to carry this debt in the interest of protecting this project for the future.

Earlier this year we announced that responsibility for public housing rent assessments would be returned to local housing organizations. Investments in affordable housing are among the most significant actions taken by this government during the 16th Assembly, expected to exceed $155

million by the end of this Assembly.

Meanwhile, our proposed electricity rate changes represent the biggest single effort to reduce cost of living in rural and remote NWT communities that has been undertaken in recent history.

Mr. Speaker, the vision, mission and goals of the 16th Assembly, the strategic initiatives of this government, the work that we have done, the decisions we have made and the over 142 initiatives and investments that we have put in place with the support of this House, together they offer a strong track record focused on building a stronger Northwest Territories, a foundation that will serve us all well long past the term of this government.

As important as the work itself has been the manner in which it has been undertaken, our collaborative approach with Members of this Assembly, our work with Canada and the relationships that we continue to build with our Territory’s aboriginal and regional leaders and governments, demonstrates our continued and firm commitment to proactively working with these partners to build the new Northwest Territories, the Northwest Territories of the future.

That said, some very serious and immediate challenges are still before us, as is the case across the country, and indeed across the globe.

• Escalating health care costs threaten our

capacity to invest in other priority areas.

• The supply of adequate housing continues to be a concern.

• High energy costs remain a challenge to the affordability and viability of living and doing business in our Territory.

• Our complex regulatory environment creates very real challenges for industry and investors, which must be balanced with the need to ensure adequate environmental protection for our lands and waters.

We all know that this work of creating a strong foundation for the future is not easy. But we have all worked to put in place the resources, tools and processes that will allow us to realize the unprecedented opportunities that are still before us.

Mr. Speaker, in this last year of our government we must build on what we have done and finish what we started:

• Secure the fiscal foundation that we have

protected and put in place.

• Advance the benefits of our resource sector and the nation-building potential of infrastructure projects.

• Further advance our relationship with

aboriginal governments established under the regional leadership table.

• Secure the authorities and resources from

Ottawa with which future governments and leaders will shape and continue to realize our future.

I would like to thank my Cabinet and Members of this House for your hard work, collective vision and commitment to the future of the Northwest Territories. I look forward to making further progress toward our future during the coming months. Thank you.

Minister’s Statement 45-16(5): Sessional Statement
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Roland. The honourable Premier, Mr. Roland.

Minister’s Statement 46-16(5): Ministers Absent From The House
Ministers’ Statements

Floyd Roland Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to advise Members that the Honourable Jackson Lafferty will be absent from the House for the remainder of the week to attend the federal/provincial/territorial Ministers of Justice meeting in Vancouver.

I would also wish to advise Members that the Honourable Bob McLeod will be absent from the House for the remainder of the week to attend the federal/provincial/territorial Ministers of Tourism meeting in Vancouver. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 46-16(5): Ministers Absent From The House
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Roland. Colleagues, before we go on, I would like to draw your attention to the gallery to the presence of Mr. Sam Gargan, former MLA and former Speaker of the House.

Also, the presence of our Conflict of Interest Commissioner, Mr. Gerry Gerrand.

Item 3, Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Nahendeh, Mr. Menicoche.

State Of Disrepair Of Highway No. 7 (Liard Trail)
Members’ Statements

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Just two short summer months ago, Highway No. 7 was described by the media and local drivers as a bog with the consistency of clam chowder. To my dismay, this summer Highway No. 7 was described as a war zone by tourists, local drivers and the media.

I know that the engineers would offer this more technical description of Highway No. 7, the road is

composed primarily of frost susceptible soils, structurally weak and most vulnerable to load-induced damage during spring thaw. The roadway becomes saturated, causing extensive pot holing, slick running surfaces and major running. This makes driving conditions unfavourable for the general public.

However, I think “war zone” is the best description.

After two years of the largest capital budget ever, I hoped that the Department of Transportation would be able to achieve great things for Highway No. 7. The only good news was that the Government of British Columbia has paved their portion of the highway from the BC/NWT border south. The tourists who actually made it to Liard could be told that the worst is over, it is only 38 more kilometres to the border.

The Legislative Assembly approved a large multi-million-dollar budget for repairs on the highway in both 2009 and 2010. I know that we had a rainy season this summer, Mr. Speaker, however, I am discouraged that the Department of Transportation could not get organized fast enough to get ahead of the weather and make the repairs.

The highway gets closed for a period throughout the summer because of its unsafe state. The word about the highway spreads to other tourists who might have travelled the Liard trail if the roads had been passable. Robinson’s Trucking has given up hauling loads to Fort Liard because of the unpredictable conditions and load restrictions on Highway No. 7.

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

---Unanimous consent granted

State Of Disrepair Of Highway No. 7 (Liard Trail)
Members’ Statements

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Mr. Speaker, this now leaves Liard with one transportation company that provides service to the community. This certainly doesn’t reduce costs or improve services.

I am really interested in learning from the Minister later this afternoon about the status of this year’s work and his future plans of making sure that the highway can meet the grade needed. Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker.

Condolences On The Passing Of Nunakput Residents
Members’ Statements

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish to welcome all Members and the staff back from our summer break and our Thanksgiving weekend. I hope that everyone had an enjoyable and safe summer as well.

There are many Inuvialuit traditions that are very important in my daily life, Mr. Speaker, and how I serve my constituents.

One of those traditions is that I pay respect to my elders, which is all you guys. I respect you.

---Laughter

And I pay respect to my ancestors, the people that have shaped us into who we are today and who have passed away.

I always start my Member’s statements by paying respect to the people who have passed away, and the families and friends, since our last sitting in the Assembly. There have been a few deaths in the communities that I represent. Mr. Speaker, Joseph Robert Panaktalok, condolences go out to his father, Frank Panaktalok; and mother, Pearl Pokiak; and son Shayne; and to his aunts and uncles and family and friends. He’ll be sadly missed, Mr. Speaker.

Alexandria Anikina Payne passed away this summer. Condolences go out to her parents, Diana Anikina and Michael Payne; grandmothers Clara Bates, and my sister Judy Payne. Thoughts and prayers are with them.

Mr. Speaker, in Ulukhaktok we lost George Okheena. Condolences to his wife Mary T. Okheena and children Eddie, Colin, Peter Christine, Lucy, Ruby and Denise.

Mr. Speaker, our communities are very small and everyone knows everyone in Nunakput. We’re very close knit and the loss of one person deeply impacts us all.

Mr. Speaker, lastly, I wish to give condolences to all the people in the Northwest Territories who lost loved ones in the past few months. Our prayers and thoughts are with all the families. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Condolences On The Passing Of Nunakput Residents
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Jacobson. The honourable Member for Tu Nedhe, Mr. Beaulieu.

Lack Of Streetlights In Small Communities
Members’ Statements

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe

Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker. Today I would like to talk about the lack of streetlights in the smaller communities. This is another example of something that’s taken for granted in the larger centres, but is an issue in many of our smaller communities.

Mr. Speaker, when the New Deal was struck between MACA and the communities, all things were not equal. Many of the small communities had, and still have, huge infrastructure deficits. Mr. Speaker, under the current infrastructure funding formula these communities are not able to initiate a proper infrastructure program that will allow them to catch up with the basic amenities enjoyed by the larger communities. As communities made the transition under the New Deal, they were stuck with old buildings, outdated equipment and inadequate

infrastructure. For example, Mr. Speaker, without proper drainage a community cannot effectively build community roadways or develop lots. Without having this in place, the communities cannot determine where streetlights are needed.

Mr. Speaker, the lack of streetlights represents everyday dangers for pedestrians. Many of the roads in both Lutselk’e and Fort Resolution are completely dark. This is a safety issue and because of the unsafe conditions many of the constituents are asking for reflective vests to go out walking around. Mr. Speaker, many of the roads in the smaller communities are not built for vehicles and pedestrians to share. However, it is normal practice in these communities for residents to walk on the roads, even kids going to school walk on the roads. I just returned from Fort Resolution and at 3:30 the roads were busy with kids getting out of school.

Mr. Speaker, in the summer months the communities have to contend with dust, and in the winter months slippery roads, reduced visibility and snowmobile traffic add to the danger. With winter just around the corner, the kids will be going to and coming from school in the dark. Mr. Speaker, there is little or no lighting on some of these roads. It is a wonder that more constituents have not been seriously injured. If you can imagine walking from your house to the neighbour’s completely in the dark, it’s really serious when you don’t even know where you are stepping.

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

---Unanimous consent granted

Lack Of Streetlights In Small Communities
Members’ Statements

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe

Mr. Speaker, this is a safety issue for residents and it’s time for this government to sit down in the small communities and resolve this long-standing issue. Today I’ll have questions for the Minister of MACA following the statements. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Lack Of Streetlights In Small Communities
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Beaulieu. The honourable Member for Weledeh, Mr. Bromley.

Condolences To The Family Of Theresa Reid
Members’ Statements

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to celebrate the life and commemorate the passing of a great citizen and long-time resident of Weledeh, the late Theresa Reid. Most Yellowknifers knew Theresa Reid as the ever-present, cheery face at the St. Patrick’s Parish Flea Market. For 36 years Theresa put her spirit and energy into a Yellowknife institution dedicated to ensuring those in need have affordable access to basic goods: a warm coat or a baby blanket, household and cooking equipment, toys, school supplies, and even furniture and appliances.

What people may not have known is that Theresa also organized the distribution of these necessities to communities outside of Yellowknife, spreading her compassion throughout the Northwest Territories. Countless people and families have been helped through the hard times by Theresa’s smile and willing hands.

Theresa Reid served for decades as the vice-president of the St. Patrick’s Parish Council of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada. To her parish council colleagues and St. Pat’s parishioners, Theresa was the anchor for many charitable and spiritual events and activities. Her dear friend Barb MacDonald described her as the organizer to depend upon as “the base or foundation of an activity.”

Theresa Trepanier came to the NWT as a member of the Roman Catholic sisterhood. She married Bill Reid in 1965 and the couple raised their three children, Danny, Dennis and David, who continue to live in Yellowknife with Theresa’s five grandchildren. Bill and Theresa were to have celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary this year.

Theresa Reid lived her life demonstrating how to do unto others as you would want them to do unto you. She leaves a great legacy of public service and is a model to us all of how one person can make an enormous difference one act of kindness at a time.

I invite all to join with me in honouring the passing of Theresa Reid, expressing our thanks, and offering our heartfelt condolences to her family and community. Mahsi.