This is page numbers 5127 - 5158 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 1:41 p.m.

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Prayer
Prayer

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Good afternoon, colleagues. Welcome back to the Chamber. We welcome our guests in the gallery today. Orders of the day. Item 2, Ministers’ statements. The honourable Minister of Health and Social Services, Ms. Lee.

Minister’s Statement 54-16(5): Foundation For Change
Ministers’ Statements

Range Lake

Sandy Lee Minister of Health and Social Services

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have often spoken about the importance of making careful change within the Health and Social Services system. Our 2009-2012 Action Plan: A Foundation for Change provides the foundation for this careful change.

Mr. Speaker, I launched A Foundation for Change a year ago and I’m very pleased with the update I’m able to provide you with today. The Health and Social Services system has remained very committed to this plan and with very few exceptions we are either on track or ahead of schedule.

The plan is divided into three main goals: wellness - that communities, families and individuals make healthy choices and are protected from disease; accessibility - that people get the care they need and know where and how to find it; and sustainability - that resources are used effectively and innovatively to ensure the health care system will be sustained for future generations.

We have provided quarterly reports on our work to date on the Health and Social Services website and at www.foundationforchange.ca. I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight a few of our successes.

Under the goal of wellness, we have been successful in making a number of small but important changes in improving services for children in care. Adoption workers have received updated standards and training so they can better help NWT families through this life-changing process. The Foster Family Coalition of the NWT has worked with us to deliver new training to

families in Fort Liard, the Beaufort-Delta and Yellowknife.

Also under wellness, we continue to provide funding and education around a number of important healthy choices. Within A Foundation for Change, this has included health promotion funding approved for over 30 community-based programs in the last year that promote positive personal choices like healthy eating, physical activity and being tobacco free. In Tulita, A Fun in the Sun program supported early childhood and family development last summer. In Inuvik, youth gathered to talk about the importance of staying tobacco free at a locally organized conference. In Fort Smith, residents joined together to talk about losing weight and getting active. New projects to be funded for the next few months include a young leaders’ program in Nahanni Butte, a floor hockey program in Inuvik and a breastfeeding project that will share stories from across the NWT.

Mr. Speaker, the wellness goal of A Foundation for Change has also included education and vaccination programs against the spread of H1N1, a challenge that NWT health care professionals met as a unified and well-coordinated force.

One of the areas I’m most proud of is the work we’ve done around accessibility. Through funding from the non-profit organization Canada Health Infoway, we have been able to stay on target with our electronic health implementation activities and have rolled out new telehealth systems, digital imaging, picture archiving and communications and Health Net. While we have a long way to go in this area, we are already hearing success stories from across the Northwest Territories. Many of these stories revolve around the theme of reduced travel and wait times and increased accuracy of diagnosis and quality of care.

In terms of sustainability, our greatest success has been in the work that has been done with our board chairs and CEOs working together as a system to meet our challenges. Health and Social Services authorities and senior managers at the department are exploring options to address the challenges as a system and, in doing so, are improving the quality of decision-making and information available in the NWT Health and Social Services.

A Foundation for Change is a three-year plan. We have a lot of hard work still ahead and challenging decisions to make but we are on track. I would like to thank our staff, authorities, the Joint Leadership Committee, the Members of this Assembly, and our many partners in the support of this action plan to date and for their ongoing commitment to this work.

Minister’s Statement 54-16(5): Foundation For Change
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Lee. The honourable Minister responsible for Industry, Tourism and Investment, Mr. Bob McLeod.

Minister’s Statement 55-16(5): Revised Business Incentive Policy
Ministers’ Statements

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, as a major participant in the Northwest Territories economy, the Government of the Northwest Territories has had a longstanding policy commitment to encourage and support the development of a healthy private sector. That commitment is reflected in the Business Incentive Policy, which is the Government of the Northwest Territories preferential procurement policy.

I am pleased to report that the Government of the Northwest Territories has revised the Business Incentive Policy after two years of consultations with Members of the Legislative Assembly, the Northwest Territories business community, aboriginal governments and other interested parties. The revised Business Incentive Policy will come into effect on November 1, 2010, across all Government of the Northwest Territories departments and applicable public agencies.

This is another significant achievement for this government. It is significant because it strengthens the Business Incentive Policy, which will benefit our communities and our Northwest Territories resident businesses.

During consultations to revise the Business Incentive Policy, stakeholders were clear about the concerns that they had with the Business Incentive Policy. We heard communities were concerned that the Business Incentive Policy undermined their authority over government funding they received for operations. We heard there was a need to increase competition on major capital projects. We heard more support was needed for Northwest Territories resident-owned small to medium-sized businesses.

I believe the revised Business Incentive Policy addresses those concerns. Revisions have been made to the scope, tender adjustment, and non-resident eligibility criteria. The format for the policy has also been changed to make it consistent with other current Government of the Northwest Territories policies. These revisions are designed to result in a better Business Incentive Policy, one that ensures benefits for Northwest Territories residents are maximized and one that provides all communities with opportunities and choices while

also ensuring the best value on government procurement.

Government of the Northwest Territories procurement dollars have a positive impact on a competitive Northwest Territories economy. In 2009-2010, 85 percent of government contracts by value, $217 million, have been awarded to Northwest Territories-based companies. With the revised Business Incentive Policy in place, this positive impact will continue and will be enhanced.

Minister’s Statement 55-16(5): Revised Business Incentive Policy
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. The honourable Minister responsible for Education, Culture and Employment, Mr. Lafferty.

Minister’s Statement 56-16(5): Aurora College Hosts Association Of Canadian Community Colleges
Ministers’ Statements

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. On October 17th to 19th in Yellowknife,

Aurora College is hosting the Association of Community Colleges symposium on Serving Aboriginal Learners in Rural and Remote Communities. This event is an opportunity for aboriginal leaders, college educators, government officials and industry representatives to discuss strategy and best practice in aboriginal education at the college level.

Hosting a national conference with a focus on aboriginal learners is an honour for Aurora College. This unique conference attracts participants from smaller institutions with an aboriginal student population whose challenges and goals are similar to ours. Aurora College serves a population of over 650 full-time students at three regional campuses, with numerous other students taking courses through one of the 25 community learning centres. Most Aurora College students are aboriginal -- Dene, Metis, and Inuvialuit -- and many are from small and remote communities. Our jurisdiction has much to share with our colleagues from across the country.

Mr. Speaker, Aurora College is ideally suited to host this event. The college delivers a wide range of programs and courses as close to communities as possible. Staff at regional campuses, community learning centres and the Aurora Research Institute focus on student success, aboriginal perspectives, traditional knowledge and programming, and excellence in teaching and research. Aurora College now has more than 40 years’ experience in serving the aboriginal learners in rural and remote communities.

Many Northerners are speaking, presenting papers, facilitating panel discussions and attending this conference, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to have the opportunity to address the participants at the beginning of the conference. A respected Fort Providence elder, Margaret Thom, is also present.

Margaret Thom is an elder and a member of the Aurora College Board of Governors and she is a moderator for discussion on community-based programming and support services.

Mr. Speaker, other discussion topics at the conference include:

attracting, preparing and retaining aboriginal

low-literacy learners;

funding for community-based programming;

aboriginal support services;

best practices in community-based programming;

embedding traditional knowledge in college;

taking actions for First Nations post-secondary education;

college-industry partnerships; and

best practices in partnerships to support

aboriginal community development.

The conference also includes cultural ceremonies and events, including a feast and drum dance in Dettah, hosted by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation.

Mr. Speaker, the Association of Canadian Community Colleges symposium is an exciting event that provides participants with a chance to share their best programs and practices while learning from the knowledge and experience of others. It is also a wonderful opportunity for participants to see what the Northwest Territories and Aurora College have to offer. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 56-16(5): Aurora College Hosts Association Of Canadian Community Colleges
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Lafferty. Item 3 Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Sahtu, Mr. Yakeleya.

Draft Devolution Agreement-In-Principle
Members’ Statements

Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the K’asho Gotine Dene of Fort Good Hope and the K’asho Gotine Dene of Colville Lake, which are the Dene and Metis of the Sahtu land claim, hold fee-simple title to approximately 13,000 square kilometres of land within the Sahtu Settlement Area with the Northwest Territories. The K’asho Gotine Dene negotiated the Minister’s access and benefits agreements with the proposed development with the K’asho Gotine district of the Sahtu Settlement Area.

Mr. Speaker, the draft proposed AIP suggests that the Government of the Northwest Territories would be assigned law-making authorities regarding the land and resources on Crown lands within the

K’asho Gotine Dene district, but not extending to fee-simple lands. Additionally, the proposed draft AIP has designed a method of how resource royalties will be shared between the federal government, the territorial government and the K’asho Gotine Dene as any other landowners in the Northwest Territories. As the K’asho Gotine Dene of Fort Good Hope and Colville Lake are moving towards a self-government agreement and in the self-government process, our government must assure a share of resource royalties in jurisdictions and preservation of the constitutional rights as defined in Treaty 11, in 1921, and in Section 35.(1) of the Constitutional Act of 1982, are held in the manner and the spirit and intent of these historical agreements that were agreed to in the past.

No more broken promises, Mr. Speaker. It is in the opinion of the K’asho Gotine Dene that the bilateral agreement negotiated between the GNWT and Canada without the participation of the K’asho Gotine Dene will seriously impact progress of the current self-government process. Mr. Speaker, I will have questions for the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs at the appropriate time.

Draft Devolution Agreement-In-Principle
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Yakeleya. The honourable Member for Nunakput, Mr. Jacobson.

Economic Opportunities For Small Communities
Members’ Statements

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Small communities all over this country are benefiting from a wide range of economic development opportunities due to advances in technology. For example, entering data for the Department of Health and Social Services, graphic design with ECE, and GIS work with ENR can be all done in the small, remote communities by Northerners.

Recently I received a response from the Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, the Honourable Bob McLeod, committing to reviewing all of these opportunities in small, remote communities. Mr. Speaker, I challenge the Minister and the government to develop real options and concrete plans so we can deliver all of these opportunities to the people, to our residents before the end of this Assembly.

With the establishment of these services all across the North, infrastructure capacity will follow, providing more opportunities to government who will get... We have to get serious as a government, Mr. Speaker, and invest in our small communities. Why should private industry...

As I expressed last spring, Nunakput communities go through every year people having to leave the community to places like Inuvik and Yellowknife to get... The primary reason it occurs is lack of real jobs, Mr. Speaker. The opportunities for the North

for our home communities are going to be a serious problem in our future. The communities are going to be a place where people most go home for holidays in the summer. Will our communities be empty for our youth? This government needs to get active to assist the communities and get serious programs and real jobs created so our residents don’t have to leave our communities.

The unemployment situation in communities is a serious issue that this government almost failed on. The lack of opportunities, the lack of hope for our youth in Nunakput communities is an area the government has failed to work on. This government needs to place more attention and resources in small, remote communities. Community-based economic development programs, these resources should be an area such as assistance for community-based business development.

All over the country, companies are improving. The geographic limitations are no longer obstacles, thanks to increasing technologies. People work from home in other provinces. For example, with current technologies, small communities all over the Northwest Territories, such as Sachs Harbour, like I said last year, could be a call centre, Mr. Speaker. This government should...

Economic Opportunities For Small Communities
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Mr. Jacobson, your time for your Member’s statement has expired.

Economic Opportunities For Small Communities
Members’ Statements

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

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

---Unanimous consent granted

Economic Opportunities For Small Communities
Members’ Statements

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Mr. Speaker, for example, with current technologies, communities all over the Northwest Territories, such as Sachs Harbour, could be a call centre. This government should take advantage of these technologies to assist in development of our community-based businesses. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.