This is page numbers 5159 - 5190 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

Prayer
Prayer

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Good afternoon, colleagues. Welcome back to the Chamber.

Colleagues, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize and commend one of our own at the Legislative Assembly.

Security supervisor Ray Jahner was honoured recently by the Yellowknife Association for Community Living for his commitment and support for persons with disabilities in the workplace.

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Mr. Jahner’s helpful and friendly attitude was noted and much appreciated by the members of the Skills Training and Community Inclusion Program, whose work brings them regularly to the Assembly.

Mr Jahner is taking a two-month leave of absence effective tomorrow, to help care for his grandson. We hope you enjoy that time, Ray, and look forward to your return in December.

On behalf of all Members, please accept our congratulations.

---Applause

Orders of the day. Item 2, Ministers’ statements. The honourable Minister of Justice, Mr. Lafferty.

Minister’s Statement 57-16(5): Not Us Campaign
Ministers’ Statements

Monfwi

Jackson Lafferty Minister of Justice

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. I would like to provide an update to the Legislative Assembly on Not Us, the Government of the Northwest Territories anti-drug campaign.

Addictions and the crimes they lead to have serious life consequences. This government has a focus on prevention by promoting healthy choices and lifestyles, and the role of personal and family responsibility. The Not Us campaign is unique. It’s community-based, so it’s different everywhere. We don’t tell people how it’s going to be. They tell us how it’s going to be. There’s no right or wrong way to fight addictions in your community. It’s all about

local control and innovation. Residents know what they need.

Mr. Speaker, on September 29th the town of Inuvik

kicked off its Not Us campaign with a community feast in partnership with the schools. Their program focuses on youth and family. They’re having family nights and traditional activities. It’s a community approach through partnerships with local groups and concerned citizens. Nobody can do it all, but together we can make a difference. It evolves through work with the communities, respects local priorities, and promotes local role models.

Inuvik is the newest Not Us community. Over the summer we held a Not Us event at the regional justice conference in Fort McPherson. People from all eight Beaufort-Delta communities were there. We talked about drugs and what communities could do to support their own people. Sports groups in several communities have proudly worn Not Us gear to promote drug-free, healthy lifestyles. And we’re continuing to support Hay River, our launch community. They have evening activities, drug-free-community signs, and partnerships to keep their program strong.

Mr. Speaker, we’ve also had interest from Colville Lake, Behchoko, Tuktoyaktuk, the francophone school board, Fort Smith, Tulita, Fort Providence, Lutselk’e and Yellowknife. We look forward to working with these communities and others who want to develop their own campaigns to deal with drugs. We’re partnering wherever it makes sense to support a consistent message: Not our Territory.

This campaign is part of the Healthy Choices Framework, and partnerships have always been a key to its success. Not Us can only work when local people decide it’s the right thing for them. We help with the issues that are important locally. In some places, that’s alcohol. In others, residents want to talk seriously about hard drugs like crystal meth, crack and ecstasy. Wherever we go, we work with families, communities and schools to improve the physical and mental well-being of our youth. We encourage people to find common sense solutions that will work in the long term. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 57-16(5): Not Us Campaign
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

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

Minister’s Statement 58-16(5): Minister Absent From The House
Ministers’ Statements

Inuvik Boot Lake

Floyd Roland Premier

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I wish to advise Members that the Honourable Sandy Lee will be absent from the House today and tomorrow to attend to a personal family matter. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 58-16(5): Minister Absent From The House
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Roland. Item 3, Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Weledeh, Mr. Bromley.

NWT Students Access To Post-Secondary Education
Members’ Statements

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My statement today focuses on the priority of ensuring that students graduated from Grade 12 but without the course credits they need to pursue their chosen careers are receiving the assistance they require. Too many times I hear the story of students who have worked hard and graduated with high school diplomas, only to find they are lacking the types of course credits necessary to enter specific post-secondary programs.

While our school counselling services work hard to advise students throughout high school, these stories often contain the statement, “If only I’d known.” Students who achieve Grade 12 lacking necessary course credits -- usually it’s the sciences and maths -- are then stalled by the need to do upgrading to enter some programs. Unfortunately, they sometimes give up.

Statistics show the need to deliver course-qualified students to post-secondary education is crucial. Students with a trade or post-secondary education are six times more likely to be working than students without post-secondary.

I am aware that the Minister is working on this through the aboriginal student and community initiatives, including improved counselling. But, meanwhile, we have a legacy of people with Grade 12 diplomas that are insufficient to enable access to post-secondary programs. We cannot leave these people hanging.

I am told there aren’t enough student financial assistance resources for the stranded graduates who face the costs of upgrading their education. The department must recognize this exceptional demand and government’s responsibility for this situation with an identified and larger support fund and outreach program to assist these students in upgrading and going on to post-secondary education. To this end, Mr. Speaker, I will be asking the Minister questions on these matters later today. Mahsi.

NWT Students Access To Post-Secondary Education
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

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

Convention And Conference Capacity
Members’ Statements

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. From time to time Members on this side of the House don’t feel that we’ve been necessarily heard or listened to by Cabinet. Fortunately, this isn’t always the case. Last year I asked the Minister responsible for ITI some questions and I made a statement on convention support. Today I’m happy to thank the Minister for listening to what I had to say.

During that Member’s statement and those questions, I asked the Minister to provide some awareness or create a greater awareness of convention capacity in the Northwest Territories, but also to provide some financial support.

I’m happy to say that the Minister has come out with, or has facilitated, the creation of a meeting and conference planner for 2011. It’s quite a good document. I’ve gone through it and I’ve read it page by page. I do feel the department has given a bit of a conservative estimate of the conference size capacity that can be facilitated in each community. Hopefully in future editions we’ll expand that a little bit.

I’m also happy to see that we have made specific reference to the capacity in Yellowknife, Inuvik, Hay River, Fort Simpson and Norman Wells, so we’re not focusing just on Yellowknife. I do feel that in future editions we can probably expand that to include some conferences in lodges and some of the other smaller communities in the Northwest Territories.

Over the last couple of years we’ve lost over $20 million in business travel and meetings in the Northwest Territories. There is still significant opportunity to expand on this. In my statement last year, in addition to asking to create some awareness of conference capacity, I asked the Minister to provide some moderate financial rewards to NWT-based associations when they convince their national or international counterparts to come to the NWT for their annual conferences or AGMs. This is still a great opportunity for both local associations and the NWT. With an incentive like this in place, I believe that many local associations would be happy and willing to begin campaigning their national and international bodies to come to the Northwest Territories for their annual meetings and conferences.

Later this afternoon I will be asking the Minister responsible for ITI some questions on this topic and seeking his commitment on this next step, which is to provide some financial incentive.

Once again, I would like to thank the Minister for putting together this conference planner. It’s great that we’re actually being heard from time to time.

Convention And Conference Capacity
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Abernethy. The honourable Member for Nahendeh, Mr. Menicoche.

Family Violence Shelters In The NWT
Members’ Statements

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to make a statement today about family violence shelters in the NWT. The five NWT shelters provide safety and support for women and children fleeing family violence. In some cases the shelters provide outreach programs for women and the children who have witnessed abuse programs in the communities. The five shelters are: Aimayunga Women and Emergency Foster Care Shelter in Tuktoyaktuk, Inuvik Transition House, Alison McAteer House in Yellowknife, Hay River Family Support Centre, and Sutherland House in Fort Smith.

These shelters have been assisted for the past four years with capacity building funding provided by the GNWT Department of Health and Social Services. For a relatively small amount of money -- $100,000 per year -- the directors of family violence shelters in the NWT have been able to meet regularly to look at and develop policies and procedures, share information, best practices, coordinate approaches for high-risk cases and situations. These meetings are scheduled when possible to take advantage of training opportunities or allow shelters outside of Yellowknife to participate in the Coalition Against Family Violence.

This funding has supported a variety of training efforts for staff. For instance, two shelter workers, one from Fort Smith and one from Yellowknife, are well on their way to achieving certificates in the Women’s Shelter Crisis Worker Program through Portage College’s distance education program.

This week, for the first time ever, the directors of family violence shelters from north of 60, from the Yukon, NWT, and Nunavut, are meeting in Yellowknife. This meeting was made possible through a grant from the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

I want to acknowledge the important work that staff of our family violence shelters performs for women and children in the NWT, as well as the board members of each of those organizations. I want to also acknowledge the support of this government, which is aiding shelters to maximize the collected resources and increase the quality of services for women and children in the NWT.

The capacity building funding enables our shelters to try to do more than just apply band-aids to the issue of family violence. Family violence shelters are a critical pillar in the broad range of services

that are required to prevent and address family violence. I certainly support any expansion into smaller communities and, once again, I applaud the efforts of all these organizations throughout the NWT.

Family Violence Shelters In The NWT
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

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

Improvements To Highway No. 6
Members’ Statements

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe

Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker. [Translation] I’m speaking on behalf of Deninu K’ue [Translation ends]

...the highway into Fort Resolution. Since being elected, the community has let me know time and time again that the gravel section of this highway is in need of major repair.

As you may know, Highway No. 6 is the only way in and out of Fort Resolution. There is no air service and there are only two small stores. Many residents travel over 300 kilometres to and from Hay River on a regular basis to buy various items that cannot be purchased in Fort Resolution, and groceries.

[English translation not provided.]

And so, Mr. Speaker, time and time again I have made numerous statements and asked many questions about the highway. Mr. Speaker, it’s been three years since I first raised the issue. I am happy to say that the Department of Transportation has responded. Much has taken place with respect to Highway No. 6 work, including complete reconstruction and resurfacing of 22 kilometres into the community from Little Buffalo River.

Mr. Speaker, this is a huge benefit to the community. Many of the residents have cabins in the community and the community often holds little events at Buffalo River. Also, with the quarry work proposed on kilometre 72, more work will be created for the residents and businesses of Fort Resolution and this helps alleviate some of the pressures created by low employment rates in the community.

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to say that we are finally headed down the right road. With that, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the residents of Fort Resolution, I would like to thank the Department of Transportation for listening to the people of Resolution, by committing to and making improvements to Highway No. 6. However, Mr. Speaker, this is only the beginning. We need to make sure that we continue the work until all of Highway No. 6 is completed to a chipseal state.

Later on today I will have questions for the Minister of Transportation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Improvements To Highway No. 6
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

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