This is page numbers 4333 - 4364 of the Hansard for the 16th Assembly, 4th 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 community.

Topics

The House met at 1:36 p.m.

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Prayer
Prayer

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Good afternoon, colleagues. Welcome back to the Chamber. Orders of the day. Item 2, Ministers’ statements. The honourable Premier, Mr. Roland.

Minister’s Statement 75-16(4): NWT Day At The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games
Ministers’ Statements

Inuvik Boot Lake

Floyd Roland Premier

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, tomorrow is NWT Day at the Vancouver Olympics and the beginning of Northern Weekend. It will also mark the culmination of our participation and investment as a government in these Winter Games.

Our goal was to build an awareness of our NWT identity, to encourage healthy choices among our people and to promote and advance the development of a diversified economy. We wanted Canada and the world to know that the Northwest Territories is a dynamic Territory with immense economic potential, diverse cultures, world-class art and fine crafts, unique tourism opportunities and a great place to live.

Tomorrow evening a group of representative NWT performers will showcase our Territory at the nightly Olympic Victory Celebration. They will represent and celebrate who we are to a sold out audience at B.C. Place, as they have all week to representatives of the more than 10,000 journalists in Vancouver and the three billion television viewers around the world.

Mr. Speaker, the Olympic Games have given us an unparalleled chance to demonstrate to the world the reasons why the NWT is a great place to live, invest in and work, and our government has capitalized on this opportunity.

Members are aware of our successful partnerships in the creation of Canada’s Northern House, our official pavilion at the games. Its displays, activities and daily performances by NWT artists have become a smash hit.

In fact, I’m very pleased to note, Mr. Speaker, that Northern House has had more than 70,000 visitors to date, including more than 50,000 in the last week alone.

Our government has also worked hard to include a human component to our efforts. We have sent dozens of NWT residents to the games: as traditional games athletes, as performing artists, as visual artists, and as youth ambassadors. They are not only showing the North to the world, they are also broadening their own horizons and performing in front of larger audiences than they have ever seen before.

Mr. Speaker, I believe the NWT’s efforts at these games has been a gold media winning performance. Through the extraordinary hard work and commitment of individuals and participants either employed or sponsored by our departments of Education, Culture and Employment, Municipal and Community Affairs, Industry, Tourism and Investment and the Executive, we have taken full advantage of this rare opportunity and have realized a phenomenal return on our investment.

We have successfully created a presence that is informing and highlighting to visitors from all over the world the riches and opportunities of our Territory. NWT artists and traditional athletes have been drawing crowds throughout the games, and, Mr. Speaker, our Territory is receiving rave reviews from the public and the media alike. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 75-16(4): NWT Day At The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Roland. The honourable Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, Mr. Lafferty.

Minister’ Statement 76-16(4): Best Wishes To Olympic Performers
Ministers’ Statements

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, tomorrow is a very special day for our Territory as we celebrate Northwest Territories Day at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Throughout the day there will be events and activities at venues like Canada’s Northern House to promote the people and culture of our Territory. In the evening our northern performers will take centre stages at B.C. Place in the heart of downtown Vancouver. This will be the main event of the Northwest Territories Day Victory

Celebration. During this event, the Northwest Territories Performing Collective will reveal, through traditional and contemporary music, stories and dance, why our Territory is such a great place to live, visit, play and work.

I can’t say enough good things about the performers and the show. Each member of the group has an incredible amount of talent and skill. Although they come from different cultural backgrounds they’ve all done a fantastic job of blending their influences and creating a distinctly northern performance. They’ve worked for months in rehearsals, making sure everything is perfect for when they take the stage at B.C. Place.

The show is powerful and full of energy. With the theme, The Drum – The Heartbeat of the North, reflects the many aspects of life in the Northwest Territories, from the importance of our cultural heritage to how we keep ourselves entertained during the long, harsh winters. I’m sure anybody who saw the preview of the Northwest Territories Day performance at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre on February 7th shares my excitement about

tomorrow night’s show.

I want to thank the members of the Northwest Territories Performing Collective, the Inuvialuit Drummers and Dancers, youth ambassadors and the Dene and Inuit Games athletes for the great job they’ve done promoting our Territory in Vancouver. I also want to thank our partners at the departments of Municipal and Community Affairs and Industry, Tourism and Investment and everybody else behind the scenes who have invested so much time and energy in preparing for the Olympics. I want to specifically thank staff at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre for their support of the NWT Performing Collective.

I invite my fellow Members and all residents of the Northwest Territories to join me in sending best wishes to our performers as they make final preparations for tomorrow’s show. On Northwest Territories Day, the world will be watching. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’ Statement 76-16(4): Best Wishes To Olympic Performers
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Lafferty. The honourable Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs, Mr. McLeod.

Minister’s Statement 77-16(4): Vancouver 2010 Olympic And Paralympic Winter Games
Ministers’ Statements

Inuvik Twin Lakes

Robert C. McLeod Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to provide Members with an update on Northwest Territories participation in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Over the past several months, youth ambassadors and traditional games participants have spent many hours preparing to represent the NWT at the games. These individuals have shown great

determination in improving their knowledge on northern people, places and culture and activities, so that they may share this knowledge and understanding with the rest of the world.

Mr. Speaker, our youth ambassadors are fabulous representatives of the NWT. They will be placed in many different roles and in a wide range of activities. In each and every area, they will demonstrate that youth from across the North have great strengths and character, attributes required of our future leaders.

Our traditional games participants will spend countless hours demonstrating, showcasing and teaching Dene and Inuit Games to the many spectators, visitors and perhaps even some lucky Olympic athletes. All of our participants will be spreading the word that the North truly is a wonderful place to live, work and invest.

Mr. Speaker, the NWT’s participation in the 2010 Winter Games will also feature the NWT artists and performers. I would like to congratulate my colleagues, the Ministers of Industry, Tourism and Investment and Education, Culture and Employment for their support of the games and our northern talent.

Our team of young leaders are heading to Vancouver to showcase the NWT to the world. The unprecedented television coverage of the games means that many of these individuals will receive international exposure. Their effort over the last number of months has been outstanding and has certainly helped prepare them. I am confident they will be the best young northern ambassadors the world has ever seen.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask that all Members join me in congratulating our youth ambassadors and traditional games participants and wishing them good luck. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 77-16(4): Vancouver 2010 Olympic And Paralympic Winter Games
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. The honourable Minister of Health and Social Services, Ms. Lee.

Minister’s Statement 78-16(4): Territorial Dementia Facility
Ministers’ Statements

Range Lake

Sandy Lee Minister of Health and Social Services

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to announce that Aven Cottages – Territorial Dementia Facility will celebrate its official opening on this Friday, February 19, 2010.

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In our A Foundation for Change document, we talk about providing the right services, through the right providers in the right places. This capital project is an example of our government working closely with corporate and community partners and delivering a program that meets the acute dementia care needs of the residents of the Northwest Territories. It is

also about building a Health and Social Services system based on best practices.

Operated by Yellowknife Association of Concerned Citizens for Seniors, YACCS, the new facility will serve NWT residents as a centre for excellence for dementia care, with a total of 28 beds of which four are for respite care. A day program for five to seven residents will also be part of the program.

Mr. Speaker, the Territorial Admissions Committee is in charge of receiving and assessing the applications from all across the NWT for admission to this facility. The committee has already approved 12 residents.

The programming at this facility will be based on a “carewest supportive pathway delivery model.” This is an industry best practice which means that the residents will receive personal, home-like care in specially designed environments and also provide meaningful lifestyle activities for residents.

Mr. Speaker, this project started with a feasibility study in 2003 and the Department of Health and Social Services has invested $15 million for construction of the facility and will continue to invest in ongoing O and M funding. YACCS is expecting to admit residents to the facility in March of this year, with 38 fully trained people to provide service.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge corporate partners and contractors for this project: YACCS, Diavik Diamond Mines, the City of Yellowknife, NWT Seniors’ Society, Nahanni Construction, Diamond Glass, JSL Mechanical Ltd. and Ryfan Electric Ltd.

There are many individuals and small businesses who have contributed to make this project possible and they will be recognized at the opening celebration. I would like to extend our thanks to everyone who have volunteered their time and donated money towards this project.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to add that this project has had enormous support from this Legislature. I would like to express my special appreciation to former Ministers of Health and Social Services, Honourable J. Michael Miltenberger and Honourable Floyd K. Roland and the many Regular Members of this House over the years for making this facility possible. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 78-16(4): Territorial Dementia Facility
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Lee. Item 3, Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Yellowknife South, Mrs. Groenewegen.

Speaker’s Ruling On The Premature Release Of Confidential Committee Information
Members’ Statements

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, during my reply to the opening address last Friday, I stated that I would accept any ruling you made on the point of privilege made by Mr. Miltenberger. I do accept your ruling, Mr. Speaker, and had hoped to have a chance to address the matter immediately yesterday. Mr. Speaker, the issue of the Deh Cho Bridge is a serious and highly sensitive one, particularly for those of us who have watched the project evolve from the beginning.

During the in-camera briefing offered by Minister McLeod last week, I strongly urged him to issue a press release prior to the commencement of the House on Friday to enable all Members to debate this issue and let the public in on this very important matter. The Minister did issue a press release Friday morning and I thank him for that. As is now obvious, there were specific details included in the in-camera briefing that were not included in the Minister’s press release.

I did not and sometimes don’t always understand why certain pieces of information are more sensitive than others, but certainly I was not aware that some parts of the in-camera briefing were, in fact, intentionally left out of the press release.

Mr. Speaker, it is always a challenge in our system of government to manage and keep track of the information that is public, what is not public and even after my 15 years as a Member of this Assembly, I still miss things, and for that I do apologize.

This being said, Mr. Speaker, in expressing my concerns about the recent developments in the Deh Cho Bridge Project, I made reference to a specific number that was provided to the committee in camera, but not included in the Minister’s press release.

Mr. Speaker, I apologize to my colleagues for this oversight and to the Minister of Transportation. I have great respect for the privileges of this House and the important role that confidentiality plays in the work that we do. I hope my colleagues will accept the fact that this was not an error made in bad faith or with the intention to limit the ability of committees to do their work.

Mr. Speaker, I will continue to do my best, to be diligent in the future as I continue to monitor the progress and the management of the Deh Cho Bridge Project and work with my colleagues on this side of the House to hold this government to account on this project, to share with the public

what we can but to respect the committee structure and the privileges of this House. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker’s Ruling On The Premature Release Of Confidential Committee Information
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mrs. Groenewegen. The honourable Member for Frame Lake, Ms. Bisaro.

Yellowknife Association Of Concerned Citizens For Seniors
Members’ Statements

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I want to pay tribute to the Yellowknife Association of Concerned Citizens for Seniors, or YACCS. YACCS was formed in 1983 by a group of Yellowknife citizens concerned about issues facing YK seniors and it’s governed by a volunteer board.

From its inception, YACCS has worked continuously to achieve its mission and that mission is building a supportive community for the health of seniors. YACCS first accomplishment was to plan for and build a long-term care facility. Aven Manor, which opened in 1987, is a 29-bed facility for NWT seniors who require nursing and/or personal care. Then in 1993, the first of YACCS two seniors independent housing projects was completed. Aven Court consists of six buildings, each containing four one-bedroom units which allow seniors to live independently. The second independent housing project was completed in 2007 and consists of four duplexes.

In between those two housing projects, YACCS, along with the community of Yellowknife, planned and built the Baker Community Centre. This facility opened in 1997, provides for the social and recreational pursuits of seniors and the community. It’s important to note that the building of this facility was made possible through a generous donation by Mr. Ed Baker. This centre is operated by the Yellowknife Seniors’ Society in partnership with YACCS. All of these facilities together form a complex located together on one piece of property close to downtown Yellowknife.

Last, but definitely not least, Mr. Speaker, is the soon-to-be opened Territorial Dementia Centre, Aven Cottages. This impressive, modern facility, which I had the good fortune to tour yesterday, has been a long eight years in the making. Formal planning began in 2002 and the official opening will be tomorrow, February 19, 2010. Without the visioning of YACCS and their recognition of the need for a dementia centre, Aven Cottages would not have been built. It was the persistence of this group of volunteers and their dedication to Yellowknife seniors that ensured this project came to fruition. Partnerships are crucial to all of YACCS operations and thanks must go to the GNWT Department of Health and Social Services, Yellowknife Health and Social Services, the NWT

Housing Corporation, Diavik Diamond Mines and the Yellowknife community for their ongoing support to YACCS operations.

So, Mr. Speaker, I offer my congratulations to the Yellowknife Association of Concerned Citizens for Seniors on their latest accomplishment and encourage everyone to get out and celebrate with them at the official opening tomorrow. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yellowknife Association Of Concerned Citizens For Seniors
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

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