This is page numbers 4555 - 4576 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 health.

Topics

The House met at 1:38 p.m.

Prayer
Prayer

Reverend Peter Chynoweth

Great Spirit God, we pray that as the Members begin the work of this day and the work of this session, that your Spirit will guide them in the way they speak with each other, in the way they go about the tasks and responsibilities that have been placed before them and that you will continually remind them of why they are here and who they serve in the responsibilities with which they have been entrusted.

May all of us keep in mind respect for the people of this land, and respect for the land itself, that peace, justice, dignity, hope and freedom may guide the conversations and decisions that occur.

Keep us in your loving care and keep before us the challenge to serve with integrity and humility. Amen.

Prayer
Prayer

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Mr. Clerk, would you ascertain if the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, the Honourable Anthony W.J. Whitford, is prepared to enter the Chamber to open the Fifth Session of the 16th Legislative Assembly.

Opening Address
Opening Address

Tony Whitford Commissioner Of The Northwest Territories

Monsieur le president, messieurs et mesdames les deputes, mesdames et messieurs, et amis.

Mr. Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly, as you all know, I enjoy visiting the people in our communities. I will use every opportunity to visit your constituencies and to accept as many invitations as possible that may be extended by the honourable Members of this House.

Recently I was invited to Inuvik to help present Long Service Awards to staff and teachers at the Beaufort-Delta Education Council. It was an honour to help recognize and show appreciation for the dedicated service of 29 staff members who work so hard on behalf of their students and communities across the Beaufort-Delta.

While I was in the Delta, I drove the ice road to Tuk and paid a visit to Mangilaluk School where I was welcomed into two classrooms to read a story to the children, a story that I had written, by the way.

The Grade 9 students in another class were eager for me to watch their impromptu display of drum dancing, which was led by their teacher. This was an unexpected pleasure.

I also had time to drive to Aklavik where I took part in a very special luncheon with the elders and staff at the Joe Greenland Centre.

I felt very privileged to help two residents celebrate their birthdays: Isaac Kunnizzi turned 87 on February 21st and Mary Kendi will turn 95 on March

4th .

The warmth and hospitality shown to me by Principal Reardon, his staff and the students at Mangilaluk School, by the staff and residents at the Joe Greenland Centre and by the Beaufort-Delta Education Council reminds me again of how much I enjoy visiting our communities and meeting the people.

Later this week I will travel to Grande Prairie to attend the start of the Arctic Winter Games. I will be very proud to join others in representing the Northwest Territories and cheering on our athletes.

Then I will be in Vancouver to participate in the annual conference of Lieutenant Governors and Commissioners with the Her Excellency, the Governor General.

Members, as you know, my current term as Commissioner is scheduled to end before this House meets again in the spring. This could very well be the last time I will appear in this Chamber as your Commissioner. I want to tell you and all of the people of the Northwest Territories, what a great honour and a great pleasure it has been to serve in this capacity. I will leave it to others to assess my performance as this great Territory’s 15th Commissioner. I take the greatest satisfaction

in reporting to you, however, and that I have met my goals in visiting each of our 33 wonderful communities as Commissioner. Some I have visited many times. While there are still many things I would like to accomplish as Commissioner, I am singularly proud of having fulfilled that goal. Our communities are the heartbeat of this land that we

call home. It is where the real impact of the real decisions that you make here are felt there. We must never lose sight of them as we do our work.

I want to wish each of you, every one of you the wisdom, the foresight and the modesty you need to fulfill your important duties during this upcoming session and the remainder of your term in office. You are the custodians of this made-in-the-North system of consensus government. I know you will do everything in your power to leave it as strong as you found it.

Now, as Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, I declare open the Fifth Session of the 16th Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. Merci beaucoup, mahsi cho.

---Applause

Before I leave, as I like to say, mahsi cho.

---Laughter

Speaker’s Opening Remarks
Speaker’s Opening Comments

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Good afternoon, colleagues. I would like to extend my thanks, on behalf of all Members, to the Honourable Anthony W.J. Whitford, Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, for opening this Fifth Session of the 16th Legislative Assembly, and to Mr. Shad Turner

and Reverend Peter Chynoweth, of the Yellowknife United Church, for assisting us today. The appreciation of the House is also extended to our guests and visitors who have joined us in the gallery.

We are continuing the year with much work to do and very busy schedules. I wish to commend all Members for their long hours and hard work in everything we have accomplished to date. I know that there is much work yet to be done and I am confident that all Members are up to the challenges that lie ahead.

On behalf of all Members, I want to congratulate all of the Canadian athletes for everything they have accomplished at the recently concluded Olympic Games in Vancouver, B.C.

---Applause

They have made us all proud to be Canadian.

As we begin this Fifth Session of the 16th Legislative Assembly, I wish to remind all Members of your rules governing question period and encourage you to keep your questions short and to the point, and the same goes for the answers. Thank you, colleagues.

Orders of the day. Item 2, Ministers’ statements. The honourable Premier, Mr. Roland.

Minister’s Statement 1-16(5): NWT At The Vancouver 2010 Games
Ministers’ Statements

Floyd Roland Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Canadians and NWT residents will catch our breath this week before renewing our nationwide Olympic celebration with the opening of the Paralympic Games on March 12th .

These games are not just Vancouver’s games, but Canada’s games. They are, and have been, a celebration of the Olympic ideals and a showcase of Canada’s diversity and cultural richness in front of a global audience.

As a proud contributing partner to these games, I would like to take the opportunity today to reflect on the NWT’s presence and participation at these games and, in doing so, to recognize in our success the many individuals who have come together to tell our story to the world.

Mr. Speaker, our government had a vision to use the unique Olympic opportunity to teach visitors to the games about Canada’s North and our great Territory. We wanted all Canadians and the world to know that the Northwest Territories is a vast and dynamic region with immense economic potential, diverse cultures, world-class art and fine crafts, unique tourism opportunities, and that the NWT is also a great place to live.

We wanted to encourage healthy choices among our people and provide the opportunity for our youth to learn and grow from being a part of this once-in-a-lifetime event.

It has been said that the Vancouver 2010 Games are Canada’s time to shine. The Northwest Territories, Mr. Speaker, has shone brighter than most.

We sent dozens of representative NWT residents to the games as traditional games athletes, as performing artists, as visual artists, and as youth ambassadors. These NWT delegates not only represented our Territory to the world, they also broadened their own horizons.

Our Youth Ambassadors were provided an invaluable opportunity for leadership development. Our visual and performing artists and our traditional games athletes performed in front of larger audiences than most have ever seen before. All were truly great ambassadors for the NWT.

NWT Day was a culmination of our participation and investment in the 2010 Winter Games. That night the Victory Celebration at B.C. Place featured a showcase of the best of NWT culture, artistry, talent, and performance, all woven together in a performance that blended both the traditional and contemporary talents of our Territory.

The Right to Dream program, with its focus on healthy choices and lifestyles here within the NWT, was also an important part of our celebration and participation in the 2010 Winter Games. Events across the NWT have been taking place, from a hockey tournament in Fort Smith to the mini-Olympics held at the Deh Gah School in Fort Providence.

And it isn’t over yet. The NWT will also be present at the Paralympic Games that are set to start later this month. Our Youth Ambassadors and our traditional games athletes will be there to continue to promote the Northwest Territories. Canada’s Northern House will remain open into April.

I encourage all of us who have witnessed Canada’s and the NWT’s success at these Olympic and Paralympic Games, to use that energy and spirit to continue to grow personally and to make a difference in their communities and Territory.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games gave us an unparalleled chance to demonstrate to the world why the NWT is a great place to live, invest in, and work. I believe we have capitalized on this opportunity and want to thank all those who have made this such a success.

Minister’s Statement 1-16(5): NWT At The Vancouver 2010 Games
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

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

Minister’s Statement 2-16(5): Status Of Work On Official Languages
Ministers’ Statements

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. The Department of Education, Culture and Employment, as the government lead on the work to revitalize, enhance, and support the Northwest Territories official languages, continues to actively engage with language communities in the preparation of the Official Languages Strategy to be tabled this fall.

We are in the midst of planning a major Aboriginal Languages Symposium March 30th to April 1st in

Yellowknife to bring together government, aboriginal language communities and other stakeholders to discuss the overarching principles of an Aboriginal Languages Strategy, how aboriginal language should be promoted, and how aboriginal language communities can be supported to increase the day-to-day use of our official languages.

To assist us in planning the symposium we have assembled a volunteer working group made up of the members from the language communities. This group is directing our work by offering advice and guidance on program content and logistical details. I would like to thank the working group for their invaluable assistance in planning the symposium, including: William Firth, Andy Norwegian, Berna Landry, Lucy Lafferty, Mary Rose Sundberg, Jane

Modeste, Cathy Cockney, Emily Kudlak, Annie Boucher, Vance Sanderson and Sabet Biscaye.

We would also like to thank the chair of the Standing Committee on Government Operations, Mr. Kevin Menicoche, for agreeing to co-chair the Aboriginal Languages Symposium. It is clear that the work on official languages is as vital to standing committee members as it is to this government. We would like the Official Languages Strategy to be the work reflective of the commitment and passion of this entire Assembly, so Mr. Menicoche’s participation is both important and welcomed.

The information we learn from the Aboriginal Languages Symposium will form the foundation of work with each individual language community over the coming months. It is our plan to offer as much assistance as the committee requires on the formation of their draft plans and actions. This work will take some time. Languages do not improve overnight but require consistent and committed effort on everyone’s part: the language community, the GNWT and the federal government.

The theme of the Aboriginal Languages Symposium decided by the working group is: Languages - A Shared Responsibility. This is entirely consistent with our government’s language regime approach and we are very encouraged by the way our chosen approach has been enthusiastically embraced by our partners.

In terms of our work on the French language, Mr. Speaker, we are currently in the process of gaining clarification of our funding responsibilities prior to moving forward towards a strategy and an implementation plan. We are seeking this through the courts as clarification of the past decisions. We are hopeful to have this clarification in the near future and to continue our work with the French language community in a cooperative and committed way.

Mr. Speaker, many Members sitting here today speak their language well and others are still learning. I challenge those Members who are not fluent in their language to learn a few words and phrases every day and use them as much as possible. If everyone, not just Members of this House, commits to doing this, we look forward to hearing more and more of our people and their language on a day-to-day basis. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 2-16(5): Status Of Work On Official Languages
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Lafferty. The honourable Minister responsible for Human Resources, Mr. Bob McLeod.

Minister’s Statement 3-16(5): Diversity In The Government Of The Northwest Territories
Ministers’ Statements

Yellowknife South

Bob McLeod Minister of Human Resources

Mr. Speaker, today I’d like to provide Members with an update on initiatives

that have been launched under 20/20: A Brilliant North that focus on diversity in the public service of the Government of the Northwest Territories.

The government is committed to increasing the representation of people with disabilities in the public service and creating an inclusive workplace open to all Northerners. Human Resources staff met with the director of the NWT Council of Persons with Disabilities in January to share our work plan on employability and to seek advice on our proposed direction and planned activities.

The Government of the Northwest Territories Advisory Committee on Employability is currently being established and will be up and running later this month. The committee will include the participation of non-government organizations that focus on disabilities. The committee will advise on methods to promote, support and increase representation of persons with disabilities, while fostering a spirit of inclusion and awareness among Government of the Northwest Territories’ employees.

As we move this important work forward, the Department of Human Resources will continue to work collaboratively with the NWT Council of Persons with Disabilities and other non-government organizations.

In October 2009, focus group sessions with employees and participants from non-government organizations were held in Yellowknife, Hay River and Inuvik. These sessions helped identify potential barriers to increasing representation of persons with disabilities to assist in the development of a plan that will be used to attract and retain disabled employees.

Information encouraging resident disabled candidates to identify any accommodations they may require during the hiring process will be added to the government’s employment opportunities web page in the next couple of days. Reducing or eliminating barriers in the hiring process is one of many ways to create diversity.

Mr. Speaker, sensitivity training sessions for Government of the Northwest Territories’ staff is being piloted next month. If the program is a success, we will aim to provide future sessions for Government of the Northwest Territories’ employees across the Northwest Territories.

Sensitivity training gives participants a greater understanding of the workforce that is represented by persons with disabilities and an understanding of bias, beliefs and assumptions about persons with disabilities and their employability.

Finally, another exciting initiative is the development of an overall Government of the Northwest Territories Recruitment Strategy that, in keeping with our commitment to diversity, will include the recruitment of persons with disabilities.

As with other diversity initiatives, working with non-government organizations is key in the development of this strategy.

Mr. Speaker, 2010 is an exciting year as we reinvest in the public service and we look forward to continuing to work with our partners in achieving diversity in the Government of the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 3-16(5): Diversity In The Government Of The Northwest Territories
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. Item 4, Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Tu Nedhe, Mr. Beaulieu.

Passing Of Billy Enzoe
Members’ Statements

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe

Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker. [English translation not provided.]

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to talk about a respected elder who passed away on February 26, 2010. Billy Enzoe is a good friend to all the residents of Lutselk’e. Billy was born on January 10, 1930, and lived off the land. He hunted and trapped throughout his years, but his greatest passion was fishing. Billy was well known for his fishing skills and it was not uncommon for Billy to put all his children in his boat and go to his fish camp.

Billy lost both his parents at a very young age. This contributed greatly to the Billy Enzoe many people in Lutselk’e knew, loved and respected. He loved his family very much and did what he could to instil strong values, education, family and spirituality within them. However, the most important value he believed in was respecting the land, living off the land and using the land.

As a young man, Billy travelled all over working in many fishing camps throughout the East Arm. Billy was predeceased by his wife Elizabeth Liza Enzoe, his parents, Leon Enzoe and Coraline Wedzin, his brothers and sisters, Liza Casaway, Helen Marlowe, Marie Casaway, Elizabeth and Joseph. He is survived by his children Terri, Pete, Rosie, Dora, Jerry, Annette, Patrick, Gabe, Gloria, Delphine and Jessica, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Mr. Speaker, the last time I spoke with Billy was at Maurice Lockhart’s 99th birthday party. I sat down

with him and Billy told me he wasn’t well. He said he had no fear of dying. He said he raised his children to the best of his abilities and prepared them for life ahead. He said he had comfort in knowing that all his children were ready to make their lives without him. He said he always spoke to his children about the importance of family.

Mr. Speaker, Billy will be sorely missed by his family and by all the residents of Lutselk’e, but his

family should take comfort in knowing that he looked forward to joining his wife, Eliza. Mahsi cho.

Passing Of Billy Enzoe
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Beaulieu. The honourable Member for Kam Lake, Mr. Ramsay.

Psychiatric Assessment Capacity At North Slave Correctional Centre
Members’ Statements

David Ramsay Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I would like to discuss an issue I have raised previously in this House, and that’s how the Department of Justice, specifically corrections, is short-changing the rehabilitation and services provided to inmates at North Slave Correctional Centre.

Mr. Speaker, two years ago there were two clinical psychologists employed at North Slave Correctional Centre. Today, to my knowledge, there is none. Mr. Speaker, the fact is, we are failing to get assessments done and work with inmates to ensure proper rehabilitation is done so inmates can transition back into society.

I’m deeply concerned that recently a convicted sex offender waited 11 months for a psychiatric assessment. How is this even possible, Mr. Speaker? Corrections, the Department of Justice and the Minister should be embarrassed for themselves. When the individual’s lawyer is quoted in an article in last week’s newspaper saying it will take some time, especially because it seems there is no system in place, and not only are lawyers picking up on the lack of proper and timely psychiatric assessments, the Crown is also very concerned about the situation causing an individual to be, as they call it, “institutionalized” because they can’t get access to the required assessments.

Mr. Speaker, this is completely unacceptable. I am very aware of what happened in the removal of one of the former psychologists at North Slave Correctional Centre and I want to know why we have not made any progress in bringing in a clinical psychologist to that centre. How many more inmates sit in remand and are awaiting psychiatric assessments? Mr. Speaker, to me, this appears to be a gaping hole in the services that our largest corrections facility, North Slave Correctional Centre, has to offer inmates.

After the way we treated the former psychologist at the centre, maybe it’s little wonder why the Department of Justice hasn’t got a full-time psychologist at the North Slave Correctional Centre and no -- I repeat, no, Mr. Speaker -- day-to-day services of a clinical psychologist at the facility, which, Mr. Speaker, I think is completely absurd. Thank you.

Psychiatric Assessment Capacity At North Slave Correctional Centre
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

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