This is page numbers 4577 - 4596 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 need.

Topics

The House met at 1:37 p.m.

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

The Speaker Paul Delorey

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

Minister’s Statement 4-16(5): Crime Prevention And Community Justice
Ministers’ Statements

Monfwi

Jackson Lafferty Minister of Justice

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Today marks the beginning of the NWT Crime Prevention Conference in Yellowknife, with participants from every community in the Territory. The theme of the conference is Together We’re Better: Preventing Crime in the NWT.

Supported by a grant from Public Safety Canada, this conference is bringing together people from across the Territory, giving them an opportunity to learn from each other and work together to make our communities safer places. We all have an important role in this. We need to work together to make it clear that we will not accept criminal and unwanted behaviour.

Our families need to be safe. This takes strong partnerships between the community, the police and other agencies. Our justice committees have been hard at work developing innovative programs that work well for the people who need them. Our Community Justice Program is one of the most successful in the country. It strengthens the role of local people in prevention and enforcement, and it focuses on promoting personal and family responsibility. It works because it’s community-based.

Jail must be the last resort. In the Northwest Territories, we work with our partners to support alternatives to the formal justice system. Justice committees deal with youth and adult cases using a restorative approach. They administer programs that help offenders address the harm they have caused and give back to their communities. They promote abuse-free, crime-free lifestyles and

activities that lead to healthier relationships and healthier communities overall.

Some of our committees are now also providing victim services. They support victims from the time of the offence for as long as they need help. Some committees are working closely with the local RCMP, probation services and youth agencies.

Mr. Speaker, starting today, representatives from all of our committees will sit down together and talk about what they’re doing. We want to help them to spread the word about what works, so other committees can benefit from their experiences. We want to prevent crime in every part of the Northwest Territories.

I’d like to welcome the participants to Yellowknife. I hope Members are able to take up my invitation to join us at the Explorer Hotel in the Katimavik meeting rooms on the first day of the conference.

Minister’s Statement 4-16(5): Crime Prevention And Community Justice
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

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

Minister’s Statement 5-16(5): Sale Of The Rae Lakes General Store Ltd.
Ministers’ Statements

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, today I am pleased to announce the sale of the Rae Lakes General Store Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Northwest Territories Business Development and Investment Corporation, better known as BDIC, to the Tlicho Investment Corporation.

This sale is a win-win situation for all. It is a win for the residents of Gameti as the sale represents significant progress in the evolution of the store by providing employment, economic opportunity and self-sufficiency to the community and its residents. Like other remote communities facing challenges induced by geography, infrastructure and local capacity, the store provides essential products year round. The sale is a win for the Tlicho Investment Corporation as it signifies a strong commitment by the Tlicho Government in investing in its people and communities.

The Tlicho Investment Corporation, an investment arm of the Tlicho Government, has the financial resources, expertise and experience needed in

operating businesses. With the ownership of similar stores, the addition of the Rae Lakes General Store Ltd. creates an economy of scale in purchasing and thus allows the products to be affordable for Gameti residents.

Finally, the sale is a milestone for the BDIC in meeting its objective of encouraging economic development and employment opportunities in local communities. The event marks the first time a BDIC subsidiary has obtained self-sustainability. In addition to its business expertise and financial resources, the Tlicho Investment Corporation is committed to developing the human resource needs of the store and supporting the local economic base.

Over the years the BDIC and its predecessor, the Northwest Territories Development Corporation, have provided financial assistance and guidance to the Rae Lakes General Store, allowing it to grow and succeed. The Tlicho Investment Corporation, store management, and the BDIC saw an opportunity for the community to become self-reliant and they made it happen.

At this time I ask that my colleagues join me in congratulating the Rae Lakes General Store’s board of directors and staff, the Tlicho Investment Corporation and the BDIC on their achievement.

Minister’s Statement 5-16(5): Sale Of The Rae Lakes General Store Ltd.
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

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

Minister’s Statement 6-16(5): National Nutrition Month (March)
Ministers’ Statements

Sandy Lee Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. March is National Nutrition Month. Although healthy eating is important all year, March is the month when healthy eating is emphasized and promoted across Canada.

A healthy eating survey was concluded at the end of February. In March, activities will include the promotion of healthy eating in schools through family nutrition fairs in communities. The department will also have nutrition tips posted daily on our website.

The national theme of Nutrition Month is “Celebrate Food...From Field to Table.” This gives us the opportunity to promote the inclusion of healthy traditional northern foods as a way to maintain good nutrition.

We will also be partnering with other organizations in April to promote healthy eating and homegrown foods.

A Foundation for Change Action Plan has a goal of wellness for our communities, families and individuals. It supports individuals to make the best possible choices for themselves and their families.

Healthy eating is a key component to preventing chronic disease and obesity, which has become a major public health concern. In 2008, Stats Canada reported that 51 percent of Canadians were overweight or obese. Obesity leads to chronic disease and poor health. Diabetes is also a concern in the North and it is linked with poor nutrition and lack of healthy lifestyle.

We want to ensure that all Northerners have every opportunity to be physically fit and to choose healthy foods. Our role is to provide proper, sound evidence so people can make healthy choices like fruits and vegetables, some of which can be grown locally in greenhouses or community gardens. Prevention through good nutrition is the key to overall good health. This is essential for the healthy development of our children.

Making healthy choices also empowers individuals and families to have the personal responsibility for self-care and lessening the burden on our health system.

Minister’s Statement 6-16(5): National Nutrition Month (March)
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Lee. Item 3, Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Mackenzie Delta, Mr. Krutko.

Core Housing Needs In The Mackenzie Delta Constituency
Members’ Statements

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, housing is essential infrastructure in our communities to house our families, our friends and, more importantly, to sustain our communities. But, Mr. Speaker, from the latest report from the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation, statistics on core needs shows that there is definitely a problem with the number of core units that are in core need, especially in my riding where 43 percent of the houses in Aklavik are in core need, 33 percent in Fort McPherson and 41 percent in Tsiigehtchic.

Mr. Speaker, this government provides programs and services to assist residents with housing programs to maintain, insure, upgrade their units, repair their homes to ensure that they are not in core need. Mr. Speaker, what this report shows compared to the last report, which was tabled in 2004, is that, if anything, the core needs have increased rather than decreased.

Mr. Speaker, with the aging infrastructure in our communities, especially in people’s homes, they do have to attract more attention by way of houses in core need. But, Mr. Speaker, programs and services that we have, have to be user friendly. They are not to be bringing barriers where people aren’t able to acquire these programs and make it so restrictive that people aren’t able to be eligible

for a lot of these programs especially in small communities. Mr. Speaker, I think it’s essential that we, as government, revamp our programs to make them more user friendly and also make them available to all residents of the Northwest Territories and especially the homeowners that we depend on to stay in the North.

Mr. Speaker, we talk about people and the purpose of having an influx of migration so that people can live in the North, but we can’t forget the people that call the North their home, and one of the biggest investments they make in our communities is their household. I think, Mr. Speaker, it’s important that this government does everything it can to keep these people in our home communities, keep them in their homes, ensure that they have adequate programs and services. So, Mr. Speaker, at the appropriate time I will be asking the Minister of Housing exactly why is the report showing that we have such a high number of core need. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Core Housing Needs In The Mackenzie Delta Constituency
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Krutko. The honourable Member for Sahtu, Mr. Yakeleya.

Revenues From Sahtu Oil And Gas Developments
Members’ Statements

Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the federal government has owned one-third of the Norman Wells oilfield since 1921. Since 1998, the federal government has collected approximately $1.069 billion in profits from Sahtu oil and $174 million in royalties. Imperial Oil profits are twice as much, Mr. Speaker. The federal government also collects taxes on this revenue.

Mr. Speaker, at the same time, the Sahtu region has the second highest percentage of households in core need. People are leaving their homes or people are not getting homes because they can’t find jobs or the cost of living is too high. I can’t imagine what life would be like in my region if those billions of dollars were not being sucked away; or, as we put it, we got the raw deal.

Mr. Speaker, a 1985 document called the NWT Oil and Gas Royalty Regime was tabled in the Legislative Assembly when the Norman Wells oilfield started to be developed. That documented stated: “if the GNWT may be soon receiving, collecting and even setting royalties...” I’d like to know the definition of “soon,” Mr. Speaker. Twice, Mr. Speaker, 25 years later, Mr. Speaker, we have no royalty regime, no revenue-sharing agreements, while the gas flows to Zama, Alberta. Really, the pipeline flows into the pockets of oil tycoons and coffers in Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker, 25 years later this government is preparing a response to recommendations of a report on another major oil and gas development, a

development that makes the Norman Wells oilfield look tiny in comparison. Yes, we are negotiating impact agreements; yes, we have signed a socioeconomic agreement, but the benefits of the Mackenzie Gas Pipeline will be peanuts in comparison to the profits that are made by southern companies and the federal government.

The Minister has already said that the GNWT will not be negotiating an equity share. We are not making any visual progress on devolution. Mr. Speaker, once again the people of the Sahtu may be watching more profits and more opportunities go by. That’s $1.6 billion collected by the federal government since 1998 that could have been ours had the federal government been more assertive in negotiating a fair deal when the gas started to flow in 1998. If I had $125 million I would be the federal government walking away from the profits made from the oil in the Sahtu in a single year.

Revenues From Sahtu Oil And Gas Developments
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

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

Proposed Changes To Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Members’ Statements

March 2nd, 2010

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to speak plainly and seek a straightforward conversation about the Minister of Health’s program to develop a new Supplementary Health Benefits Program.

We left this issue over 12 months ago, because basic research had not been done to provide a basis for the government’s decision and approach. MLAs and the public asked that initial research be done and then a meaningful consultation be started. We naively anticipated that research would take a few months, information would come out, and then MLAs and the public could have a back-and-forth interaction with the department, posing questions that would be researched and brought back for further input. What happened?

Over a year passed and suddenly the Minister is desperate to release some research and move to an immediate public consultation before any input from MLAs. This after many had begun to assume supp health had maybe fallen off the Order Paper.

When the Minister released the supp health research, with that she included a surprise announcement of two weeks of public meetings in late March and early April centred on Easter weekend when people will be travelling and focused on family activities rather than going to meetings. At best this reflects a sorrowful lack of understanding about public dialogue.

The Minister is launching these consultations when there is still a checklist of elementary research that needs to be done. I will speak to that in my oral questions briefly. My major point on consultation is

that it can only be made meaningful through two-way dialogue. Our best resources for a full and complete review are the smart, experienced members of the public, our seniors and clients with specified medical conditions who are appealing for a meaningful role in this work.

Let’s not repeat yet again the mistakes of the past. Let’s have a meaningful public interaction properly conducted. This would include a presentation and initial response to materials this spring, followed by refined discussions based on new research and insights in the fall, with implementation perhaps April 1, 2011.

After the Deh Cho Bridge, no single issue has excited as much debate as the supplementary health benefits proposals. The Minister should recognize this, act on the valid questions raised, reach out to the resource of public knowledge, and commit to a meaningful period of public engagement.

Proposed Changes To Supplementary Health Benefits Program
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

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