This is page numbers 4627 - 4656 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 1:37 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 Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs, Mr. Robert McLeod.

Minister’s Statement 11-16(5): Arctic Winter Games – Team NWT Congratulations
Ministers’ Statements

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to extend best wishes to the 350 athletes, coaches and managers of Team NWT as well as the officials that will participate in the 2010 Arctic Winter Games taking place in Grande Prairie, Alberta, this March.

Young people from across the Northwest Territories have been preparing themselves physically and mentally for this biannual multisport games event. They have been spending many extra hours on the ice, in the gym, and on the trails readying themselves to compete against young athletes from around the circumpolar world and to display their talents to the many thousands of spectators.

While only some will come home with medals, all will return with new friendships and an experience that will last a lifetime. I wish to commend our young athletes who have set a goal to challenge themselves by being the very best that they can be at the games.

Mr. Speaker, as these athletes and cultural performers complete final preparations, I feel it is important that we acknowledge the monumental contributions that volunteers and parents make to support our youth.

Without the coaches, managers, referees, scorekeepers and the thousands of others who give freely of their time, there would be no Team NWT. These volunteers are the backbone of Team NWT and are deserving of a heartfelt thank you.

I would also like to thank community governments, who support their youth in so many ways by hosting selection and training events, and our sport and recreation partners who contribute tirelessly to the success of this event. These partners provide guidance and support, and organize the many selection events across the NWT that results in the final selection of Team NWT.

Mr. Speaker, as Team NWT completes final preparations before the opening ceremonies on March 6th , I wish to encourage our young athletes

to continue to work hard to achieve their dreams. Congratulations to all and good luck. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 11-16(5): Arctic Winter Games – Team NWT Congratulations
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. The honourable Minister responsible for the Status of Women, Ms. Lee.

Minister’s Statement 12-16(5): Wise Women Awards 2010
Ministers’ Statements

Range Lake

Sandy Lee Minister Responsible for the Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that the Status of Women Council has named the recipients of the 2010 Wise Women Awards.

This is a prestigious award. The Status of Women Council of the NWT has been honouring northern women since 1992 for their wisdom, strength and accomplishments and particularly in working to make our communities better and stronger for all.

Mr. Speaker, these women are all known for their ability to stand with dignity no matter what hardships life has handed them.

They are known for fighting for the disadvantaged and downtrodden. They are known for thinking of others and offering a helping hand. They don’t take no for an answer, as many of my colleagues here can attest to. And, most importantly, they know how to laugh.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to announce the recipients of the Wise Women Awards of the NWT for 2010:

Sister Faye Tremblay for the Beaufort-Delta region. Sister Tremblay arrived in Tuktoyaktuk in October 2005 and took the community by storm with her wisdom, energy and commitment to people of all ages and abilities.

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Gina Dolphus of Deline from the Sahtu region. Gina is known as a counsellor, community advocate, and her work to enhance the place of traditional arts and crafts. She is often sought out for her input and wisdom.

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Lyda Fuller of Yellowknife for the North Slave region. Lyda has expanded the understanding of the cost of family violence to our society, expanded shelter services and developed transition housing for families starting over.

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Elaine Lamalice of the Hay River Reserve for the Deh Cho region. Elaine offers counselling and teachings on healthy living and encouraging young people to move away from making bad choices.

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Rosa Lafferty of Fort Resolution for the South Slave region. Rosa is admired for her kindness, that she lives by example and encourages young women to keep their tradition and culture and for her world-renowned sewing. She shows young women that you can do it all.

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Mr. Speaker, the ceremony presentation will be taking place at noon in the Great Hall on Monday, March 8, 2010. I would ask the Members of this House to join us in congratulating the recipients of the 2010 Wise Women Awards at this celebration on Monday. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 12-16(5): Wise Women Awards 2010
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

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

Support For Non-Government Organizations In The Sahtu Region
Members’ Statements

Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Over the last couple of decades many programs that were once provided by the NWT have been turned over to non-government organizations to deliver, known as NGOs. NGOs would also offer additional programs. These programs are vital as they improve the quality of life for people in the North. Many are programs that provide social services. For example, in the NWT our family assistance and counselling, emergency and transitional housing for homeless families, shelters for women and children, services for adults with disabilities and mental health issues and quite a few other programs.

Mr. Speaker, about $20 million is provided to NGOs. A recent government list indicates there are

472 NGOs in the Northwest Territories. Yellowknife alone has 291 NGOs, Mr. Speaker. Yellowknife has as many NGOs as Colville Lake has people. To put it in perspective, that means every YK NGO can advocate for every member of Colville Lake and then some. Not only do these NGOs deliver programs, they have goals and objectives to help people in need and to advocate for people.

Saying this indicates that there are no NGOs in the Sahtu, Mr. Speaker. None. Zero. Nothing. Why doesn’t the Sahtu have its own NGOs? It’s because our people aren’t used to the concept of NGOs or that NGOs aren’t treated the same as government programs. More specifically, our communities are too small that there aren’t enough people set up as registered societies let alone prepare proposals, maintain financial records and complete all the other related tasks.

NGOs choose to locate in larger centres where there’s enough people to sit on the boards, do administrative work and to deliver the programs, plus create a service that helps all people in the Northwest Territories.

The Sahtu may get some services through the NWT-based NGOs, but it’s always that my constituents are losing out on a lot of social support and assistance, because no money enters into the Sahtu through the local NGOs. I believe it’s unfair, Mr. Speaker, and that the Sahtu residents should receive a share of funding that goes to these programs and services. We don’t have an NGO to help with the homeless or to support families in crisis or in shelters. This has to change and the change must happen now, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

Support For Non-Government Organizations In The Sahtu Region
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

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

International Women’s Day
Members’ Statements

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This Monday coming, March 8th , is International

Women’s Day. The Canadian theme for 2010 International Women’s Day is Strong Women, Strong Canada, Strong World; an apt phrase, I think. This Territory, this country, this world has been shaped by strong women and I would like to highlight a few.

First off, as we are hard on the heels of the 2010 Winter Olympics I have to mention the very strong women athletes of Team Canada who garnered so many medals for us in our record-setting total.

Canada has had, and still has, many strong, political women. I want to mention a few:

Agnes McPhail was a pioneer on the federal political scene. The first elected woman to the House of Commons. That was in 1921, only two years after women gained the right to vote federally. She was not joined by another

woman in the House of Commons until Martha Black in 1935.

Ellen Fairclough was the first woman appointed to sit in a federal Cabinet in 1957.

Jeanne Sauve was elected as the first female Speaker of the House of Commons in 1980 and then appointed as the first female Governor General in 1984.

Hazel “Hurricane” McCallion, the current long-serving female mayor of Mississauga, Ontario, first elected to her post in 1978.

The NWT has many strong women of our own:

Lena Pedersen, first woman elected to the

NWT Legislature in 1970.

Nellie Cournoyea, the first woman Premier of the NWT in 1991.

Ethel Blondin-Andrew, NWT’s long-serving first female Member of Parliament.

There are many, many more strong women in our Territory who are little known and who don’t ask to be known. They are the backbone of our families and our communities. They are our grandmothers and our mothers. They are the volunteers at our schools and community events. They are the caregivers for our residents and our children, the organizers of fundraisers to help a needy family, the leaders of our councils and our boards, and the elders that we look to for advice and wisdom. We don’t acknowledge them because they go about doing normal things and they don’t ask for recognition, but without their contributions our society would be sadly lacking in strength and character.

On Monday, as you’ve heard, the NWT Status of Women Council will honour five strong women at the 2010 Wise Women Awards. I wish to extend my congratulations to Frame Lake resident Lyda Fuller, this year’s recipient of the North Slave award.

International Women’s Day
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Ms. Bisaro. The honourable Member for Nunakput, Mr. Jacobson.

Mackenzie Gas Project
Members’ Statements

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I want to talk about the Mackenzie Gas Project and to be on the record again to say that I support it. The Mackenzie Gas Project has been called the economic lifeline for many of our communities in the NWT.

This project is important for the people of my riding of Nunakput. It will bring jobs, business opportunities, ownership of the pipeline. Just as important, exploration will start up and the gas will have to make its way down to market. The good thing about that is the offshore holds amazing

potential. We just needed the industry to come back and get started exploring in our region.

Exploration is important. It provides jobs and gives our businesses opportunities that are scarce now. My people have been a part of the oil and gas exploration business for generations.

Right now the people need hope. My people are facing high levels of unemployment and suffering from poverty. My people hope the future gets them out of this cycle. The future includes their children getting training and taking advantage of employment opportunities from the Mackenzie Gas Project. It’s a key part of making this hope move into reality.

Another thing I wanted to mention is the natural gas is a clean fuel. The Mackenzie Gas Pipeline will bring a clean, natural gas to the South, which will allow people to burn natural gas in their homes instead of dirty fuels like coal. That keeps electricity plants going.

We see the impacts of climate change here in the North every day. One of the solutions is getting southern Canada and the United States off their dependence on coal and getting them turned on to natural gas.

I fear that these are critical times. I urge the federal government and the proponents to come to a solution when it comes to the pipeline. A pipeline is a good thing for Canada. We have heard many times in the House of the pipeline that will bring Ontario and Alberta economic benefits. The federal government should see this pipeline as Canada’s pipeline and not just ours.

I’m worried that the pipeline is taking as long as it is to get to where we are today. I urge all parties to work together and to get things moving. My people are relying on them. Quyanainni.

Mackenzie Gas Project
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Jacobson. The honourable Member for Yellowknife Centre, Mr. Hawkins.

Service Level Standards
Members’ Statements

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As Members we are often busy lobbying for more programs and services and certainly more facilities for our constituents and ridings. As we all have become well aware that our job, number one, is to make sure that our constituents’ issues are brought forward, and our roles as MLAs make this very important as we try to demonstrate the needs in our ridings.

Every community, I believe, needs to be treated fairly. Therefore, I want to use my Member’s statement today to talk about the importance of community and regional standards. By that I mean standards that provide direction regarding decisions

that make certain facility levels and service levels provided in any community and certainly regions. For instance, the NWT school capital standards and criteria offers direction that when a new school needs to be built in a community, it provides standards that help people understand and certainly follow the transparency of what that means. If there’s a school that needs to be built, whether the school is unsafe or a community is larger than 100 people, that tells everyone there needs to be a school. We also know that the challenge of providing renovations to a school is usually balanced by the cost of repairs versus the new school, and certainly the future demands of that school as perhaps a learning facility needs to definitely be taken into consideration. There are many considerations, as I’m trying to stress, but the fact is we need a formula that helps improve the way our services are provided to our communities.

Mr. Speaker, I could go on about could we provide every service to every community or region, but we all know that’s certainly impossible. But we always have to ask ourselves is it cheaper to offer them in a regional centre or is it more reasonable to offer them in a regional centre than it is to always pull them into Yellowknife, and vice versa. Sometimes it’s just more reasonable to bring them here.

So, Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of standards we need to weigh and balance: the human standard, what it does to the family, and certainly the cost standard, what it does to our books. Mr. Speaker, I’m calling for a provision that the government will demonstrate fairness and clarity of services to the people of the Northwest Territories and have a policy that makes sure that these factors are always clearly considered. I’d like the government to demonstrate this in a transparent and measurable way so all standards are understood so every region understands that maybe the next community centre, next pool, next arena or health centre, when it comes around, it could be their turn and certainly when they deserve it. It won’t take the politics out of the system, Mr. Speaker, but it will certainly maybe even help the fight that many Members here fight for when they demand services to be provided in the communities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Service Level Standards
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

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