This is page numbers 6245 - 6300 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 agreed.

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Committee Motion 39-16(5): Defer Consideration Of Health And Social Services Department Summary, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

Committee Motion 39-16(5): Defer Consideration Of Health And Social Services Department Summary, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair David Krutko

Thank you. With that, Mr. Lafferty, witnesses, Sergeant-at-Arms, could you escort the witnesses out?

As agreed, the next department we’re dealing with is the Legislative Assembly.

Committee Motion 39-16(5): Defer Consideration Of Health And Social Services Department Summary, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

Committee Motion 39-16(5): Defer Consideration Of Health And Social Services Department Summary, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair David Krutko

Bill as a whole? Mr. Speaker, would you like to make some opening comments regarding the Legislative Assembly?

Committee Motion 39-16(5): Defer Consideration Of Health And Social Services Department Summary, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Paul Delorey Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am pleased to present the 2011-2012 main estimates for the Legislative Assembly.

The upcoming fiscal year is perhaps the most unique in the four-year cycle of the Legislative Assembly. It will be marked by the last five months of the 16

th

Assembly and the first six months of the

17

th

Assembly.

This year the Assembly is requesting operational funding to the tune of $18.9 million. This constitutes an increase of just over 9.7 percent compared to last year’s budget of $17.22 million. This year’s increases are the result of several important initiatives.

By far the most substantial reason for the increase is the requirement to fund a general election in the fall of this year. The cost of conducting a general election in the Northwest Territories is approximately $1 million. I am pleased to advise Members that the positions of both Chief Electoral

Officer and Deputy Chief Electoral Officer have been filled and that preparations for the vote are well underway. Returning officers have been appointed in all ridings and pre-election training has been scheduled. All we need now is the approval of the federal Cabinet to dissolve the 16

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Legislative

Assembly on September 4, 2011, to allow for an October 3

rd

election.

Costs related to the transition from the 16

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to the

17

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Legislative Assembly are also included in next

year’s budget.

Although Members have yet to debate the recommendations of the 16

th

Legislative

Assembly’s Independent Commission to Review Members’ Compensation and Benefits, the Assembly has budgeted additional funds to ensure that Members who represent ridings with multiple small communities are able to hold at least three constituency meetings in each community annually. This additional funding reflects the unique costs that Members representing small communities must incur, most notably translation and interpretation services.

The 2011-2012 draft main estimates include an increase to the budget for the office of the Commissioner of Official Languages in the amount of $100,000. The Languages Commissioner has outlined a set of exciting initiatives she wishes to undertake in future years. This funding will assist her in fulfilling her critical mandate.

This year’s budget also reflects the completion of the terms of reference for the Standing Committee on Social Programs’ review of the Child and Family Services Act. Other sunsets include funding for the work of the Independent Commission to Review Members’ Compensation and Benefits, and interest payments on the capital lease of the Legislative Assembly building. Members will recall that in approximately two years the capital lease for this building will be paid in full.

Last year witnessed the successful implementation of a number of important initiatives at the Legislative Assembly. Outreach efforts were continued with a highly successful Mace tour to the communities of Fort Simpson, Nahanni Butte and Trout Lake. The first Elders’ Parliament was hosted by the Assembly and was, by all accounts, a resounding success. As stated, the terms of reference for a major review of the Child and Family Services Act were fulfilled by the Social Programs committee. Finally, the Assembly successfully installed a biomass heating system last fall. This initiative is, as we speak, handling more than 50 percent of our peak heating needs and, in so doing, saving money on fuel costs and reducing the Assembly’s environmental footprint.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide opening comments and I welcome any questions Members may have.

Committee Motion 39-16(5): Defer Consideration Of Health And Social Services Department Summary, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair David Krutko

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’d like to know if you will be bringing in witnesses.

Committee Motion 39-16(5): Defer Consideration Of Health And Social Services Department Summary, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Paul Delorey Hay River North

Yes, I will.

Committee Motion 39-16(5): Defer Consideration Of Health And Social Services Department Summary, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair David Krutko

Does committee agree he can bring in his witnesses?

Committee Motion 39-16(5): Defer Consideration Of Health And Social Services Department Summary, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

Committee Motion 39-16(5): Defer Consideration Of Health And Social Services Department Summary, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair David Krutko

Sergeant-at-Arms, could you escort the witnesses in?

For the record, Mr. Speaker, could you introduce your witnesses?

Committee Motion 39-16(5): Defer Consideration Of Health And Social Services Department Summary, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Paul Delorey Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have on my left Mr. Olin Lovely, director of corporate services, and to my right is Tim Mercer, Clerk of the Assembly.

Committee Motion 39-16(5): Defer Consideration Of Health And Social Services Department Summary, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair David Krutko

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Welcome witnesses. General comments for the Legislative Assembly. Mr. Hawkins.

Committee Motion 39-16(5): Defer Consideration Of Health And Social Services Department Summary, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The Speaker mentioned on page 3 of his opening comments that there was an additional amount granted to the Commissioner of Official Languages, $100,000. I’m just curious if the Speaker could outline what type of work or new initiatives the Commissioner will be taking on. Thank you.

Committee Motion 39-16(5): Defer Consideration Of Health And Social Services Department Summary, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair David Krutko

Mr. Speaker.

Committee Motion 39-16(5): Defer Consideration Of Health And Social Services Department Summary, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

March 1st, 2011

Paul Delorey Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The Official Languages Commissioner had requested a budget for around $300,000 for a number of initiatives that she wanted to get going. We looked at some of the initiatives that she had. Some of them were maybe outside of her mandate. We intend to meet with her shortly after the budget is approved to go over some of the projects that she has lined up. Basically, there has not been a lot of complaints activity in that office and some of the initiatives that we’re encouraging her to do and that she wants to take on are more informing the public of what the role is and, hopefully, to get a lot more business going. We’re going to be going over some of the initiatives that she wants to pursue and make sure that they’re fitting within her mandate.