This is page numbers 15 - 30 of the Hansard for the 17th Assembly, 1st 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 premier.

Topics

The House met at 10:10 a.m.

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Good morning everybody. Item 2, Ministers’ statements. The honourable Premier, Mr. Bob McLeod.

Minister’s Statement 1-17(1): Building Our Future
Ministers’ Statements

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, I rise today, on behalf of all members of Cabinet, to once again congratulate and thank all Members of this House. We are grateful for and humbled by your support, and we pledge to work hard, in cooperation with all Members, in the service of all the people and communities of the Northwest Territories.

Each of us elected to this Assembly recognizes that our territory is one of immense potential and that realizing even a share of that potential can mean a vibrant and prosperous future for our people.

Beyond the immediate challenges of housing, infrastructure, the economy and health care, we must identify a path of action by which we can realize our great future.

Our territory is too large, too diverse for one region or people to determine the right path for our territory’s future.

But our territory is also too small to be fragmented by issues that divide us. If we are to move forward, we will need to do it together, building on the good work done by the 16th Assembly.

We know, from experience, that our challenges will be significant, but our collective will to make things better for our people is strong. This Assembly must be the forum in which we find and reach consensus for the good of our territory.

I am encouraged by the goodwill shown by Members and Aboriginal leaders to find better ways of working together. I have spoken with many regional Aboriginal leaders in the past few days to assure them that we are serious about improving our relationships. This will be an important priority of our government.

As the Prime Minister has already indicated, Canada also realized our great potential. This was echoed during my call with the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, yesterday. The federal government looks forward to continuing to work with us toward our shared objectives for a strong, healthy NWT.

All of our relationships with other governments are important, but our progress will be directly linked to how well we work together in this House.

Mr. Speaker, we have much to do. My first priority is to get our government up and running. Ministerial portfolios will be assigned by the middle of next week.

We look forward to working with all Members to set the strategic priorities for the 17th Legislative

Assembly and to working with you over the next four years. I am confident that together we will build the consensus it will take to move our territory forward. Thank you.

Minister’s Statement 1-17(1): Building Our Future
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. The honourable Premier, Mr. Bob McLeod.

Minister’s Statement 2-17(1): Minister Absent From The House
Ministers’ Statements

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, I wish to advise Members that the Honourable Tom Beaulieu will be absent from the House today to attend a funeral in Fort Resolution. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 2-17(1): Minister Absent From The House
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Premier. Colleagues, I’d like to welcome Mr. Sam Gargan, former Speaker, former MLA for Deh Cho. Welcome to the House.

---Applause

Item 3, Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Weledeh, Mr. Bromley.

GNWT Support For The NWT Arts Community
Members’ Statements

October 28th, 2011

Bob Bromley Weledeh

: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I would like to profile an incredible bunch of people and their achievements with limited resources. I will

outline some appropriate GNWT responses to this inspiring example.

Some months ago Weledeh constituent and philanthropist Les Rocher made the old Pentecostal Church on 49th Street available to the Yellowknife

arts community until the building was to be demolished. With little other support than the exceptional volunteer energy of its membership and access to recycled materials and a wellspring of talent, this amazing group of artists organized concerts, workshops, literature readings, exhibits and musical performances and more, something for almost every weekend for the past six months.

Culminating with a Hell Yeah Halloween Happening and Demolition Ball this weekend, the artist-run community centre has built a glowing reputation for its arts productions and community response.

During the election period the ARCC sponsored an all-candidates forum, which I and other Yellowknife MLAs were privileged to attend. We fielded many questions seemingly all from talented Weledeh constituents. The messages were clear. First, the NWT arts community is vibrant, ready and willing to act with a modicum of support and it is imminently worthy of diverse forms of investment.

Second, GNWT has a significant role to play in researching and facilitating how and in what form an NWT arts centre could come to be.

Third, we need to adopt policies for consistently including the arts in all public facilities.

Fourth, Aurora College should partner with an institution like the Emily Carr University of Art and Design for equivalent northern programs and our talented students.

Mr. Speaker, an arts centre can come about in many ways, but it can also run into difficulties when not based on sound experience and the right model. GNWT needs to work with the NWT arts community to examine models from other jurisdictions and to make recommendations for such a centre for the NWT.

As in other jurisdictions, GNWT should also dedicate at least 1 percent of its office building space to the arts in every community. As a specific recommendation, I would like to see us include an arts demonstration, exhibit and sales space on the ground floor of the GNWT office building being planned for construction where the ARCC now stands.

Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted.

GNWT Support For The NWT Arts Community
Members’ Statements

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Just to pick up again on that last specific recommendation, I would like to see us include an arts demonstration, exhibit and sales space on the ground floor of the GNWT office

building being planned for construction where the ARCC now stands.

Finally, let’s direct Aurora College to establish an arts program, perhaps in conjunction with the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, during the life of our term. Such activities have a proven record for strengthening our communities' identity and our economy.

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to seeing this done. Mahsi.

GNWT Support For The NWT Arts Community
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Bromley. The honourable Member for Deh Cho, Mr. Nadli.

Opportunities And Challenges In Deh Cho Communities
Members’ Statements

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want Members and the public to know the basic state of affairs in Deh Cho communities as we start our term in office.

Poor housing is a major problem. There are tremendous needs and they vary from community to community. Almost 42 percent of households in Fort Providence and on the Hay River Reserve are having serious problems with their homes. This is much worse than the Northwest Territories average. Many of these houses are under the control of our government, particularly in Fort Providence, so we should be able to do something about it.

It is worth noting that in Kakisa and Enterprise, where most residents own their own homes, housing problems are close to the territorial average of 32 percent. Even that is a higher number. We have to tackle our housing problems across the Northwest Territories.

The population is rising in most Deh Cho communities, particularly in Enterprise. The population has grown 44 percent since 2001. Only in Fort Providence has there been a slight decline.

So let’s move on to education and jobs. On the Hay River Reserve only 39 percent of residents have completed high school and the number isn’t much better in Fort Providence. Compare that to the Northwest Territories average of almost 70 percent.

In my riding, only Enterprise is close, and the employment rate there is above the Northwest Territories average.

We must educate all our young people, and provide upgrading and training for people who do not complete high school. Where education is failing, many people are without jobs. Only 36 percent of people aged 15 or older are working in Fort Providence. It is 41 percent in Kakisa and 44 percent on the reserve, still not very good. Compare that to 71 percent in the town of Hay River.

We have got to create more jobs in our smaller communities. All the issues I’ve mentioned, among others, are root causes of crime. In my riding, statistics are only available for Fort Providence. The crime rate in my community is double the Northwest Territories, which is itself seven times the national average. We can’t solve these problems overnight, but we have lots of capable people and lots of opportunities. The potential in the forestry industry is largely untapped. We could build log homes and manufacture wood pellets.

Tourism is another sector we should focus on in the entire Deh Cho region, which includes Nahanni National Park. Tourists spend about $1.7 million a year. There are only nine licensed tourism operators. By comparison, there are 16 in the Sahtu.

I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted.

Opportunities And Challenges In Deh Cho Communities
Members’ Statements

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

In my riding we have Great Slave Lake. We have great rivers and spectacular waterfalls. We will have the new Deh Cho Bridge. Highway traffic is expected to increase over the next five years. We have people with strong skills in traditional crafts and art who can both produce goods and teach. I look forward to making progress in all these areas.

Opportunities And Challenges In Deh Cho Communities
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Nadli. The Member for Nahendeh, Mr. Menicoche.

Delivery Of Health Care Services To Nahendeh Constituents
Members’ Statements

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Today I just want to speak a bit about health care in my riding. It was an issue that was brought to my attention as I campaigned. People in my riding are losing confidence in the delivery of health care. I would like to urge our government to help work with me to restore the confidence of the people in the health care system.

There were several instances over the past six months that people really questioned what happened. Great credit goes out to the staff on the front lines, but still people really want to believe that their needs are being taken care of. In the December sitting I will further detail those needs, but I just wanted to let the government know, the new Minister of Health, whoever that may be, that will be one of my primary objectives as I move along here representing my people of Nahendeh.

Delivery Of Health Care Services To Nahendeh Constituents
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Menicoche. The Member for Mackenzie Delta, Mr. Blake.