This is page numbers 6849 - 6882 of the Hansard for the 16th Assembly, 6th 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 safety.

Topics

Question 171-16(6): Programs To Address Distracted Driving
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. The honourable Member for Mackenzie Delta, Mr. Krutko.

Question 172-16(6): Impacts Of Federal “tough On Crime” Agenda
Oral Questions

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Justice. It’s in regard to the federal government’s tough on crime legislation and the possibility of minimum sentences.

I think, as a territory we should learn from other jurisdictions, regardless if it’s the United States who took the same approach and who ended up building more jails and having more people incarcerated, and for simple, petty crimes, that they end up in jail because it’s a minimum sentence.

As we know, the Northwest Territories probably has some of the highest crime rates in Canada in regard to Aboriginal people incarcerated into our jail system, which is almost 90 percent of the people in our system.

Mr. Speaker, my question to the Minister: have we looked at the implication of this legislation on the Department of Justice to be able to implement a tough on crime agenda, especially when you’re dealing with minimum sentences?

Question 172-16(6): Impacts Of Federal “tough On Crime” Agenda
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Krutko. The honourable Minister responsible for Justice, Mr. Lafferty.

Question 172-16(6): Impacts Of Federal “tough On Crime” Agenda
Oral Questions

Monfwi

Jackson Lafferty Minister of Justice

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. This federal legislation, tough on crime, has been in the works for quite some time now. First it was the Youth Criminal Justice Act and then this tough on crime. One of our main goals and objectives as we come to the table at the federal/provincial/territorial Ministers meeting is to push for more programming into the regions and into the communities. More specifically, for the three territorial jurisdictions, because we’re quite unique compared to other provincial jurisdictions, and they’re fully aware of that too. We’ve been pushing with the federal, especially with the federal Minister, and we will continue to do that. The last correspondence that we sent out to federal Ministers and also provincial Ministers is to have more programming delivered as opposed to strictly tough on crime, more jails and so forth. We want to focus on programming into the Northwest Territories, along with our colleagues Nunavut and Yukon.

That’s the position that we’ve been pushing and we will continue to do that, Mr. Speaker. Mahsi.

Question 172-16(6): Impacts Of Federal “tough On Crime” Agenda
Oral Questions

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Mr. Speaker, that’s the concern that I have, is that presently we already are having a financial shortage in regard to the Department of Justice, where money is being taken away for programs and services that should be there for the inmates to pay for extra guards so that we incarcerate these people and keep them housed in the institutions. So we’re already taking the money away from programs and services to pay those additional costs. The fear that I have is that by having more inmates in our system, as a government do we have the capacity, resources or infrastructure-wise to take on more inmates with this legislation coming in?

Question 172-16(6): Impacts Of Federal “tough On Crime” Agenda
Oral Questions

Monfwi

Jackson Lafferty Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, those are the areas that have been assessed through the 13 jurisdictions that we have to deal with. We talked about the resources and the manpower that’s required when the legislation comes into force. At the same time, again, the federal government needs to recognize our uniqueness, the high cost of living in the Northwest Territories, the Yukon and Nunavut as well, that this particular program that

we’re continuing to push with the federal government, it’s one of the priorities of the Northwest Territories Justice department to identify those key areas. We will continue to do that, Mr. Speaker.

The Member is referring to possibly additional inmates and if we’re ready for them. We could be ready for them. We have to be ready for them. But at the same time it’s the resources that are required are coming from the federal government. So, Mr. Speaker, we are in a partnership in that with the federal/provincial/territorial Ministers meeting and we will continue to push that at the federal table. Mahsi.

Question 172-16(6): Impacts Of Federal “tough On Crime” Agenda
Oral Questions

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Mr. Speaker, as we all know, most individuals that are sentenced for two years and less spend their time in the Northwest Territories. Anything over two years, they are basically sent to a federal institution. I’d like to ask the Minister: have you been made aware of what the minimum sentence year is going to be and will there be implications on inmates that we have now, which may be having to do more than a two-year sentence and having to leave the Northwest Territories or is the minimum sentence, it could be two-and-a-half years. What effect will that have on our system?

Question 172-16(6): Impacts Of Federal “tough On Crime” Agenda
Oral Questions

Monfwi

Jackson Lafferty Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, the tough on crime has been in the works, again, for some time now, and we are doing an overall assessment of the Northwest Territories, the corrections, the program delivery, and we can provide that information to the Members for their review as well.

This is an area of interest for us. Whatever happens at the federal/provincial/territorial jurisdictions, it does have implications in our jurisdiction, as well, when it comes to tough on crime and more program delivery for those inmates and the minimum jail time, whether they serve it in the Northwest Territories or outside the Northwest Territories, there are additional costs to that. That’s an area that we’ve been pushing with the federal government: our uniqueness, how we operate in the Northwest Territories. We’ll continue to push that. There has been some reassessment of our Department of Justice and we can provide that information.

Question 172-16(6): Impacts Of Federal “tough On Crime” Agenda
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Lafferty. Your final, short supplementary, Mr. Krutko.

Question 172-16(6): Impacts Of Federal “tough On Crime” Agenda
Oral Questions

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Again, I think, my question is: do we have the financial means and the capacity to take on this type of legislation that will be imposed on us by the federal government? Do we have the financial means to implement this type of legislation in the Northwest Territories? Thank you.

Question 172-16(6): Impacts Of Federal “tough On Crime” Agenda
Oral Questions

Monfwi

Jackson Lafferty Minister of Justice

If we don’t have those resources, then definitely we need to go through our business planning cycle to identify the core needs of those inmates. If there are increasing inmates in the Northwest Territories, we have to identify those. Again, federal is also a key partner, so we will continue to push them. But within our own jurisdiction in the Northwest Territories, there is a plan in place. If the legislation comes into full force, what are the implications and we need to prepare for that. Mahsi.

Question 172-16(6): Impacts Of Federal “tough On Crime” Agenda
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Lafferty. The honourable Member for Great Slave, Mr. Abernethy.

Question 173-16(6): GNWT Workplace Health And Safety Performance
Oral Questions

August 22nd, 2011

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions today are for the Minister responsible for Human Resources and are in follow up on some questions my colleague Mr. Bromley was asking earlier.

Mr. Speaker, I’m having some difficulty reconciling the responses I heard with what I see in the response in the way of what we’ve paid in penalties. Mr. Speaker, in 2008, the first year of the Safe Advantage program, the GNWT paid $387,000 in claims. In 2008-2009 it was $440,000 in claims and we had a penalty of $11,000. In 2009-10 we paid $429,000 in claims but we didn’t have a penalty. This year, or rather 2010-11, we paid $778,000 in claims with a penalty of $243,000. Now we hear from the Minister today that because of these things and because of the Safe Advantage program, we are, in fact, developing health and safety committees to help address some of these issues. I’m wondering if the Minister could provide some clarity as to how, as we’re developing this thing, our incident rates are going up instead of down. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 173-16(6): GNWT Workplace Health And Safety Performance
Oral Questions

The Speaker Paul Delorey

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

Question 173-16(6): GNWT Workplace Health And Safety Performance
Oral Questions

Yellowknife South

Bob McLeod Minister of Human Resources

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Our incident rates have been increasing for sure, but a large part of those costs are due to the fact that we’ve been paying compensation instead of focusing on medical rehabilitation and pension for injured workers. As a government, we’ve been working with other departments to develop occupational health and safety programs that will be government-wide, that all government departments will be represented on. We’ve been working very closely with the WSCC to have a blueprint or something so that we can continue to improve on our record. Through worksite assessments and so on, we’ve been able to prevent further penalties from being incurred. On a

go-forward basis we expect to see our claims and incidents reduced, and we’re starting to see an improvement already. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.