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.

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The House met at 1:36 p.m.

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Colleagues, I would ask that you to remain standing following today’s prayer to observe a minute of silence in recognition of the tragic events in Resolute Bay this weekend and of the death this morning of Jack Layton who, until very recently, served as the leader of the Official Opposition in the House of Commons.

Prayer
Prayer

The Speaker Paul Delorey

---Prayer

---Minute of Silence

Prayer
Prayer

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, colleagues. Please be seated. Orders of the day. Item 2, Ministers’ statements. The honourable Premier, Mr. Roland.

Minister’s Statement 42-16(6): Resolute Bay Tragedy
Ministers’ Statements

Inuvik Boot Lake

Floyd Roland Premier

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On behalf of this 16

Assembly, our government,

and all residents of the Northwest Territories, I offer condolences today to those individuals and families who are mourning the loss of colleagues, friends, relatives, and loved ones as a result of this weekend’s tragic crash of First Air flight 6560 near Resolute Bay.

Despite the vast distances that separate us we, as Northerners, are a tightly knit community and the impact of this tragedy extends well beyond the boundaries of our northern territories to touch us all. Our lives in communities will be forever changed.

Yet in the midst of this horrific event, we also recognize the miracle of those lives that were spared. Acknowledging the contributions and quick response of the military personnel and volunteers who were pressed into action unexpectedly and under very trying circumstances, we thank them today for their call to duty and their service this weekend.

Mr. Speaker, our North can be harsh and unforgiving, but in this unpredictable environment

we are reliant on the northern airline industry and the men and women who use it daily to deliver and provide the essential goods and services on which our communities and our people count on.

Despite the events of this weekend, these individuals will be at work again today, no doubt with heavy hearts and minds.

Today, in particular, our thoughts and prayers are with them, especially those in the First Air family, ever mindful of their loss and with a renewed sense of appreciation and gratitude for their work and commitment that benefits us all.

Minister’s Statement 42-16(6): Resolute Bay Tragedy
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Roland. The honourable Premier, Mr. Roland.

Minister’s Statement 43-16(6): Passing Of Jack Layton
Ministers’ Statements

Inuvik Boot Lake

Floyd Roland Premier

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Even as we try to come to terms with the tragedy that unfolded in our territory over the weekend, we were faced this morning by more sad news: the untimely passing of the Honourable Jack Layton, who until his recent leave of absence led Canada’s New Democratic Party and the Official Opposition in our federal Parliament.

Mr. Layton’s political accomplishments, particularly during the most recent federal election, are known and documented for all Canadians. He will be remembered in large part for changing the political landscape of our country, and for his trademark spirit of optimism and hope.

His political career from the time he was first elected to municipal office to his time on Parliament Hill was built on the cornerstone of strong ethics and hard work. “Smiling Jack” personified those traits that we as Northerners like to profess as our own. He was a people’s leader, a fighter for social justice, seemingly resilient in the face of challenge.

His close ties and friendships in our territory reflected his fondness for our North and its people. He enjoyed our community events, not wearing a suit but in working man’s attire: jeans, no tie, and his shirt rolled up at the sleeves.

In the coming days and months Jack Layton will be heralded for his political accomplishments and hard work. More importantly, he will be remembered

through the years as a great Canadian, missed by his many colleagues, friends, and loved ones.

Minister’s Statement 43-16(6): Passing Of Jack Layton
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. Roland. The honourable Minister responsible for the NWT Housing Corporation, Mr. Robert McLeod.

Minister’s Statement 44-16(6): Shelter Policy Review
Ministers’ Statements

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Government of the Northwest Territories has, through the Shelter Policy review, been examining its overall approach to delivering housing programs, services, and supports to NWT residents. The Department of Executive and the NWT Housing Corporation have worked collaboratively in carrying out this review, which will result in a broad strategic framework designed to refocus the GNWT’s approach to housing delivery. I rise today to update Members and the general public on the progress of this review.

A critical component of the Shelter Policy Review has been extensive engagement with NWT residents. Input from residents on housing challenges and options for improvements forms an essential part of the analysis being conducted under this review. Between May and August of this year, widespread engagement was conducted through:

• workshops with regional and community

representatives;

• meetings with NWT Housing Corporation

clients;

• workshops with local housing organization

chairs and managers;

• input from NWT residents through an on-line

questionnaire and statistical telephone survey; and

• meetings and interviews with Members of the

Legislative Assembly, non-government organizations, other stakeholder groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and the NWT Association of Communities, and other GNWT departments.

Excellent input has been received from NWT residents through this engagement. This included some common themes. For instance, in the case of public housing rent, some of the feedback from this engagement is that residents want a fair, uncomplicated, predictable system of rent that promotes self-reliance rather than creating dependency or discouraging some tenants from working. Addressing the differences between market and non-market communities was another common theme. The feedback from this engagement forms an important part of the Shelter Policy Review process, and the constructive

participation of so many residents has been greatly appreciated.

Other major components of the review include the examination of the Public Housing Program rent scale and the evaluation of the Housing Choices homeownership programs. As the research and analysis phase of these and other components of the review near completion, the next stage will be developing options that will provide the GNWT with recommendations on a consistent approach to addressing need at all stages of the housing continuum, including homelessness, transitional and supportive housing, public housing, market rentals, and homeownership. For instance, the options will address:

• approaches to strengthen public housing;

• recommendations regarding homeownership

programs, particularly smaller communities, including issues with housing quality;

• recommendations to address the lack of

housing options available to non-market communities;

• recommendations to improve housing services

and communication with residents on housing;

• approaches to address homelessness, transition housing, seniors’ housing supports, and housing supports for persons with disabilities;

• infrastructure solutions based on individual and

community needs; and

• approaches to address the declining federal

funding that supports the operation and maintenance of public housing units.

The recommendations being brought forward through the work of the Shelter Policy Review will provide guidance to the 17

Legislative Assembly

as it considers and plans for how housing programs, services that will be delivered to NWT residents.

Mr. Speaker, one of the actions the GNWT identified under its strategic initiative was to reduce the cost of living. We expect that the results of this Shelter Policy Review will build on the significant investment that the 16

Legislative Assembly has

made in housing infrastructure across the NWT and provide a framework that will positively shape housing programs, service, and supports to meet the needs of NWT residents over the long term. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 44-16(6): Shelter Policy Review
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. The honourable Minister responsible for Education, Culture and Employment.

Minister’s Statement 45-16(6): Minister’s Cultural Circle
Ministers’ Statements

Monfwi

Jackson Lafferty Minister of Education, Culture and Employment

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. One of the priorities for this Assembly is to strengthen awareness of our northern identify and uniqueness by promoting our culture. I am very pleased to advise this House that the Department of Education, Culture and Employment held a ceremony today to celebrate the tremendous cultural contributions made by people across this territory.

Some months ago the Minister’s Cultural Circle was launched. We requested nominations for those Northerners who contribute to the preservation and promotion of the Northwest Territories cultures and heritage. Nominations poured in, Mr. Speaker, and the independent panel of judges chose four inductees from across the territory.

Mr. Speaker, the Cultural Circle helps build awareness about the importance of promoting, protecting, and preserving our unique culture and heritage. We received nominations in four categories:

• youth, 25 years of age and under, who

demonstrate a strong commitment to engaging in the arts, cultural learning, and cultural practices;

• individuals who demonstrate a strong

commitment to preserving and promoting culture through participation in various arts, culture, and heritage-related activities;

• elders, 50 years of age and older, respected for

their contributions of practicing, promoting, guiding, teaching, leadership, vision or hands-on participation in the areas of art, culture, heritage, and language; and

• any organization, corporation, institution,

organizing committee or social club that plays a lead role in developing and supporting activities that celebrate, promote or preserve the arts, culture, and heritage.

Additionally, a Minister’s choice inductee is also chosen. The 2011 award recipients embody the commitment, diligence, creativity, and passion we want culture and heritage to inspire in us all. The inductees I was pleased to welcome into the Cultural Circle this morning are:

• Evan Tordiff of Fort Smith, our youth inductee;

• Abel Tingmiak of Inuvik, our elder inductee;

• Ben Nind of Yellowknife, our individual inductee;

and

• The Aklavik Delta Drummers and Dancers, our

group inductees.

• The 2011 Minister’s Choice inductee is the

Chief Jimmy Bruneau School for their project, Trails of our Ancestors.

Of these distinguished people, some are with us today in the gallery.

Mr. Speaker, we received many nominations, all reflecting committed and passionate people. Just as all the nominees built upon the foundation laid by people who came before them, we must continue to build upon their efforts for a strong, culturally rich North.

I hope all Members of this Assembly will join me in honouring the Cultural Circle inductees and thank them for their hard work preserving, promoting, protecting, and celebrating our unique cultures and heritage. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 45-16(6): Minister’s Cultural Circle
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 46-16(6): Tourism Highlights
Ministers’ Statements

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, one of the goals of the 16

Legislative Assembly was to create

a diverse economy that provides all Northwest Territories communities and residents with opportunities and choices. Today I am pleased to highlight how the Northwest Territories tourism industry has helped us to achieve this goal.

Tourism 2010 was the Government of the Northwest Territories tourism investment plan. Under this plan the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment provided $1 million annually towards the tourism industry. We were also successful in leveraging an additional $5.3 million in additional investments from the federal government, industry, and other partners. Building off the success of Tourism 2010, this government approved funding for Tourism 2015: New Directions for a Spectacular Future, a new five-year plan that will guide investment over the next several years.

In response to the market’s growing demand for authentic Aboriginal tourism experiences, I appointed seven members to a newly formed Aboriginal Tourism Champions Advisory Council earlier this summer. The following individuals have been appointed to the nine-seat council:

• Mr. Grant Beck, Yellowknife;

• Mr. Knute Hansen, Fort McPherson;

• Mr. Doug Lamalice, Hay River;

• Ms. Ria Letcher, Fort Simpson;

• Ms. Margaret Nazon, Tsiigehtchic;

• Mr. Moise Rabesca, Behchoko;

• Ms. Judith Wright-Bird, Tulita.

The council will also include a representative from Northwest Territories Tourism, Ms. Jenni Bruce and Ms. Kelly Kaylo of Yellowknife in her capacity as co-chair of the Tourism Marketing Advisory Committee.

The council will promote and champion sustainable development of Aboriginal tourism in a manner that is respectful and appropriate.

Another major success in attracting people to the Northwest Territories and creating world-class tourism products is the Tourism Product and Marketing Diversification Program. Over the last five years 50 businesses received $5.6 million from this program for 117 projects. In addition, the Government of the Northwest Territories provided $300,000 in targeted support for barren-ground caribou and polar bear outfitters in 2009-2010, and doubled that investment to $600,000 for 2010-2011 and 2011-2012.

Mr. Speaker, 2011 has certainly been a “royal” summer. We had the pleasure of visits from Prince Andrew and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Catherine. Those royal visits focused the spotlight of international attention on the Northwest Territories.

The Northwest Territories is no stranger to international attention, much of which was generated through Canada’s Northern House at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. This collaboration between the three territories laid the groundwork for a pan-territorial marketing campaign to market Canada’s North to southern Canada. Called simply, “Canada’s North,” this marketing campaign launched in March 2011 and will promote the North to southern Canadians as a travel destination.

Mr. Speaker, an important aspect of marketing our territory’s tourism industry is our extensive territorial parks system. Our parks host approximately 25,000 campers annually. Over the past four years we have made many investments to maintain and improve infrastructure to serve our guests.

Our new visitors centre at the 60

parallel opened

this past June. We have also added new shower facilities in our North Slave parks and invested in new trails, viewing platforms and other park infrastructure throughout the Northwest Territories to improve the guest experience.

Aurora tourism is also one of the hallmarks of our tourism industry, and our aurora viewing numbers have steadily increased.

This government can be proud of the work that has been accomplished for tourism and the support provided to the industry by the 16

Legislative

Assembly. The tourism industry is growing because of that support and our tourism operators, as we work in partnership to increase diversity and

increase our presence abroad. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 46-16(6): Tourism Highlights
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Paul Delorey

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. Item 3, Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Frame Lake, Ms. Bisaro.

Amendments To The Motor Vehicles Act Regarding Handheld Electronic Devices
Members’ Statements

August 22nd, 2011

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’ve been an outspoken supporter of legislation to ban the use of handheld devices while driving and I’ve spoken many times about the dangers of distracted driving in this House. But, Mr. Speaker, it’s taken too long to get to this point, but I am, anyway, extremely pleased that we will soon have legislation which outlaws driving and cell phone use.

I want to congratulate the Department of Transportation for planning ahead. They have developed a communications plan for educating NWT residents about the upcoming changes to the Motor Vehicles Act and the impact it will have on them as drivers.