This is page numbers 3067 – 3106 of the Hansard for the 17th Assembly, 4th 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.


The House met at 1:31 p.m.



The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Good afternoon, colleagues. Today, before we get started, I’d like to pay tribute to my wife’s grandmother, who passed away this past summer. I’m reading her eulogy.

Delia Bourke, nee Cardinal, was born outside Fort Chipewyan in the area known as Ambarass Portage in the winter of 1926. Her parents, Jean-Baptiste and Mary Adelle Cardinal, resided in Ambarass Portage in the spring and winter months while working on their trapline. The remainder of the time was spent living in Fort Chipewyan, where they raised 14 kids while they fished and lived a traditional way of life on the land.

Delia was the second child born out of all of her siblings and left home at a very young age. In 1945 she met her late husband, Victor, and they were married shortly after on September 12th the

following year in Fort Fitzgerald, Alberta. Soon after, they welcomed their eldest son Fred and daughter Doris.

In 1961 the small family moved to Fort Smith where they resided there for their remaining years. While living there, Victor and Delia had a total of 16 children: eight boys – Fred, Albert, Allan, Donald, Lloyd, Raymond, Tommy, Edward and Curtis – and five girls – Doris, Dorothy, Nancy, Rita and Judy.

Victor worked at Northern Transportation Company while Delia stayed at home and raised her children. Having 16 children back in those days was a tough feat as the town was still developing and not able to provide the necessities; hence, the family would resort to hunting and picking berries just as their parents had done in the past.

Delia did not live a fancy, expensive or flashy lifestyle, but she knew what was important to her and that was her family. As her family grew, she remained the very core of the family, a focus of love and affection to everyone she knew.

Delia’s mother, Mary Adelle, always taught her girls to take care of all the family responsibilities and have a traditional woman’s role in the household. You can truly see how that tradition carried on

through Delia’s life, as she always lived her life fulfilling those roles that her mother taught her so well. Delia’s hobbies are also a reflection of her mother’s teaching, as she loved to cook, pick berries and sew. She was very resourceful when it came to their day-to-day lives raising all the children. Delia would sew most, if not all, of her own and her children’s clothes and also made her own animal hides to sew moccasins and mittens. Beading was also one of her favorite pastimes.

Delia’s life seems to have been simple and uncomplicated as a stay-at-home mother, but raising her own 16 children and many grandchildren is what she believed she was destined to do. Delia truly loved children and you could see that love whenever she would meet a new addition to the family. With numerous amounts of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even great-great-grandchildren, you can see how Delia was surrounded with love each and every day. Even in her sick condition, she always kept a high spirit and greeted everyone she met with a smile.

One story that a family member shared was how New Year’s was always a time of celebration to enjoy with family. I thought I would share this because of the amount of people who have a memory about that time. Passed-down traditions still remain very dear to the entire Bourke family, as family functions surrounded by loved ones are commonplace. From the food to the conversation and laughter, the family all had numerous amounts of stories that would be too much to mention today, but those traditions stem from Delia’s side of the family and friends.

Delia’s family and friends have shared countless stories and memories in helping to write these words. A recurring theme that arises from all the shared stories is perseverance, humility and humour. Living 86 years, with many of those years as a widow and losing loved ones, Delia persevered and lived with humility. Having a sense of humour is quite an understatement to those who knew her. She always made everyone laugh, and loved to talk and tell stories, most of which ended in laughter.

Although we spoke today a lot about her very early past, the recent past is more a reflection of how Delia’s demeanor and character touched the lives of many people that had the chance of meeting her.

She made a big impression on all staff at the care home and even those who hadn’t known much about her shared just how sweet of a lady she was. Delia’s husband passed away in 1991 and throughout all these 22 years that he’s been gone, she still would say that Victor was the love of her life. With her endless stories she told about him and her family, you could see just how much love they had for each other. Now Delia is reunited with her husband and children in the Kingdom of Heaven.

We all have fond memories of Delia and these we must hold dear in our hearts and cherish them, as she cherished us. Just before closing, I wanted to mention a small story that sums up just how Delia lived her life and how her spirit was still high and strong. In the days before Delia had passed, she asked her daughter Doris, “How old am I again?” Doris replied, “You are 86, mom.” Delia then replied, “Really? I don’t feel that old. I still feel like I’m 16.”

I would like to convey my sincere appreciation for their support and generosity to: Honourable Michael Miltenberger, Dennis Bevington for attending the funeral of Delia; and Mr. Ken Hudson, president of the Fort Smith Metis Council; and the Kaeser family and Kaeser’s Store, for all the hard work they do when you pass through that community. They really do a good job. Thank you so much.

Item 2, Ministers’ statements. The honourable Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, Mr. Lafferty.

Minister’s Statement 82-17(4): Safe Schools
Ministers’ Statements


Jackson Lafferty Minister of Education, Culture and Employment

Mr. Speaker, bullying is a complex social issue and has potentially devastating effects on student achievement, attendance and mental health. Unfortunately, we have all seen the most shattering results of bullying across Canada, and we are focused on ensuring this does not happen in the NWT. Everyone has a role to play in making sure our residents are safe and feel safe in their communities, at home, and at school.

We responded to a motion for anti-bullying legislation by proposing amendments to the Education Act in the spring session. This includes a definition of bullying and cyber-bullying, a Territorial School Code of Conduct and requirements for district education authorities and district education councils to implement safe schools plans. We are very pleased at standing committee’s approach to include the students across the NWT in their public consultations on Bill 12.

Further, we have developed a Territorial Safe Schools Plan, which includes policies and

procedures that we have shared with the education councils and authorities. We are finalizing a workbook that includes guidelines, intervention and procedure reporting.

Mr. Speaker, this is a multi-year investment with many partners, including Aboriginal governments, the Northwest Territories Teachers’ Association, school administrators, other government departments, families, communities and students.

In all of our research, and working with our partners across Canada, we have found that youth must be the voice of bullying prevention awareness. Through blogging, videos, mentoring, poster campaigns, and standing up against these issues, individually and in groups, youth across Canada are emerging as ambassadors. They will be key to the awareness campaign beginning in the next month. It will include multimedia tactics such as radio, web, and videos to target student participation, as well as resources for parents and communities.

A strong, prosperous territory begins with a strong society sustained by a healthy environment. Safe schools are an investment in a future where all of our children grow up to become healthy, educated members of society and can participate in creating safe, sustainable and vibrant communities. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 82-17(4): Safe Schools
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Lafferty. The honourable Minister of Human Resources, Mr. Abernethy.

Minister’s Statement 83-17(4): Regional Recruitment Program
Ministers’ Statements

Great Slave

Glen Abernethy Minister of Human Resources

Mr. Speaker, increasing employment opportunities where they are most needed is a key priority of this Assembly. We need to connect our labour force with the available public service jobs across the NWT. As part of our Workforce Planning Strategy, the Department of Human Resources is developing a Regional Recruitment Program. It will incorporate unique approaches to recruitment with on-the-job training so that people across the North have opportunities to be supported in their development as public servants.

The GNWT actively recruits Northerners to fill vacant positions, especially in the regions. At any given time, there are approximately 150 to 200 vacant regional positions available within all departments, boards and agencies in communities. The Regional Recruitment Program will assist to place Northerners into these vacancies. This program is a tool that will help with the decentralization efforts.

Mr. Speaker, up to a maximum of $15,000 per trainee is available to fill vacant regional positions with a candidate who can train on the job to be able to perform 100 percent of the job duties. Funding

support can be used in a variety of ways, including sending the trainee to another community to learn on the job from co-workers, paying for training courses, or other creative approaches that position the candidate for success in the position.

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Human Resources will provide support to managers through a new decentralized regional recruitment officer position. This position works with hiring managers, trainees, regional training committees and regional employees of the Department of Education, Culture and Employment. Together, they will develop specific plans that set out the training and development needed for the individual to ultimately be successful in the position.

Work is underway to implement this program before the end of this calendar year, and trainees are anticipated to start to be on the job early in 2014.

Mr. Speaker, having the staff in place to deliver programs and services to all residents is a key priority. Filling vacant regional positions with Northerners is a great way to develop our labour force and provide opportunities where they are most needed. I am very excited about the potential of this program to help reduce barriers to entering the workforce and support employment and training across the NWT. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 83-17(4): Regional Recruitment Program
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Abernethy. The honourable Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Mr. Ramsay.

Minister's Statement 84-17(4): Bakken Tour
Ministers’ Statements

Kam Lake

David Ramsay Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment

Mr. Speaker, responsible oil and gas development has the potential to grow and diversify the Northwest Territories economy, and help create a sustainable, prosperous territory. Nowhere has this reality been more apparent than in the Sahtu region. There is a lot to learn when it comes to ensuring our residents are prepared for rapid development, and any development continues to minimize environmental and social impacts. Today I would like to share the lessons learned during a recent trip to the Bakken oil formation in Saskatchewan and North Dakota.

I recently led a tour of the Bakken oil formation, to learn more about challenges and opportunities of rapid development, drilling operations and community engagement. This group included members of the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Infrastructure, MLAs, Aboriginal and business leaders from the Sahtu region, National Energy Board staff and GNWT representatives.

I would specifically like to extend my appreciation to Mr. Norman Yakeleya, MLA for Sahtu, as well as Mr. Bob Bromley and Mr. Robert Hawkins, representing the Standing Committee on Economic

Development and Infrastructure, who assisted on the tour to represent the NWT Legislature.

We met with government officials in Saskatchewan, to hear how they regulate tight oil resource developments. We also visited various drilling operations and saw how they create unprecedented job growth and opportunities while protecting the environment.

North Dakota’s unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the United States due to this development. In fact, we were told that the Aboriginal groups who are located at the centre of these developments have a zero percent unemployment rate.

Mr. Speaker, we spoke with members of the Three Affiliated Tribes on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota, to hear how they are dealing with and benefitting from the booming development, and heard about how the tribes are taking advantage of the opportunities this development presents. We also had an opportunity to discuss their views on best practices and issues of environmental sustainability.

The general consensus was that drilling has been operated safely and sustainably, and has been the key to unlocking significant riches for the tribes. Some of the Native American contractors offered to help people in the NWT prepare for development and production in our area.

The one thing we heard time and time again was how important it is to prepare residents to seize the opportunities from this development.

That is a priority of this government: to ensure development continues in a timely yet environmentally sustainable way, and that local residents and businesses benefit to the fullest extent.

We committed to present the facts to the public about hydraulic fracturing and to hear any concerns. To this end, we have been working with the communities of Norman Wells and Fort Good Hope, to support workshops to ensure residents are informed and can ask any questions they have. Participants from Colville Lake, Fort Good Hope, Norman Wells, Deline and Tulita have attended or will attend upcoming workshops. Each workshop is being delivered by the Indian Resources Council, a neutral third party that was suggested by community leadership.

Mr. Speaker, these are the lessons we have learned: We need to work with industry to ensure we know where they need assistance. We need to continue to push for infrastructure such as roads and additional housing so we are ready for this development boom.

We learned that these areas experienced the same issues with lack of infrastructure as any area that

experiences rapid and significant development, and how they are overcoming these challenges. We learned that drilling can be done responsibly and in an environmentally safe way and that it has been the key to prosperity in these areas. Most importantly, we realized how imperative it is to continue to work with community leadership and residents, to ensure they are fully prepared for the effects of development.

The departments of Environment and Natural Resources and Industry, Tourism and Investment have been working jointly on the development of hydraulic fracturing guidance documents. Work on this initiative continues and these guidance documents will be shared with the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Infrastructure and we look forward to receiving your input.

Ensuring NWT residents benefit to the greatest degree possible from any development is a major priority of this government. We will continue to benefit from this exploration growth, and our residents will be well-positioned to seize training and job opportunities. We need to get our people working, so they can be free of poverty and make the choices that are right for their families.

By taking the time now to learn more about development and maintain our consistent dialogue between industry, NWT residents, and Aboriginal organizations, we will ensure the petroleum resource sector continues to be part of our diversified economy that provides all communities and regions with opportunities and choices. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 84-17(4): Bakken Tour
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Ramsay. Item 3, Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Hay River South, Mrs. Groenewegen.

“buckle Up NWT” Road Safety Campaign
Members’ Statements

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I want to make my Member’s statement to commend the Department of Transportation on a program that just keeps growing within their mandate. That’s the Drive Alive! program, Mr. Speaker.

These programs do change communities and society’s views towards public safety. So far, from what I can see, they’ve been very effective. The recent one, called Buckle Up NWT, is one that had a very creative and innovative idea of having a contest to promote seatbelt use. I’m happy to say that Hay River was the community that won that contest and I also congratulate the other communities who also participated in that program.

Certainly I don’t think Hay River would have won this contest without the support of our local volunteer fire department, our local police detachment, our fire chief, Ross Potter, and his volunteer firefighters, who are very, very active in our community in promoting safety at all times and they seized upon the opportunity to be involved in this Buckle Up NWT Program.

As a result, we had the good fortune to have Ms. Leela Gilday and Godson also accompany her and come down to Hay River with department officials and put on a concert at the Hay River Golf Course. It was amazing. I’d like to have them back again. I don’t know if we could afford it, but in this case the Department of Transportation sponsored this and it was amazing to see them in action.

So in closing, I just want to encourage the Department of Transportation to continue with these creative initiatives that they undertake to promote safety. I understand there’s another one that has been announced today by press release, which is to encourage the safe driving of young people. These are seemingly maybe small steps, but every bit helps and it’s good to see this kind of initiative coming from our government and the Department of Transportation. I just want to thank them today. Thank you.

“buckle Up NWT” Road Safety Campaign
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mrs. Groenewegen. Member for Mackenzie Delta, Mr. Blake.

Aklavik Willow River Road Project
Members’ Statements

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I’d like to talk about my community of Aklavik and the Willow River road project. We’ve discussed this project numerous times and I feel that I need to remind the Minister that funding needs to be secured in order for this project to take place.

There is a Mountain Road Committee set up consisting of leadership from Aklavik, which also includes a few elders. This committee has been pleading for the Willow River road project to be included in our budget, an allocation of sufficient funds to be committed to this project. At this time I might add that my constituents in Aklavik were very happy for the funding received in last year’s fiscal budget to assist with Willow River road. However, to keep the momentum going, we’d like to have a steady flow of funds going to Aklavik for that road to be all-weather and community accessible.

Would the Minister take a look at our budget and continue with a training program that Aklavik residents can take advantage of? We also have local businesses and contractors in Aklavik that are willing to train local residents if funding allows.

The Mountain Road Committee also completed a feasibility study. This study has yet to be implemented, due to lack of funding. I urge this

Assembly, again, to take a serious look at the project that Aklavik has been requesting for so many years. Results of the road would only have positive impacts on the community of Aklavik: access to gravel year-round for the community’s use; family outings such as picnics and scenic drives; multi-use for the school in terms of educational purposes; and lastly, to attract tourists to Aklavik and also big game outfitting. Thank you.

Aklavik Willow River Road Project
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Blake. Member for Nahendeh, Mr. Menicoche.

Student Achievement In Small Communities
Members’ Statements

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. There has been discussion lately about the educational renewal in the Northwest Territories. In theory, the renewal is supposed to strengthen student success and enhance the quality of education in small community schools. It’s also supposed to improve the way we measure student achievement.

I’m pleased the Department of Education recognizes the need for a renewal. However, along with many of my constituents, I’m not confident they’re headed in the right direction.

The thing is, parents in my constituency are terribly concerned about the poor quality of education in our small community schools. They’re afraid of the future of their children. Why is that? A big reason is that their children aren’t learning the right material. As a result, they just aren’t passing the Alberta achievement tests.

Let me tell a couple of stories to illustrate the point. Two Grade 11 students in my riding are at the top of their class. They’re bright kids. They’re really into physics. But they both scored around 30 percent on the departmental exams. Two Grade 3 students were at the top of their math class, but in Grade 4 when they took the Alberta achievement test, they scored in the bottom 25th percentile, which is a

virtual fail.

These students are not being taught what they’re expected to learn. They aren’t learning the NWT curriculum in a way that prepares them for standardized tests. It’s a sorry situation when our best and brightest can’t even pass departmental exams.

What is even worse is the department’s response to the dismal results on the Alberta achievement tests. You might expect to see them redouble their efforts in order to fix this problem. Instead, they want to eliminate the test altogether. That’s not a viable option. It only sweeps the problem under the rug, leaving us without a standardized measurement of student achievement.

Education renewal is being advertised as an open process guided by input from the public. For the record, my constituents want quality higher education, not another way of justifying poor results.

I will have questions for the Minister of Education at the appropriate time. Thank you.

Student Achievement In Small Communities
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Menicoche. The Member for Sahtu, Mr. Yakeleya.