This is page numbers 3153 – 3192 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 chair.

Topics

The House met at 1:31 p.m.

---Prayer

Speaker’s Ruling
Prayer

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Good afternoon, colleagues. I wish to give my ruling on the point of order raised by Mr. Miltenberger on October 24, 2013, with respect to comments made by Mr. Hawkins on the previous day. I would like to thank all Members who spoke to the point of order.

Mr. Miltenberger’s point of order was on the content, volume and tone of Mr. Hawkins’ comments in his oral questions to Mr. Beaulieu on October 23rd violated Rule 23(k) as insulting and

abusive language, and 23(l) as speaking disrespectfully of any Member.

Mrs. Groenewegen, in speaking to the point of order, said, at page 3 of unedited Hansard, she also found Mr. Hawkins' comments “to be offensive and it did, in my opinion, reduce the demeanour of our House.”

In responding to the point of order, Mr. Hawkins said, at page 3 of unedited Hansard, “I’m here to do my job and demand results, Mr. Speaker, and sometimes that does cause one to raise the energy in the debate.”

I am guided by the second edition of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, 2009, which states at page 619, “In dealing with unparliamentary language, the Speaker takes into account the tone, manner and intention of the Member speaking; the person to whom the words at issue were directed, the degree of provocation; and most importantly, whether or not the remarks created disorder in the Chamber.”

I have reviewed Mr. Hawkins’ comments from October 23rd and, taken with the volume and tone in

which he made them, I consider they did cross the line of being insulting, abusive and disrespectful. The specific remarks are those quoted by Minister Miltenberger in his point of order, which I don’t want to repeat here because we have already spent enough time on this.

I can appreciate that Members do sometimes need to speak with “energy” to make their points and represent their constituents; however, this went too far.

We are a consensus system of government and we have our own standards. A style of debate that might be business as usual in other Legislatures is not necessarily acceptable to this House. As Mr. Miltenberger stated, at page 2 of the unedited Hansard, “We pride ourselves on the decorum of this House, the propriety of the way we do business.”

Members, given the events of that day, I also want to take the opportunity to remind you of a few things:

1. Members must speak through the Chair.

Speaking directly to other Members as “you” is not acceptable.

2. Members must not interrupt the Chair. When the

Chair calls a Member’s name to caution him or her about continuing to speak when another Member has the floor, that Member needs to stop speaking right away.

These are not my personal rules. They are your rules, Members, and they are there to keep order and decorum in this House.

Let me also remind Members, for the third or fourth time during this sitting, that we are here to work for the people of the Northwest Territories. Be respectful of each other and this House, thicken your skins if you have to and let’s get the work done for the people.

There is a point of order. I will now go to Mr. Hawkins and ask him to withdraw his remarks. Mr. Hawkins.

Speaker’s Ruling
Prayer

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Actually, I thought about this over the weekend and wondered how you would rule on this particular item. Obviously, I was hoping you would rule on my area, but your wisdom and guidance of the documentation before you has led you to your decision today and that I will respect.

Mr. Speaker, in short, I find it unimaginable how to take back…

Speaker’s Ruling
Prayer

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Mr. Hawkins.

Speaker’s Ruling
Prayer

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. What I was going to say, in a roundabout way, was I find it difficult to take back passion and energy, but with that said, what I will do is I will respect the ruling and I will apologize for any concerns that I may have inflicted on Cabinet. What I will say, in short and in final, Mr. Speaker, it will not temper my passion to get the job done. Thank you.

Speaker’s Ruling
Prayer

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Mr. Hawkins, I asked you to withdraw your remarks. Mr. Hawkins, will you withdraw your remarks to the House and apologize to the House?

Speaker’s Ruling
Prayer

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Sorry, Mr. Speaker. It’s hard to hear you over Mrs. Groenewegen, who keeps talking. I missed what you said.

Speaker’s Ruling
Prayer

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Mr. Hawkins, I’m asking you to withdraw your remarks and to apologize to the House.

Speaker’s Ruling
Prayer

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I could hear you that time. I apologize to the House in full. Thank you.

Speaker’s Ruling
Prayer

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Hawkins. Mr. Hawkins, you’re wasting more time of this House. I’m going to ask you once again to withdraw your remarks and apologize to the House.

Speaker’s Ruling
Prayer

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

My apologies, Mr. Speaker. That was my intent when I said I apologize to this House sincerely and fully, and with that, I withdraw my remarks. My apologies for missing that last piece. It was not intended in any other manner.

Speaker’s Ruling
Prayer

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Hawkins. The second time I had you do that, the first time was making comments to Mrs. Groenewegen. So you apologize for that and you apologize for what’s been said. Thank you for the apology. We’ll proceed.

Item 2, Ministers’ statements.

Minister's Statement 87-17(4): Aboriginal Inclusion
Ministers’ Statements

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Mr. Speaker, the GNWT is recognized as one of Canada's top Diversity Employers in 2013 for the initiatives we've undertaken to enhance opportunities for Aboriginal people, persons with disabilities and other under-represented groups. The GNWT is committed to developing and maintaining a public service representative of the people we serve across the NWT.

The Department of Human Resources, in conjunction with the Aboriginal Human Resource Council, is conducting an Aboriginal Inclusion Survey among GNWT employees, focusing on recruitment and retention of Aboriginal persons. The survey will gather information about all of our

employees’ attitudes and opinions regarding Aboriginal inclusion, and determine if there are systemic barriers that contribute to perceived low rates of Aboriginal recruitment and retention.

Human Resources, working with the Aboriginal Employees Advisory Committee, has engaged the Aboriginal Human Resources Council so we can identify the GNWT’s strengths, weaknesses, strategies, practises and behaviours related to Aboriginal inclusion. We share the council’s goal of advancing the full labour market participation of Aboriginal peoples. The Aboriginal Human Resources Council has collaborated with us to develop the survey questions, is administering the survey and receiving the responses, and will prepare a final report and recommendations based on the survey results.

Aboriginal culture, values and experience inform program and policy development as well as front-line service delivery, and we are providing training in Aboriginal cultural awareness through our new Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Training program. It is imperative that our public servants appreciate and respect NWT Aboriginal cultures. These training modules are accessible on-line for our staff and for any member of the public to view, and we are rolling out facilitated training sessions for our staff across the NWT this month. The training has been recognized internationally as a Top Ten Innovation in Diversity, putting us in the company of other progressive employers like RBC, Sodexo and American Airlines.

Mr. Speaker, the GNWT is committed to creating a representative public service that reflects the diverse cultures of the NWT and promotes the development and advancement of Aboriginal people. We are making progress in attracting, advancing and retaining Aboriginal employees. Statistics show movement in the right direction:

• During the 17th Legislative Assembly,

indigenous Aboriginal persons have filled 19 of 59 senior-management staffing opportunities.

• Almost 20 percent of senior managers are indigenous Aboriginal. This has been increasing over the years, up from 15 percent in 2009.

• Since 1999, the rate of Aboriginal employee growth has been larger than that for non-Aboriginal employee growth and for the rate of GNWT workforce growth overall.

• The biggest increases in rates of Aboriginal employee growth have occurred in the management and health occupational areas.

Mr. Speaker, we do not rest on our laurels; more needs to be done. We are committed to continuing this momentum in order to champion diversity, inclusion and cultural awareness, and to see more

Aboriginal people represented at all levels of the public service. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 87-17(4): Aboriginal Inclusion
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Abernethy. The honourable Minister of Health, Mr. Beaulieu.