This is page numbers 3261 – 3302 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 work.

Topics

The House met at 1:32 p.m.

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Good afternoon, colleagues. I would like to draw your attention to the presence at the table of our Honourary Clerk, Mr. Anthony W.J. Whitford. He’s celebrating the 25th anniversary of his election in

this House. On behalf of all Members, thank you for joining us here today, Tony.

---Applause

Speaker’s Ruling
Prayer

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Colleagues, before we proceed to today’s business, I wish to give my ruling on the point of order raised by Mr. Miltenberger on October 28, 2013, with respect to comments made by Mr. Hawkins on his Facebook page after my ruling on October 27th .

Mr. Miltenberger’s point was that Mr. Hawkins’ comments called into question his apology to the House on October 27th and, therefore, violated

rules 23(k) and 23(l). Mr. Miltenberger likened the Facebook comments to a note passed in the House.

Rule 23 applies to debate in the House, not to matters that take place outside. As your Speaker, I have no way of knowing whether posts to Facebook or Twitter or other social media are made within the Chamber or not. The Member could easily have posted the comments from his office or somewhere else in the building.

Mr. Hawkins did apologize in the House for his comments on October 23rd , and withdrew his

remarks. I accept the Member on his word and consider that matter settled.

I, therefore, find there is no point of order.

However, I do need to strongly caution Members that statements made outside the House, whether on Facebook or in other media, can amount to a breach of privilege or even contempt of the House.

This is especially so when a Member’s comments could be read as challenging a ruling of the Speaker. It’s thin ice and I urge Members to stay off of it.

This is not to protect me personally. It is to keep dignity and order in the House, so that we can get our work done.

That leads me to my next point. I want to draw your attention to the amount of time we have spent in this sitting on points of order and privilege. We come from around the NWT and meet here only a few times a year. That time is precious and we need to make the best use of it.

This House is not a theatre meant to entertain the public. That’s not our culture here. It’s a place where we do important work for the people of the Northwest Territories.

Every day I hear Regular Members asking tough questions and doing their job without going against the rules of debate.

Every day I hear Ministers responding to those tough questions and doing their job without raising a point of order when something is said that could offend them.

So it can be done. If all Members make a sincere effort to uphold the dignity of the House and to thicken their skins, I am sure you will be able to deal with all of the difficult issues before you without any unnecessary drama. We can do this on behalf of our people. Let’s get on with it.

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

Minister's Statement 94-17(4): Education Renewal Framework
Ministers’ Statements

Monfwi

Jackson Lafferty Minister of Education, Culture and Employment

Mr. Speaker, educational change, without question, is one of the most critical initiatives we must enact in the NWT. The Education Renewal and Innovation Initiative has been underway for approximately a year, and we are seeing some exciting directions emerge for true foundational change.

This work will create a different way of teaching our youth. It will involve partnerships, improved relationships between communities and schools, and a focus on helping our children develop a strong sense of identity. It will support our educators and lifelong learners to renew authentic

learning experiences inside and outside the classroom, and develop effective assessment tools that measure this learning.

This kind of change in education is happening around the world. We are directly involved in many of the key areas of educational change that Alberta is undertaking. We have reviewed NWT student achievement data; benefited from international, national and northern research; and thoroughly engaged with Aboriginal governments, education authorities and councils, and superintendents. We also held sessions with non-governmental organizations, teachers, students, and other GNWT departments.

Mr. Speaker, later today I will be tabling the product of all the research and engagement that has been undertaken over the past year. The Education Renewal and Innovation Framework: Directions for Change document has a 10-year horizon and will be supported by a multi-year action plan detailing the direction, actions and timelines, along with costing. ECE will now develop an evaluation framework supporting the renewal work and setting clear targets.

Mr. Speaker, we have not been elected to maintain the status quo. There are inequities in our system. Students in small communities need to have access to quality education as much as those in our larger centres. We are committed to addressing this challenge. Whether students are in Colville Lake, Yellowknife, Inuvik or Jean Marie River, we will develop programming and ways to deliver that programming that allows their teachers to open up a world of learning that leaves them hungry for more.

There are challenges that go beyond the classroom and the school walls that we must address as we develop our initiatives: poverty, addictions, lack of hope, the legacy of residential schools, and attendance. There are other challenges that need to be met primarily through school programming and policies themselves: authentic learning; staff recruitment, training and retention; and training and transitions to jobs. We are already addressing many of these as we renew the education system that will prepare our children for a more prosperous and healthy future. The framework I am tabling later today suggests initiatives and hopeful directions that, if brought to life, will address these challenges.

On July 12, 2013, a speech was delivered to the United Nations by a young Pakistani girl that had been shot by the Taliban for being outspoken about education. Malala Yousafzai delivered a message critical to the principles of education, and one that we are visualizing for the future of our territory. She said, “One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world.”

Mr. Speaker, we must have the collective courage to move forward towards that change. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 94-17(4): Education Renewal Framework
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Lafferty. Before we continue, I’d like to welcome back to the House Mr. Jake Ootes and his wife, Marg. It’s good to see you back in the House today.

---Applause

The honourable Minister of Transportation, Mr. Beaulieu.

Minister's Statement 95-17(4): On-Line Driver And Motor Vehicle Services
Ministers’ Statements

Tu Nedhe

Tom Beaulieu Minister of Transportation

Mr. Speaker, improving the delivery of programs and services, especially to residents of smaller, remote communities, is an important goal for our government. Later this fiscal year the Department of Transportation will be providing residents with the option to access driver and motor vehicle services from the comfort of their homes, workplaces or from anywhere else with an Internet connection. Services will be available from any computer, smartphone or tablet with an Internet connection, and with expanding cellular coverage across the territory, that’s just about anywhere.

It has taken over five years of dedicated work to get the Motor Vehicle Information System upgraded to be in a position to provide on-line services while maintaining and protecting the integrity and quality of our programs and information.

Earlier this year the department completed the migration from our 1980s Motor Vehicle Information System to a state-of-the-art system called DRIVES. This work was undertaken by Transportation staff with consultants hired for specialized work. This multi-year project was completed on time and on budget. The project was also completed without any disruptions in service. Mr. Speaker, this was no small feat.

DRIVES now provides enhanced processes to streamline client driver’s licence processing. Heightened security and system processes reduce the risk of fraudulent requests associated with identity theft. The new system also includes enhanced medical compliance standards and driver profiles standards. The on-line financial transaction security and encryption is equivalent to that of a bank. Now that the background system is in place, we have been shifting our focus outward to expanding on-line services to our clients.

Included in the first suite of on-line services to be rolled out before Christmas are e-notification reminders. How many of us have forgotten to renew our registration or driver’s licence, only to be reminded by a ticket? You will soon be able to register to have reminders come directly to your inbox or to your hand-held device.

Early in the new year you will also be able to renew your vehicle registration, schedule appointments such as driver tests, and obtain your driver record on-line.

These services will be available in every community with an Internet or cellular connection. We expect that this will be greatly appreciated in remote communities where there currently are no issuing sites. These clients will no longer have to wait for services to come to them or travel to a larger centre for service.

We expect that on-line services will also shorten existing wait times for those that choose to continue accessing services in person. At our busiest issuing site, here in Yellowknife, we have recently implemented a number of initiatives including queuing systems, posting wait times on-line and implementing measurable service standards to improve the client experiences. We expect that as much as 50 percent of registration renewals will be processed on-line once it is available. If that is the case, it will result in even shorter wait times to receive service. Clients will be able to get the services they need when it’s convenient, without having to wait in a line-up.

In future, we will be proposing to expand on-line services even further, to include driver’s licence renewals, address changes and obtaining commercial vehicle permits, to name a few. With technology, there are now endless possibilities for innovative service delivery. I look forward to keeping you updated on our ongoing efforts to improve service delivery and reduce government red tape. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 95-17(4): On-Line Driver And Motor Vehicle Services
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Senate Expenses Controversy
Members’ Statements

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I want to follow the lead of my colleague from Hay River North from earlier this week, and speak briefly to the issue we are seeing every day in the media with regard to our country’s capital and the elected and appointed leaders there.

As a territory, we have a close working relationship with the Government of Canada through the party and leaders in power. We have most recently had considerable dealings with Canada in pursuing our aspirations for greater self-determination through our Devolution Agreement.

I am saddened as I watch the nightly news as the saga of the Senate expenses continues to play out. It’s sad that for a country of Canada’s stature and reputation on the world stage that it is threatened to

be tarnished by something that was so avoidable and, I believe, could be resolved without further collateral damage.

It seems that the line between the work of the Senate in dealing with legislation coming forward from the House of Commons, as one of the things they do, has been very blurred with the work of parties that the Senators are appointed by and work with. This confusion has led to a lack of clear delineation of expenses related to Senate work versus party work. A review of the role and responsibilities of Senators seemingly needs to be addressed. The fact that Senators are appointed on a regional basis creates the perception that they need to be from and residing in the province of origin when, in fact, the work before and during the Senate appointment may have required that they actually live some other place. So regional representation is a notion that needs to be more clearly defined.

It would be interesting to find out how many sitting and retired Senators actually took advantage of this capital living allowance improperly, as it seems void of any clear rules. If there had been rules, the claims of the Senators in question should have been caught by administration.

Although these Senators filed expense claims, they didn’t have any authority to pay themselves from the budgets of the Senate. They didn’t issue the cheques, and for those who did, where was the monitoring scrutiny that one would expect? Mr. Bouchard made reference earlier in the House this week, even in a small jurisdiction like ours, how the rules are set out and how they’re followed.

So now we find ourselves in a situation where a succession of serious errors in judgment has occurred and they threaten the stability of the party that governs this country. That’s a sad day for Canada, regardless of what political stripe you hold to.

This is an amazing country. We have a democracy, despite some recent challenges, that is really still the envy of many, many countries. The leaders of any of our national parties did not get to that level of leadership without having earned the respect of a lot of Canadians along the way. As a legislator, I have had the privilege to meet many party leaders on trips that they’ve made to the North, and as a keen follower of politics, even prior to entering public office, I can say without hesitation that each one of them were very impressive Canadians and leaders in their own right.

I’d like to seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Senate Expenses Controversy
Members’ Statements

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

My wish is that a group of mature, seasoned Senators could take a lesson from what’s happened, to agree going forward there

needs to be more clear definition brought to the roles and responsibilities of Senators which activities are eligible for claiming expenses from the Senate and which are not, a revisiting of the rules around primary residence and capital living allowance and a team of administrators of those allowances and indemnities that would not allow Senators to be reimbursed for claims that they are not eligible for.

My wish is also that this could be accomplished before the lives and reputations of any more people are destroyed, that people be held accountable for the funds they received in error and be allowed to move on with the work that they were constitutionally directed to do in the Senate.

This show going on in the House of Commons right now may be wonderful fodder for the media and a lot of fun for some leaders and a lot of posturing for senior politicians, but if there was any chance that people involved could stop for a moment and ask themselves if what they’re doing is beneficial to our country and the citizens who elected them, maybe they would work together to find a constructive resolution to a situation so that it never happens again. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Senate Expenses Controversy
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mrs. Groenewegen. Member for Range Lake, Mr. Dolynny.

Team NWT Participation In 2013 Canada Summer Games
Members’ Statements

Daryl Dolynny Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Earlier this summer I had the pleasure of accompanying our Minister, R.C. McLeod, the Minister responsible for sports, to Sherbrooke, Quebec. We were attending the federal/provincial/territorial roundtable discussions on sport and I wanted to say that it was a very enlightening experience and I want to say that the NWT is well-represented at this table and I think it’s through the good work of our Minister. Sometimes we forget to say those good things and I want to make sure it goes out publicly.

Before I talk about our other mission that we were there for, which is the Canada Summer Games, I wanted to say that we need to talk about the sponsors of our Team NWT that made it possible for our athletes to actually attend this event. So with my commendable expression, I want to say thank you to NorthwesTel, First Air and Coast Fraser Tower for their stewardship and their ability to help our young athletes. So that’s first and foremost.

It was a pleasure that Team NWT had 84 athletes, 23 youth ambassadors, and I can’t tell you enough how well our youth ambassadors are received not only from here, from the Northwest Territories, but nationally. They get heartfelt acclaim. We had 12 mission staff there led by Chef de Mission Bill Otmyer, who likes to be referred to as Billy “O.” Billy

did a great job. We also had 16 coaches and managers there. So, all in all, we had a great team.

It’s important that we also thank some of our own government stakeholders who were there. These are people who, behind the scenes, spend countless hours and I want to make sure Mr. Ian Legaree gets full credit here for this as well – that’s well deserved – and Damon Crossman. He was not only there on behalf of the government, he was actually there as a coach for basketball as well. So hats off to those two people as well.

Of course, I can’t mention everyone. There are too many people to mention here today, but you know who you are and pat yourself on the back.

Although Team NWT did not medal at our Canada Summer Games, which is always our target, I’m very comforted knowing that everyone, I think, got a really good, lasting memory and will definitely remember their time there.

I just want to conclude with it’s always fun to find a special quote that summarized, I think, the true essence of our Team NWT. This is from Bill Bowerman, who is a 1972 U.S. track and field co-founder of Nike.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude.

---Unanimous consent granted

Team NWT Participation In 2013 Canada Summer Games
Members’ Statements

Daryl Dolynny Range Lake

Again, with Mr. Bowerman’s quote here and he says in his quote: “Victory is in having done your best. If you’ve done your best, you’ve won.” So I’m proud to say that all NWT athletes were winners, in my eyes. I think we’re winners in everybody’s eyes in the Northwest Territories. Thank you very much.

Team NWT Participation In 2013 Canada Summer Games
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Dolynny. Member for Hay River North, Mr. Bouchard.

Great Slave Lake Commercial Fishery
Members’ Statements

Robert Bouchard Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to discuss one of the topics near and dear to my heart. In Hay River we are very proud of the commercial fishery on the Great Slave Lake. As many people know, in the summertime most of the production is being done in that season. I’m glad that we’ve completed that season just recently.

Along the Great Slave Lake we have a two million pound quota that we have the capacity to produce. The sad part is that in past years we’ve only collected about 300,000 of those pounds. So I’d like to discuss with the Minister and question the Minister today about some of the production and how we’re looking to increase that production.

Like I said, I have brought this to this House several times, but I want the Minister of ITI to know that this is very important for the people of Hay River as well

as the people of the Northwest Territories. This is a commodity that we should be using and maximizing and a commodity that we should be very proud of.

Later today I will have questions for the Minister of ITI on this summer’s production and what the department is doing to help this industry. Thank you.