This is page numbers 1769 - 1816 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 going.

Topics

The House met at 1:30 p.m.

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Prayer
Prayer

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Good afternoon, colleagues. Item 2, Ministers’ Statements. Honourable Premier, Mr. McLeod.

Minister's Statement 6-17(4): Recognition Of Indspire Awards Recipients
Ministers’ Statements

Yellowknife South

Bob McLeod Premier

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories is a proud sponsor of the 2013 Indspire awards. Formerly known as the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Indspire promotes the development, education and professional advancement of Aboriginal people in Canadian society.

I will be attending the awards this week in Saskatoon. It gives me great pleasure to announce that two Northwest Territories residents will receive awards this year.

Gail Cyr of Yellowknife will receive the award for public service. Ms. Cyr is a long-time employee of the Government of the Northwest Territories and is currently the special advisor to the Minister on the Status of Women. She has had a lengthy career serving indigenous people and all our residents. She established the Native Court Worker Association for the Northwest Territories and is very involved in family violence prevention and awareness. She is passionate about making our communities sustainable, vibrant and safe. She is committed to forming partnerships that help Northerners become strong and independent. We are proud of the work that Ms. Cyr and all our employees do on behalf of the people of the Northwest Territories.

Duane Smith, who is the chair for the Inuvik Community Corporation and the vice-chair of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, will receive the award for politics. Mr. Smith is also the president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (Canada) and was once a wildlife officer with the Government of the Northwest Territories. Throughout his political life,

he has been a strong supporter of Arctic land claims and has effectively driven initiatives in support of strengthening and diversifying our northern economy.

Both Ms. Cyr and Mr. Smith are well-known throughout the territory and are excellent role models who are proud of their Aboriginal heritage. They are helping to build a sustainable future for our territory, building on the strengths of Northerners.

Mr. Speaker, I ask Members to join with me in congratulating them on this prestigious honour. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 6-17(4): Recognition Of Indspire Awards Recipients
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. The honourable Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs, Mr. Robert McLeod.

Minister's Statement 7-17(4): Youth Ambassador Program
Ministers’ Statements

Inuvik Twin Lakes

Robert C. McLeod Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, 15 youth ambassadors, representing seven NWT communities, travelled with us to Ottawa recently to promote the Northwest Territories at Winterlude as part of NWT Days.

They acted as guides and greeters at various events and as traditional games demonstrators. To say that the youth ambassadors did an outstanding job does not give them enough credit. They impressed both political participants and thousands of others who attended and watched their performances. They were also featured on local and national media for their efforts. Many people approached me to tell me how much they appreciated their work and to praise them for being true ambassadors for the North.

Mr. Speaker, each of these future leaders returned with a new sense of confidence after an experience that has helped them develop life and job skills to deal with future challenges. One parent said that the program is helping turn her daughter’s life around. She was an at-risk youth when she applied for the program. Now she has new confidence and respect.

Mr. Speaker, this mother’s reflections are not unique. The NWT Youth Ambassador Program is guided by the principle that a structured volunteer experience and participation in major events can

develop significant skills and build the confidence necessary for youth to deal with the complex challenges of modern society. We see and hear about its positive impact all the time.

Youth ambassadors receive consistent, high quality training and preparation for projects. They work with program managers to develop expectations and standards. This program is directly contributing to the GNWT’s goals of having healthy, educated people free from poverty, and the leaders that come out of this program will help build sustainable, vibrant, safe communities across our territory. This program is a long-term investment in our territory’s future that benefits all of our communities.

I am especially proud of the new alumni component to the program that has former youth ambassadors returning to act as mentors to their younger peers. This youth to youth interaction and guidance is often one of the most powerful motivators for participants to make healthy lifestyle choices.

Mr. Speaker, the Youth Ambassador Program was launched in 2007 as part of our pan-territorial commitment to support the Canada Games in Whitehorse that year. Since that time, our government has supported nearly 20 projects of various sizes. Hundreds of NWT youth have now had an experience that will have positive effects on the rest of their lives.

Many more youth will get to experience this program as it progresses. This summer the youth ambassadors will be taking part in the 2013 Canada Summer Games by volunteering for the Sherbrooke, Quebec, host society. This will be another great opportunity to highlight our northern youth and culture and I am very much looking forward to it.

Mr. Speaker, the department is constantly monitoring and evaluating this program. In future years MACA will be able to present reports on the longer term effects of this program as we continue to follow up with participants as they enter adulthood and become productive contributing members of our communities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 7-17(4): Youth Ambassador Program
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. Item 3, Members’ Statements. The honourable Member for Hay River North, Mr. Bouchard.

Health Care In Hay River
Members’ Statements

Robert Bouchard Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I will continue my discussion on some of the issues in the area of health for Hay River. One of the major issues in Hay River is the fact that, back several years ago, the government removed the management board and replaced it with a public

administrator. Although the administrator is doing a good job, there is still a lot of outcry from the community to have some sort of advisory board so that the community from different walks of life can give information and feedback to the health authority so that we can have representation and see what the issues are. We have one public administrator, one person that the public can contact, and sometimes that’s difficult. If you don’t know that individual or you’re not part of the inner circle of that group, it’s very difficult. We in the community here would like to see an advisory authority set up, along with some information or some representatives from outside the community and surrounding area, where some of the people actually come and use the health centres. This is one of the major issues that we have in the health area.

Another area that I’ve brought up in the House before is the flexibility of funding. Currently, we have no full-time positions there but we have been using a nurse practitioner, and we would like to be able to use potentially more if we have the ability to hire more nurse practitioners. Right now the funding is in columns so it only allows certain dollars to be spent on physicians versus nurse practitioners.

I’m going to be having questions for the Minister of Health on those two issues today about whether we can have the public advisory committee and reduce the column funding in the Hay River Health Authority.

Health Care In Hay River
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Bouchard. The honourable Member for Nahendeh, Mr. Menicoche.

Long Distance Swimmer Martin “big River Man” Strel
Members’ Statements

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased that the government is investing additional funds into the NWT Tourism Marketing Strategy. Showing Canada and the world that NWT is a world-travelled destination is key in developing and diversifying our tourism economy in all regions.

I’m working with the mayor of Fort Simpson, Mr. Sean Whelly. He has an idea of a man that can swim the entire Mackenzie River and bring along international exposure. His name is Mr. Martin Strel, but you can call him Big River Man. He has swum most of the world’s longest rivers. In February 2007, Martin Strel began an insane attempt to be the first person to swim the entire length of the world’s most dangerous river, the mighty Amazon.

Martin is an endurance swimmer from Slovenia, who swims rivers – the Mississippi, the Danube and the Yangtze to date – and he has highlighted their pollution to the world. It also means that the Big

River Man swam with alligators, piranhas, snakes, et cetera. Fortunately we don’t have these dangers in our North. Maybe the ferocious Jackfish.

It’s no surprise that we call the Mackenzie River the Deh Cho; it is a very big river. The Mackenzie River watershed is considered one of the largest and most intact ecosystems in North America, especially in the North. Our Mackenzie River is one of the longest pristine rivers and we should do what we can to use that as a selling point. There are many great communities and sights all along the Mackenzie River.

The documentaries on these courageous exploits have been seen internationally as he was shown by the National Geographic Channel and throughout many world film festivals. His films have been universally praised in all of these forums. This is the type of national and international exposure that we as the GNWT and our Tourism Marketing Strategy should support.

This would be a great idea to build on the momentum of NWT Day in Canada where we showcased our tourism potential. I envision that he will stop at each of our communities and we can have feasts and showcase local scenery and tourism stops. Hopefully, in Fort Simpson we can see him also go to the Nahanni National Park Reserve so that the world can once again see its beauty. Later today I will ask the Minister of ITI questions on how we can make this a reality.

Long Distance Swimmer Martin “big River Man” Strel
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Truth And Reconciliation Commission Call For Artistic Expressions
Members’ Statements

Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Northwest Territories is gifted with artists whose talents reflect our culture and history. As pointed out in the Department of Education, Culture and Employment Arts Strategy, art and artistic endeavours are important from a social, cultural, and economic perspective. The process of expression, and creation and production of art, celebrates, preserves and transmits culture. This appreciation and the benefits of the art is also shared by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, TRC, of Canada.

The TRC believes that artists have a keen, profound contribution to make in expressing both truth and reconciliation. I’d like to bring to the attention of the people and artists in the Northwest Territories that the TRC is inviting artists to submit works that express the truth, the impact and the legacy of the residential school experience.

The TRC is also inviting artists to submit works relating to apology, truth, cultural oppression, cultural genocide, resistance, resilience, spirituality,

remembrance, reconciliation, rejuvenation and restoration of Aboriginal culture and pride. Whether artistic expressions are created in addition to or are a substitute for individual statements given to the TRC, it is an important and meaningful way to express people’s experience and assist with reconciliation.

I would like to inform the artists of the Northwest Territories that have been affected by residential schools about this call for submission, and invite them to consider submitting their artistic expression by the December 31, 2013, deadline. More information can be obtained from the TRC website, www.trc.ca. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Truth And Reconciliation Commission Call For Artistic Expressions
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Yakeleya. Member for Frame Lake, Ms. Bisaro.

Reflections On Budget Address
Members’ Statements

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My Member’s statement today is a continuation of my budget comments from yesterday and it’s about a subject that I’ve spoken of many times before.

As I listened to the budget address last week, I was hoping to hear the Minister of Finance announce a new revenue source in our budget, but I was disappointed yet again. There is no reference to a new revenue stream in the 2013-14 operations budget. In fact, out of a 10-page budget address, only one small paragraph is devoted to revenue.

Our next year’s budget is pretty much a carbon copy of the current budget. Yet, Mr. Speaker, our needs are great. There are so many things we want and need to do as a government and as a territory to enhance the life for our residents. Things like a bigger Midwifery Program, comprehensive early childhood programs, more energy initiatives, maintaining the Dene Ko Day Shelter, increased education programs and services, upgraded highways, and replacing old infrastructure, our schools, our government buildings and the like.

The list is too long to mention everything. The bottom line is we need to increase our revenues in order to put in place all the things that we believe our territory needs.

The Finance Minister has explained this is a stay the course budget with few initiatives. So why not increase our revenue to give us financial breathing room?

There are opportunities for new revenue sources. Many have been explored by the Finance Minister and then rejected, and that is wrong, in my view. I know we’re limited to certain revenue sources because of the Territorial Financing Formula and the potential clawbacks of our own-source revenues. But to refuse to implement any significant new revenue source is short sighted.

Since the start of the 17

th Assembly, any time the

need for revenue is raised, the Minister of Finance or the Premier refer to devolution and the presumed financial windfall that we will inherit. Minister Miltenberger did so yesterday during Committee of the Whole. Resource royalties negotiated through devolution cannot be seen as our financial salvation. We have to be more forward thinking than that.

We, the Assembly and our residents, want autonomy. We want control over our territory. I do too. Part of that autonomy demands prudent planning and long-term thinking, and both of those require a recognition that we need to put in place a significant new revenue source to move this territory forward. I urge the government to reconsider their position for our next budget. Thank you.

Reflections On Budget Address
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Ms. Bisaro. Member for Range Lake, Mr. Dolynny.