This is page numbers 1859 – 1898 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 1:31 p.m.

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Good afternoon, colleagues.

Members, before we begin today – in addition to wishing you all a happy Valentine’s Day…

…I am going to beat Norman to the punch this year. I would like to send a special Valentine’s Day wish to my wife, Jenny, mother of my children, my best friend, my life partner. Thank you for your love and care, your patience – she’s got a lot of patience with me doing my job – and also for being an amazing mother to our children. I am only able to do the work because I have my wife’s support, Mr. Speaker. I know she cares. Happy Valentine’s Day to my wife, Jenny.

Back home up in Tuk, John and Mabel Noksana, John and Mabel, it’s their anniversary today. So happy anniversary to John and Mabel, and happy Valentine’s Day.

---Applause

I would like to draw your attention to the Canadian flags that are on your desks. Tomorrow, February 15th , is National Flag of Canada Day.

It was on February 15, 1965, that the first red and white Canadian flag, with its distinctive maple leaf, flew proudly over Parliament Hill.

Our Canadian flag is recognized all over the world as the flag of a people who cherish the ideals of democracy, freedom and respect.

I know we don’t see any maple trees in this part of Canada, but we proudly fly our Canadian flag all across the Northwest Territories as a symbol of our unity with all Canadians.

Please join me, colleagues, celebrating Flag Day for the great country we live in.

Item 2, Ministers’ statements. The honourable Minister for Industry, Tourism and Investment, Mr. Ramsay.

Minister’s Statement 10-17(4): Mineral Development Strategy Update
Ministers’ Statements

Kam Lake

David Ramsay Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment

Mr. Speaker, the Northwest Territories has long been recognized as a land rich in resource potential. One of the priorities of this Assembly is to strengthen and diversify the economy, and as part of that priority, we identified the need to have a comprehensive, environmentally sustainable Mineral Development Strategy in place.

Mr. Speaker, as with the Economic Opportunities Strategy I spoke about yesterday, the Mineral Development Strategy is part of a bigger picture. It complements other initiatives the GNWT is undertaking, such as the Economic Opportunities Strategy, and other linked initiatives such as the Land Use and Sustainability Framework and a Northwest Territories Anti-Poverty Strategy.

It will also be closely integrated with the NWT Energy Plan. Both energy development and mineral development share the same key challenge: a lack of infrastructure across the territory. Affordable energy provision and mineral development needs infrastructure.

I am pleased to report that the Mineral Development Strategy is well underway and will play a key role in helping our communities to be sustainable, vibrant and free from poverty.

It was officially launched just a couple of weeks ago at the 2013 Mineral Exploration Roundup in Vancouver. This is the world’s leading technical mineral exploration conference and gave us the opportunity to signal to thousands of potential investors that we are ready to do business.

While the NWT has vast potential as an untapped source of diamonds, gold, rare earths and other minerals, attracting investment to the territory has sometimes been a challenge. We are aware that the complex regulatory process has often meant potential investors think twice before heading north.

But even so, mineral development is the backbone of the NWT economy.

Our four producing mines contribute $770 million in spending every year and employ more than 3,000

people. We want to ensure mineral development continues to play an important role in our economy and ensure the industry remains one of the largest employers of NWT residents. Our strategy will provide a framework to ensure our mineral resources continue to be developed in a sustainable way that benefits NWT residents and upholds our commitment to protect the environment.

By taking steps to develop a clear policy and direction for mineral development in the NWT, the GNWT is making a solid commitment to strengthening and diversifying our economy.

To advance the strategy, we produced a discussion paper to encourage a public conversation about our mineral development industry. This was distributed at the launch event and has already been sent to people and businesses throughout the territory that have a stake in the industry. It is also available on the ITI website and we are looking for responses from the public.

To encourage this conversation, I have appointed a three-person expert advisory panel to travel throughout the territory and to consult with other stakeholders around Canada. They are gathering feedback and will provide recommendations on drafting the final strategy. We expect to have the strategy completed by June.

Meetings took place in Yellowknife all last week, and Norman Wells and Inuvik this week. The panel is meeting with representatives and executives from diamond mining and mineral exploration companies, industry, training and educational institutions, Aboriginal organizations, local governments and local community organizations, as well as local chambers of commerce.

We have already received valuable input and recommendations about what a final Mineral Development Strategy should contain, and expect to receive even more as these meetings continue.

Our most important stakeholders are those that work in the mineral development sector on an everyday basis. They are the ones who make those initial investments that eventually benefit us all. We have entered into a partnership with the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines to make sure that the strategy is comprehensive and that all key stakeholders have the opportunity to provide their input. I look forward to continuing this discussion in the months ahead. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 10-17(4): Mineral Development Strategy Update
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Ramsay. The honourable Minister of Justice, Mr. Abernethy.

Minister's Statement 11-17(4): Success Of The Aboriginal Court Work Program
Ministers’ Statements

Great Slave

Glen Abernethy Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to the success of legal aid’s

Aboriginal Court Work Program. This program has existed for over 30 years, and the court workers were brought into the public service over a decade ago. Our nine court workers are present in the visitors gallery today.

This program ensures that Aboriginal people charged with criminal offences receive timely and accurate information at the earliest possible stage of the criminal justice process. Our court workers also help residents with family law and other legal matters, and help residents navigate the legal aid system. They are also the point people for legal aid’s Community Outreach Program.

We are fortunate to have a group of dedicated and talented court workers, all of whom have made a long-term commitment to the people of the North. Our court workers are located in Behchoko, Fort Good Hope, Fort Simpson, Fort Smith, Hay River, Inuvik and Yellowknife. They travel into all the communities regularly with the court circuit.

Mr. Speaker, I am not the only one to note the success of this program. Justice Canada recently released the result of the 2011 Northwest Territories Client Survey. This surveyed the program’s clients and found that all of them were either satisfied or very satisfied with the information they received from the court worker.

The survey also showed that 84 percent of the clients were referred to legal services, and that 95 percent of those clients in court had legal representation. These numbers reflect the breadth of coverage available through our Legal Aid Program, and that those in the criminal justice system are being represented.

Finally, I would note that our court workers play an important education role, with more than half of the clients reporting that the information they received from their court workers helped them understand the lawyers, judges and court personnel.

Mr. Speaker, our talented and dedicated court workers are making a difference for those residents who come into contact with the justice system. I will be pleased to officially welcome them to the House at the appropriate time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 11-17(4): Success Of The Aboriginal Court Work Program
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Abernethy. The honourable Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, Mr. Lafferty.

Minister's Statement 12-17(4): Aurora College Review
Ministers’ Statements

Monfwi

Jackson Lafferty Minister of Education, Culture and Employment

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment is committed to strategic communications, coordinated program planning and delivery, and strong working relationships with its partners.

Aurora College is a key part of our educational system and plays a critical role in building a strong,

sustainable future for our territory. The college recently reorganized its operational structure and we are reviewing the improvements, analyzing the functional structure and identifying any gaps. We are working with the college to examine, inspect and report on current operations and clarify roles and responsibilities.

Our review includes working with staff to ensure an understanding of roles and responsibilities, operational processes, decision-making, and clear roles and protocols.

The department will use existing resources to fund this review, to cover the years 2009 to 2012, with the completed report and recommendations by March 31, 2013.

Mr. Speaker, as we work together to improve our processes and services, I would like to acknowledge that this is Aurora College Week. All three campuses and 23 community learning centres are hosting activities, including presentations, fundraisers, contests and games. This is an annual celebration of college spirit that brings together students and staff outside the classroom. The college is a strong advocate of community-based learning, and works to foster strong ties with communities. This celebratory week also encourages the public to learn about Aurora College’s many programs and opportunities for upgrading and training. The department proudly supports Aurora College and takes part in celebrating Aurora College Week.

Mr. Speaker, our people are our territory’s greatest resource. We must make sure they have tools and opportunities to realize their potential. Having effective and efficient operations in place will not only strengthen our partnership with Aurora College, it will contribute to this Assembly’s goal of a strong and independent North. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 12-17(4): Aurora College Review
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Minister Lafferty. Item 3, Members’ statements. Member for Hay River South, Mrs. Groenewegen.

Previous Day’s Motion On Hot Water Heater Replacement Program
Members’ Statements

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Every morning in committee we discuss the previous day’s business, so I’d like to talk a little bit about yesterday’s business in this House. We’ll call it previous day’s business.

I’m disappointed that when the Members of this House passed a motion suggesting that we could possibly look at some money to put into the conversion of electric hot water heaters to diesel hot water heaters as a means of some energy

efficiency on this side of the House, that it was met with such disdain by the Minister of ENR.

I carefully read over Hansard, and actually you cannot read in the actual words the tone of what we felt over here after we passed that motion. Of course, we know we’ve been through six months of business plans, of course we know this wasn’t brought up before, but as Members on this side of the House, we do have the right to bring forth what we consider to be, collectively, a good idea at any time that we want to.

The Minister was clearly… Well, I don’t know what the word is; I have to be careful here. It appeared that the Minister was annoyed by our suggestion, and I do not appreciate that. Yes, there is possibility of LNG in the future. Yes, there may be already many good initiatives going on, but this was a little idea that we came up with up on this side of the House and I felt like the response from the government, vis-a-vis the Minister of ENR, was very dismissive, I felt like the answer was condescending in the sense that we know we can’t pull out the power subsidy from our constituents right now, suggesting that that that’s the only place where we could get a little bit of money to change over electric hot water heaters to diesel hot water heaters.

Oh, well, let’s go back to the PUB then and let’s cut the subsidy for all the power rates in the Northwest Territories. That’s not an alternative. There’s lots of money being spent other places in this government other than with the power subsidy, where, if we wanted to find a little bit of money to do this, we could do so. But to throw that out there was almost like, oh, my gosh, no, we can’t do that, I mean, it struck fear in the heart of people to think that we as a group would possibly support such a pullback on that power subsidy. You couldn’t do that on short notice and in a rash kind of a way.

All I’m saying is we do have the odd idea over here, we like to put it forward. Thanks for the respect. If you could just give us the time of day. Thank you.

Previous Day’s Motion On Hot Water Heater Replacement Program
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Assembly Of First Nations Student Video Contest
Members’ Statements

Daryl Dolynny Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I, too, wish to rise here today and wish my wife of 21 years, Cindy, a happy Valentine’s Day.

Today I want to let all NWT First Nation students know from grade school to high school about an exciting national video contest that is being hosted by the Assembly of First Nations. AFN wants students to talk about their school and education. What do they like about their school? How is their school making a difference in their life? How would

they like to change it to make it even better? If they could change things, what change would they make and what would their education be if it was to be better? These are just some of the topics that students can choose from.

All students participating in this contest will have the opportunity to win a school visit by National Chief Shawn Atleo. A lottery will be held for all participants and a name will be chosen at random. The cool thing is that National Chief Atleo will visit the winner’s school before the end of the 2013 school year.

The students don’t have much time. This contest closes on February 28, 2013. So if you’re listening in, you can go to the Assembly of First Nations website at www.afn.com or e-mail to [email protected]

I strongly encourage all NWT First Nation students to pick up a video camera or, for most of them, just to use their trusty old smartphone and get creative. Let’s see if we can have a winner here from the Northwest Territories. Good luck. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Assembly Of First Nations Student Video Contest
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

One Billion Rising, V-Day 2013 Campaign
Members’ Statements

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today is not only Valentine’s Day, as evidenced by my colleague Mr. Dolynny, but it is also the 15th anniversary of V-Day.

V-Day is an organized response against violence towards women. Today is also the launch of a new campaign, the One Billion Rising Campaign. One Billion Rising invites one billion people, representing the number of women on the planet who have been raped or beaten, to walk out of their jobs, schools, homes, and dance. I won’t be dancing today, but maybe next year we’ll all be dancing.

The One Billion Rising Campaign can be a catalyst. It can unify and strengthen existing anti-violence efforts, and it can lay the groundwork for new educational, protective and legislative endeavours throughout the world.

Here in the NWT, family violence is a huge issue and work is being done to address the issue of family violence in the NWT. The Coalition Against Family Violence, in existence for some time now, is a territorial interagency group that brings together individuals, non-government and government agencies to share information and put in place projects in keeping with their mandate. As a collaborative, they have a strong voice and bring a vast amount of expertise and experience to the table. Some of the initiatives that have developed include Family Violence Awareness Week, Take

Back the Night, White Ribbon Campaign and the healing program for men who use violence, as mentioned by Minister Abernethy.

Over the years, the coalition has developed an action plan to combat family violence. We are now on phase 3 of that plan. The action plan phase 3, was released last year with 19 recommendations. Many of those recommendations need funding for the coalition to accomplish them and to keep the coalition’s momentum going. The coalition has accomplished a lot, but the work is far from finished.

A recent recommendation from the NWT chief coroner, following the death of Alice Black in 2009, calls for a long-term public education campaign similar to an anti-smoking campaign, to curb the culture of acceptance of domestic and family violence. These are the sorts of things the coalition is working towards. On this day, V-Day 2013, we as legislators and policymakers must remember our role in helping the coalition achieve their goal of reducing family violence in the NWT. We in the NWT can join the one billion rising. Thank you.

One Billion Rising, V-Day 2013 Campaign
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Ms. Bisaro. Member for Deh Cho, Mr. Nadli.