This is page numbers 1977 – 2026 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.

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The House met at 1:30 p.m.

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Good afternoon, colleagues. Today I’d like to honour the memory of a woman who achieved some remarkable goals, while grounding her traditions through her family. She left them with lessons of strength, culture, tradition, work ethic and “to thine own self be true.”

Nagooyoak Mabel Pokiak Lumsden was born on Banks Island, the westernmost point of the Arctic Archipelago. In her early years, she spent time between her family’s summer camp in Tuktoyaktuk and their winter camp in Sachs Harbour. When she was five, she was taken to the residential school in Aklavik.

She remained there until she went to Sir John Franklin, where she not only graduated, she went on to do something unheard of at that time. She left the Northwest Territories to attend the Winnipeg School of Nursing, where she graduated in 1964.

This remarkable woman had a favourite saying: “Imagine that.” Imagine that an Inuvialuit woman of her time went to university not once, but four times, completing four different courses of study in medicine. Imagine that this woman understood how important it was to share her traditional knowledge of hunting, trapping, dance and sewing with her family and younger generations. And imagine that this same woman could bridge two worlds and impress upon her family and friends the importance of culture and language while carving a life in mainstream medicine.

When we are privileged to have a snapshot of the life of a woman like Nagooyoak Mabel Pokiak Lumsden, we must honour her. Against all odds, she became the first Inuit nurse in Canada and had a strong and lasting effect on all she met.

Ms. Pokiak Lumsden was a role model for so many and her lessons live on through her family and everyone she touched.

Her achievements reflect a determined life lived on her own terms, understanding the value of education, never forgetting the importance of her family and culture, and sharing her experiences and

stories with as many people as she could. She was a true Northerner with a resilient character, determination and the drive to prove that circumstance does not always dictate direction.

Ms. Pokiak Lumsden passed away on August 6, 2012. We offer our deepest condolences to her family and friends.

Item 2, Ministers’ statements. The honourable Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs, Mr. McLeod.

Minister's Statement 16-17(4): Accountability Framework For Community Governments
Ministers’ Statements

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Mr. Speaker, since the implementation of the New Deal for NWT Community Governments in 2007, community governments have been in control of their own infrastructure priorities. MACA has worked closely with the Northwest Territories Association of Communities and the local government administrators of the NWT to develop an accountability framework that emphasizes and reinforces the goals of the New Deal initiative and supports the Legislative Assembly’s goal of a strong North built on partnerships.

The framework is based on the five core areas of community government responsibility supported by MACA: good governance, financial management, sound administration, planning, and safe communities. It sets expectations for the monitoring, engagement and support the GNWT will provide to community governments as they go about meeting their responsibilities and it will help us to work in partnership to build sustainable, vibrant and safe communities.

The framework includes key indicators that measure the success and/or capacity of a community government. It provides information about why each indicator has been identified as important, a listing of potential outcomes that would be the result of successful community government performance in that area, and information about how MACA can engage with community governments to support their success.

The framework was identified in the department’s 2010-2015 strategic plan as an important tool for creating standard rules of engagement between MACA and community governments. We consulted with community governments, who were a key resource in fine-tuning the framework to ensure it works for both MACA and community government stakeholders.

The new framework will help the department target areas for training and focus strategic planning to better support community governments to achieve success in their operations. Reports will be an important part of MACA’s business planning and will allow for evidence-based decisions regarding community government’s funding and capacity building needs. They will also be useful for community governments in communicating with residents to ensure transparency in their operations.

MACA began implementing the accountability framework in the 2012-2013 fiscal year. A draft was circulated to communities at the NWT Association of Communities annual general meeting and will be formally circulated to community governments in 2013. The funding agreements provided to communities in June 2012 included reporting requirements that enable MACA to gather information to support the implementation of the accountability framework.

Implementation of the framework is also being supported through ongoing communications intended to ensure that the dialogue between community governments and the department is open and clear. The department will also be updating the community toolkit, available on the MACA website, to include tools and checklists designed to support communities as implementation of the framework progresses.

This framework will guide our future work in developing sustainable, vibrant, safe communities across this territory. I look forward to presenting it to community government representatives at MACA’s Good Governance Conference later this month. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 16-17(4): Accountability Framework For Community Governments
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. The honourable Minister for Justice, Mr. Abernethy.

Minister's Statement 17-17(4): Community Involvement Makes The Difference For RCMP
Ministers’ Statements

Great Slave

Glen Abernethy Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, sustainable, vibrant and safe communities is one of the goals of this Assembly. To help achieve this goal, the Government of the Northwest Territories has made it a priority for all NWT communities to have a community policing plan in place. Last year was the first year all 33 communities had dedicated

plans in place based on their own needs, resources and priorities.

These formal plans and the reporting structure were put into place several years ago. The difference the plans are making is evident. We now have communities participating in a full consultation to outline their priorities upfront. The second part of the plan requires police to provide a written report to the community leadership of their monthly results. This interaction fosters a situation where police are building trust within the community through accountability. The result is trust and respect from all people involved. This trust makes community police relationships stronger.

I want to give you an example of how community-specific priorities have worked. Every NWT community built the need to reduce drug and alcohol activity into their policing plans.

In Hay River the RCMP seized over five and a half pounds of marijuana. In addition, thousands of dollars in cash and many ounces of cocaine and crack cocaine have been taken out of the drug network. Charges were laid against 11 different individuals. We know these drugs were being transported across our border, as the majority of people charged did not live in our territory.

These results come by having people in the community working with their RCMP members. Something as simple as telling the police when an underage drinking party is underway can make a significant change in the amount of illegal drugs available in a community.

Last October a search at a home in Behchoko revealed a large quantity of drugs, over $7,000 in cash, and illegal liquor that was destined for smaller communities. This seizure is a step in the right direction to ensure public safety and reduce the negative effects of intoxication and addictions.

Check-stops by Tulita RCMP resulted in several seizures of liquor that would have been brought into the community, with total seizures for December amounting to a street value of over $10,000. Winter road check-stops will be continuing to keep the community safe.

For two weeks in December, Mr. Speaker, the Fort Good Hope detachment conducted several check-stops on the winter road that serves several communities. Over 80 bottles of liquor, valued over $7,000, were seized. The RCMP reported the community had a peaceful time with no calls to the RCMP for assistance for domestic violence, break and enters or other incidents, many of which we know are fueled by alcohol. We know continuing collaborative work between the RCMP and communities ensures the interception of illegal alcohol.

From these community leaders’ reports I spoke of earlier, Mr. Speaker, there is a section on Notable

Occurrences for the Month. In the Colville Lake report for December, it was noted that the community advised RCMP a person wanted on a Canada-wide warrant was in Colville Lake for the holidays. This individual was subsequently arrested and returned to jail.

The department is working with the RCMP and prosecutors to strengthen prosecution of Liquor Act offences through continued training of officers. We are continuing our educational and awareness efforts through the Not Us! program. I would be remiss not to mention the support we provide to community justice committees and victims services workers to allow them to continue their critical work in each community and with the RCMP members.

Mr. Speaker, as well as communities becoming involved with the RCMP, the commanding officer instructs members coming into a community for the first time on the necessity of engaging with residents through a local orientation program. This will assist members in understanding the cultural differences in their new home. A key component includes members meeting with both elders and youth in social situations. Although we can teach cross-cultural awareness in classrooms, nothing is as effective as firsthand experience.

I know all Members here will support their communities in their efforts to make a difference. Encourage people to speak up and work with the police to ensure priorities and the laws of our land are upheld. The results show it works. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 17-17(4): Community Involvement Makes The Difference For RCMP
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Abernethy. Item 3, Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Sahtu, Mr. Yakeleya.

Sahtu Teacher Education Proposal
Members’ Statements

Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I know we can all agree that there are a number of benefits to having locally trained professionals work in our region that come from our communities. Students, schools and communities benefit from an increase in cultural sensitivity and gain knowledge of Aboriginal history, language, and connection to the culture. In the Sahtu we have some success getting residents into the Teacher Education Program and our efforts continue.

In 2009 the Sahtu Education Council brought forward a well thought out proposal to prepare students academically for entrance in the teaching profession. This access program, which can be delivered in the Sahtu, would be available to students and residents who are interested in furthering their education in this field, creating the

much needed resources in our region and, more importantly, role models.

I urge the Department of Education to invest in this model of training that will benefit our region and cut our costs to the education system. This initiative would involve the divisional education council, and ECE and Aurora College taking partnership in lowering the cost as well. That is one of our priorities: partnership. This model can be near a similar program that was held in the Tlicho region which, I might add, has been very successful.

From the proposal, I quote, “The Sahtu youth of this and future generations deserve to be in a learning environment where people of their culture are interacting with them in a professional, learning community.” These words are from the people of the Sahtu region. It is my hope that the Minister and the Government of the Northwest Territories hears them and facilitates making the proposal a reality for the residents of the Sahtu region. We are looking at doing that in the Sahtu region where we can have young students who are graduating from high school to want to become teachers. That’s something that we’ve been saying as leaders in this House, is to have our own people as lawyers, judges, teachers, doctors, and this is one proposal that will help them break that gap in ensuring our people have someone to look up to. We’re not going to be here all our lives, and we need young people to fill those roles and start having role models in our communities.

Sahtu Teacher Education Proposal
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Yakeleya. The honourable Member for Hay River North, Mr. Bouchard.

Recognition Of NWT Teachers
Members’ Statements

Robert Bouchard Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Since this week is Education Week I would like to speak about the education system. Obviously, one of the most vital things that I think is part of the education system is our educators. We have some 800 educators in the Northwest Territories, and I think we need to take our time this week to recognize them and the hard efforts they put into our communities.

Yesterday we had the opportunity to meet with the NWT Teachers’ Association. They were able to provide us with information. It makes you think when you see the listing, in all 33 communities there’s at least one teacher. Even the small communities like Kakisa and Jean Marie River. They’re a vital part of our infrastructure in the Northwest Territories.

In preparation for making a statement on education, I was thinking, what do I want to say? I obviously wanted to talk about teachers. Personally, when we think of our lives growing up, we always have

teachers like Irma Miron for kindergarten, Jack Cooper for Grade 5, and then Mr. Gerry Goudreau for high school. He was a high school educator who gave me advice on where to go for university and stuff. Those are some of the people who influenced me in my life. I’d like to take the opportunity to thank the educators who are there right now working long, hard hours, grading papers and all this other stuff during their off hours.

In the process of this I was thinking, how do I thank them? Talking to the Teachers’ Association, they have a program that has been running for 16 years. I knew nothing of it until yesterday. I’m not sure why I didn’t know that, but it’s Thank You for Making a Difference. It’s a public awareness of the positive contributions NWT educators make to the lives of students. Every year they have students who put in notes about their teachers and the positive roles that they give them, then there’s a draw for some people to come in from outside of the communities to come to Yellowknife and they get to meet with each other.

Again, the whole concept is for me to thank the educators out there who are doing the hard work in the education system. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Recognition Of NWT Teachers
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Challenges Facing NWT Teachers
Members’ Statements

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As mentioned, this is Education Week and I’d like to acknowledge the 800-plus teachers across the NWT working to make a difference in the lives of the students in their schools. I especially want to acknowledge the over 200 teachers and teacher aides working in our 14 Yellowknife-area schools.

Research has proven many times over that the single most important factor in a child’s success in school is a teacher who cares, but there are challenging barriers that are outside an individual teacher’s control, barriers that hinder and impede students’ learning.

In a recent NWT Teachers’ Association survey, two issues are identified by Yellowknife educators as the most challenging. The first one is that of class size and class composition. As a result of our Inclusive Schooling Policy and the wide array of special needs served by schools, the number of students in NWT classrooms has reached crises proportions.

Special needs in today’s schools include gifted students, students with many different physical disabilities, as well as the behaviourly challenged. As teachers work to address individual student needs, their job has become more daunting. Seventy percent of NWT teachers are impacted by increased student behaviour challenges, as well as

an increased number of students with special needs. In addition, 64 percent of our teachers state that they have inadequate classroom support and that the availability of trained or qualified classroom assistants is not keeping pace with need.

Hand in hand with the first issue comes an ever-increasing workload for teachers, a load that is not conducive to optimal learning conditions for students. The demands converge on teachers from a variety of sources: curriculum and program implementation; reporting requirements and administrative paperwork; breakfast programs; school-based program activities, extra-curricular options, and events; fund-raising; coordinating and organizing on-the-land programs; local, regional and territorial committee participation; in-service requirements; as well as an increasing commitment to community engagement and community efforts with the home and families. It’s a long list, Mr. Speaker. While teachers’ main goal is the success of their students, the ever-increasing demands on their time and energy cannot be sustained if we want an optimal learning environment for students.

Secondly, the NWT’s policy of inclusive schooling must be backed up with adequate student support if we are to meet students’ needs and help each child reach his or her full potential. Teachers cannot do it alone. Thank you.

Challenges Facing NWT Teachers
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Ms. Bisaro. Member for Nahendeh, Mr. Menicoche.

Social Passing
Members’ Statements

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I, too, rise in recognition of Education Week and I’ll gear my Member’s statement towards that.

The Education Minister has recently mentioned his plan to review and renew our education system. I support this review and, I believe, it should be extensive. The practice of social passing should be one aspect of the review. It has long been a concern in the communities that I represent. The department has always denied that social passing is our policy, but it is a practice that some schools use.

Students are passed to the next grade, even though they are not ready academically. They move along in their age group, and quite often many of the rest are not ready to advance, either.

Poor attendance is part of the problem, as the Minister knows. He has spoken of it often, especially with respect to the Aboriginal Student Achievement Strategy. Some students miss so many days of school that it adds up to two years lost by the time they get to the end of high school. It is a rare genius who can skip two years of school and still graduate knowing all they were supposed

to learn. It is no wonder that many students finish school without truly being qualified.

I hope the Minister’s review will get to the bottom of it, Mr. Speaker. Why do students miss so much school and what can we do about it? Every school should have an attendance strategy.

I cannot begin to list the damages done by promoting substandard students through our schools, students who fail when they go to secondary school or fail when they get to college or university. I know that a good education is the product of partnerships with parents, teachers, students and everyone in the community. I hope the Minister’s review will produce concrete ways to strengthen these partnerships.

The traditional way of learning in most of my communities is to watch and hear how something is done, then keep practicing until you get it right. We have high standards and we’d like to see it throughout the whole Northwest Territories. Mahsi cho.

Social Passing
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Menicoche. The honourable Member for Range Lake, Mr. Dolynny.