This is page numbers 1661 - 1682 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 communities.

Topics

The House met at 1:30 p.m.

---Singing of O Canada

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Mr. Clerk, would you ascertain if the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, the Honourable George Tuccaro, is prepared to enter the Chamber to open the Fourth Session of the 17th Legislative

Assembly.

Opening Address
Opening Address

George Tuccaro Commissioner Of The Northwest Territories

Good afternoon. Please be seated. Speaker Jacobson, Premier McLeod, Members of the Legislative Assembly, ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to be here today.

The 17th Legislative Assembly has a vision of a

strong, self-sufficient and prosperous territory where all our communities and regions have opportunities. It sees a territory where people are healthy, educated and employed. It wants residents to share the benefits of a strong, diversified economy, live in safe and sustainable communities, and have the programs and supports they need to achieve personal success for themselves and their families.

Ours is a territory of great opportunity, ladies and gentlemen. We have a wealth of natural resources that could create prosperity not just for our residents but for Canada as a whole. We have gold, diamonds and rare earth metals. We are a potential energy powerhouse with world-class oil and gas resources in the central Mackenzie and the Beaufort-Delta, and hydro potential to rival Quebec’s James Bay Project.

Responsible, sustainable development of these resources will help to create a strong and thriving economy here in the Northwest Territories, and we need a strong economy if we want to be able to look after our people and our environment. A strong economy will create jobs and opportunities, giving our people new choices for employment where choices are limited today. Increased jobs in our

communities and regions will let people support themselves and their families. Businesses will benefit from expanding opportunities, new investment and increased consumer spending. Governments will benefit from growing revenues that will help fund investments in our people, infrastructure and economy, and support critical social programs to ensure our residents can participate in and enjoy the benefits of a prosperous NWT.

Yet, opportunity is only a beginning. It takes hard work, planning and determination to turn opportunities into success. In the 15 months since your government took office, it has been working to create the conditions for success. We cannot have healthy, educated people without a strong, diversified economy, and it has been investing in infrastructure that will support economic development and the delivery of government services. It has been working on plans and programs to help people overcome social and personal challenges that keep them from realizing their goals and aspirations. And it has been making the difficult decisions about how to manage its limited resources while ensuring Northerners still have access to the programs and services they need.

The year 2012 saw your government deliver on some major plans and initiatives that will have long-term benefits for the territory, including the completion of East Three School in Inuvik ahead of schedule and under budget. The state-of-the-art school will play a critical role in helping children and youth acquire the training and skills they need to take advantage of new opportunities and jobs for years to come.

We also saw the opening of the Deh Cho Bridge. This major piece of public infrastructure will – like the planned Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk highway – help to improve our transportation system, lower the cost of living and contribute to the territory’s economic development.

Your government continued to move ahead with plans to begin construction on the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk portion of the Mackenzie Valley Highway, taking part in regulatory hearings held by the Environmental Impact Review Board. The board released its report last week supporting the construction of the highway, with conditions. The

Government of the Northwest Territories looks forward to taking the next steps toward beginning construction on this highway, which will support economic activity in the region now and in the future, and help us realize the national dream of a country connected from sea to sea to sea.

In today’s world, communications infrastructure can be as important to economic development as physical infrastructure. That is why the Government of the Northwest Territories will continue to pursue the construction of the Mackenzie Valley fibre line. This project will provide high-speed Internet to communities along the valley, creating new business opportunities, supporting development of the Inuvik Satellite Facility and improving service delivery options.

The Sahtu region will be the site of much economic activity this year. The Government of the Northwest Territories continues to invest in this region so its people – and all the people of the NWT – can realize the full benefits of this activity. Your government is working with industry, business and residents of the region to support development this year.

We cannot have a strong, diversified economy without healthy, educated people, and your government continues to invest in the health and wellness of our residents. This past year it launched a new residential school curriculum, the first of its kind in the country, in cooperation with the Government of Nunavut. Your government also launched the Ministers’ Forum on Addictions and Community Wellness to look at new community-based treatment operations to better address the challenges that our people face. And it is engaged in the renewal of the Early Childhood Development Framework, working with Members of this Assembly, experts, communities, stakeholders and the public so we can give our children the best start possible.

Understanding that poverty holds back many members of our society, your government has also been working on an Anti-Poverty Strategy, in partnership with the federal and Aboriginal governments, business, industry, non-profit and non-governmental organizations. Poverty is a complicated issue and it will take the efforts of all sectors of NWT society to address it. An initial draft of the developing Anti-Poverty Strategy was released late last year and will be finalized this year.

The Government of the Northwest Territories understands that a healthy society and healthy economy depend upon a healthy environment. Your government continues to work to protect the land, air, water and wildlife that sustain all of us. This past year it has made progress on negotiating a Transboundary Water Management Agreement with Alberta that will help protect the waters of the

Mackenzie River Basin. A deal is very close now. The government has also made progress on a new Wildlife Act that it expects to introduce in this House in the near future.

Your government also continues to pursue alternative energy projects that will help to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support increased economic development. Developing our hydro resources and extending transmission lines will provide clean, renewable energy to support industry and help communities and individuals get off diesel. Solar is an increasingly viable option, and last year saw the opening of the biggest solar energy installation north of 60, in Fort Simpson. Your government will continue to pursue solar energy initiatives as part of its Solar Energy Strategy.

Expanding and supporting the use of biomass is another way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create new business opportunities. Your government will continue to lead by example and convert public buildings to biomass heat systems, including the first projects outside the North and South Slave regions. Creating a market will help to create a domestic biomass industry, and your government looks forward to the pending opening of a northern wood pellet manufacturing facility later this year.

In 2012, the Government of the Northwest Territories was pleased to have the Gwich’in Tribal Council and the Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated join it and the Inuvialuit Regional Council and NWT Metis Nation as signatories to the Devolution Agreement-in-Principle along with the Government of Canada.

Two thousand twelve also saw your government enter into formal government-to-government agreements with the Gwich’in Tribal Council, NWT Metis Nation and Tlicho Government. At a time when Aboriginal issues are much in the news as governments in the South try to address the desires of Aboriginal people to be more involved in decision-making and the economy, your government is leading the way.

As the government for all people in the Northwest Territories, your government has long seen and understood the benefit of working in partnership with the Aboriginal governments of the Northwest Territories. Aboriginal governments are more than just stakeholders to be consulted. They are governments in their own right, with their own jurisdictions and constituencies. They are major land owners with an interest in managing and protecting our land, air, water and wildlife.

Aboriginal government partnership is critical to our success as a territory, and the Government of the Northwest Territories actively seeks to involve them in its decisions, initiatives and activities, in a spirit of recognition, respect and responsibility. The

government is pleased to sit beside Aboriginal governments in devolution negotiations and to have them work as partners in initiatives like the development of project description reports for the Mackenzie Valley Highway. It seeks to ensure that Aboriginal people share in the benefits of development in the NWT, by calling for the negotiation of socio-economic agreements and impact benefit agreements as part of development approvals. And the Government of the NWT supports Aboriginal people’s aspirations for self-sufficiency and self-determination through the ongoing negotiation and implementation of lands, resources and self-government agreements.

The territory is stronger when we work together, and our people all will benefit from continuing goodwill and cooperation between all the governments that serve and represent them. As we work together for the benefit of all our people, we can be an example to the rest of Canada of what can be accomplished when Aboriginal people are an integral part of decision-making and full participants in the political, economic and social life of a jurisdiction.

Creating economic and mineral development strategies were identified as priorities of this Assembly at its outset. In late 2012, the Government of the Northwest Territories, in partnership with the Northern Aboriginal Business Association, the NWT Chamber of Commerce, the NWT Association of Communities and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency began work on an Economic Opportunities Strategy. Making the most of the economic potential of the Northwest Territories requires a strategic, managed approach. A completed Economic Opportunities Strategy will identify opportunities for developing a strong, diversified economy in all regions of the Northwest Territories, based on extensive public engagement, input from experts, and study of best practices.

Just last week your government announced the beginning of work on a Mineral Development Strategy in partnership with the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines. Mining is the backbone of the NWT’s economy, and we need to be sure it is managed in a way that creates long-term benefits for the people of the territory. A completed strategy will help us continue to develop our mineral resources responsibly and sustainably.

Making sure that people throughout the NWT benefit from a growing economy will be another priority this year. Your government is looking at ways to decentralize positions both in the near term and following devolution. We are also putting a renewed focus on affirmative action this year so we can create a more representative public service. Both of these initiatives will help ensure that more Northerners in more communities have

opportunities to participate in and prosper from a strong, diversified economy.

Finally, ladies and gentlemen, after more than a decade, the Government of the Northwest Territories and its partners, the Inuvialuit Regional Council, Gwich’in Tribal Council, Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated and NWT Metis Nation, are nearing the conclusion of devolution negotiations with Canada. Your government expects to have an agreement in the very near future that will finally see our shared vision of Northerners managing NWT public lands and resources for the benefit of all our residents a reality.

This agreement holds the promise of significant economic, environmental and political benefits for all residents, businesses, investors and governments in the territory. Devolution will provide significant authority to the Legislative Assembly, with approximately 24 acts and regulations governing public land, water and resources in the NWT becoming territorial legislation on the transfer date. These are substantive pieces of legislation that will provide your government with the authority to manage and regulate public lands and development in the Northwest Territories in a way that meets northern needs and reflects northern priorities.

The Government of the Northwest Territories is committed to finalizing an agreement that is good for our territory and our people, and negotiations are expected to conclude in the very near future. The government has considered the financial terms of the agreement very carefully and is confident it will be able to manage transferred responsibilities without drawing on resource revenues. While final details still remain to be worked out about the specific legislative authorities being transferred, including those in the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act, we must remember that significant authority and responsibility is being returned to the people of the North.

Now is the North’s time. I was pleased to take part in NWT Days in Ottawa last week, and it was clear to me from the response there that there is great interest in our territory, in southern Canada. Our delegation was welcomed warmly everywhere it went, and the receptions and events were well attended by many, including federal Ministers and MPs, members of the diplomatic corps, senior civil servants, media and stakeholders.

People recognize that the North will be a critical part of Canada’s future. We have the people and resources to fuel economic growth at home and across Canada. We also know how to build consensus and create effective working partnerships, a fact that was obvious from the makeup of the NWT delegation, which included the Premier and Cabinet, MLAs, Aboriginal leaders and business leaders. With Aboriginal issues in the

forefront these days among Canada’s political leaders, our show of northern solidarity made an impression. Learning how to work cooperatively with Aboriginal communities and governments is something we know how to do here and something we can share with the rest of the country. There can be no doubt that the Northwest Territories has something to contribute to the national discussion, can offer solutions to national challenges, and will be central to this country’s future.

At this time I would like to acknowledge the hard work of the 17th Legislative Assembly and

encourage you all to carry the momentum into the budget session you are about to embark on.

During this session the Government of the Northwest Territories will be introducing the following bills for consideration by the House:

• Appropriation Act (Operations Expenditures),

2013-2014
Opening Address

George Tuccaro Commissioner Of The Northwest Territories

• Supplementary Appropriation Act (Infrastructure

Expenditures), No. 4, 2011-2012

• Supplementary Appropriation Act (Operations

Expenditures), No. 4, 2011-2012

• Supplementary Appropriation Act (Infrastructure

Expenditures), No. 3, 2012-2013

• Supplementary Appropriation Act (Operations

Expenditures), No. 3, 2012-2013

The government considers these bills essential to the good conduct of government business, and as such, I recommend their passage.

As Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, I now declare open the Fourth Session of the 17th Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories.

Thank you, merci beaucoup, mahsi cho, quanani, koana.

---Applause

Speaker’s Opening Comments
Speaker’s Opening Comments

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Good afternoon, colleagues. On behalf of all Members, I would like to thank Commissioner Tuccaro for opening the Fourth Session of the 17th Legislative Assembly. Also on

behalf of all Members, thank you to Kimberly Galbaransingh for a beautiful version of O Canada, and to pastor Ryan Peters from the Yellowknife Vineyard Church for leading us in prayer.

This House extends its welcome to everyone who has joined us today. I would like to take this opportunity to belatedly, but most sincerely, wish my colleagues, our guests in the Chamber today, and all Northwest Territories residents a peaceful and healthy New Year.

We have some special guests in the gallery I would like to acknowledge, a group of young men and women participating in the Ontario Legislature Internship Program. Members will be seeing them

in the Assembly this week as they learn about the North and consensus government. A warm welcome to you all. Please rise.

---Applause

I would like to welcome former Member, Minister, and former Speaker Mr. David Krutko to the House today.

---Applause

And His Worship, Mayor of Tuktoyaktuk, Mr. Mervin Gruben. Welcome.

---Applause

I’d never forget my presiding table officer, captain, former Speaker, Sergeant-at-Arms, Mr. Tony Whitford.

---Applause

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly extend the condolences of the House on the passing of Mr. Gordon Robertson, Commissioner of the Northwest Territories from 1953 to 1963. It was under the hand of Mr. Robertson that the seeds were sown that eventually led to the establishment of Nunavut in 1999. I echo the words of many others in highlighting Mr. Robertson’s dedication and love of Canada, particularly as it relates to the North.

Many of our communities have also lost loved ones since we last met, and when we lose loved ones in our communities, we all feel the loss. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of Dusty Carothers, who lived in Tuk for years. He was a mechanic and helped so many people. He’ll be missed by the staff of EGT. He was a good friend.

Charlie Ruben of Paulatuk passed away. Condolences to his family and his daughters.

For my aunt, Emily Taylor, who passed away two weeks ago, to Linda, William, Bertha, Darrel, Ronnie, Mary Anne, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Ten days ago we lost a good friend, Bob Heath from Inuvik, who passed away in Antarctica. I will be making remarks and condolences to his family here in the House tomorrow.

To all the families who lost loved ones, may you find strength and comfort in one another, and our thoughts and prayers are with you.

And finally, colleagues, I would like to remind you all of the decision made by this Assembly last November regarding the use of tablet computers in the Chamber during formal session.

The motion adopted by this House permitted the use of tablet computers during all proceedings in the Chamber, with some limited exceptions. Tablets may not be used during the prayer, at any time when the Commissioner is in the Chamber, during the Speaker’s opening or closing remarks or

rulings, during votes, or at any other time as designated by the Speaker.

This motion expanded the use of tablet computers in the 17th Assembly as a standard tool for all

Members. Members may now refer to a tablet in place of paper speaking notes.

As noted in the report of the Standing Committee on Rules and Procedures, tablet use has resulted in a reduction in the amount of paper used in this Assembly and has made retrieving information more convenient for all Members. Documents equal to several binders of paper can now be stored on one device.

Of course, colleagues, I cannot stress enough that all electronic devices in the Chamber must be on silent mode and must not disrupt the proceedings of this Assembly.

In November the House also agreed that the use of tablet computers is subject to the overriding discretion of the Speaker, to ensure order and decorum in the Chamber.

Please be assured that I take this direction very seriously and will continue to safeguard the dignity and decorum of this Chamber. I do this so that all Members can carry out their work in the most respectful and efficient manner possible.

I will close here, colleagues, since I know you are eager to begin your work. But first, to mark the opening of the Fourth Session of the 17th Legislative Assembly, I invite everyone to join the Commissioner and Members for a short reception in the Great Hall.

We will resume in 15 minutes. Thank you.

---SHORT RECESS

Speaker’s Opening Comments
Speaker’s Opening Comments

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Item 3, Ministers’ statements. The honourable Minister of Finance, Mr. Miltenberger.

Minister's Statement 1-17(4): Notice Of Budget Address
Ministers’ Statements

Thebacha

Michael Miltenberger Minister of Finance

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I give notice that I will deliver the budget address on Thursday, February 7, 2013.

Minister's Statement 1-17(4): Notice Of Budget Address
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Miltenberger. Item 4, Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Mackenzie Delta, Mr. Blake.

Hand Games Tournament
Members’ Statements

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to welcome everyone back to the House. I would

also like to wish everyone in the Mackenzie Delta a happy New Year and all the best for 2013.

I would also like to congratulate six youth from Tsiigehtchic who won the Youth Hand Games Tournament in Tulita over the weekend. Starting with the captain, Jared Blake, Dale Blake Jr., Aiden Andre, Darius Andre, Thomas Norbert, and Davey Lennie Jr. Congratulations again on a job well done. These youth are learning a tradition that has lasted for many years.

Also, a thank you to Joey McCarthy who was the chaperone. Keep up the good work. Also, a job well done to the community of Tsiigehtchic for their support in sending the youth to Tulita for the hand games tournament.

Hand Games Tournament
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Condolences To Families In The Sahtu For Lost Loved Ones
Members’ Statements

Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to welcome all my colleagues back to session here. Throughout the years as a Member, we as MLAs get invited to functions and celebrations. We also get invited to other events that are sometimes not so celebratory, such as funerals and wakes.

I want to rise today to talk about the specific losses that we’ve had in the Sahtu. I’ve heard from our other colleagues of some of the people they lost in their ridings. For example, up in the Mackenzie Delta, Mr. Frank Firth, a good friend of mine that passed away in Fort McPherson, or the pilot for whom we just had a memorial in Inuvik.

Throughout the years as an MLA, from time to time we’re caught in either sitting in Assembly here or at one of the committee meetings or we get called to go to our communities to pay respects for the elder or young person. Sometimes there’s a conflict for us to either go or stay here and do business on behalf of the people or show our support for the people back in our communities. We deal with that from time to time. Death has no appointment. That is one of the hardest parts in our small communities. We look, and they have their own customs; people have their own customs and traditions how to handle death.

I just want to pay our condolences to the people in the Sahtu for the passing of the elders. I want to name off Marie Boniface, an elder from Fort Good Hope who passed away recently; Mr. Antoine Kochon from Colville Lake; Marie Therese Kenny from Deline; Elizabeth Kodakin from Deline. Of course, we lost some younger people: Mark Collier from Norman Wells; my cousin Johnny Lennie from Norman Wells last summer; Nicole Horassi; and a young lady from Fort Good Hope, Faith Kochon.

We offer our prayers to the families, and we’re thinking about them even as we’re working.

Condolences To Families In The Sahtu For Lost Loved Ones
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Yakeleya. The honourable Member for Weledeh, Mr. Bromley.

Achievements Of Speed Skater Michael Gilday
Members’ Statements

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I open this winter session very happily by reporting on the tremendous achievement of Weledeh speed skating marvel Michael Gilday, Canadian National Men’s Short-track Speed Skating Champion.

On January 20th Michael edged out the reigning

Canadian champion to take the championship title. With that win, he qualifies to compete in his third World Championships competition later this year.

Given time constraints, I will mention just some of the spectacular accomplishments racked up by Michael since his first Gold ulu as a juvenile at the Arctic Winter Games in 1998. He is the present Canadian world record holder in the 1,500 metres, held the 1,000 metre world record from 2007 to 2009, and was the 500 metre Canadian record holder from 2009 to 2011. He was a member of the World Championship Canadian Men’s Relay Team in 2011 and the world record-setting men’s relay team in 2012.

Since his first World Cup event in 2006-2007, he has competed in 23 World Cup events, with a record of one Gold, four Silver and two Bronze medals. He has been a member of the Canadian National Speed Skating Team since 2008.

This past weekend Michael competed at this year’s fifth World Cup event in Sochi, Russia, and is now preparing for the last World Cup races of the season this weekend in Dresden, Germany. He returns to Europe for the World Championships in Debrecen, Hungary, in early March.

Michael will begin preparations in August for the Canadian Olympic trials. We look forward to him carrying his record-breaking streak forward to next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi.

What a record! Michael Gilday shows how an individual can take on the world and win. Michael has the gift of talent, yes, but he also has the guts and determination, the advantages of excellent coaching and program support, the perseverance to overcome broken bones and get back at it, and the blessings of a supportive and inspiring family and community that have made him a world-class champion. He has written the name Northwest Territories in the rolls of international achievement and continues to make us all proud.

I ask you to join me in saluting this latest fabulous achievement and wishing Michael all the best. On to the Olympics!

Achievements Of Speed Skater Michael Gilday
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Bromley. The honourable Member for Inuvik Boot Lake, Mr. Moses.