This is page numbers 2333 – 2388 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 community.

Topics

The House met at 1:30 p.m.

---Prayer

Speaker’s Ruling
Prayer

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Good afternoon, colleagues. Before we proceed with the orders of the day, I wish to make a ruling on the series of written questions submitted by the Member for Inuvik Boot Lake, Mr. Moses, on Monday, March 4, 2013.

Mr. Moses and all honourable Members need to be reminded of and respect your rules governing written questions. Written questions may only contain one initial question and four supplementary questions. Members may not circumvent this rule by simply renumbering their questions into smaller subsections. This is contrary to the spirit and intent of your rules.

I must rule Mr. Moses’ initial series of questions out of order, as they did not conform to the rules. After I brought these limitations to Mr. Moses’ attention, he continued with “new written questions to the Minister of Health and Social Services’ which did, in fact, adhere to our rules and I will allow these questions to stand. However, I will ask Mr. Moses to resubmit his earlier series of questions in a proper format on a subsequent day.

I would ask all Members to keep these parameters in mind as you formulate future written questions. Thank you.

Item 2, Ministers’ statements. The honourable Minister of Health and Social Services, Mr. Beaulieu.

Minister's Statement 37-17(4): Minister’s Forum On Addictions And Community Wellness
Prayer

Tu Nedhe

Tom Beaulieu Minister of Health and Social Services

Mr. Speaker, few social issues are more visible in a community than those that stem from addictions.

Not one community in the entire Northwest Territories can claim to be free from the health and social problems caused by addictive behaviours.

That is why prevention and enhancing established treatment facilities in the NWT are priorities of the 17th Assembly.

Homelessness, poverty, violence and chronic disease all become part of the cycle of addictions that destroy lives and communities.

Our government spends over $9 million annually on counselling and treatment. The department continues to enhance existing programs to provide treatment and solutions to addictions. Unfortunately, many residents still suffer and are unable to break free from alcohol and drugs. Mr. Speaker, it is time for a different approach. We need to encourage more personal responsibility and provide more support to those who make the choice to remain clean and sober.

We want our people to stop suffering and to have access to treatment that works, so that they can become productive members of society and proud residents of the NWT.

That is why we have taken a stand and established the Minister’s Forum on Addictions and Community Wellness. Mr. Paul Andrew chairs the forum and its 11 members come from across the NWT. Members break into teams to hear from the residents who have firsthand knowledge about the damage addictions can cause. We want people to share their ideas about solutions that will work in their communities.

The forum has already visited Fort McPherson, Hay River, Enterprise, Fort Resolution, Hay River Reserve, Lutselk’e, Fort Smith, Fort Good Hope, Norman Wells and Deline to seek out answers to addictions issues.

Common themes so far are the need for parenting skills, cultural activities for youth, and on-the-land activities for families. We realize that we have to adapt these ideas for each community, as there is no single solution.

This is an important first step in implementing our Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan, A Shared Path Towards Wellness.

We will hold discussions in every region of the Territories. The focus will be on what works for our people and our communities. We will talk to people who are sober, people who are struggling with

addictions, and family members who experience firsthand what living with addictions is like.

Communities have developed effective practices and responses to addictions and mental health issues that need to be supported. I want to know what makes people stop drinking and want to live a healthy, fulfilling life.

The forum will make recommendations on the direction of community-based addiction programs by May 1st . The final report will provide advice

about how to enhance our territory’s community-based addictions programs. I look forward to reporting its results to this Assembly. Thank you.

Minister's Statement 37-17(4): Minister’s Forum On Addictions And Community Wellness
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The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Beaulieu. The honourable Minister of Human Resources, Mr. Abernethy.

Minister's Statement 38-17(4): Senior Management Competency Model
Prayer

Great Slave

Glen Abernethy Minister of Human Resources

Mr. Speaker, the universal skills required to lead people, champion innovation and manage change are becoming even more important, given the GNWT’s complex and ever-changing work context. These skills combine with our staff’s technical skills and knowledge to make them strong, capable leaders. I am pleased to announce that our new Senior Management Competency Model will guide the development of management expertise within the public service as we work to achieve the 17th Assembly’s vision and

goals.

The Senior Management Competency Model provides a description of the patterns of behaviours that are valued by the GNWT and are required for success as a senior manager in the public service. A senior manager means a job with titles such as deputy minister, president, chief executive officer, assistant deputy minister, director and superintendent.

Mr. Speaker, we all expect both leadership and management from the top levels of government. Based on those two qualities, the senior management competencies define how managers can be successful in their roles.

Leadership excellence focuses on personal and interpersonal conduct, how to strategically think about problems and strategies, and building relationships with stakeholders to achieve the goals and priorities that are important to Northerners.

Management excellence focuses on setting a plan in motion and getting it done. That means creating the conditions to allow people to achieve results and maximizing effectiveness and sustainability of our human, financial and environmental resources.

Mr. Speaker, creating an effective and efficient government is a priority of the Legislative Assembly. The new competency model supports

the objectives of the NWT Public Service Strategic Plan, and provides a solid business foundation to transform our strategic human resource processes, from hiring to succession planning. Our expectations for senior managers will be clear and we’ll give staff the help they need to develop as leaders.

Training for senior managers on the new competencies is scheduled for March. Our next steps are to develop a competency model for all other GNWT roles that will work hand in hand with the ePerformance module of PeopleSoft. ePerformance, approved through the Department of Human Resources’ 2012-13 Capital Estimates, will streamline our manual performance evaluation process and support the performance management process for all departments and agencies.

Mr. Speaker, as we work together to build a strong, sustainable future for our territory, the Senior Management Competency Model is an important public service investment. It will support our staff to meet the needs of all of our residents as they provide critical programs and services throughout the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 38-17(4): Senior Management Competency Model
Prayer

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Minister's Statement 39-17(4): Income Assistance Program Updates
Prayer

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment continues to improve its income security programs to ensure that residents of the Northwest Territories receive the support they need to tackle barriers they face to enter the workforce and meet their financial needs.

In April 2009, the office of the Auditor General began its financial and performance audits of income security programs in the Northwest Territories, completed in September 2012. In anticipation of recommendations coming from the audit, the department has already begun work to improve accountability and streamline services.

To highlight some of the recent changes we have already made, we improved upon the Child Care User Subsidy program by including it as an enhanced benefit under the Income Assistance program. We have increased child care rates, introduced shorter payment wait times, and are supporting part-time daycare. We have also made the program more flexible to accommodate our clients who work more than the standard work week. Mr. Speaker, we are very pleased to announce that, as a result, participation in the program has increased by 56 percent. These changes also support our early childhood

development initiatives targeted at raising healthy children.

In December 2012, the department set up a new exemption for clients that receive Impact Benefit Agreement, Treaty and land claims payments up to $500 per household. This is in addition to the annual $1,200 exemption. Neither of these exemptions affects clients’ benefit levels. This change recognizes that these monies should actually benefit those who are affected by development and not penalize those at a lower income level.

I am also happy to announce a partnership with the Department of Justice to allow fully eligible clients to pay for criminal record suspensions as an income assistance benefit. This partnership will assist clients in attaining valuable employment and help to strengthen the Northern economy.

Mr. Speaker, I want to recognize the client service officers who deliver this program across the territory. These workers often come from the community and face enormous stress every day to balance the need for supporting people’s progress and the need to account for program expenditures. As a rule, they treat people with respect and dignity and diligently focus on promoting healthy and productive choices for their clients.

We recognize that we have more work to do to meet the needs of our income assistance clients. With the pending recommendations from the Auditor General and the improvements we are already making, I am confident we are on the right path to ensure we have healthy, educated people free from poverty. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 39-17(4): Income Assistance Program Updates
Prayer

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Bell Satellite Broadcast Of Hay River Community Television Channel
Members’ Statements

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Hay River Community Channel is owned by the Hay River Community TV Society and is licensed for their channel on an annual basis. The daily operation and funding to run the community channel, also known as Hay River’s Green Screen, is donated by the Hay River Elks Club.

The Hay River Community TV Society is a member of an organization – and this is where this gets interesting – called CACTUS. CACTUS stands for Canadian Association of Community Television Users and Stations, which was created to educate consumers to improve access by Canadians to two specific media services: local media, especially

video and television programs, and media production training and equipment at the local level, especially video and television.

CACTUS approached the CRTC a little over a year ago regarding seven communities in Canada that are members of CACTUS and operated a community service channel the same or similar to the Hay River channel. They requested a review of small community channels, suggesting that the community content in smaller communities was being lost. Can you believe the CRTC passed a ruling that Bell Expressvu would take on these seven community channels and order them to run on Bell satellite? Hay River was one of those seven communities and now is being televised coast to coast.

The challenge is that volunteers like Gary Hoffman, who is with the Elks, have been doing this all on their own. It’s a non-profit organization; it’s pretty low key. If you go on the Hay River Community Channel you can play bingo on Tuesday nights. We have people contacting us, asking us to send them bingo cards down south because they’re not from Hay River. The Anglican Church tapes their services on Sunday mornings and plays it Sunday afternoon. Then there are community announcements which rotate on there. It’s kind of low key. Town council has a live feed for town council on Monday nights.

I’ve had friends and relatives from down south contact me for weeks, saying that Bell has been promoting the fact that there is a new Hay River channel coming on. They’re going, what’s going to be on it? Well, I didn’t know it, but it’s the community channel that’s going to be running and it’s gone live. They’ve already flipped the switch.

We have this amazing opportunity, and would you believe that the channel is 649? We have won the lottery in Hay River with this channel. The Northwest Territories has won the lottery. If we can use this 24-hour channel and we can get some staff into that office to run it, can you imagine how much we can publicize Hay River and the Northwest Territories? I’m obviously going to be asking the government for some money to get this going and get a paid position.

Bell Satellite Broadcast Of Hay River Community Television Channel
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mrs. Groenewegen. The honourable Member for Deh Cho, Mr. Nadli.

Duty Of The Crown To Consult With First Nations On Mining Development
Members’ Statements

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Last December the Yukon Court of Appeal issued a very important ruling on the duty of the Crown to consult with First Nations. The Ross River Dene case concerned the Yukon court’s Mining Act. This act provides for a free entry system by allowing an

individual to physically stake a claim and then record it. The officials have no discretion to refuse to record a claim unless certain technical requirements are not met. The court found that the Yukon government does have duty to consult with First Nations when recording claims in asserted traditional territory. This decision calls into question the Yukon’s entire mineral rights system.

Others have also questioned the fairness of free entry systems generally. In the NWT we also have a free entry system which is now governed by the Canada Mining Regulations. The Yukon decision should make us ask whether the federal regulations also fail to reflect the duty to consult with First Nations.

It is my understanding that the Canada Mining Regulations will continue to apply in the Northwest Territories after devolution, possibly in the form of mirrored legislation. It concerns me that we could be taking on legislation that does not reflect Aboriginal rights.

It is critical that mineral development in the GNWT involve consultation with First Nations, by both government and industry. We need to make sure our legislation reflect this and this could mean we need to make some changes. I hope we are prepared for this.

Duty Of The Crown To Consult With First Nations On Mining Development
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Nadli. The honourable Member for Frame Lake, Ms. Bisaro.

Benefits Of Heritage Fair Student Research Projects
Members’ Statements

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I want to highlight the work of a young Frame Lake constituent. Ms. Jazzy Hans is a 10-year-old student at J.H. Sissons School and she has taken the occasion of the annual Heritage Fair at her school to follow her Olympic dream.

Jazzy decided to do research about her role model, Christine Sinclair. After Ms. Sinclair’s performance at last summer’s Olympics, hopefully Members know that she is a spectacular Canadian Olympic soccer forward, that she plays for the Portland Thorns Football Club and is captain for the Canadian National soccer team.

Jazzy has been hard at work writing letters to various people in Yellowknife, including me, her MLA, and members of the soccer community in the NWT. As part of her research, she’s also asking Ms. Sinclair to come and visit Yellowknife. Jazzy’s Heritage Fair activities are a great example of project-based experiential learning, learning that positively engages our students.

Heritage fairs in the NWT are coordinated by the NWT Heritage Fairs Society, and the society is a volunteer-based organization dedicated to encouraging young people to explore and share the

history of their family or their community, as well as the heritage of people and places of the Northwest Territories. The opportunity to take part in a heritage fair is enriched when students explore a personal connection to their heritage, like my young constituent, Jazzy Hans, has done. Heritage fairs present opportunity for students to create projects about persons, places, events and traditions of the Northwest Territories or Canadian history, culture and heritage.

These projects encourage students to develop good research skills using a wide variety of sources. Projects are intended to encourage students to pursue topics that have a meaningful connection to their lives. Research that goes beyond the use of books and the Internet is encouraged and it may involve various skills such as interviewing, collecting artifacts, photography and so on, including writing letters.

Over the years, heritage projects have proven to be a very engaging way to make learning meaningful. Families, multi-generations of community members and students all benefit from the conversations and the resulting projects and displays.

Students can participate at three different levels of fairs. The first is class, school or community, the second level is regional, and the third level is territorial. Jazzy, by taking part in any one of these, can be considered for the territorial showcase, which will be held this May in Fort Smith.

Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Benefits Of Heritage Fair Student Research Projects
Members’ Statements

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

I ask all Members to join me in wishing Jazzy good luck with her Olympic soccer hero Heritage Fair presentation. Thank you.