This is page numbers 4805 – 4846 of the Hansard for the 17th Assembly, 5th 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.


The House met at 1:31 p.m.



The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Good afternoon, colleagues.

Before we begin, today my constituent Persis Gruben turns 96 years old in my hometown of Tuktoyaktuk.


Persis’ mind is very sharp and she’s still an active member of the community. I can only imagine the changes she’s seen throughout her lifetime, from dog teams to snowmobiles, umiaks to powered boats, and telephones to cell phones. Like most small communities in the NWT, we are subsistence harvesters, and to have her knowledge of the land, culture and language is remarkable. Persis is an inspiration to our community and we are very blessed to have her.

Persis, happy birthday. We’re wishing you many more, and God bless you and your family for the day.

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

Minister's Statement 94-17(5): Supporting Small Business With The Implementation Of The NWT Economic Opportunities Strategy
Ministers’ Statements

Kam Lake

David Ramsay Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment

Mr. Speaker, small businesses and entrepreneurs are the backbone of our community and regional economies.

To encourage economic diversity and sustainability, the Government of the Northwest Territories has long supported the interests and growth of this highly valued segment of the North’s economic community through a variety of programs and services.

As we mark Small Business Week this year, the GNWT is moving forward with the implementation of its NWT Economic Opportunities Strategy. This

strategy offers a plan to expand and diversify the NWT economy outside of its rich resource sector in areas such as agriculture, tourism, fishing, manufacturing and the traditional economies.

Later today I will be tabling the NWT Economic Opportunities Strategy Implementation Plan that maps out the priorities, methods and resources to address the strategy’s 117 recommended actions.

It reflects, in part, our commitment to improve supports to NWT businesses and to grow a stable and attractive entrepreneurial environment.

The work of ITI, along with our partners, has confirmed that there are great opportunities for us to balance and diversify our economy in all regions and in all sectors. Our partners, including the NWT Chamber of Commerce, the NWT Association of Communities, the Northern Aboriginal Business Association, and Canada’s Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor), will be integral as we work to implement the strategy’s recommendations.

The engagement process that informed the Economic Opportunities Strategy also offered valuable insights into how we deliver business support programs and services. We are now

addressing many of the challenges and

barriers that were identified, and acting on the initiatives and ideas that were identified.

We are addressing issues of red tape. Our planned actions on 11 of the recommendations identified in the NWT Economic Opportunities Strategy are designed to better target, streamline and coordinate government programs and services.

We are also finding ways to better target government resources and funding to realize identified regional priorities, to do a better job of promoting and marketing programs and services that are available through government to support NWT businesses, and to deliver more of our information and services online.

Though this strategy is in its early days, we are already seeing its benefits.

Our destination marketing organization, NWT Tourism, is operating the newly established Conference Bureau, which was a recommendation of the strategy. The Conference Bureau better positions this territory to attract more business

travellers and provide spin-off benefits for transportation suppliers, hotels, restaurants, artisans and tour operators.

The Economic Opportunities Strategy also recommended working to expand the export and domestic market of Great Slave Lake fish. With industry feedback, we have created a new brand, point of purchase materials, packaging, and promotional items for producers and retailers to help market the NWT’s fresh fish product. We are also proposing $1.5 million in 2015-16 and will be looking for partners to replace the fishing industry’s outdated federal infrastructure and to generate new capital to stimulate an era of self-sufficiency for our commercial fishing industry.

Economic diversity and sustainability is, foremost, reliant on a competitive business environment in which NWT residents have the tools to invest, overcome challenges and prosper.

On April 1st the Business Development and

Investment Corporation will celebrate its 10th anniversary. Over the last decade the BDIC has been serving small businesses across the NWT, offering loans, grants, business information and support.

In the coming years the BDIC will spearhead a number of services to further assist small businesses. Initiatives include developing a framework that will connect NWT businesses with opportunities around the globe and expanding its small business training and counselling services. These services will provide small businesses with national and cross-border networking, trade opportunities and business mentorship.

Through the evolution of business support programs and services, ITI and the BDIC will continue to excel as essential resources for economic development in the NWT.

The responsibility of developing a competitive economic environment belongs to us all as we work to achieve our goal of a diversified economy that provides all communities with opportunities and choices. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 94-17(5): Supporting Small Business With The Implementation Of The NWT Economic Opportunities Strategy
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Ramsay. The honourable Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Power Corporation, Mr. Miltenberger.

Minister's Statement 95-17(5): Report On The Northwest Territories Power Corporation
Ministers’ Statements

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, it has been a challenging summer for the Northwest Territories Power Corporation. During this past summer the Taltson hydroelectric plant and the transmission lines between the Snare plants and Yellowknife were threatened by forest fires. Fortunately, all major infrastructure was preserved; however, these same fires were responsible for half

of the power outages experienced on the Snare system.

The same drought conditions that contributed to this being one of the worst forest fires years in history is also responsible for low water on the Snare system. Water levels at Snare are at a 64-year low and prompted the corporation to apply for a 3.7 cent rate rider to cover the additional 16 million litres of fuel it anticipates burning up until June 2015 at a cost of about $20 million. This government recognized that customers could not afford an increase in power costs and agreed to cover this unavoidable expense.

Mr. Speaker, the corporation recognizes the current way of operating is no longer sustainable; rates have reached their limit of affordability. What occurred this past summer, while an environmental anomaly, has been a catalyst that has initiated serious discussion on potentially game-changing direction and focus.

We look forward to the upcoming Energy Charrette as it will provide direction and guidance for the future of power generation in the territory. NTPC and the Government of Northwest Territories are open and willing to consider any generation option that is sustainable and reliable and that does not increase the cost of power to the customer.

In addition to a new direction, this government also needs to look at what it can do to invest in infrastructure to keep power affordable. While an interconnecting transmission grid, both within the territory and to the southern grid, is still a long-term goal, it is not attainable in the short or medium term. Instead, this government and NTPC will continue to work together to investigate, research and test alternative options that will lower the cost of generating power, reduce dependence on diesel, especially in the thermal communities, and that will potentially create opportunities for economic development in the process.

The ongoing collaboration between the corporation and this government is a great improvement and is continually strengthened through projects like heat sales in the South Slave region. GNWT and South Slave towns will be offered surplus energy from the Taltson system at reduced rates with all revenues going to support conservation efforts and renewable energy projects.

Mr. Speaker, NTPC has made inroads in alternative energy and conservation this year. Construction of the solar farm in Colville Lake started in August with completion expected this month; more than 800 of the thermal zone’s 2,000 streetlights have been converted to LED, and the Net Metering Program was launched in April, giving residents the opportunity to install alternative power generation systems on their property and receive credit for power they produce. This is just a sample of the work being done. More information will be available

on the “Energy Alternatives” section of NTPC’s website in the coming days.

Conservation as our lowest cost alternative to building additional generation is an important area of focus for NTPC. The corporation is working at developing an extensive conservation section to their website as a first step in informing customers about the way they presently consume electricity and how they can be more efficient with energy use. Beyond their website, NTPC will also be sending out conservation information with customer bills along with running a conservation campaign later this fall.

Mr. Speaker, the corporation continues to build capacity in the territory through its hiring local people into apprenticeships and this year has hired an additional three Northerners in positions where they are developing skills on the job and have full-time employment.

As we move into the last year of this government’s mandate, it is important to keep moving forward, making thoughtful, educated decisions that are in the long-term best interest of the residents of the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 95-17(5): Report On The Northwest Territories Power Corporation
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Miltenberger. Honourable Premier, Mr. McLeod.

Minister's Statement 96-17(5): Family Violence Awareness Week
Ministers’ Statements

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories has a vision of a strong, prosperous North. We know that creating this North starts with healthy, safe communities where people can prosper, free from the fear of violence.

October 5 to 11, 2014, was the 14th Annual Family

Violence Awareness Week. There were several events held across the Northwest Territories to bring attention to the serious ongoing problem we have with family violence among our residents. These events included a radio phone-in show in Fort Good Hope, school presentations with elders and youth in Tuktoyaktuk, workshops on the Hay River Reserve, four events in Fort Liard, including a community potluck, Fort Simpson high school students decorated and displayed anti-violence T-shirts and Inuvik held a scavenger hunt and barbeque. I want to congratulate all the communities who participated in these and other activities.

Northwest Territories Family Violence Awareness Week draws attention to the issue of domestic violence and encourages residents to stand together to stop the violence. This year's focus was on the bystander in family violence: co-workers, friends, family members and neighbours.

This is challenging, Mr. Speaker. How do individuals and government respond to what is

often viewed as a private family matter or a matter for the police? I believe the role of government is to provide programs and supports to help prevent family violence and treat its impacts and to also demonstrate leadership.

The Department of Health and Social Services and the Department of Justice provide many of the programs and services our residents need to prevent and to deal with family violence. Their work is often guided by the advice and input from the Coalition Against Family Violence. Members will recall that the coalition is a multi-agency group working collectively to reduce the incidence of and to more effectively respond to family violence in the Northwest Territories.

It has been through the work of the coalition that many of the more innovative approaches to addressing family violence have been developed, including emergency protection orders and the men’s healing program. I want to thank all members of the coalition for their ongoing commitment and dedication, in particular the Status of Women Council, which chairs and provides administration for the coalition.

Government leaders also have a role in stopping family violence. Earlier this month I met with the Northwest Territories Metis Nation and with the Tlicho Government. We discussed the impact family violence has on our communities and how we need to demonstrate leadership and take a stand against family violence as governments.

The Government of the Northwest Territories is committed to stopping family violence. It is a serious problem that impacts all Northerners, and I will continue to raise this issue with all of our Aboriginal government partners in the weeks and months ahead.

We are all affected by family violence, which means we all have an interest in stopping it. By working together with the Coalition Against Family Violence, with our Aboriginal government partners and with communities, the Government of the Northwest Territories is dedicated to improving the safety, security and well-being of all of our residents.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 96-17(5): Family Violence Awareness Week
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Northern Farm Training Initiative – Hay River Campus
Members’ Statements

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In August Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in the South Slave to announce new funding for northern agriculture. The Prime Minister announced

$2 million in funding to help establish a permanent campus for the Northern Farm Training Initiative in Hay River – in Hay River, I like the sound of that – and up to $2 million to launch the Northern Greenhouse Initiative.

The Territorial Farmers Association has been working on a permanent campus for the Northern Farm Training Initiative since 2012. The association has operated market gardens, built greenhouses and found innovative ways to enhance agriculture in the North for the last 40 years. The new facility will help deliver agricultural training especially designed to meet the needs of our communities. Construction is planned starting 2015.

Students will have the opportunity to develop skills in farming, greenhouse technology and raising livestock and take the information they glean back to their communities. They will also be able to sell flowers and produce from the campus.

Another part of the Prime Minister’s announcement: the Northern Greenhouse Initiative will support the development of commercial greenhouses and ways to enhance the productivity of existing greenhouses throughout the North.

The Northern Farm Training Initiative will be at the sight of AgNorth, a pilot project in agricultural technology that utilizes specialized LED lighting and hydroponics to grow produce indoors year round.

Proliferation of community gardens and the increasing number of people finding creative ways to build greenhouses into their lives and homes are evidence of a growing interest in agriculture in the North. The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment is developing an Agriculture Strategy.

With the recent announcement of training, technology and much appreciated capital this past August, we are sure to reap the rewards going forward. Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss if I did not mention the untiring efforts of a couple of young ladies in our community: Kim Rapati, who’s involved in the Territorial Farmers Association, and also Jackie Milne. If you’ve met Jackie and talked agriculture, you’re not likely to forget her any time soon. I’d like to thank them for their tireless efforts, which I believe played a part in bringing this program to fruition. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Northern Farm Training Initiative – Hay River Campus
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mrs. Groenewegen. Member for Nahendeh, Mr. Menicoche.

Highway No. 7 Chipseal Contract
Members’ Statements

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker. It continues to be a rough ride down Highway No. 7. Kilometres 0 to 20 were scheduled to be chipsealed this summer, and the contract went out to a southern company. The Department of Transportation told me it had done its due diligence and assured me that Fort Liard and other

Northerners would still receive some benefit, even though this contract went south.

In order to secure the contract, the BC company provided certain assurances as to their intention to use services from two northern companies out of Fort Liard. My constituents inform me that this did not occur at all. To date, only one person was hired from the community of Fort Liard; none of the local businesses have seen any economic benefits flowing from this contract award. When we give out contracts to southern companies, we lose important taxation benefits like personal income taxes and fuel taxes that can be flowed back to the Northwest Territories. Also, the community, the whole community, the leadership wanted this contract negotiated, but once again, DOT did not allow that to happen.

Negotiated contracts are designed to help our communities to be sustainable, give them a foot up and to give them work where there’s no work to be had.

Also, when southern contractors make promises, we simply must be doing the weekly checks to ensure that these contractors are fulfilling their obligations to the community and northern businesses, not just saying they are and promise the world and do things differently once the contract is signed.

This seems to happen time and time again in the North, and we must stop. We may not be able to prevent vehicles from breaking down on this infamous highway, but this is the kind of breakdown we can’t even blame on permafrost.

I strongly recommend that this government carefully monitor contracting practices, especially when it comes to southern companies. We want to do business in the North and build capacity for local businesses. Thank you very much. Mahsi.

Highway No. 7 Chipseal Contract
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Constituency Update For The Sahtu
Members’ Statements

Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It’s been a busy summer and fall in the Sahtu, from the youth hand games tournament to the retired NHL stars Rob Niedermayer and Brendan Morrison dropping by Deline for some world-class fishing and visiting the birthplace of ice hockey in Canada. It was another successful summer with our ninth annual Canol youth leadership hike. Our Dene and Metis leaders came together and held successful meetings across the Sahtu, including the SSI AGM in Fort Good Hope and recently last week in Deline with our regional Economic Strategy workshop.

Our rivers and mountains are busy places this fall with families out on the land looking to fill their

freezers with moose, lots of moose, lots of caribou and plenty of fish.

Today I want to take a moment to reflect on the lives of the people we have lost in the Sahtu since the last time we gathered in this Assembly. We have lost people from all age groups, some who contributed over several generations and some who have left us way too early, such as the late Faye Kara Grandjambe and the pilot, Mitchell St. Germain, two young people, one born in the Sahtu and one starting a career in aviation in our region.

Our region is rich in culture and spirituality. We rally around each other and come together to honour these lives, young and old. I want to thank everyone in our communities who come together to help at community feasts and support the families who’ve lost loved ones this summer and this fall. I also want to ask Members of this House and people across the Northwest Territories to continue to offer prayers and thoughts for those who are here in Stanton Hospital and who are people who may be in between medical treatments here and in Alberta. Mahsi.

Constituency Update For The Sahtu
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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