This is page numbers 4923 – 4960 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.

Topics

The House met at 1:32 p.m.

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Good afternoon, colleagues. In light of the tragic events that happened in our capital yesterday at the War Memorial at Parliament Hill, I would like to ask that we observe a moment of silence and reflect upon those who experienced loss and injury, particularly to the families and loved ones of Corporal Nathan Cirillo.

---Moment of Silence

Colleagues, I would like to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Mr. Jose Antonio Torres-Lacasa, Minister Counsellor in the political and public affairs section of the European Union to Canada. Mr. Torres-Lacasa has travelled here from the embassy in Ottawa. Welcome to the Northwest Territories.

---Applause

Item 2, Ministers’ statements. The honourable Minister of Justice, Mr. Ramsay.

Minister's Statement 102-17(5): NWT Coroners
Ministers’ Statements

Kam Lake

David Ramsay Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, later today I will be tabling the Northwest Territories Coroner Service 2013 Annual Report. This report sets out some information on the history of the coroner’s service, the role and structure of the office and some information on their work in 2013. This report reminds us that in the Northwest Territories, we have a number of dedicated volunteers who are deeply committed to assisting those in their communities at times of tragedy. They work with circumstances and situations that most of us are unable or unwilling to face.

Coroners play a vital role in our justice system. They are at the forefront of investigations of deaths. Their jobs are stressful and difficult, as many of their investigations involve people that they knew within their home communities. They are all too often called out in the middle of the night to deal

with scenes that most of us could not face. They must have the strength to deal with the partners, children and parents who are now at the worst moments of their lives. Yet despite these profound challenges, they will tell you that they find their positions extremely rewarding, as they play an important role in helping to bring closure for most families and they help prevent tragedies in the future.

Mr. Speaker, each coroner has within their mandate the ability to conduct investigations into deaths when required and, based on what they learn, to make recommendations that will assist in preventing serious injuries or deaths from occurring in the future. They remind us to be safer and to critically re-examine our own practices. The role they play can never be understated.

Tomorrow we will see NWT coroners from 15 communities come together for the next three days to train. They will become familiar with the latest techniques and technologies in their field and have discussions with peers and professionals who best understand the work they do.

We have coroners who have been performing their duties for many years and are coming to a time when they are ready to pass their knowledge to others. Currently, we have openings in several communities, and we expect that in the near future there will be more. If you are aware of people in your communities who are inquisitive, courageous and community minded, and are looking for truly rewarding work, have them speak with their local coroner, or the chief coroner of the NWT located here in Yellowknife, to be part of a proud tradition.

For the coroners making the trip to learn and share over the next three days, we hope that they are able to be rejuvenated and return with new skills of value to their understanding and delivery of the services they provide. Most importantly, Mr. Speaker, I want to express gratitude on behalf of the people of the Northwest Territories for the thorough and professional jobs coroners do. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 102-17(5): NWT Coroners
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Ramsay. The honourable Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs, Mr. McLeod.

Minister's Statement 103-17(5): Alternative Arctic Winter Games
Ministers’ Statements

Inuvik Twin Lakes

Robert C. McLeod Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are just over 16 months away from the next Arctic Winter Games being hosted in Nuuk, Greenland. As you know, there are six sports which Greenland is unable to host: dog mushing, gymnastics, curling, speed skating, figure skating and midget hockey. Today I am pleased to announce that Whitehorse, Yukon, has agreed to host an alternative multi-sport event, the Arctic X Games, to coincide with the 2016 Arctic Winter Games in Greenland.

Mr. Speaker, this is great news for our athletes and territorial sport organizations affected by the exclusion of some sports from the 2016 Arctic Winter Games. They now have an event to train for and compete in, which will ultimately contribute to further development within their sport.

For many of our athletes, the Arctic Winter Games is the pinnacle of their competitive career. For others, the Games provide an opportunity to use this as a stepping stone in their development. Many of our athletes continue on to the Canada Winter Games and some have even continued on to the international stage, including the Olympics.

Mr. Speaker, can you imagine Michael Gilday and Brendan Green not having participated in the Arctic Winter Games and how that may have affected their development as the athletes and the people they have become? The opportunities and experiences provided through their participation in the Arctic Winter Games certainly helped them to represent our territory and country at many national and international events, including the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics.

Mr. Speaker, the 2016 Arctic Winter Games and the Arctic X Games will assist with the development of our athletes as the Northwest Territories prepares to host the 2018 Arctic Winter Games and send teams to both the 2015 and 2019 Canada Winter Games.

The department is committed to work with the territorial sport organizations and the Sport North Federation to prepare and send athletes to the Arctic Winter Games in Nuuk, Greenland, and the Arctic X Games in Whitehorse, Yukon, in March of 2016.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Government of the Yukon and their sport partners for committing to host the Arctic X Games and the permanent members of the Arctic Winter Games International Committee for their commitment to send their teams to these Games in Whitehorse. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 103-17(5): Alternative Arctic Winter Games
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Implementation Of Junior Kindergarten
Members’ Statements

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Sometimes they hear us on the other side of the House. Mr. Speaker, there was a concerted message from this side of the House that we needed to do something in the Northwest Territories about early childhood development. They heard us. They developed a plan within the Department of Education, Culture and Employment, but in doing so they have missed the mark and I’m going to tell you why.

Mr. Speaker, they have decided to implement Junior Kindergarten in communities where the ramifications and the fallout from it is actually going to have the opposite effect from what is desired. In communities like Hay River, we have long-standing institutions like the Hay River Cooperative Play School, the Head Start program on the Hay River Reserve, we have Treehouse, we have Growing Together and we have the French preschool. We also have some very good licenced day homes and child care services as well.

Early childhood development in the regional centres – and let me just speak for Hay River – was being very effectively addressed, but when the government comes along with their solution to the problem, there is no target. The targeted area, because they wanted to see better educational outcomes than what we have, should have been those communities, small communities mostly, who had nothing in their community for early childhood development. That’s where it should have been, but in their, I don’t know, enthusiasm to address this issue, to address the fallout of early childhood development, the fallout is actually going to be quite substantial.

Mr. Bouchard and I have met with the Hay River DEA. To add another class to our existing education system without any funding is going to erode the entire educational system from K to 12. It’s going to take away from that because we say we are going to have better outcomes by starting those little four-year-olds in Junior Kindergarten. I have a five-year-old granddaughter; Mr. Bouchard has a little guy who’s five years old; and I can tell you that those little gaffers come home from school, all-day kindergarten – we used to only have half-day kindergarten; now we have all-day kindergarten – and those little guys come home from school that they both just started and I tell you they are dead tired on their feet. Now we’re going to put little four-year-olds in all-day kindergarten.

I would like the Department of Education, Culture and Employment, before the rollout in the larger communities in the regional centres, to rethink what

they are doing by putting this load onto the DEAs and DECs without additional funding for the education system. I think it will be catastrophic. I think it will be devastating. You are going to gut the services that are already there, and please, please think this through. Thank you.

Implementation Of Junior Kindergarten
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Food First Foundation
Members’ Statements

Daryl Dolynny Range Lake

[Translation] …As a result, our children are eating convenient, ready-to-eat, highly salted, sugared and overly processed foods. The Northwest Territories has the second highest obesity rate in Canada. This has a potential to lead to a lifetime of multiple mental and physical health problems and increase our health care costs.

Canadians have less knowledge about choosing and preparing healthy foods for their families. In many cases children are arriving at school hungry and are unable to learn because they have not eaten a nutritious breakfast. Healthy food increases school attendance, improves academic performances and fosters school and community spirit.

Food First NWT is one of the leaders in nutrition education and it has developed a program for upper elementary students called Taste Makers. It teaches students about nutrition, food purchasing, food and kitchen safety and how to cook healthy foods. The goal is to build confidence, knowledge and skills for children to adopt a lifestyle of healthy eating.

Taste Makers was delivered in Northwest Territories schools in December 2013 and received good evaluations from educators and students. It has potential to be of immense value to students across the Northwest Territories.

Food First Foundation received a $50,000 Anti-Poverty Fund grant in 2014 in order to distribute and support Taste Makers in Northwest Territories schools. Over the next year, Food First will investigate logistics and cost to translate the program into French.

Mr. Speaker, this program provides the opportunity to give Taste Makers a wider scope. Food awareness and preparation is an essential skill for all of us. There is also potential for application of mathematics, science and biology from this program as students learn to buy, cook and eat the food.

Our continued multi-year financial and moral support to maintain and improve this program is critical for its success. It may take a decade to see concrete results, but it’s in the interest of our people and our government to make it work.

Food First Foundation
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Dolynny. Member for Hay River North, Mr. Bouchard.

Support For The Commercial Fishing Industry
Members’ Statements

Robert Bouchard Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This week is Small Business Week, and Hay River being one of the communities that I think is strongest in business, I’d like to make some of the statements about some of the products and services.

One of the industries that is definitely needed in Hay River is the Hay River Fishery. We’ve talked about this in this House before. The Hay River Fishery and the Great Slave Lake Fishery needs assistance. We’ve been working with the Department of ITI to look towards opportunities in the future. We’ve been looking at infrastructure, but we need to continue to work on training for these types of individuals, getting more individuals into this industry. We need to train some of our local people and encourage people to become entrepreneurs.

We see almost weekly from some of the fishermen, they show us pictures of the Great Slave Lake. It’s dangerous work; it’s hard work; but it’s challenging work and it’s beneficial.

We know that some of this industry is changing in other provinces such as Alberta – we know recently Lake Athabasca closed down its fishery – and we’re looking to see what the opportunities are. Does that include fishers coming up here? Does that include being able to market our fish and sell our fish in Alberta?

We need to encourage fishery in this territory. We need to help the fishermen of the Northwest Territories and Great Slave Lake fishermen. Obviously, I encourage that we continue to support Hay River fishermen. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Support For The Commercial Fishing Industry
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Bouchard. Member for Deh Cho, Mr. Nadli.

Sandy Creek Lodge
Members’ Statements

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment recently tabled the Economic Opportunities Implementation Plan. Tourism is a key component of the plan to diversify and enhance economic opportunities throughout the NWT. The conference bureau initiative is among the programs ITI is funding through this strategy, and I wanted to highlight some of the opportunities that program creates for small communities in the NWT.

The conference bureau needs to look beyond the regional centres of Yellowknife, Inuvik or Fort Smith to see the amenities smaller places have to offer. The newly built Sandy Creek Lodge in the Deh Cho

riding is a good example of a facility that should be promoted through our Tourism Strategy.

Just beyond the Hay River Reserve at Sandy Creek, the K’atlodeeche First Nation has built the wilderness lodge in a place rich with history. The lodge seems remote, yet it is easily accessible by road from the town of Hay River. What better place to take newcomers to the region and residents alike?

The Long Spear People came to the area 7,000 years ago, and records show the Hay River Reserve first appears on a map in 1854. The Hudson’s Bay Company built a trading post there in 1868, followed by the Roman Catholic and Anglican missions and eventually a nursing station and a school by the turn of the century.

The site of the lodge was most recently used as a Pentecostal Mission Camp in the 1950s with a wooden church, cabins and cookhouse. Ken Norn, a member of the K’atlodeeche First Nation, who built the Sandy Creek Lodge, remembers visiting the area with his grandparents.

The Sandy Creek Lodge is a brand new building with modern comforts, designed to be a gathering place for the community, an educational facility, a conference venue for government and industry, and a wilderness retreat. It’s currently open for seasonal use, but it could be used all year round. It would only take short notice to go out there and fire up the generators and heat the building for a winter retreat.

The K’atlodeeche First Nation invested a lot of time, effort and resources into the development of the lodge. There are likely many other facilities like it across the NWT that need to be promoted through the conference bureau initiative. Many people coming to the NWT for the first time are intrigued by what it has to offer. Business travelers come to work but also want a comfortable way to experience something they would never find in cities in the South that can show them more than just a boardroom. What better introduction to the North than a visit to the Sandy Creek Lodge? Mahsi.

Sandy Creek Lodge
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Nadli. The Member for Yellowknife Centre, Mr. Hawkins.