Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Last weekend in Colville Lake a family’s house burned straight to the ground. The chief, Alvin Orlias, and his predecessor and I have been asking for a fire truck for over six years. Yes, Colville Lake has no fire truck and no fire department.
Last weekend residents were forced to watch helplessly as that house turned into coals. The outcome might have been different if a fire truck had reached their home in time.
However, there’s more. For example, why in 2014 is the trapping capital of the Northwest Territories, Colville Lake, a have-not community? Yes, it is one of our smaller communities with a population of 157 people, but don’t they deserve basic emergency services like the rest of our vast territory? The community has no help in delivering health infrastructure, no permanent nurse. Residents must either travel to the Fort Good Hope Health Centre or wait for a doctor or nurse on monthly visits. Colville Lake has no RCMP detachment. I’ve spoken time and time again about the need for better policing service, but our government doesn’t have the cash.
Another matter is the employment rate, which hovers around 40 percent in Colville Lake
compared to the 80 percent here in Yellowknife. Housing is another have-not indicator. Seventy-seven percent of Colville Lake homes are in core need. That means over three-quarters of the community meet the low-income threshold and live in a dwelling that fails in one or more of these categories: suitability, adequacy and affordability. The community has no cell service. It has a single grocery store, which serves limited options for buying healthy foods and other household needs.
Of course, Colville Lake isn’t the only have-not community in the Northwest Territories. My colleagues Mr. Blake and Mr. Menicoche have communities in their ridings, like Kakisa, Tsiigehtchic, Jean Marie and Nahanni Butte, whose residents face many challenges the same as here.
Anyone with eyes can see we live in a double standard, or a two-tiered society. When will our government at this level and the federal level quit having double standards and help ensure equality and dignity for all?