This is page numbers 5143 – 5178 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 energy.

Topics

Members Present

Hon. Glen Abernethy, Hon. Tom Beaulieu, Ms. Bisaro, Mr. Blake, Mr. Bouchard, Mr. Bromley, Mr. Dolynny, Mrs. Groenewegen, Mr. Hawkins, Hon. Jackie Jacobson, Hon. Jackson Lafferty, Hon. Bob McLeod, Hon. Robert McLeod, Mr. Menicoche, Hon. Michael Miltenberger, Mr. Moses, Mr. Nadli, Hon. David Ramsay, Mr. Yakeleya

The House met at 1:29 p.m.

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Good afternoon, colleagues. Colleagues, I would like to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery this afternoon of Mr. Andre Marin, ombudsman for the province of Ontario. He’s accompanied by his assistant manager of communications, Ms. Ashley Bursey.

I understand this is your first visit to the North. Please let me extend a warm welcome to the Northwest Territories on behalf of our Assembly.

---Applause

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

Minister's Statement 115-17(5): Pan-Territorial Research Initiative Building A Northern Evidence-Based Approach To Crime Prevention
Ministers’ Statements

Kam Lake

David Ramsay Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, today I wish to tell you about Building a Northern Evidence-Based Approach to Crime Prevention, a new pan-territorial research initiative that the Northwest Territories Department of Justice is participating in with Yukon and Nunavut.

With the support of our federal partner, Public Safety Canada, the three territories have launched a four-year project to develop a made-in-the-North approach to crime prevention. Through the National Crime Prevention Centre, a total of just over $1.2 million has been committed over the life of the initiative. While the NWT has the lead, the intent is to deliver the project through a true partnership involving the residents and communities of each territory.

Each of the three territories has crime reduction initiatives in place, and we have all been working with community partners to decrease crime in our communities. However, we acknowledge that the crime rate in the three territories is consistently higher than the rest of Canada. This is especially

true when it comes to the level of violent crime, which is significantly higher.

In developing approaches to crime prevention, it is critical that we understand crime and the impact it has on our residents and communities. This includes a deeper understanding of the root causes of crime across the territories and why our crime rates are consistently higher than other areas of Canada.

Currently, data is collected by various government agencies and partners, but it is important to ensure that the information gathered is shared in an organized and responsible way. It is also important that we make sure that the quality and the consistency of data being collected is relevant to our needs, so that we can work together to make informed decisions.

To date, there has not been a comprehensive study across the North that pulls together this kind of information and focuses specifically on crime prevention. This new four-year project will address this need.

The first phase of the project is well underway, Mr. Speaker, and will set the stage for a successful initiative. The end result will be a northern crime prevention framework that recognizes the uniqueness of each territory as well as our common goal to work in close partnership with our respective communities to deter and prevent crime.

Building a strong and sustainable future for our territory by strengthening relationships with Aboriginal and other northern governments is one of the priorities of this Assembly. Through initiatives like Building a Northern Evidence-Based Approach to Crime Prevention we are helping to create sustainable, vibrant and safe communities. We are proud to be part of this valuable work. By working together with Nunavut and Yukon, we can build on the partnerships that each territory has developed with their community members. This coordination of our strengths will lead us to crime prevention solutions that are truly reflective of all Northerners. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 115-17(5): Pan-Territorial Research Initiative Building A Northern Evidence-Based Approach To Crime Prevention
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Ramsay. Colleagues, before we go on today, I’d like to welcome back former Member of the Legislative Assembly, former Premier, Member for Inuvik Boot Lake who sat in the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th Legislative Assemblies, Mr. Floyd Roland.

---Applause

Good to see you back in the House, Floyd. The honourable Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, Mr. Lafferty.

Minister's Statement 116-17(5): Developing Our Northern Workforce
Ministers’ Statements

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment is committed to supporting the development of an educated, skilled and trained northern workforce. As stated in the Economic Outlook 2014-15 report, we have an incredible future with a potential for more than $4.5 billion in new investment in the NWT planned over the next several years. With these investments come many new jobs and opportunities.

The Northwest Territories Nominee Program is a key component of the GNWT’s efforts to attract 2,000 new residents by 2019. ECE has set a target of increasing the number of nominees by 25 percent annually, starting in 2014-15.

Work to enhance our Nominee Program has already begun. We will be clarifying the nominee application process, improving the forms and access to online information and promoting and improving awareness of the program.

We will be engaging our many partners in the coming weeks to ensure the program meets the needs of the business community and is ready for implementation in January 2015.

Mr. Speaker, another of our ECE programs contributing to the GNWT’s population growth work is our Student Financial Assistance program. ECE is presently considering options for enhancing the remission and repayment program to reduce students’ debt much faster. We believe such improvements will encourage our students to return to the NWT and potentially encourage more southern students to come to the NWT.

As well, Mr. Speaker, due to the improved nature of collecting and sharing information from students, the GNWT is able to review the skill sets of northern students studying at post-secondary institutions and match them with meaningful and rewarding jobs with our government.

We believe these improvements will contribute both to the success of our economy and help grow the NWT’s population.

ECE remains committed to delivering effective labour market programs that achieve results and respond to residents’ needs. We are doing detailed assessments of the North’s current and future labour market needs across all sectors so that we have relevant labour market information. This initiative will examine skills training and post-secondary education systems and complete the entire spectrum of services from early childhood to employment. It will provide us with valuable information on which we can base our future investments and decisions as a government.

Mr. Speaker, this is work no one can accomplish alone. I believe we can achieve our goals by working together across government, through our valuable partnerships, and with businesses and the public. We are excited to be contributing to the future, and are in it for the long haul. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 116-17(5): Developing Our Northern Workforce
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Lafferty. Item 3, Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Weledeh, Mr. Bromley.

Integrated Northern Energy System
Members’ Statements

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Our second Energy Charrette in as many years begins today. Will we finally get it right? We’ve made no net gains in the intervening time. Another $58 million in diesel subsidies and millions in failed subsidies in connecting power grids, some clearly a waste because results were so predictable. Hardly progress. We must get real.

The Premier, ENR and NTPC may finally be starting to think in terms of keeping the lights on and begin to address energy costs in ways that also gain environmental social benefits, all part of the affordability equation.

Current diesel power subsidies insatiably consume budgets. The public pays the rising cost of government’s attack on our environment through subsidies, carbon emissions and both ratepayers and taxpayers can no longer bear the burden of a monopolistic power provider. Change has become essential.

The plan to go with full-blown renewable energy will not achieve us the gains we want unless communities are involved from the bottom up. Will this Energy Charrette be based on the knowledge that we must invest in community-owned renewable energy tailored to individual circumstances if we are to cut our energy costs, build our local economies and create cleaner environments for our children?

It must be abundantly clear by now that a one-size-fits-all approach has had the opposite effect. Every region has different opportunities and challenges for meeting energy needs and conservation. Whether it’s biomass, solar, wind, or run-of-the-river hydro generation, all have energy efficiency and conservation opportunities. But unless communities are fully engaged in addressing these, benefits and sustainability will be far below what could be achieved.

I’m not saying this is easy and I don’t think a one-day forum will provide the answers, though given proper context, important insights could be gained. But the right guiding principles must be asserted and the right questions must be asked.

We need an integrated energy system that looks at all of our energy needs – power, heat and transportation – and that can grow or shrink into the future as needed. We need a system that cuts costs and provides both social and environmental benefits in this challenging jurisdiction.

Finally, we need to be prepared for solutions that move away from a single provider like NTPC or Imperial Oil.

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

---Unanimous consent granted

Integrated Northern Energy System
Members’ Statements

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Finally, we need to be prepared for solutions that move away from a single provider like NTPC or Imperial or whomever. We must address the issue of stranded infrastructure, efficient fossil fuel backup systems, locally derived forms of energy that provide local jobs, and the energy education and training to help us move into the 21st century.

As we hear from every quarter, scientists and our dwindling population, time is running out. Mahsi.

Integrated Northern Energy System
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Bromley. Member for Hay River South, Mrs. Groenewegen.

Campaign To Reduce Household Energy Waste
Members’ Statements

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A few of us today are going to be talking about energy, and I would like to add my voice to that from the angle that I’ve been contemplating.

With Halloween just having passed last Friday, I’m going to talk about ghost busters. Everybody knows about those little lights that are all over in your house. They call them phantom or ghost consumers of power.

What I would like to do is challenge people to go into their homes and look around their kitchen and the night table beside their bed and look at how many cell phone chargers they’ve left plugged in when they’re not charging their phone. In the kitchen, look at the microwave, the stove, the dishwasher, the ice machine. I mean, everything has a light on it. So let’s just say that every one of those little lights – think about the power bars for the multi-plugs, they’ve got a light on them – let’s think about all of those and I challenge people to go to your house and count them up, because I think that you could easily find 30 of those in any given home. I know you probably could in mine.

If you figure out that each one of those little lights costs about just an insignificant amount of $2 a month for power consumption. Let’s just say you could save $60 a month on your power bill by addressing all those phantom ghost consumers of energy. Now, there are 8,500 power accounts in Yellowknife. I don’t know if we could safely double that for the whole territory, but even in Yellowknife, if you took 8,500 customers and you reduced their power bill by $60 each, that would be half a million dollars per month. Now, correct me if my math is wrong. Could that be possible? Five hundred thousand dollars a month in savings if we took $60 off of everybody’s power bill?

Now, multiply that times 12. Now we’re talking over $6 million a year. Now, let’s double that because there’s probably another 8,500 customers out there around the Northwest Territories. Now we’re almost up to the amount that our government just subsidized NTPC for, for their fuel rider, because we had low water this year.

I don’t know. Like I said, my math could be all wrong here, folks. But you know, the point of the matter is that we could all look at what we are consuming energy on and how we’re consuming it, and we could probably all do something to address the consumption, therefore, our costs and the cost of living. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Campaign To Reduce Household Energy Waste
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Green Energy Initiatives
Members’ Statements

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. We all know that in small communities and regions the cost of electricity and fuel is very high. We know that it makes it difficult for working families and individuals to balance their household budget and for local businesses to be competitive.

We also know that the costs differ from one community to another. For instance, the cost of power for Tuktoyaktuk residents is more than twice what it is in Fort Smith. The rates for residents in Nahanni Butte, Jean Marie River and Liidlii Kue are among the highest five in the Northwest Territories.

Small and remote communities cannot sustain the increasing costs of energy and fuels. In order to save money, we need to reduce our dependence on expensive diesel-generated power.

I have spoken in the Legislative Assembly in support of the government’s proactive approach to developing green energy initiatives. Investments in alternative energy, hydro, wind and biomass will help us move away from fossil fuels and will save us money. Technologies with regard to many hydro projects are improving and bode well as a solution in our regions.

Fort Simpson has identified goals to reduce its energy consumption, including promoting energy awareness, just like Mrs. Groenewegen did a few minutes ago. There are also plans to use residual heat recovered from the NWT Power Corporation’s diesel generators and investigating plans of potential geothermal energy. These are great initiatives.

I also would like to wish all the attendees at this year’s Energy Charrette the best as they discuss and look for ways to help all Northerners with a cheaper and sustainable future. Mahsi cho.

Green Energy Initiatives
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Menicoche. The Member for Range Lake, Mr. Dolynny.

Targeted Incentives To Reduce Power Costs
Members’ Statements

Daryl Dolynny Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If one was to evaluate our current state of affairs when it comes to our energy production, our over 26 percent in power rate increases over the life of this Assembly and our continued lack of a plan, some would say we are on a constant morphine drip, and they would be right. Furthermore, as a main shareholder in what is in essence a Crown corporation, the NWT Power Corporation has shown its lack of accountability, and instead of being held to task as a corporation would in the real world, we lavish it with subsidy rewards.

History has shown time and time again the GNWT has a history of failure when it comes to energy planning and rising costs in its production. How many more reviews, strategies, collaborations, reports, papers, action plans, panels and advisory groups does it take to get from A to B in lowering costs and ultimately reducing our cost of living?

As the North gravitates to what is yet another Energy Charrette – the second one in less than two years – I, like most Northerners, wonder at what point will this new initiative gather the same dusty fate as its predecessor.

As optimistic as one can be as an MLA who sees this from a unique perspective, I have a very difficult time understanding why we would be using such a delay tactic of a charrette to mitigate what we already know.

Aside from the obvious of needing to instill the proper business mentality at the NWT Power Corporation, the GNWT needs to simply undertake what I call two strategic directions.

If you truly want to lower the cost of living with energy solutions, the GNWT needs to first lower our thirst for fuel. As mentioned in last week’s Member’s statement, we need to recapture at NTPC production sites, unused stovepipe heat energy and store it in earth tubes through what is called ground-coupled heat exchange system. This will immediately lower our diesel consumption in all our non-hydro communities and our return on investment would be almost immediate.

The second strategy investment is simply through incentives. We need to provide as many incentives as possible to let the industry, with all its latest technology, moving at lightning speed, do its thing. This will lower the capitalization of investment from 15 to 20 years to a more reasonable five years or less, thereby making energy investment more economically viable to the consumer.

I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted