This is page numbers 3585 – 3618 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 going.


The House met at 1:32 p.m.



The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Good afternoon, colleagues. Orders of the day. Item 2, Ministers’ statements. The honourable Minister of Health and Social Services.

Minister's Statement 19-17(5): Pathways To Wellness: An Updated Action Plan For Addictions And Mental Health
Ministers’ Statements

Great Slave

Glen Abernethy Minister of Health and Social Services

Mr. Speaker, a key priority of this government is to make sure that NWT residents have access to the right tools and supports that they can choose from to help overcome addiction issues and poor mental health. As a government, we are committed to ensuring that our residents have as many options as possible to help them move forward on their path towards wellness.

The updated action plan, Pathways to Wellness, which I will be tabling later today, combines the actions contained in the 2012 action plan, A Shared Path Towards Wellness, with the recommendations from Healing Voices, the report of the Minister’s Forum on Addictions and Community Wellness. It reflects actions the Department of Health and Social Services has committed to undertaking over the next two years and describes our progress to date. It describes how we will better utilize our $23 million budget that supports mental health and addictions programs.

Pathways to Wellness continues our commitment towards strengthening service delivery by focusing on the following four goals:

• promoting understanding, awareness and


• focusing on the client;

• improving the availability of and access to

services; and

• improving the effectiveness of services.

Mr. Speaker, a key element in the updated action plan is more addictions programs based in Aboriginal culture and spirituality. This reflects the top priority identified by the Minister’s Forum, which recommended the establishment of

on-the-land healing programs for both youth and adults. The department has partnered with Aboriginal governments for three different on-the-land pilot programs this year, and the lessons learned will be used to expand these programs to other regions of the NWT. The main estimates include additional funding of $900,000 for this purpose.

Addictions and mental health issues impact not just individuals, their families and communities but also affect our justice system. The updated action plan identifies the need to establish wellness courts for individuals who are battling mental illness. Rather than sending them through the criminal justice system, where they don’t receive the right support, these specialized courts will refer them to the appropriate services based in their community.

Mr. Speaker, over the past two years we have streamlined our services to cut down on wait times for residential treatment by establishing a more efficient referral process.

We are using not only traditional media but have also added social media to raise awareness and have an on-line dialogue with youth and families about substance abuse, addictions and treatment options. A great example of this is the new Feel Real radio show, which broadcasts across the NWT every Thursday night on CKLB Radio.

We still have a long way to go. It will take a collaborative effort from government departments, Aboriginal governments and agencies, and community groups to help realize our Assembly’s vision of strong individuals, families and communities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 19-17(5): Pathways To Wellness: An Updated Action Plan For Addictions And Mental Health
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Minister's Statement 20-17(5): Education Renewal And Innovation
Ministers’ Statements

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Mr. Speaker, this continues to be a very exciting time for education in not only the North but the entire country. Through

our Education Renewal and Innovation work, we are recognizing how people learn, what supports are needed to help them learn and how we can improve education for all students.

We developed the Education Renewal and Innovation (ERI) Initiative to make that improvement happen. Our newly released framework, Directions for Change, highlights the potential initiatives we know can make a difference in the lives of our students. A world leader on self-regulation, Dr. Stuart Shanker, spoke to us in January about the framework. He stated that he felt it was a “vision for the future” that applies to all children in Canada. He said Directions for Change will not only shape the future of the NWT but, he hopes, will be read and embraced by the entire country. I think we are on the right track.

Mr. Speaker, I am confident that our new framework is a reflection of northern students, teachers, Aboriginal and educational leaders and communities.

I want to acknowledge how much we have relied on our education partners, especially our school superintendents and education authority chairs. Throughout our whole development process starting in December 2012, we have collaborated with the NWT Teachers’ Association, Aboriginal governments, superintendents, education authorities and boards. We are working together with our government, Aurora College, educators and students to gather feedback and make comments. We have asked parents for their feedback and their hopes for their children. I am grateful for their willingness to work with us and to ensure their own region’s voices are included in this work. Without their commitment and dedication to help with this process, we would not be able to reach our critical audiences.

Mr. Speaker, later today I will be tabling a document that shows the extent of our engagement process leading up the finalization of the Education Renewal and Innovation Framework and respecting the current development of the draft action plan.

The feedback we received from the ASA regional forums in 2010-2011 continues to guide our work. The Aboriginal Student Achievement priorities of early childhood development and care, student and family support, Aboriginal language and culture curriculum and resource development, and literacy underpin many of the ERI building blocks.

Mr. Speaker, the next stages of our work involve the development of a multi-year action plan, supported by a sound accountability framework for the entire K to 12 system, and a public awareness campaign. The ERI action plan will recommend the initiatives that will move forward first, when they should begin, and their anticipated timelines and cost. There will likely not be many quick fixes,

which should not be seen as failures but rather a testament to the scope of the task at hand.

Critical to the success of our education system is the collective ownership of both problems and solutions by our education partners, which includes teachers, parents and communities. Development of the action plan is already involving those who will be implementing the work itself and those directly affected by the work done. Every district education council has been invited and has nominated participants to each of the action plan working groups. The NWTTA has done the same, and Aboriginal governments have been invited to participate in these working groups as well. We continue to encourage every person that has a stake in our northern education system to ask questions and become involved in this work.

Mr. Speaker, trust has been placed in each and every one of us to ensure we each do our part to help children succeed. The education of our youth is critical to the success of our territory. We must work together to provide a system that helps all students, regardless of where they live, how they learn or what struggles or barriers they may need to overcome. Together we can effect change that will shape the very future of our territory. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 20-17(5): Education Renewal And Innovation
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Lafferty. The honourable Minister of Justice, Mr. Ramsay.

Minister's Statement 21-17(5): Corporate Registries New On-Line Services
Ministers’ Statements

Kam Lake

David Ramsay Minister of Justice

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday the Minister of Finance highlighted the work being done on the Service Innovation Strategy. Our government is committed to providing better services to the public by taking advantage of technology.

Today I want to highlight a new way the Department of Justice will be streamlining service for business and the general public with the new Corporate Registries on-line system. We are connecting people with the information they need and making our government more effective and efficient.

The corporate registries office is responsible for registering partnerships and certain business names as well as incorporating businesses, societies and cooperatives. It also registers those conducting business in the NWT that are incorporated in other jurisdictions.

The new on-line system provides easy 24-hour-a-day access to basic information in English or French about registered businesses and not-for-profit societies. This includes legal name, status and the type of entity they are, such as a

partnership or society. This information is free of charge.

For a fee of $4, the on-line user will be able to search deeper and view all information provided by the registered entity. These documents can be downloaded and printed immediately. Previously, this information was only available during office hours and sometimes required browsing files in person at the registry counter.

As I am sure you can imagine, searching on-line will save thousands of dollars in time for professionals and for people who previously had to physically search files. Residents of our smaller communities will have the same immediate access to the system. For those who still would prefer to work with the registry in person or by phone, fax, or e-mail, our staff are ready to serve.

We have heard from members of the public and professionals, many of whom had input into the development of this registry system. They have told us the new electronic system is a vast improvement. The corporate registries office is grateful to those who worked with staff during the testing period to refine and develop the system to meet users’ needs.

Within the Department of Justice, we will be continuing to work with our staff and consult with clients to ensure we are providing the most efficient and effective service possible. These important initiatives will enable us to better serve the people of the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 21-17(5): Corporate Registries New On-Line Services
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Ramsay. Item 3, Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Frame Lake, Ms. Bisaro.

Yellowknife Education District No. 1 75th Anniversary
Members’ Statements

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday a banner was unfurled at Yellowknife Education District No. 1, a banner celebrating 2014 as the anniversary of 75 years of Educating for Life. Seventy-five years ago, on January 30, 1939, the original little log cabin schoolhouse now on Franklin Avenue in downtown YK was opened as the first school in Yellowknife. Eighteen students aged from six to 15 years attended classes under the guidance of Mr. Davies, their temporary teacher. A month later Ms. Mildred Hall arrived, the first permanent teacher for Yellowknife.

Life in Yellowknife was very basic in those days. There were about 1,000 non-Aboriginal residents in the area, no roads or airports, access was by ski or floatplane or water transport only.

Recognizing a need for education for the children in the communities, in November of 1938, a provisional school board raised over $1,000 to get the first school program running that winter. The election of the first school board on August 26, 1939, marks the first elected and accountable body in the NWT.

That first little school was cramped quarters for teacher and students. Classes were split into morning and afternoon shifts. In Ms. Mildred Hall’s own words, the first month on the job was utter chaos. “Eighteen pupils had to be crammed into a 16 foot square log building, 18 pupils whose ages ranged from six to 15, half of whom were juniors, who must be kept occupied despite a lack of desk materials, and the remainder seniors, most of whom, having been out of school for a year or two, had to be brought forward to their grades…without textbooks. Discipline, under such conditions, was almost unattainable and, in our cramped quarters, adequate heat meant no ventilation, and proper ventilation, with the thermometer registering from 40 to 50 below, meant shivering in bitter cold...”

Since then, YK education has evolved and grown. Now, in the three communities of Yellowknife, Ndilo and Detah, there are over 3,500 students and approximately 350 teachers working and learning in 13 schools administered by five school boards.

Yellowknife Education District No. 1 will celebrate their 75th anniversary all year long. For the Heritage

Fair in May, students are encouraged to do a project on the history of YK District No. 1. There will be a display in the community area at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre from August through to October. There will be a written history compiled by local historian Ryan Silke and the launching of a dedicated Facebook page to help share the stories. The year will culminate with an event to be held in October 2014.

I want to say congratulations to everyone at YK No. 1 past and present on your significant achievement. Have a great 75th anniversary year. Thank you, Mr.


Yellowknife Education District No. 1 75th Anniversary
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Ms. Bisaro. Member for Hay River South, Mrs. Groenewegen.

GNWT Programs And Supports
Members’ Statements

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’ve been around this Chamber for a long time and sometimes I think my purpose of being here is to sometimes bring a reality check to some of the goings-on around here, possibly.

It’s budget season. Whether it’s the territorial government or the federal government, it’s budget season. Of course, you can well imagine that there have been some discussions behind the scenes here about whether our budget is enough, whether

it’s allocated properly, and sometimes people say, well, if they don’t get things the way that they want them, there’s some unhappiness. That’s to be expected, Mr. Speaker. We are humans.

But even though it’s not Thanksgiving, I think every day is Thanksgiving. Prosperity is a relative thing. I guess no matter how much you have or you don’t have, someone has less or someone has more than you.

I see every day as Thanksgiving because no matter what, if we take the time to think about it, we have very much to be thankful for. We are a territory of 42,000 people with a budget of $1.6 billion. We have an approved capital budget of $125 million, and I think you could compare our capital infrastructure of other small northern communities, and I’m sorry, but we have got the Cadillac of everything. We don’t build junk. We build the best of everything when we build things.

We’re looking at a social envelope budget with housing, health and social services, and education of millions and millions of dollars. We have the best post-secondary education support program in the country. Agreed? We have the best seniors support program in the country. We have the most generous Housing Program in the country.

Recently, our Social Programs committee visited the new medevac transfer site at the Edmonton International Airport. If you are sick and you live in the Northwest Territories, trust me, we’re going to get you to where you’re going to get help and we are not going to talk about the price. We are not going to ask how much it costs to get you there. We’re going to take you to Edmonton, which has the highest rated Capital Health Authority in the country. There are two capital health authorities in all of Canada. One is in London, Ontario, the other one is Edmonton, Alberta, and that’s where we’re going to take you and our government will sign a contract with them and they will put you to the front of the list and they will look after you. Is that true?

In the Northwest Territories, if you want to start a business, we’ll help you. If you want an education, we’ll help you. If you need a place to live, are you homeless, we’ll find a place for you. As I mentioned, if you’re sick, we’ll look after you. Are you trapped in addictions? We will help you.

We have got to say that there is a lot of opportunity here and we need only watch the news for a few minutes...

Mr. Speaker, I’m sorry, but I have to seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

GNWT Programs And Supports
Members’ Statements

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

One only needs to turn on the news and you can see families fleeing war-torn countries. You can see people in refugee camps. Do you know how many people wake up in

the morning curled up in the fetal position because they don’t have any food?

I guess what I’m trying to say is, yes, we’re fighting amongst ourselves about our budget, but can we stop for a minute and just be very, very thankful for what we have, because a sense of entitlement and a spirit of ingratitude is a very dangerous and unhappy place to live. We are a land of opportunity.

We, the government, can we do better? Yes, we can do better. We can always do better. But if you want an opportunity, I’ll tell you; this government is here to give it to you. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

GNWT Programs And Supports
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Jean Marie Access Road
Members’ Statements

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I’d like to use that momentum and improve the Jean Marie access road. We can do more.

Residents of Jean Marie and the leadership have long wished to see the upgrade to a highway. Currently, it is listed as a seasonal access road in Jean Marie. It is truly a seasonal road. During the spring runoff and summer rain storms, the road gets soggy and muddy and almost impossible and impassable at times.

I urge the Department of Transportation to review funding and include the upgrading of this access road in the upcoming multi-model strategy that the department is planning, and also, indeed, a plan to upgrade all our access roads throughout the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.