This is page numbers 3643 – 3682 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 positions.

Topics

The House met at 1:32 p.m.

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

The Deputy Speaker Jane Groenewegen

Welcome back, colleagues. Mr. Hawkins.

Point Of Order
Prayer

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I rise today on a point of order under Section 23(m), where a Member introduces any matter in debate that offends practice and precedents of the Assembly, and further, under Section 23(i), where a Member imputes false or hidden motives to another Member.

Madam Speaker, I waited until today to review Hansard to ensure that I brought this matter forward in a timely way, as I am doing now. On Thursday, February 13, 2014, during debate of the point of order, in Hansard on page 4, I quote Premier McLeod, who made the following remarks which were referring to me: “…the Member has acknowledged the breach and now he’s trying to use process to not withdraw his remarks.”

I will deal with this particular offence, in my view, in two parts. Firstly, I am personally offended by the Premier’s comments were an attempt to put words into my mouth which I did not say. The Premier’s characterization of me in his comments are not accurate and, in essence, are an attempt to persuade the argument under debate at that moment by reaffirming something that I never said, nor did I imply. I acknowledged no breach and, further, did not agree with Mr. Miltenberger’s point of order. Rather, I used my time to remind the House of the necessity of process and certainly the freedom of speech, which Minister Miltenberger did not follow in his own stead by highlighting his concern through the grievance he raised to my comments. Instead of making note of them on the record five times, as originally pointed out in the initial discussion, he then chose to lay out his concerns further down the road, which is the following day.

I again remind the House of Beauchesne’s, Section 319, and further reaffirmed by Speaker Delorey’s

ruling on February 16, 2006, in short, they all must be brought forward in a timely way; secondly, Madam Speaker, for Premier McLeod to suggest, “…and now he’s trying to use process to not withdraw his remarks.”

These are not my rules. They belong to the Assembly, and if we are anything, we are certainly the pinnacle of process. If it is not followed here, why should it be followed anywhere?

I further affirm concern under Section 23(i) and find a characterization of these specific comments personally offensive to the work I’m trying to do here.

In closing, Madam Speaker, I’m requesting, through you, that the Premier immediately apologizes for the vexatious and frivolous comments he made towards me and that his remarks are struck from Hansard of that day, completely struck off the official Hansard, so they do not incorrectly reflect what I said and stand for days to go. Thank you.

Point Of Order
Prayer

The Deputy Speaker Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Mr. Hawkins. I will allow some further comment to the point of order. Premier McLeod.

Point Of Order
Prayer

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Thank you, Madam Speaker. The Member based his case on Thursday about the fact on how we did not raise it at the earliest opportunity. He just stated that he stands by his comments and that he waited until he read Hansard before he raised it, so I’m wondering what side of the argument he’s taking.

He’s also said that he stands by his remarks. So, I think I was justified in saying that for the Member to suggest that because in previous rulings the Speaker said he didn’t raise it at the first opportunity, it was not a point of order. I think rather than addressing comments where he was calling other officials of the government criminals, he was trying to use process so that it wouldn’t deal with those comments.

So, Madam Speaker, I think we will wait for the ruling by yourself, or the Speaker. Thank you.

Point Of Order
Prayer

The Deputy Speaker Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Premier McLeod. To the point of order, Mr. Dolynny.

Point Of Order
Prayer

Daryl Dolynny Range Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Of course, I will not talk about the imminent ruling that is still before the House. I want to speak specifically to what was brought here today and the point of

order. I want to focus on the words quoted by Mr. McLeod, and I had to go back to Hansard to review it myself. I quote, “The Member has acknowledged the breach,” and I want to focus just on those words and those words alone.

Madam Speaker, I’ve looked back and I reviewed Hansard and I don’t believe Member Hawkins talked about acknowledging any breach, so I believe those words are a bit misquoted by the Premier and I just wanted to share those thoughts on record. Thank you.

Point Of Order
Prayer

The Deputy Speaker Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Mr. Dolynny. Any further comments to the point of order? If not, we will review what was said, the point of order, and provide a ruling at a future date. Thank you, colleagues.

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

Minister's Statement 25-17(5): NWT Tourism 2014-2015 Marketing Plan
Ministers’ Statements

Kam Lake

David Ramsay Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Tourism in the Northwest Territories plays a vital role in our economy. Each year the industry contributes over $100 million in visitor revenue and attracts upwards of 70,000 visitors from across the world. Tourism is also one of the few industries capable of creating economic opportunities in every region.

Because of this importance, and the industry’s potential, we must develop comprehensive and effective plans to market our spectacular tourism product to the world. I am very pleased with NWT Tourism’s 2014-2015 Marketing Plan, which outlines what the GNWT’s tourism marketing agency is undertaking to promote the NWT as a tourism destination of choice.

Partnerships are a cornerstone of our tourism marketing efforts and I would like to thank the Tourism Marketing Advisory Committee for their guidance and leadership. This committee has representatives from the tourism industry, who have marketing expertise, as well as GNWT representatives. They provide strategic direction to NWT Tourism each year in the development of this plan.

I would also like to thank the board of directors of the NWT Tourism Association for their direction and advice in shaping this plan.

We have a lot to offer the world when it comes to unique tourism experiences. Just recently, NWT Tourism launched its new “Aurora Capital of the World” mark in support of its Spectacular NWT

brand. This title positions the NWT as the ultimate aurora viewing destination.

Of course, aurora is only a small piece of the tourism pie. We are known for our sport fishing, road touring, hunting and other outdoor activities, and this plan emphasizes these pursuits. We are also becoming a choice destination for hosting small and medium-sized meetings and conventions, like the highly successful Energy and Mines Ministers Conference held in Yellowknife last year.

Aboriginal tourism continues to grow, and the demand for cultural products and authentic experiences continues to increase. This is a demand that we can fully satisfy through the strong culture and natural hospitality of our people. Last year’s marketing plan introduced funding of $50,000 per region to develop regional marketing and promote local and cultural attractions. This program was so successful, it will continue in this year’s marketing plan.

The tourism industry is incredibly competitive, and we need to continue to position ourselves to new and existing markets as a choice travel destination.

North America remains our main marketing focus. A new sport fishing brand and campaign will launch this year, targeting specific demographics in southern Canada and the United States.

The 2014-2015 Marketing Plan contains initiatives to broaden our global reach and targets China as a key new market. This interest was also bolstered by our trade mission to China last month, where we made and strengthened relationships with key contacts in the Chinese travel trade. Promotion of the NWT during this trip was well-received, with 100,000 potential Chinese visitors showing a great interest in the North, with aurora tourism and authentic cultural experiences being identified as the main draw.

In the past two years, NWT Tourism has become more active in the Chinese market. China is Canada’s fastest-growing tourism market, and with the number of Chinese visitors to the country doubling since 2010, we need to capitalize on this. Over 1,000 Chinese visitors have been visiting the NWT annually, and that number continues to grow. Aurora tourism continues to be the strategic focus of our Asia-Pacific region promotional campaigns, with an emphasis on markets in Japan, China and South Korea. The Japanese market, in particular, continues to show incredible promise, with most of the over 15,000 aurora visitors we had last season arriving from Japan.

This year’s plan also looks at expanding marketing efforts in other emerging markets such as Germany and Australia.

Due to support from this government, NWT Tourism has been able to enter new markets due to the doubling of its marketing budget to nearly $2.4

million. With this funding, NWT Tourism will be able to reach out into uncharted territory and penetrate further into existing markets.

This will result in increased visitor numbers, more revenue for small businesses and new opportunities for the private sector to expand tourism products, or develop new products, to reach a wider market and to serve this growing industry.

Madam Speaker, the NWT has much to offer to potential visitors, and a prosperous tourism industry must build on these resources. The 2014-2015 Tourism Marketing Plan will give us continued focus on supporting developing tourism opportunities in the territory.

By marketing and showing off the spectacular range of tourism products and experiences, it will help us ensure a diversified and healthy economy that benefits all of our regions and communities. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Minister's Statement 25-17(5): NWT Tourism 2014-2015 Marketing Plan
Ministers’ Statements

The Deputy Speaker Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Minister Ramsay. The honourable Minister of Health and Social Services, Minister Abernethy.

Minister's Statement 26-17(5): Community Wellness Plans
Ministers’ Statements

Great Slave

Glen Abernethy Minister of Health and Social Services

Madam Speaker, having healthy, vibrant and safe communities is a key priority for the Government of the Northwest Territories. This is why, over the past year, we have worked with communities as they developed wellness plans, to set priorities and guide how wellness funding should be directed.

I am pleased to announce that all of our communities are on track to complete their plans by March 31, 2014. These are living documents. They speak of the importance of supporting families and child development, celebrating culture, eating good food, being active, promoting mental wellness, building local capacity and building on community strengths. They identify priorities and will be the basis of work plans.

Madam Speaker, the department receives $8 million from Health Canada to support health and wellness in Aboriginal communities. This year we will allocate $5 million directly to Aboriginal communities on a multi-year block funding basis to support this important work. Funding can be used to support projects in three areas of vital importance to our communities. These priority areas include healthy children and families, mental health and addictions, and healthy living and prevention. Communities will determine their own priorities, based on their wellness plans.

The remainder of the funding is used to support the ongoing work of the new division of Aboriginal health and community wellness in the programs and services they provide to community and

Aboriginal organizations in their implementation of their plans. This work will also include the organization of territory-wide events.

Madam Speaker, people still struggle with issues like addictions and family violence, and continue to have concerns about cancer and high rates of school dropout. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to address these issues. Communities need to find solutions that are appropriate for them. The benefits of having a healthy population go beyond an individual’s health status. Healthy people strengthen the community and the territory, increasing economic growth and social cohesion, and making our health care system more affordable and equitable.

Working with communities to implement their wellness plans will be a focus for the Department of Health and Social Services division of Aboriginal health and community wellness.

Building a strong and sustainable future for our territory can start by having a healthy population, Madam Speaker. Community wellness plans will provide a strong foundation for implementing government strategies that help support our residents and grow our economy. This includes work like the Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan, Anti-Poverty Strategy, the Early Childhood Development Framework and the Economic Opportunities Strategy. By working jointly with other GNWT departments like Education, Culture and Employment, and Justice, along with all of our other partners, we will achieve this goal. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Minister's Statement 26-17(5): Community Wellness Plans
Ministers’ Statements

The Deputy Speaker Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Minister Abernethy. Item 3, Members’ statements. Member for Range Lake, Mr. Dolynny.

Prescription Drug Abuse And Addictions
Members’ Statements

Daryl Dolynny Range Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. Today I would like to rise and speak about the recent NWT chief coroner report regarding a female resident having a number of prescription medications in her system when she died from an accidental overdose in December 2012.

For me to start today, I have to go back about two years ago to almost the very day when I brought this issue up in the House, where I talked about the quiet addiction. That addiction is about the addictions to opiates, benzodiazepines and to codeine. I don’t believe it’s quiet anymore and I believe the recent report from the coroner reaffirms what we have spoken up about, this sleeping giant of the drug addiction journey, and that we need to spend a little more attention on this emergent

addiction. From the words of our own NWT coroner, “From 2009 to 2012, we had over 1,700 overdose cases from prescription medication and over-the-counter medications.”

These are the deaths that were investigated, but we have to ask ourselves how many more deaths out there did not see the light of day.

Speaking of light of day, I always say sunshine is the best disinfectant. We’ve heard this again in the House: you can’t fix what you can’t count. So, we need to put some sunshine on why we’re not tracking prescription drug abuse and over-the-counter abuse in our system, and why it isn’t part of our overall general addictions survey. This is quite shameful to continue to hear.

Without a dedicated baseline to the program that we’re spending in areas of addiction, how does the department decide on which dollars go where and how they are spent? Without doing this baseline, which I am calling the quiet addiction, we do not know the end results of what can be done for the people who are suffering in this mode here.

With that, I will be asking the Minister of Health, later on today, about a lot of these unanswered questions in this quiet addiction prescription drug abuse, and hopefully we can get some of these questions answered and put a little sunshine on the situation. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Prescription Drug Abuse And Addictions
Members’ Statements

The Deputy Speaker Jane Groenewegen

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