This is page numbers 3763 – 3804 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 land.

Topics

Question 149-17(5): Dehcho Land Use Plan
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Nadli. The honourable Premier, Mr. McLeod.

Question 149-17(5): Dehcho Land Use Plan
Oral Questions

Yellowknife South

Bob McLeod Premier

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the Member for the question. As a government we are very supportive of land use plans. We have land use plans with the Gwich’in, the Sahtu, the Tlicho, and we’ve been working with the Dehcho on the Dehcho Land Use Plan. We’ve signed a bilateral terms of reference with the grand chief where we have been working together without prejudice to find ways to resolve some very complex land issues, and we’re very supportive of the Dehcho Land Use Plan going forward. As I said before, every time I meet with Minister Valcourt I

press the need for appointing a Minister’s special representative for the Dehcho, and also a federal representative for the Land Use Planning Advisory Commission that’s working on the plan. We fully participate, so we’re looking forward to having a Dehcho Land Use Plan very soon.

Question 149-17(5): Dehcho Land Use Plan
Oral Questions

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Part of the ongoing process of negotiations was the concept of the Dehcho resource management authority where a regional structure will be established involving all people within the Deh Cho. On that basis, I know it would be a critical piece in terms of how it is that the land use plan could stand and at the same time be implemented and become operational. I wanted to ask the Minister if that indeed is the case that all parties are striving towards.

Question 149-17(5): Dehcho Land Use Plan
Oral Questions

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

I don’t want to be talking out of school here because we’re still going through different processes. The Dehcho are going through their process; we’re going through our process. But I think we just have to be careful here. We are talking about such an authority, but I think we have to make sure that the understandings and definitions of what that authority will be are consistent. I can say that we are discussing that.

Question 149-17(5): Dehcho Land Use Plan
Oral Questions

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

In the past this government has been very supportive of regional councils that involve municipal governments and First Nations governments, and I know that the Northwest Territories has regional district administrative centres throughout the NWT, including the Dehcho.

Can the Premier explain how it is that perhaps that could be very consistent and almost a parallel process with First Nations’ aspirations towards self-government?

Question 149-17(5): Dehcho Land Use Plan
Oral Questions

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

As part and parcel of self-government negotiations, I think wherever we are negotiating, governance is a discussion that we have in any negotiations that we have, and I think the leaders in the Northwest Territories have been very creative, and I think that as we see more and more self-government agreements are negotiated I think we are going to see much more of that.

Question 149-17(5): Dehcho Land Use Plan
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. Final, short supplementary, Mr. Nadli.

Question 149-17(5): Dehcho Land Use Plan
Oral Questions

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

My last question is: Would the Minister agree that regional administrative centres could become regional self-government models?

Question 149-17(5): Dehcho Land Use Plan
Oral Questions

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

There are three negotiating parties at the table, and we have to have some consistency across the Northwest Territories, but we do have a regional administrative system already in the Northwest Territories, so I expect that that’s something that could be negotiated, I would think.

Question 149-17(5): Dehcho Land Use Plan
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Question 150-17(5): Affected Employee Policy
Oral Questions

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I raised the issue yesterday about direct appointments, and my view is it’s very important to create them in a transparent manner. At no time, of course, did I say I was against direct appointments, but it’s simply based on the transparency of them. In my Member’s statement I certainly spoke about two dozen shared services employees that have been shown the door by this government in its reorg. Now is an opportunity for the Premier to start using his direct appointment authority in an open, transparent, and maybe even a reasonable way.

I would ask the Premier, would he be willing to take all the names of the two dozen shared services employees who’ve been shown the door by this government, and use his authority at the Cabinet table to appoint these folks through direct appointments so their jobs aren’t lost after they’ve dedicated themselves in some cases 10, 20 and 30 years to this public service and are feeling as if they got the cold shoulder.

Question 150-17(5): Affected Employee Policy
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Hawkins. The honourable Premier, Mr. McLeod.

Question 150-17(5): Affected Employee Policy
Oral Questions

Yellowknife South

Bob McLeod Premier

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We do have various processes in this government, some of which we’ve negotiated through a collective bargaining process, and whenever there’s a change in organization or a change in approach, there’s a process that we have to follow in terms of filling positions. We also have an Affected Employee Policy whereby affected employees have priority on existing positions. I’d be very surprised if there was as much of a problem as the Member is suggesting, so I’d be willing to hear where he sees the problem is happening.

Question 150-17(5): Affected Employee Policy
Oral Questions

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Many of these employees have 10, 20 and 25 years of experience. They don’t meet their numbers, so in other words, they’re too young to retire, they don’t have enough years in the public service to qualify, so even if they wanted to take early retirement, they don’t qualify. Some are being offered these eight-month training programs and told good luck after that. There have been a few who have been able to hit their numbers and said the only option for them is to retire, obviously.

I’m asking the Premier, would he be willing to use his authority at the Cabinet table to direct appoint these employees that aren’t just Yellowknife employees, there are Fort Simpson employees, they are territorial employees and they’re certainly family people who pay taxes. Here’s an opportunity when we have 571 jobs that the government is actively looking at – 24 people only really represent 4 percent of that workforce – here’s an opportunity for the Premier.

Question 150-17(5): Affected Employee Policy
Oral Questions

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

The Member is correct; 24 people were affected by shared services, 20 of them have jobs. There are four that have still not been placed, one in the Deh Cho and three in Yellowknife. I fully expect that they will all find suitable, reasonable employment consistent with what they are doing now.