This is page numbers 3851 – 3904 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 communities.

Topics

The House met at 1:33 p.m.

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Good afternoon, colleagues. Mr. Hawkins.

Point Of Privilege
Prayer

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise on a point of privilege. Although the matter has clearly been dealt with, upon further personal reflection this weekend, I decided that I wanted to specifically withdraw certain remarks I made on February 12, 2014, which were called into order by you this past Friday. The specific words I wish to withdraw and apologize for are: “It’s tantamount, in my view, of breaking the law.“

Mr. Speaker, I do this because, in my view, recognizing the dignity of this House, it is certainly the right thing to do and also because I’d like to move forward as we work on the job of the budget before us. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Point Of Privilege
Prayer

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Hawkins. Item 2, Ministers’ statements. The honourable Premier, Mr. McLeod.

Minister's Statement 35-17(5): Northern Lands, Northern Leadership
Ministers’ Statements

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, later today, at the appropriate time, I will table Northern Lands, Northern Leadership: The Government of the Northwest Territories Land Use and Sustainability Framework. Completion of this document is a significant achievement and a major step in this government’s final preparations to assume new responsibilities for public lands, water and resources on April 1st .

The Land Use and Sustainability Framework establishes a policy foundation for the Government of the Northwest Territories as we assume our land management responsibilities after devolution. It is based on our years of work and collaboration with Aboriginal governments and stakeholders in land

use and conservation and reflects the special relationship that Northerners have with the land and the environment.

The vision of our government, set out in this document, is that land is life. It sustains and nourishes us spiritually, culturally, physically, economically and socially. Working together, Northerners will responsibly and sustainably manage the lands, waters and natural resources of the Northwest Territories for the benefit of current and future generations.

Principles set out in the Land Use Sustainability Framework will help us achieve our vision as we make decisions about land use and land management. Our decisions will be balanced and sustainable, considering ecological, social, cultural and economic values. They will be responsible and responsive, made in the context of sound environmental stewardship. They will be respectful of Aboriginal and treaty rights as well as third-party land interests and legal rights.

Decisions will be informed by our strong and respectful relationships with Aboriginal governments and Canada. Decisions will be relevant, made by Northerners, while providing residents with meaningful engagement and input. We will be coordinated and collaborative, involving the relevant government departments, external organizations and agencies as well as neighboring jurisdictions.

Our decisions and actions will be fair and equitable, recognizing that responsibilities for environmental stewardship and creation of resource opportunities should be shared equitably across all regions of the Northwest Territories. We are also committed to transparency and accountability in our decision-making processes, ensuring they are consistent and communicated.

The Land Use and Sustainability Framework is one part of a broader legislative and policy framework that our government has been putting in place to ensure that we are ready to manage our new authorities and responsibilities. That broader framework includes existing territorial legislation like the Commissioner’s Lands Act, Area Development Act, Community Planning and Development Act and Environmental Protection Act. Our legislative framework will continue to operate consistent with

our obligations in settled land claims and complement the management structures built within those agreements and in conjunction with federal legislation, such as the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act.

New mirror legislation and associated regulations called for in the Devolution Agreement, like the Oil and Gas Operations Act, Petroleum Resources Act, Northwest Territories Lands Act, Waters Act, Surface Rights Board Act, Reindeer Act and Archeological Sites Act, will also part of the broader framework.

Other elements of the overall policy framework include the Devolution Agreement, settled land claim and self-government agreements, the Sustainable Development Policy, the Water Stewardship Strategy, the Mineral Development Strategy, Economic Opportunities Strategy and the Cumulative Impacts Monitoring Program. As new land claims and self-government agreements are negotiated, they will also shape and inform this policy framework.

All these acts, agreements, policies, strategies and frameworks will operate together to ensure that Government of the Northwest Territories decisions and actions about public land, resources and water are consistent, based on sound policy thinking and reflect the priorities and values of Northerners.

Three departments will have primary responsibility for managing and administering the new responsibilities being devolved to the Government of the Northwest Territories. These include the new Department of Lands, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment. Together, they will be responsible for decision-making and regulation of activities involving public land, water and non-renewable resources guided by the broader framework of legislation, policies and strategies we have put in place.

The Department of Lands will support, manage, protect and administer the sustainable use of public land in the Northwest Territories. It will assume land management responsibilities being transferred from the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs and the federal Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. It will manage all surface lands disposition, such as sales, leasing, permits, licences of occupation and rights-of-way. It will also manage inspections, enforcement and policy development for public lands.

Most importantly, the Department of Lands will be responsible for coordinating and conducting project assessments on public lands in the Northwest Territories, functioning as a “single-window” for development applications. This will ensure that Government of the Northwest Territories consideration of projects is coordinated, timely and consistent. It will ensure all our decisions on land,

water and resource development reflect northern priorities and values and uphold the public interest.

New responsibilities will be assumed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources under the new NWT Waters Act and delegated to it under the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. It will be the security holder and manager for water licences and be responsible for inspections and enforcement of water use. It will also be responsible for regulating the deposit of waste regarding activities and developments on or which impact public lands and water.

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment will assume new responsibilities for administering mineral exploration and development activities, including issuing prospecting licences, prospecting permits, mining leases and recording mineral claims. Industry, Tourism and Investment will also be taking on new responsibilities for onshore oil and gas development in the Mackenzie Valley.

As part of our devolution preparations, Cabinet recently designated the Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment as the regulator for onshore oil and gas activities outside of federal areas and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. Agreements for technical services and support from regulatory experts in other jurisdictions are being finalized. Having the regulatory function sit with Industry, Tourism and Investment, rather than simply contracting a regulator from outside of the Northwest Territories, will ensure that knowledge and skills are transferred to, built in and held by people in the Northwest Territories. This model was arrived at by careful review and consideration of several possible models and is consistent with how Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Yukon have successfully regulated oil and gas activities for years.

After decades of negotiations and years of planning, we are on the eve of momentous changes in the Northwest Territories. We did not achieve this alone. With the support and participation of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the Northwest Territory Metis Nation, the Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated, the Gwich’in Tribal Council and the Tlicho Government, the Devolution Agreement provides for continued, stronger intergovernmental relationships with Aboriginal governments through the Intergovernmental Council. The sharing of resource revenues with participating Aboriginal governments also supports this government’s commitment to strong Aboriginal governments.

I also want to thank the Members of this House, whose due diligence throughout negotiations and implementation planning was a critical part of the process.

The land and its resources are our common heritage and must be managed to the benefit of all

residents of our territory. Making the right decisions today to ensure a healthy and prosperous tomorrow for future generations is one of our greatest responsibilities as a government. Let us continue to work together, both in this House and with all of our partners, to make sure we get it right. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 35-17(5): Northern Lands, Northern Leadership
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Minister's Statement 36-17(5): Northwest Territories Teachers’ Association 60th Anniversary And Thank You For Making A Difference
Ministers’ Statements

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment wishes to recognize the dedication and service of the educators who have contributed to the well-being, support and education of our students.

The Northwest Territories Teachers’ Association was founded 60 years ago with just 60 teachers, including those from the Western and Eastern Arctic, eventually becoming a member of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation. As we proudly recognize this anniversary, the NWTTA now represents more than 800 teachers in 49 schools, demonstrating tremendous growth in the territory.

Throughout this growth, we have faced many challenges together and are always ensuring that we are working together to make the right decisions for the future of our territory. The NWTTA has worked hard to define and protect the rights of educators across the territory and has helped teachers and principals in their professional development.

Thank you for Making a Difference, established in 1998, has been highly successful in highlighting teachers and engaging students across the Northwest Territories. It has been a great source of encouragement and pride for hundreds of NWT teachers over the years and is a perfect example of the heart and vision of this organization. In 15 years the NWTTA has received more than 20,000 entries recognizing educators who changed their students’ lives.

Mr. Speaker, as we move to implement our foundational initiatives, including Education Renewal, Safe Schools and Early Childhood Development, it is more important now than ever that we work together, as we seek guidance and assistance with the development and implementation of these initiatives.

I would like to close by thanking the NWTTA for providing 60 years of excellent service in the Northwest Territories, and I wish all the best for the next 60 years and beyond. Through our ongoing work together, we will continue to improve our

education system for both teachers and students. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 36-17(5): Northwest Territories Teachers’ Association 60th Anniversary And Thank You For Making A Difference
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Lafferty. Colleagues, before we go on, I’d like to welcome back to the House a former Member, former Minister, former Speaker, Sergeant-at-Arms, Honourary Table Officer and Honourary Captain, too, Mr. Anthony W.J. Whitford.

---Applause

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

Decision-Making Process
Members’ Statements

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’d like to follow up on the Premier’s statement.

Cabinet’s vote against a proposal to keep decision-making in the regions was curious, and people are wondering why would they vote against the wishes of their own people.

As details emerge about the devolution of lands and waters to the NWT, people are noticing a disturbing undercurrent. In the process of transferring authority to the NWT, decision-making is being quietly moved from open public processes into the murky world of the GNWT bureaucracy and top secret Cabinet room. There is so much happening that it’s hard to see at first, but some examples are starting to emerge from the haze.

First, the authority to regulate oil and gas. Currently, this is done by the National Energy Board. They hold public hearings and anyone can participate and express their opinion. As of April 1st ,

this authority will transfer to the GNWT Cabinet.

Second, participation by departments in environmental reviews. Currently, each federal department, like Fisheries, Environment or Natural Resources, can intervene separately in environmental reviews. Their opinions are all considered by the board. As of April 1st , much of the

federal capacity will be transferred to GNWT departments like ENR, ITI and Lands, but all GNWT departments will be required to submit their opinions to the Department of Lands that will consider them and create a single unified GNWT position to be approved or not by Cabinet.

Third, authority to provide direction to NWT boards. The changes to the MVRMA in Bill C-15 take power and independence away from land and water boards and place it in the hands of the federal Minister. As of April 1st , some of that control will

then be delegated back to GNWT Ministers. Once again, a power shift from open, public process to secret, behind closed doors of the GNWT Cabinet.

Some may say that our government is public and accountable through this House and through elections, but nobody will deny that decisions made in Cabinet and in this House are political. Just like we don’t let Cabinet decide court cases, there are very good reasons to keep oil and gas, land use planning and land and water permits out of the political realm and under the control of impartial boards.

I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Decision-Making Process
Members’ Statements

Bob Bromley Weledeh

Cabinet is giving us the impression that we are creating a mirror-image system through our mirroring legislation. But these not-so-subtle changes are starting to look like a Cabinet power grab.

I will have questions. Mahsi.

Decision-Making Process
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Bromley. Member for Range Lake, Mr. Dolynny.

Hospital-Induced Infections
Members’ Statements

Daryl Dolynny Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.Let me start off today by sharing some very shocking numbers. Every year, over 220,000 Canadians develop infections during their hospital stay, and on average, these infections kill 22 patients every single day. To put this number into perspective, this is about the same number of Canadians who will die from breast cancer and leukemia combined.

This is the new reality facing our hospitals in the 21st century and it has now become a very massive

burden on our health care system. This is a fight we cannot afford to lose.

Right now the superbugs that pose the biggest challenges in our hospitals are Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA; Clostridium Difficile, or called C. Difficile; Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, or VRE; and the latest threat is Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE. That’s a mouthful.

Collectively, right now one in every 12 patients in a Canadian hospital is infected by one of these superbugs and the NWT is not immune to these statistics. Unfortunately, we just don’t track all of them.

Just last week the Minister of Health and Social Services tabled the NWT Department of Health and Social Services Annual Report of 2012-2013, and within this report, on page 34, it states the incidence of Methicillin-resistant Staph A, and that’s the only superbug that it lists. This superbug has increased from a baseline of 28 cases per 10,000 patients to 46.6 cases in 2012-13. So what does that mean? It means that in almost a year it has doubled. In fact, if you look back to 2006 at three

cases of MRSA for 10,000 patients, we are nearly at a 15 times multiplier in seven years.

What is further alarming with the relevance of these increasing cases of MRSA is that it is mostly affecting our seniors and elders in our population, and because our population is aging, we should be very careful with that.

In the end, I am greatly concerned that with an alarming statistic of one of every 12 patients infected with a superbug, which is an epidemic in my books, is our current health care system doing enough with just an awareness campaign as it states in this report? Or should we be following mainstream health care with better collection, analysis, monitoring and reporting to the public…

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

---Unanimous consent granted

Hospital-Induced Infections
Members’ Statements

Daryl Dolynny Range Lake

…and should we retool our basic defence and superbug control with a more robust and well-funded housekeeping program?

I will have questions for the Minister of Health and Social Services. Thank you.

Hospital-Induced Infections
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Dolynny. Member for Nahendeh, Mr. Menicoche.