This is page numbers 3501 – 3522 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 budget.


The House met at 10:03 a.m.



The Deputy Speaker Jane Groenewegen

Good morning, colleagues. Welcome back to the Chamber. Item 2, Ministers’ statements. The honourable Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, Minister Lafferty.

Minister’s Statement 9-17(5): Education Investments In Early Childhood
Ministers’ Statements

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Mahsi, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, the first five years of a child’s life are critical to creating a foundation for their healthy physical, emotional, social and cognitive development. Supporting child care programs is one of the priorities of this Legislative Assembly. The departments of Education, Culture and Employment and Health and Social Services worked in partnership and developed the Early Childhood Development Action Plan. It will provide accessible quality early childhood and parental programs and services for all Northwest Territories families.

We will implement about half of the actions in close collaboration with our partners in Health and Social Services. The others are within our own department’s mandate and I would like to focus on some of those today.

Madam Speaker, the phased introduction of junior kindergarten in all of our schools marks a significant milestone in creating access to free, quality early childhood education for four-year-old children. It will provide young children with a hands-on, play-based program to support their development and learning.

The department will introduce this optional, full-day Junior Kindergarten Program in September 2014. This program is of no cost to parents, will be offered in our schools as part of the K to 12 education system, and will roll out over three years. The first wave will be where the need is greatest: in the NWT’s 29 small communities.

We are revamping our Aboriginal Language Nests program to make sure it aligns with the needs of our communities. These programs are delivered through our licensed daycare centres and expose children to an Aboriginal language at an early age. Research shows that the best way for a young child to learn any language is to be in a rich language environment. It is therefore essential that all licensed early childhood programs reflect the language and cultural backgrounds of the children they serve.

Just like junior kindergarten, licensed daycare centres are important delivery agents of quality early childhood programs and services. Our job as government is to make sure they have the support and resources they need to deliver high-quality programs in safe environments. That is why we have implemented the NWT Child Daycare Standards Regulations to set consistent standards across the territory for all licensed daycares. We will also be working with our licensed early childhood programs to eliminate red tape, so they can focus on programming and development, rather than paperwork.

One of the most critical success factors of any daycare is having qualified people in whose care we entrust our children. To acknowledge that very fact, we plan to introduce a wage subsidy for early childcare practitioners in our licensed daycares to address the issue of comparatively low wages of that critical profession. As of April 1st , we intend to

institute a tiered wage top-up plan for all current practitioners. We are also putting in place a credentialing system, scholarships and incentives for early childhood development professional training and certifications.

Madam Speaker, all of our early childhood investments are linked and we are building to a critical mass. This is work no one can do alone and with our partners, we are confident that we have the building blocks in place to provide a foundation for accessible high quality programs and services for healthy, successful children. Mahsi, Madam Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 9-17(5): Education Investments In Early Childhood
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Minister’s Statement 10-17(5): Early Childhood Development Action Plan
Ministers’ Statements

Great Slave

Glen Abernethy Minister of Health and Social Services

Thank you, Madam Speaker. This Assembly’s vision of healthy, educated people contributing to a strong and prosperous northern society starts in early childhood. The departments of Education, Culture and Employment and Health and Social Services have worked collaboratively to craft a renewed Early Childhood Development Action Plan based on best practices, national and international research and the wisdom of our elders.

This action plan is the companion document to the Early Childhood Development Framework tabled in May 2013 and we will be tabling it later today.

The framework identified the need to emphasize the whole family, improve and expand existing services, and improve communication and awareness of available services. It also identified the need for qualified and dedicated staff, culturally appropriate services and, in some cases, increased funding. The framework built on existing successful programs, including the Healthy Family Program.

Madam Speaker, based on the seven commitments made in the framework, our departments have identified 22 areas for action that will show results over time. A major focus of the action plan is healthy development in the zero to three age group. It identifies how we will implement new programs, or strengthen existing programs, to support this age group right from prenatal and healthy infancy through to early intervention programs.

The action plan calls for the establishment of regional early intervention workers, who will work with families at risk to support and promote healthy child development.

Another priority will be educating parents on the importance of early childhood development.

However, we also realize that those in greatest need are often the ones who do not take advantage of facility-based programs, whether they are offered in a health centre, a child and family resource centre, or a daycare program. If we are going to truly make a difference, we need to improve our ability to reach the parents and caregivers who are at risk, including pregnant moms, and parents and caregivers suffering from addictions issues.

We need to change the way we do business so that we can improve our ability to reach those families. We will refocus our communications and social marketing campaigns to connect with those families in ways that address their needs and concerns.

We will work through our regional wellness staff and in partnership with other regional and community stakeholders, to build on existing community wellness plans and promote local

initiatives that engage families at risk. This can only be done through a collaborative interagency approach.

We will also review job descriptions of key community staff, including community health representatives, to build in a greater emphasis on community work in this area.

We must gradually develop new programs and services based on evidence. We will pay close attention to the results of the one-time baseline assessment of children born in 2009 and identify areas where more formal programming may be required to address gaps.

Healthy, educated people enjoying the benefits of a thriving economy are essential to the future of the Northwest Territories. Investing in our young children is one of our most valuable investments. It is through early intervention, development and education that our children will grow into healthy, productive adults. We must provide them with a strong foundation on which to learn and grow, and support our families, caregivers, professionals and communities with the information, resources and services needed to provide that foundation.

Our action plan is one of several strategies this government is working on to support our people and develop our economy, including the Anti-Poverty Strategy, Mental Health and Addictions Report and Education Renewal Initiative. We look forward to keeping the House informed on implementation and results of the Early Childhood Development Action Plan. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 10-17(5): Early Childhood Development Action Plan
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Abernethy. The honourable Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs, Mr. McLeod.

Minister’s Statement 11-17(5): Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games
Ministers’ Statements

Inuvik Twin Lakes

Robert C. McLeod Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs

Madam Speaker, it is with great pride that I stand to address Members today on the incredible achievements of three northern Olympians.

I am, of course, referring to biathlete Brendan Green of Hay River, speed skater Michael Gilday of Yellowknife and cross-country skier Jesse Cockney, who was born in Yellowknife and now lives in Canmore, Alberta.


Brendan made us all proud when he made his Olympic debut at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics as a member of Canada’s 4 x 7.5 km relay team. That team matched Canada’s best performance ever at a Winter Olympic Games.

Brendan’s perseverance through a significant injury and back surgery in 2012 has inspired us all. He made an incredible comeback by qualifying for the

Sochi 2014 Olympic team only four months after his full-time return to competition in August of last year.

Michael Gilday is competing in his sixth international season as a speed skater for Team Canada. His career has included a string of medals and world records and a fifth place finish at the Team Canada trials for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Michael’s career has also been challenged by injuries, including a 2012 shoulder injury and a 2013 concussion in the lead up to Team Canada selection trials. His determination and work ethic have motivated many a young athlete across the NWT.

Jesse Cockney has lived in Canmore, Alberta, for most of his life. He was, however, born in Yellowknife and is of Inuvialuit heritage. I would like to recognize him for his Olympic achievements as well.

Jesse will be a part of Team Canada at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. This is his third year on the senior national cross-country skiing team and we are extremely proud of his accomplishments.

Madam Speaker, these role models and others have inspired countless numbers of young northern athletes to go out and do their best. They join Denise Ramsden, who competed in the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games; Sharon and Shirley Firth, who competed in four Olympic Games; and others like Roseanne and Roger Allen,

Dale Anderson, Bert Bullock, Fred Kelly, Ernie Lennie, Karen Legresley, Bert Squires, Joan Groothuysen and Jarl Omolt-Jensen.

The Government of the Northwest Territories is proud to support them along the way. In total, just over $1 million has been provided to these athletes and others through the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs’ High Performance Athlete Grant Program since its inception in 2003.

The goal of this program is twofold. First, it is important to support our sport heroes so they have the resources to reach the competitions where we will all cheer them along to what we hope will be podium finishes.

Secondly, and more importantly, the program inspires thousands of other youth through role model programs, speaking tours and other events where our high performance athletes have an opportunity to give back.

Madam Speaker, the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games begin on February 7th . On behalf of the

Government of the Northwest Territories and all Members of the Legislative Assembly, we wish Brendan Green, Michael Gilday, Jesse Cockney and all of Team Canada the very best in their competitions. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 11-17(5): Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games
Ministers’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. Item 3, Members’ statements. The honourable Member for Nahendeh, Mr. Menicoche.

Passing Of Billy “boy” Cholo
Members’ Statements

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Thank you, Madam Speaker. I rise today to say goodbye to Billy “Boy” Cholo of Fort Simpson. In December 2013 Billy Cholo, sadly and tragically, passed away in Fort Simpson.

Billy wasn’t famous, important or rich, but he was just as big a part of our lives and our communities. The important thing I want to say, on behalf of his family and our community, is that he will be deeply missed.

Billy “Boy” Cholo will always be remembered for his sense of humour and being a jokester. Just as important is that he came from the land and thoroughly enjoyed our Aboriginal culture of hunting and trapping.

During his eulogy, people quoted some of his favourite jokes. My personal favourite is “Mary had a little lamb. Boy, the doctor was surprised.”


Many years ago I realized his contributions to us. He loved to make people laugh. We always get busy with our lives, lots of pressures, family, finances, health. He would come up to you and make you laugh, thus giving you a brief reprieve from your troubles. He himself never complained of hardships or troubles, he just enjoyed life.

The family also asked me to thank everybody who helped in the search: the RCMP, LKFN chief and staff, and the Village of Fort Simpson. “It just shows what the community can do,” said Edward “Cheeky” Cholo, his uncle.

There was a huge turnout for his funeral. People from far and wide came to pay their last respects. This was one of the biggest funerals I have attended, about 300 in all.

In a final joking comment, his uncle Edward said, “Billy would have liked this. Almost as much people attended, just like Mandella.”

Goodbye, Billy Cholo. Thank you for making us laugh. Thank you for making us smile on a daily basis. You will be sadly missed. Mahsi cho.

Passing Of Billy “boy” Cholo
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Yukon Sports School
Members’ Statements

Daryl Dolynny Range Lake

Thank you, Madam Speaker. The Northwest Territories is proudly represented by three of its finest athletes at the 2014 Winter

Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Please join me once again in recognizing the achievements of Yellowknife speed skater Michael Gilday, cross-country skier Jesse Cockney and Hay River biathlete Brendan Green.

Not far behind them are the young athletes counting down the days to the Arctic Winter Games in Fairbanks, Alaska. Each one of these Olympians got their start at the Arctic Winter Games and, more importantly, at NWT schools.

This past year the Yukon government implemented a sports school program at the Whitehorse high school. Based on BC’s Canadian sport school program, students at F.H. Collins Secondary School spend half a day focusing on sport training and the other half on academics. The curriculum is further supplemented with guest speakers on a variety of health and fitness topics. The program also recognizes that unique training and competition demands of elite young athletes need special accommodation so that their academic and athletic success remains compatible.

Healthy people are active people. As we face the ongoing challenge of stimulating the development of healthy, educated people, I strongly encourage the Government of the Northwest Territories to consider a similar sport school initiative. Our government funds after school physical activities, multisport games, awards high performance athletic grants and contributes generously to the Pan-Territorial Sport Strategy and sport and recreation organizations, but will NWT own the podium?

Most other provinces dedicate significant resources to programming for high performance sport, and we should be on board with the sport school concept.

Olympic athletes are developed out of broad-based support at the community level. Not all our youth will become Olympians and that is not the goal of the Yukon sport school. But Team Canada in Sochi and Team NWT heading for Alaska next month show that we have a lot of homegrown talent and bright up-and-comers whose efforts we should nurture.

Sports are an excellent incentive to stay in school, develop self-discipline and make lasting positive lifestyle choices. Whatever the outcome, the strength, courage and determination that young people apply in training to win are tools for success in all aspects of life.

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

---Unanimous consent granted

Yukon Sports School
Members’ Statements

Daryl Dolynny Range Lake

A sports school shouldn’t be confined to one institution. Using existing resources, the program could easily be adapted to other schools in a number of our NWT communities.

Let’s own the podium and give our youth the best chance to win. Thank you very much.

Yukon Sports School
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Tribute To Winter Olympian Brendan Green
Members’ Statements

Robert Bouchard Hay River North

Thank you, Madam Speaker. It’s definitely a Green Day. Thanks to all the Members for wearing green today. This morning I’d asked Members of this House and residents of the Northwest Territories to join me in an Olympic send-off to Hay River biathlete Brendan Green.

Brendan is in Sochi, representing Canada in his second Winter Olympic Games. Born and raised in Hay River, Brendan started skiing at the age of three and became a biathlete at six. He long dreamed of becoming an Olympian at a young age and set out to achieve this goal. He competed at the Hay River track meet on a regular basis and used the great Nordic facilities to begin his journey to the Olympics.

He excelled at international championships in 2005 and 2007, and in 2010 he took his place at the start line in the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. His relay team matched Canada’s best ever results.

A series of back injuries jeopardized Brendan’s chances of competing at this year’s Winter Olympics. He underwent two surgeries and has since made a remarkable recovery. This past fall Brendan had reached most of the things that he needed to get to compete at the Olympics. He won a spot on Canada’s World Cup team and took a silver medal at the prestigious International Biathlon Union Race in Norway early this season.

Brendan trains full time at his base in Canmore, but is quick to remember his northern roots. His sponsors include Kingland Ford and the NWT Power Corporation.

Hay River is going all out to celebrate Brendan’s success and cheer him on at this year’s Winter Olympics. To mark the opening ceremonies today, the community was invited to join students of all the Hay River schools at a Brendan Green Day Rally starting at 3:00 p.m. at the new fire hall. Everyone will be wearing green and ready for an Olympic send-off. This event will be recorded and sent to Brendan and his teammates in Sochi.

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

---Unanimous consent granted