This is page numbers 4285 - 4326 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 public.

Topics

Members Present

Hon. Glen Abernethy, Hon. Tom Beaulieu, Ms. Bisaro, Mr. Blake, Mr. Bouchard, Mr. Bromley, Mr. Dolynny, Mrs. Groenewegen, Mr. Hawkins, Hon. Jackie Jacobson, Hon. Jackson Lafferty, Hon. Bob McLeod, Hon. Robert McLeod, Mr. Menicoche, Hon. Michael Miltenberger, Mr. Moses, Mr. Nadli, Hon. David Ramsay, Mr. Yakeleya

The House met at 1:32 p.m.

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

Page 4285

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Good afternoon, colleagues. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The honourable Minister of Health and Social Services, Mr. Abernethy.

Minister's Statement 54-17(5): Med-response
Ministers' Statements

Page 4285

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Mr. Speaker, we are making the final preparations for our new Med-Response clinical support line for community health workers. This innovative project is a priority in the Department of Health and Social Services' strategic plan and advances the 17th Legislative Assembly's goal of ensuring a fair and sustainable health care system. It uses technology to connect people with services and it will be an important part of our effective, efficient health system.

The new Med-Response service will provide community health care workers throughout all Northwest Territories regions with a single phone number to call for emergency clinical support.

We have not had a system-wide approach to dealing with emergencies. When there is an emergency situation in a community, the local health care professionals may currently call their regional facility, or they may contact the emergency room physicians at Stanton Territorial Hospital or the Inuvik Hospital.

Mr. Speaker, the new Med-Response service will guarantee community health care staff access to immediate support.

Dedicated clinical staff will respond to calls 24 hours a day to help community health practitioners stabilize critical patients. They will assess patients and dispatch medevac flights quickly when needed.

The new Med-Response system will work with our telehealth service, and staff will have access to the medical information they need to provide appropriate care.

In the early stages, Med-Response will focus on emergency situations. Over time, this 24/7 service can expand to include providing physician support for chronic disease management and non-urgent consultations, and follow-up for patients discharged from hospital. It will also provide direct support for communities without a resident nurse. These changes will improve the care patients receive.

Mr. Speaker, we hope to begin in April. I will inform Members of this Assembly when the service is available. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 54-17(5): Med-response
Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Abernethy. The honourable Minister of Human Resources, Mr. Beaulieu.

Minister's Statement 55-17(5): Building Capacity Through GNWT Internship And Secondment Opportunities
Ministers' Statements

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Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe

Mr. Speaker, jobs for Northerners are a priority of all Members of this Assembly. For the Government of the Northwest Territories, the NWT Public Service Strategic Plan and the Workforce Planning Strategy provide multi-pronged approaches to build capacity through recruitment, development and retention. I would like to provide Members an update on some of these initiatives being led by the Department of Human Resources.

Partnering with Aboriginal and community governments through secondment opportunities to build capacity is a win-win. Secondments provide employees with the opportunity to become familiar with other government structures and processes. They also allow employees to gain new knowledge and skills and help form valuable contacts and relationships. As of January 2014, five GNWT employees are on secondment to Aboriginal and community governments and one is on secondment to an Aboriginal association.

We are also very encouraged by the recent initiative with the Gwich'in Tribal Council to work together on designing a pilot program for internships and secondments to build capacity in Gwich'in communities. The Department of Human Resources and the Gwich'in Tribal Council are currently working on a terms of reference and will start work on program details in 2014-2015. Other Aboriginal governments may want to consider similar models. During 2013-14 the GNWT hired 22 northern graduates as interns through the Graduate Internship Program. We currently have 12 apprentices.

Mr. Speaker, the GNWT, like many other employers, is facing both current and future occupational shortages and it is recognized that our northern students and graduates can meet some of the demand. I am pleased to announce that existing student and youth programs have changed to more strongly correlate the opportunities in the public service with the studies and aspirations of young Northerners.

Changes to the Internship Program include options for departments to extend the term of the internship to longer than one year in length and link the internship to occupational shortages in the GNWT. To expand the pool of northern graduates available, the eligibility requirement to graduate from post-secondary studies within the last six months has been changed to 12 months. The program guidelines have also been updated to help ensure managers and interns understand the purpose of the program and their roles and responsibilities.

We know many northern students want to work for the GNWT, and changing our internship requirements offers new graduates better and longer opportunities to gain knowledge, skills and experience to more easily transition into the GNWT. By linking internship placements with GNWT occupational shortages, we are gaining the valuable technical and specialized skills the GNWT requires. The changes are effective April 1, 2014, and information will be available on the Department of Human Resources' website in the coming weeks.

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to building capacity through partnerships with Aboriginal and community governments and initiatives to transition northern graduates into the public service. This approach helps us meet the challenges from current and future occupational shortages. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 55-17(5): Building Capacity Through GNWT Internship And Secondment Opportunities
Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Beaulieu. Item 3, Members' statements. The honourable Member for Nahendeh, Mr. Menicoche.

Member's Statement On 2014 Beavertail Jamboree
Members' Statements

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Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Last weekend people were getting together for the annual Beavertail Jamboree. People came into Fort Simpson from all over the Deh Cho, Tulita, Fort Providence, Yellowknife and northern Alberta. Our hardworking organizers arranged a mix of events to get people outside into the fresh air. It's time to enjoy the longer days of sunshine, knowing that summer is just around the corner. I was happy to enjoy the festivities and the great weather, and especially that everyone had a happy and safe weekend.

The tradition of the Beavertail Jamboree began about 35 years ago and the festival is as lively as ever. This may be one of the longest continuous ones in the North. There were activities for youth and folks of all ages.

A great big thanks to the Beavertail Jamboree Committee and all the many volunteers and organizations that contributed to the festival. Corporate sponsors deserve a very honourable mention as well. You have once again put on a great show and once again shown the outstanding hospitality of Fort Simpson. Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker.

Member's Statement On 2014 Beavertail Jamboree
Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Menicoche. The honourable Member for Mackenzie Delta, Mr. Blake.

Member's Statement On Making Peace In Tsiigehtchic School And Community Gathering
Members' Statements

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Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. February 26th was Anti-Bullying Day, Pink Shirt Day in Canada. However, the Chief Paul Niditchie School, in partnership with the Tsiigehtchic Justice Committee, will hold its own Making Peace in Tsiigehtchic school and community gathering on Monday, March 31st, in order to accommodate the travel schedule of its elected leadership.

Students of the Chief Paul Niditchie School will make a start of making peace with each other by signing a school peace treaty banner. Parents, grandparents, relatives and guardians will be invited to sign on behalf of their families and to say a few words on what it means to make peace with each other.

This school-community peace treaty will be witnessed by the anti-bullying T-shirt partners, which include the Chief Paul Niditchie School, the Tsiigehtchic Justice Committee, Tsiigehtchic charter community, Gwitchya Gwich'in Band, the Gwitchya Gwich'in Council, Tsiigehtchic Health Centre, Tsiigehtchic by-law office, Community Wellness Program, the Tsiigehtchic District Education Authority and the Fort McPherson RCMP “G” Division detachment.

In observance of Anti-Bullying Day, the students will wear pink T-shirts courtesy of the Tsiigehtchic Justice Committee through funding through the community justice and community policing division, Department of Justice, Government of the Northwest Territories.

The banner will be hung at community public offices throughout the year to remind people and students of their promise of their commitment to keep the peace with each other.

Mr. Speaker, the students and people of Tsiigehtchic are against bullying and are for making peace with each other. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Member's Statement On Making Peace In Tsiigehtchic School And Community Gathering
Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Blake. The honourable Member for Sahtu, Mr. Yakeleya.

Member's Statement On Support For High Performance Athletic Development
Members' Statements

March 10th, 2014

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Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This afternoon I want to talk about an idea, a concept that was once in the Northwest Territories.

Some time ago up in Inuvik, they had the ski program, the TEST program. This program was sponsored to develop young northern skiers. This program was so successful that it produced some high quality athletes, athletes that were so good that we sent them to the Olympics because they made the Olympic Team, Mr. Speaker. They did us proud. Certainly, today in the Northwest Territories, we just celebrated a couple of our northern athletes going to the Olympics.

I'd like to say, of the people in the Northwest Territories, even though we're small, we're a powerhouse in terms of the quality of young kids, young athletes in the Northwest Territories from all our schools and communities. I'd like to develop this TEST program again and develop these high-calibre ambassadors of the North and to develop these young athletes to have a strong belief that they can go anywhere as long as they get the support, the coaching and get the programs in place.

Let's build on the TEST program. There are many good athletes in the Sahtu region that would benefit from the program if it was back in our schools. We could have it in our schools, to teach discipline, self-esteem, self-confidence, healthy eating, a good way of life. We need to have that type of program back in our schools again.

Mr. Speaker, there were many students from the Sahtu who were in the TEST program who made the Canadian junior ski team and the Olympics. We need to look at this again and support these young athletes in the Northwest Territories and the Sahtu. We want to see something like this so we can say we are the world's best and we're not lagging behind development. Our students are ready, so we should get ready for them, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

Member's Statement On Support For High Performance Athletic Development
Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Yakeleya. The honourable Member for Weledeh, Mr. Bromley.

Member's Statement On Local Food Production
Members' Statements

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Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The United Nations conference on trade and development released its 2013 trade and environment report, titled “Wake up before it's too late: Make agriculture truly sustainable now for food security in a changing climate.” It included contributions from more than 60 international experts.

It shows recent global food prices were almost 80 percent higher than for the period 2003 to 2008. It also indicated how much slower agricultural productivity growth and fast-rising populations in the most vulnerable regions will almost certainly worsen current problems with hunger, drought, rising food prices and access to land. These pressures may easily lead to massive migrations and to international tensions and conflicts over food and resources such as soil and water.

The report recommends a rapid and significant shift away from conventional, monoculture-based industrial production of food with expensive inputs of fertilizers, agrochemicals and feedlots. Instead, mosaics of sustainable regenerative production systems that also considerably improve the productivity of small-scale farmers and foster rural development are the way to go.

We in the NWT import a lot of our food and that makes us part of this global food supply system. The recommendations to focus on producing mosaics of small-scale farmers are as applicable here as anywhere in the world. Historically, there were market and domestic gardens in many of our communities, possibly all. There is some return happening, fortunately, but the recovery of commercial gardens will take some initial support.

This past year the Northern Farm Training Institute in Hay River ran a very successful first season of workshops, which has led to small-scale farming operations starting up in several communities across the NWT. Yellowknife had a farmers market that ran for the whole summer, with several small commercial garden vendors participating.

This UN report can help government realize that all over the world, people are looking at how to produce food on a small local scale. This approach makes even more sense in the NWT where, fortunately, we have not gone to over-fertilized monoculture farming. I know ITI is revising its programs to better support local food production, but they are still missing the mark required to help small producers build to sustainable enterprise.

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

---Unanimous consent granted

Member's Statement On Local Food Production
Members' Statements

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Bob Bromley Weledeh

There is a lot of enthusiasm for this in the Northwest Territories and I get messages and updates from constituents and others every week. With planting season starting now and wrapping up quickly, let's get rid of barriers and make sure our programs readily support small-scale market gardens and the food security we want.

I will have questions for the Minister of ITI. Mahsi.