This is page numbers 6331 – 6390 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

Public Engagement On Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations
Members’ Statements

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Many of my constituents are very concerned with our government moving forward with regulations to allow horizontal hydraulic fracturing. My constituents are thinking of the future. They are concerned that we may pollute our lakes and rivers. Many of my constituents live a traditional way of life and harvest wildlife and fish from the land.

Many of my constituents are also thinking of our future generations. They also want their children and grandchildren to have the same opportunities we have today to live off the land. Mr. Speaker, we need to do a better job to consult our constituents and have workshops on horizontal hydraulic fracturing. I’d also like to quote one of my constituents: “Our land, water and wildlife are priceless.”

As we move forward with our regulations, I believe we need to extend the time frame. I know we’re looking at the fall, but I think we need to take more time. We need to ensure that our residents are comfortable with this government moving forward with hydraulic fracturing. Thank you.

Public Engagement On Hydraulic Fracturing Regulations
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Government Perspective On Hydraulic Fracturing Activities
Members’ Statements

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Before we begin I’m going to say it has become crystal clear in the work that we do here that hydraulic fracturing certainly has become the most important ideological question of our time. True leadership is the willingness to put the question sometimes to the people, rather than trying to say, “Here I’m a leader and I make all the decisions in isolation.”

Knowing that, the government is still trying to understand and balance its role as land and resources regulator. We’re starting to see the ITI Minister take on some of these responsibilities for regulating oil and gas and mineral projects, but at

times you see him almost like with a two-headed job. Of course, the Minister only has one head, at least that I can see, and you can see the Minister certainly has a tough job promoting the industry one day, but then, of course, trying to give the final word of the application in a most fair and appreciated manner.

So, what is it really? I know the rules, of course. They’re spelled out so the Minister can only do so much so far and he has sworn he has delegated the authority, which we’ve seen on paper, but sometimes it causes you to wonder. Of course, now we have the review of the regulations of the hydraulic fracturing in process. The question really, in my opinion here is starting to weigh, is where is the public’s good being weighed in on this question? Of course, we’re reviewing the regulations before we have the good will or certainly the permission and support of the public to this particular fracking.

As well, at the same time, I have to paint a face on it that Minister Ramsay I’m not sure is as open-minded as he likes to try to tell the public he is with his public comments that he has made in the media that fracking is needed for economic growth and we believe, he says, “it can be done in a safe and secure manner.” So I’m not really sure, with that type of perspective and those types of words from the Minister, why he even bothers wasting his time with the public at that point. I mean, we all know we’re being driven to a further resolve.

If I go a little further, in an e-mail the Friday before, it says, “Resources in this area will require hydraulic fracturing to extract them.” So again, what we’ve got here is a situation with the Minister saying one thing and we’re putting the board sort of in between the old proverbial rock and a hard place. We’ve got the applicant that one day may or may not come forward with an application to frack. The board is supposed to be independent in how to do these things, and we’ve got the Minister’s opinion saying, “Its safe and we have to do these things.” We all know boards don’t want to upset their Minister, even though they are independent.

I should at this time request unanimous consent to conclude my statement. Thank you.

----Unanimous consent denied

Government Perspective On Hydraulic Fracturing Activities
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you. The Member for Deh Cho, Mr. Nadli.

Protection Of Water System In Development Activities
Members’ Statements

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. We have commonly heard that the GNWT is in a balancing act, weighing both conservation and industrial development with a zeal to create an economy for

jobs and business opportunities in the overall growth of the NWT.

Industrial economic development, when we say that we’re presuming that we’re underdeveloped, that the system that we have, particularly the environmental regime that we have in place, could be said to be archaic, and our recent efforts have been made to try to update the whole system that we have through the devolution exercise. Similarly, we have a very socially challenged labour pool of people who are afflicted with minimum grade levels and alcohol and drug abuse. Our people are highly dependent on the government for assistance and subsidies.

When we say conservation, we want to keep certain areas of the environment as pristine as we can for future generations. That means having no development in certain areas.

In October 2011, the point was raised on whether the GNWT was considering following other jurisdictions in Canada by establishing a moratorium on fracking. Right now the current effort is to develop regulations to allow fracking. The Northwest Territories could be said to have a strong traditional economy, hunting, fishing and trapping. Our people gain pride in terms of being independent, to supplement their income, to put food on their table.

I wanted to reference a film that I saw as a youngster, and that movie was called “A Paddle to the Sea.” It’s about a small carving of a person in a canoe paddling the great lakes and rivers that we have in Canada. What it illustrated to me is that those rivers that we see float by our communities are sourced from mountains and ice that floats down to the river systems and that eventually comes to our communities and our homes. The rivers and creeks and lakes that we have are part of the watershed systems that we have in place in the NWT, and efforts are being made to ensure that we have a very vigilant system in place to ensure that there is a level of monitoring and assessment in place to ensure that disasters don’t happen.

Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my Member’s statement. Mahsi.

---Unanimous consent granted

Protection Of Water System In Development Activities
Members’ Statements

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Our colleagues in the Yukon have noted the need for further research on the permafrost degradation relative to the climate change we’re seeing, including the warming trends that we’re seeing all over the world, including in the NWT.

Climate change is causing a trend of drought in certain areas of the world and North America, especially in the southern part of North America, and we’re experiencing a shortage of quality water. Water is becoming a precious and valued commodity. We need to ensure that we have a

rigorous environmental assessment in place to ensure that we protect the water system that we have and enjoy here in the NWT.

I support the need for consultation with the public to determine whether hydraulic fracturing should be allowed or not. There is a need for further development in the regulations that we see that have been out in the public for some time. This matter requires a full consensus of all people in the NWT, and this is a very important matter that we need to ensure that everybody has input into this matter. Mahsi.

Protection Of Water System In Development Activities
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Nadli. Member for Hay River South, Mrs. Groenewegen.

Ministerial Performance On The Energy Strategy
Members’ Statements

June 2nd, 2015

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today not to speak on the theme day today of hydraulic fracturing that has been very eloquently and adequately covered by my colleagues. I stand today on a matter that I consider very, very serious. I have said in the past, when we have considered leadership debates, that I am not a proponent of midterm reviews. If I have something to say, I will stand up and say it at the appropriate time. Today I’m going to do that. I am going to make commentary of one of my colleagues who sits in the Cabinet, a colleague who, like myself, is serving in his fifth term in this Legislature.

The level and degree of disrespect and contempt for this side of the House recently has risen to an all new level. It wasn’t until today, after we were departing the Caucus meeting, that it finally occurred to me what was going on. This is in relationship to a specific concern that we have had about developing an energy policy, a global energy policy for this government so that everybody would know where they fit into that plan.

This government, vis a vis this Minister, has refused to sit down and communicate with a private sector company that’s been in the Northwest Territories for 60 years, to see what they might bring to that discussion in developing an energy plan. Not only has he refused to sit down with them, he has refused to sit down with us.

Point in case is this: We were going to have a discussion. We were going to have a briefing. One week before we had a briefing, the government made a major decision which is now water under the bridge. It’s a moot point. The night before we were going to have a briefing, this Cabinet released a press release and then comes the next day to this all-wonderful anticipated briefing with absolutely nothing to share. Now, add to that the fact that they are actually going to table their response to the

energy charrette in this House on Thursday. What a coincidence. The last day of session.

Now, if Members cannot see a pattern and trend here, I’m sorry. If I am the only one who is going to stand up and say this, I will still call a spade a spade. This is an affront and an insult to consensus government and the Members on this side of the House. I spoke to it briefly last week. I said it’s a fail.

What also baffles me even more than that is how did Mr. Miltenberger convince all his Cabinet colleagues that this was an okay way to do business, because it certainly is not.

I’m sorry if I seem a little emotional about this, but I take great pride in consensus government and this institution, and I do get offended and I do get passionate and I get upset when it is confronted in the way that it has been most recently in this matter.

I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Ministerial Performance On The Energy Strategy
Members’ Statements

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

We all know what the definition of a dictatorship is, so I invite you to stay tuned. I say that personal vendettas and agendas are going to come out. You are going to see them in the next six months. I cannot stop it. The only power that can stop it is this side of the House. I personally can’t alone do anything about it, but I ask you to stay tuned.

When we were meeting in Caucus this morning, when we decided on our schedules and what we’re going to do, I personally, with my own ears – and I do not make this up – heard Mr. Miltenberger talk about the fact that we are leaving here Thursday and not coming back until September 29th . These

were the words: “Four months of no oversight.” Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Ministerial Performance On The Energy Strategy
Members’ Statements

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mrs. Groenewegen. Item 4, returns to oral questions. Item 5, recognition of visitors in the gallery. Mr. McLeod.

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery
Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to recognize and welcome to the gallery and to the House some representatives we have from Canadian Tire Corporation who took part in the announcement today. We are appreciative of the support that they have shown. We have Mr. Landon French, who is the vice-president of community relations for Canadian Tire Corporation and the executive director of Jump Start. We have Pierina De Carolis and Kim Desrochers, both from Canadian Tire Corporation. Welcome to the House.

We also have with them three hardworking members of MACA who put a lot of these programs into place and we appreciate the work that you do. Mr. Tom Williams, deputy minister; Ian Legaree, who is also up there and we have Damon Crossman, who is also up there. Thank you very much for all the work that you do.

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery
Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. Mr. Ramsay.

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery
Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery

David Ramsay Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It’s a great pleasure to welcome some more students to the House today to see our proceedings. We have a Grade 6 class from St. Joseph school. I would just like to recognize all of them today, if I could. They are accompanied by Jennifer Genge, their teacher; and Mr. Stephen Richardson, classroom assistant. Matthew Baggs, Gabe Beard, Aaradhana Bhattarai, Claire Cooper, Quinn Critch, Red Dela Prez, Jaida Dowe, Vincent Embodo, Ashlin Gauchier, Caelem Grandjambe, Brandon Koe, Vy Luu, Carleigh Luxon – she is not there – Gairon Mason, Jace Menton, Laurelle Pittman, Kassandra Rawless, Kevin Santos, Jeremy Snow, Aron Taylor, Lydia Taylor, Gabby Uy and Mya Wrigley. She is not there.

One other person who is up there that I want to recognize is my CA, Ms. Wendy Morgan. Welcome to the House.

While I’ve got the floor, I want to thank Canadian Tire and Canadian Tire Corporation for all the good work that you’re doing up here in the Northwest Territories. Thanks for visiting us.

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery
Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Ramsay. Ms. Bisaro.

Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery
Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It’s my pleasure today to recognize one of our hardworking Pages who resides in my riding of Frame Lake. Caleb Cleary has been working for us for the two weeks, I think, and will be continuing on, I think, for the rest of the week. Thank you to all the Pages, and particularly to Caleb, for the work that they do.