This is page numbers 6481 – 6516 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 going.

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Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair Daryl Dolynny

Thank you, Ms. Bisaro. I’ll allow Minister Miltenberger a reply.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In regards to Stanton, the plan, as we will lay out tonight in detail, is going to be for a new hospital with the old hospital being designated for some other use in the coming years.

In regard to the $28 million for communities, what we have done is protected that money from any reductions, recognizing that it is a critical need and that as we manage our money and look at balancing our expenditures and revenues, that’s one area that was deemed to be in need of protection. I appreciate the Member’s comments both about the planning studies and the extended care facility planned for somewhere in Yellowknife.

In regards to the schools in the list, or the better job on schools, in my recollection, in my time there have been cycles where there have been years of schools being fixed and now we’re in a health centre renovation phase, plus trying to do housing, plus trying to do some schools, and we have, as I would remind Members, a $3 billion infrastructure deficit and the total budget this year, I think, with carry- overs and such was $300 million.

So, we’re all

challenged to try to meet the demand as best we can. The challenge for housing, of course, as Minister McLeod has pointed out numerous times, I think they’ve taken out over $6 million so far out of the CMHC funding and that number’s going to get bigger faster in the coming years.

With the issue of too much emphasis on roads, we pointed out, I think, when we’ve met previously, that there are options being looked at as a way to free up more cash in the capital plan through the Build Canada and deal with the roads differently where a lot of the work is basic ongoing maintenance and upgrades. So, we’ve touched on that with committee and will continue to have that discussion.

The cost of power is too high, we appreciate that. That was one of the big reasons we put the $29 million down, that we didn’t want to see an additional 20-something percent increase. We agree, as well, that we in Yellowknife need to pick up our distribution capacity, which is one of the reasons why we’re looking at an expression of interest for one

megawatt, five megawatts and 10 megawatts of wind and/or solar in Yellowknife in the Snare system. We’re also doing a resiliency study and we’re revisiting some of our transmission options just to see if there are any other opportunities and we’re going to continue to invest in the thermal communities, as well, to look at the price of power. Once again, that’s going to require strategic investments and the borrowing of money in a manageable, carefully thought out way to allow us to address some of those pressing issues.

The issue of the support for the Simpson Health Centre, I appreciate the Member’s comments as I am sure does the Member for Nahendeh. So, that would conclude my response. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair Daryl Dolynny

Thank you, Minister Miltenberger. Continuing on with the general comments, I have Mr. Nadli.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Just a few comments, nothing in particular, just mostly some internal thoughts. For the most part, I think going forward a lot of the projects that have been identified in some respects have materialized over the course of the last couple of years and I think it’s clear that lacking major natural resource development projects, aside from the mines that we have, this government has to try in some way to invigorate the economy

and

that’s

in

investments

and

infrastructure. So, with that, at the community level there have been some efforts in terms of trying to empower local governments to come up with at least their own finance, and there have been transfers of more monetary tools in terms of the gas tax. So it enables communities to try to at least put more effort into local planning and also incentives to try and identify some projects down the road, but it also creates the opportunity for collaboration between local

governments

and

also

the

territorial

government. But, in some respects, too, I think we all need to be reminded that even though there’s always momentum to download and empower communities, we cannot lose the thought that the governme

nt’s

still responsible to provide services and programs to local communities, especially residents. So, we need to remind ourselves that once in a while communities will want to partnership, but at the same time government still has an obligation to provide those services.

I think the thing that strikes me the most is just the cost of living and how it is that we’re trying to address that fundamental challenge that’s making life, in terms of community living, very challenging for families, single parents, students, elderly and disabled persons. The high cost of living is a big challenge. It’s amazing how our local people can endure the challenges of being unemployed. We have 50 percent unemployment rates in the communities and it’s a big challenge, so this

government has to, in some respects a lot of the time, step up and assist people.

For the most part, I think there are opportunities. One opportunity that we experienced this summer was a natural phenomenon. We saw the forest fires basically decimate some areas in the NWT, and then almost as a residual effect we had the growth of mushrooms. These wild little plants created opportunities for employment, opportunities for some commercial enterprise. But it exemplifies how such a small little vegetable plant could have a big impact on government, especially for opportunities. It’s something that’s renewable and sustainable. It’s very, very complementary to the subsistence economy that we have in communities, so it worked in some respects. Some people call it a lot of hype, but in the final analysis it was something good that happened and we need to try and learn from that.

Next to that is tourism. I think there have been a lot of efforts in terms of promoting tourism. It’s important for us to maintain the facilities, especially the campgrounds that we have locally in some communities and to ensure that the highways are very good so that tourists do keep coming back up north and spending their money up here in the NWT.

Closely related to that, of course, is we have in the riding, at least in the South Slave, the potential of a wood pellet mill that is dawning and it’s getting closer to reality. It’s cause for excitement. It’s cause for hope and optimism. I would like to ensure that local communities continue to be involved. There are some communities that are standing by with their forest management agreement. They’re trying to make this work and trying to make this successful. I think government needs to be involved with that. Whether this government is going to continue with the Biomass Strategy is something that has yet to be determined. Perhaps we could be informed in terms of whether it’s going to continue.

The other thing that kind of strikes me is there was a decision to close down the treatment centre, and we realized that this government is doing all it can to try and provide a service to people who are struggling with alcohol and substance abuse and we send them down south when in fact we need to build capacities and we need to revisit that idea that we need to house our own treatment centre up here in the NWT and ensure that we also assist people.

Those are just some comments that I wanted to share. Going forward, I think this government needs to continue in terms of ensuring that there’s work along

with

communities

to

cooperate

on

infrastructure projects.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair Daryl Dolynny

Thank you, Mr. Nadli. We’ll go to Minister Miltenberger for a reply.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We fully agree with the Member about the need for the government, especially in the smaller

communities but across the economy as a whole, the territory as a whole, especially given the fact that we’re now into a second recession in the last eight years, to use our infrastructure dollars to help stimulate the economy. We did that in 2007. We borrowed to our limit to make sure that we had as much infrastructure go into the ground as possible, and I think we did over a million dollars in a few years. We still see that as a critical way forward, especially infrastructure that is going to help create the conditions for economic growth. We are very aware of the concern and appreciate the Member’s reminder about not just downloading if you are going to work with communities, but make sure that they have the resources to do the job. This whole Assembly has been built on the issue of trying to deal with the cost of living. We’ve been able to make some inroads, but there are still a lot of things to do, especially on the energy side.

Morel mushrooms, I agree; for a little piece of fungus, they are like gold. Changes to the Forest Management Act are coming up. ITI has done a very fine job on the promotion side and managing working with the communities and the folks who want to get into the business, so I think that’s been a very good success story.

The tourism promotion was raised, as well, in the House earlier by Mr. Moses. We’ve seen a growth in tourism and the need to pay close attention to that. On wood pellets, we’ve spent millions of dollars ourselves and the federal government working with Mr. Mapes and communities to get this to the point where it’s at. They now have the land sorted out and the actual mill should be starting construction before winter.

We fully intend, as a government, to continue with the Biomass S

trategy. It’s a long-term energy plan

that should have a long, long future. It’s a renewable energy source, so it should have a long future in the North.

With regard to the treatment centre, we don’t have a lot of notes on that one, but the Minister of Health will be able to have that discussion when he comes to the table here in the next few days. Thank you.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair Daryl Dolynny

Thank you, Minister Miltenberger. I will turn it over to Ms. Bisaro.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I move that we report progress.

---Carried

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair Daryl Dolynny

I will ask the Sergeant- at-Arms to escort our witnesses out of the Chamber. I will now rise and report progress. Thank you, committee.

Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Item 21, report of Committee of the Whole. Mr. Dolynny.

Report of Committee of the Whole
Report of Committee of the Whole

Daryl Dolynny Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, your committee has been considering Tabled Document 281-17(5), Capital Estimates, 2016-2017, and would like to report progress. Mr. Speaker, I move that the report of Committee of the Whole be concurred with. Thank you.

Report of Committee of the Whole
Report of Committee of the Whole

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Dolynny. Do I have a seconder? Mr. Beaulieu.

---Carried

Item 22, third reading of bills. Mr. Clerk, orders of the day.

Orders of the Day
Orders of the Day

September 29th, 2015

Tim Mercer Clerk Of The House

Orders of the day for Wednesday, September 30, 2015, at 1:30 p.m.:

1. Prayer

2.

Ministers’ Statements

3.

Members’ Statements

4. Returns to Oral Questions

5. Recognition of Visitors in the Gallery

6. Acknowledgements

7. Oral Questions

8. Written Questions

9. Returns to Written Questions

10. Replies to Opening Address

11. Petitions

12. Reports of Standing and Special Committees

13. Reports of Committees on the Review of Bills

14. Tabling of Documents

15. Notices of Motion

16. Notices of Motion for First Reading of Bills

17. Motions

18. First Reading of Bills

- Bill 48, An Act to Amend the Mental Health Act

19. Second Reading of Bills

20. Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills

and Other Matters

- Minister’s Statement 221-17(5), Sessional Statement

- Tabled Document 281-17(5), Capital Estimates, 2016-2017

21. Report of Committee of the Whole

22. Third Reading of Bills

23. Orders of the Day

Orders of the Day
Orders of the Day

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Clerk. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until Wednesday, September 30th , at 1:30 p.m.

---ADJOURNMENT

The House adjourned at 5:29 p.m.