This is page numbers 6757 – 6826 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 health.

Topics

Norman Yakeleya

Norman Yakeleya Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Our North is rich in resources, and yet we have yet to fully untap the potential of our people, our youth. We have potential in our lands. The trick to any government is to connect that potential with each other. That’s the trick of any leadership, any people. How do we untap the potential of our young people, the ones who are going to school, with the opportunities that are rich in our lands? Through imagination, through initiatives.

The Sahtu sits in the midst of amazing wealth and resources, but we have not yet realized how we have access to this wealth and these resources. It’s sitting there waiting for us. The closest we have come was in the 1930s and ’40s, first with the uranium mine and Great Bear Lake, tapping that resource, and then the Canol pipeline in the ‘40s. The key part of these two projects were done without any input or tapping the knowledge from the Aboriginal people, the owners of the land. Today in the Sahtu this is not the case. We have a land claim that was negotiated and settled. It has the highest constitutional protection in Canada. This is the highest law in Canada.

The Sahtu is rich in its economic opportunities. We have a way to realize we have a way to participate with this government in developing the region. We have a labour force that wants to work. It does not want to be dependent on government handouts. We have resources that need to be untapped.

I will ask further questions of the Minister of ITI at the appropriate time. Thank you.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Yakeleya. The Member for Nahendeh, Mr. Menicoche.

Mental Health Programs And Services In Nahendeh Region
Members’ Statements

October 6th, 2015

Kevin A. Menicoche

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker. Today I would like to speak about the mental health services in the Nahendeh region. It’s often hard to talk about, but there’s never any shortage of tragic and painful things going on in our communities.

Addictions-related problems keep surfacing in part because of things that the residential school legacy left behind. Residents need more help if they’re going to recover from things like drug and alcohol abuse. People need to heal from the painful things that happened.

I understand that the report on the new Mental Health Act will be tabled today. There’s certainly been a lot of talk about it on the this side of the House. One of the things that the standing committee found is how many front-line positions are vacant across the Northwest Territories. That’s a concern in my region where residents of Fort Simpson, Fort Providence and Fort Liard have gone for long stretches of time without access to mental health workers. In Nahanni Butte, Trout Lake and Wrigley, help is even thinner on the ground.

Limited funding is a concern. A $10,000 program for Trout Lake gets 50 percent of it used for air travel alone. This must also be reviewed and addressed.

We’re all hoping for a brighter future with a new Mental Health Act. Later, during the session in Committee of the Whole, we will hear about how the updated act will benefit the people of the Northwest Territories, and I look forward to those discussions. Mahsi.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

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

Ministerial Travel Claims
Members’ Statements

Robert Hawkins

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Eight weeks ago today I wrote an e-mail to the Minister of Finance because of complaints I received from the public about Minister Ramsay’s most recent travel claim to a luxury hotel in Quebec and using a luxury car. In my e-mail I had asked a number of questions about the luxury rental vehicle, luxury hotel, government paying for Ministers going to weddings and many more questions along the lines of Minister’s signing off their own travel claims, but one of the concerns I raised was how long has this been going on. So I specifically asked the Minister of Finance to have an independent review of Minister Ramsay’s travel claims for the past year. I know this can happen because it does happen regularly. So I asked for an independent review because I think it falls well within the realms of the ability.

I often hear that government bean counters go months after travel claims have been filed and they audit them for clarification and confirmation of expenses. If an error has been processed in good faith, I’m prepared to accept that for what it is. Small administrative errors happen. We’re all human. It’s easy to tick a box off accidentally and sometimes even unknowingly. However, if an error is habitual, then we do have some problems. An example of that could be claiming dinners repeatedly as your per diems, but the conference or meetings all seem to provide them. That would be wrong.

I know this Minister has flown friends and family around and didn’t offer to pay for them at first, until I complained to the Comptroller General, who, once reviewed the situation, found my point correct and the Minister did pay the money back. What I find interesting is I sent the e-mail and it was received by the Finance Minister on Wednesday, August 12th, but it took him two days after my e-mail was sent to reply that Minister Ramsay has called for a review on his own self.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but when you look at Friday’s newspaper of that week when it hit the streets of Yellowknife and me making a statement saying this needs to be done, coincidence starts to add up. Two days to be able to call the reviewers on their own self starts to make you wonder. The Minister has justified his expenses in Monday’s paper, stood by them very strongly, but then all of a sudden, wait a minute, he changes his mind.

The fact remains that the reasonable request is outstanding. If a simple error has been made, I still stand by that point; accidents happen. But if it’s habitual, we need to be asking ourselves, how do we correct this?

I brought this point up again to the Minister of Finance when we were out at the Caucus retreat over a month ago, that he didn’t answer all my requests in the e-mail. The point is, this review is still outstanding and it’s reasonable to be done. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

Ministerial Travel Claims
Members’ Statements

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Member for Deh Cho, Mr. Nadli.

Michael Nadli

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Since 2012 over 100 countries around the world have recognized this coming Saturday, October 10th, as a World Homeless Day. This is to draw attention to homeless people’s needs locally and provide opportunities for the community to get involved in responding to homelessness.

In recognition of World Homeless Day, I want to take a moment to voice my concerns about the impact of homelessness in small communities, like those in my Deh Cho riding.

Homelessness is one of the most chronic and damaging social problems in the NWT. Adequate housing provides a foundation for physical and mental health, economic well-being and strong communities. Chronic housing shortages, on the other hand, are linked to family violence, addictions, low graduation rates, suicide and severe respiratory infections and other communicable diseases in children. As we know, the North experiences all of these problems at higher rates than elsewhere in Canada.

Here are some other facts listeners may not be aware of: According to the 2006 Census, homeownership in the NWT is 25 percent lower than in Alberta. For many, social housing is the main if not only option. Many of the homeless are not eligible for public housing. According to Dr. Nick Falvo, director of research at the Calgary Homeless Foundation, social housing in the NWT is prioritized for persons who are physically disabled or over 60. As a result, says Mr. Falvo, “When a vacancy occurs for a bachelor or a one-bedroom unit, a homeless person without dependants, who does not meet one of the above criteria, has never, and will never, access a unit under the current system. Many of these people leave their home communities for Yellowknife and other regional centres. An evaluation of Yellowknife’s Day Shelter done in 2011, found out just one-third of the people using it were actually from Yellowknife. Almost half were from other NWT communities.

According to the NWT Housing Corporation’s own website, “Homelessness in smaller communities often takes a different form than what it seems in larger communities. These are residents that are unable to access social housing because of past behaviour, arrears or other tenant issues, or residents in situations where the availability of housing has limited their options.”

Mr. Speaker, I’m bothered to learn that even though applications were received from every region, not a single community in my riding received funding from the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation.

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

---Unanimous consent granted

Michael Nadli

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Not a single community in my riding received funding from the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation in 2014-15 under the Small Community Homelessness Fund. Homelessness is a debilitating social problem in every community in the NWT. Given their very limited options for affected residents of small communities, I believe the Northwest Housing Corporation has an obligation to ensure that homelessness funding is fairly shared amongst all regions.

Later today I will have questions for the Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation. Mahsi.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Nadli. Member for Tu Nedhe, Mr. Beaulieu.

Tom Beaulieu

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe

Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker. [English translation not provided.]

[Translation] …died in the hospital here today or a few days ago. So, I’m going to talk to him in English.

Over the last weekend, [Translation ends] Jonas Beaulieu passed away at the age of 93, surrounded by his family. Jonas passed peacefully with his family and caregivers all around him for his last days

Jonas was born September 7, 1922, to Louison and Marie Beaulieu. He married Violet on January 12, 1953, in Fort Resolution, where they raised a family of nine, four sons and five daughters.

Jonas attended mission school until he completed Grade 7. He later obtained a certificate in diesel mechanics while in the hospital with tuberculosis. He loved working and creating with his hands. From building many things for his family, like boats, furniture and fixing anything that had a motor, he was given the nickname “Papa Fix” as a result.

Jonas was a proud man who didn’t believe in asking for help. Violet and he saved their money and, in 1964, built a large, loving home to raise their family in. His strong faith and a love for playing music led him to play the organ in church and he continued to do so for 29 years. Jonas was a devoted husband, role model and inspiration to all Metis people in Fort Resolution.

Jonas was predeceased by three sons, Stephen, Maurice and Gregory. He is survived by his wife, Violet, and six children, Mildred McQuinn (David), Gladys Morin (Don), Lucille Harrington (Paul Jr.), Brenda McKay (Melvin), Larry Beaulieu, and Myra Beaulieu (Marc). He had 14 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.

I personally have known Jonas since I was a small child. I was good friends with his late son, Maurice. When we were children I didn’t know how to ride a bike and everybody else who was six rode a bike. I was a slow learner. Jonas made a tricycle with a chain that could keep up to bicycles. It had 20-inch wheels and so on, so I could learn how to ride a bike and also keep up to everybody else. He made that for Morris, and Morris quickly learned how to ride a bike.

He was an inventor of sorts. Many years ago I went to Jonas’s house with my dad and he showed us how he converted a hot water heater from electrical to fuel. I think that was the first time I saw a fuel-fired hot water tank. I didn’t understand the significance of that. I was just a little boy.

Jonas was truly a lovely man. He is somebody who will be missed by his family, friends and his community. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Beaulieu. Member for Thebacha, Mr. Miltenberger.

Michael Miltenberger

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would just like to take a few moments of the House time to acknowledge, recognize and pay tribute to the award recently bestowed on Sonny McDonald, Order of the NWT.

Sonny McDonald was a long-term employee of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. For 17 years he held the fort on the Mackenzie River Basin Board, as we slowly got our thinking clear, and left just before we finally negotiated an agreement with Alberta, an issue that he always brought up to me as something that was undone and needed to get busy on.

He’s also very well-known internationally as a carver. As you can see today, he’s not in the best of health, but he’s still a presence, and the carving to your left, Mr. Speaker, is a Sonny McDonald carving.

I would just like to congratulate him and take that opportunity. Thank you.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Miltenberger. Item 4, returns to oral questions. Item 4, returns to oral questions. Item 5, recognition of visitors in the gallery. Honourable Premier, Mr. McLeod.

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

Bob McLeod

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am very pleased to recognize my wife, Melody McLeod, and Auntie Germaine Michel. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. McLeod. Mr. Abernethy.

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

Glen Abernethy

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’d like to recognize students from the Aurora College Social Work and Nursing programs who are visiting the Legislature today. They are accompanied by their instructors, Vanessa Rankin and Jodi Brennan. I am going to attempt to pronounce these names, and if I get any wrong, please don’t hold it against me.

Within social work we have Michelle Bourke, Diana Bui, Jessika Claros, Jordon Moffitt, Amanda Pike, Romy Quackenbush, Sade Sada and Alice Thrasher.

The nursing students we have are Laila Nesbitt, Sarah Pope, Constance Afoakwah, Adoma Akua, Beth Thompson, Sasha Stanton, Lisa Balmer, Reigem Sabalboro – I apologize. That isn’t even fair. – Kellyann Whitehead-Smith and Kristan Marion.

I’d also like to recognize Great Slave constituent Kieron Testart. Thank you all for being in the gallery today.

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

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Abernethy. I hope they get the spelling right in Hansard. Mr. Beaulieu.

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

Tom Beaulieu

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I chose today to recognize the two Pages from Fort Resolution. There’s Amy Ann Mercredi – her last name is “Wednesday” in English – and also Kayleigh Hunter. She’s also been working here for us this week.

I’d also like to recognize my interpreter, Tom Unka. He has been coming into the Legislative Assembly almost every second sitting for the last eight years. Tom Unka does both the translation for anything that needs translation and also the interpreting for myself in the House, so I’d like to recognize him.

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

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Beaulieu. Mr. Bouchard.

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

Robert Bouchard

Robert Bouchard Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’d like to recognize Germaine Michel, a Hay River resident; and former resident Lisa Balmer, who’s here doing schooling. I’m sure we’re going to get her back in Hay River in our new health centre, get her and Ben back in Hay River.

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

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Bouchard. Mrs. Groenewegen.

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

Jane Groenewegen

Jane Groenewegen Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’d like to recognize Hay River South constituent Germaine Michel, who is here today with my friend Melody McLeod. It’s hard to believe that they’re auntie and niece. They look like sisters.

Also, yes, our former constituent Lisa Buckmaster-Balmer, who is in the Nursing Program here and, yes, wouldn’t it be great to have these gals come home?

I thought I heard Sarah Pope as well. I don’t know if she’s there today or not, but if she is, I’d like to recognize her.

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

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mrs. Groenewegen. Mr. Menicoche.

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

Kevin A. Menicoche

Kevin A. Menicoche Nahendeh

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I’d just wanted to take pride in our Page Program that allows us to bring students who are younger and from smaller communities like Fort Simpson. Today I wanted to recognize two Pages from Fort Simpson. First of all, my nephew Allan Menicoche, and Aaron Antoine. They’re both here in the gallery. I just want to say that you guys represent well.

Also, thanks to my chaperone, Ms. Jasmine Hardisty, for taking care of them this week.

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

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Menicoche. I’d like to welcome here, too, Ms. Alice Thrasher and Ms. Melody McLeod. Welcome to the House.

I’d like to welcome all visitors here today. Thank you for taking an interest in our proceedings and all the best in your classes.

Item 6, acknowledgements. Mr. Bromley.