This is page numbers 6259 – 6290 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 work.

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Question 836-17(5): Communications Policies Regarding Road Closures
Oral Questions

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The department has been advised that we had done an excellent job in communicating with the folks last year during the fire season. We’re going to continue and, in fact, maybe enhance some of the areas that we had communicated to the people and to industry from last year. We have Twitter. We have a website. We also have a toll-free website and also the toll-free telephone, so we’re able to communicate with people, and people are able to communicate with us.

On contacting the actual people like the grocery stores or the hospitals and so on, we’re afraid that if we reach out to them, then we may miss somebody, and that could become a bit of an issue. So, we’re asking individuals to contact us through those media methods, and we try to do our best to try to accommodate everyone who needs accommodation for the highway closures. Thank you.

Question 836-17(5): Communications Policies Regarding Road Closures
Oral Questions

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Well, not contacting anybody misses everybody. Hoping that they’re on Twitter, we don’t know who we’re contacting and there’s no guarantee that they’re following that up. Heck, I’ve been informing schools like, for example, St. Pat’s, have things that’s called the Phone Tree and they build networks so they know to whom they communicate. What better way to develop a phone or e-mail tree that we communicate with this? It’s not foreign technology; it’s darn good customer service who we should be serving as the public, namely in this particular case, grocery stores, medical supply, whatever makes sense. If we miss anybody, I’ll assure you, they’ll contact you right away and say we want to be on this list, and the department could evaluate it.

So, under that circumstance as I’ve described it, would the Minister go back and re-evaluate this concept? It seemed like a good idea when the Minister and I talked about this on Tuesday. I don’t know what happened between Tuesday and today.

Question 836-17(5): Communications Policies Regarding Road Closures
Oral Questions

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe

I think maybe I didn’t want to be misunderstood who we are… We’ll reach out to some of the key grocery stores, for sure, and then some of the other things will be expanded upon and we can reach out. But there’s always that fear that we will miss someone and that may become an issue.

What we’re asking for, if we made contact, is maybe to provide them for…because we would like to have regular contact beyond just the one contact, to let them know that the highway is going to close. But to try to set up a system where, if there’s going to be anticipation that the highway may close, maybe to provide them information how they could contact us, because we don’t know what their needs are and what needs to be brought into the city by highway. So, it would be a good system, we believe, that has worked last year. Aside from everybody being shut down for 39 days out of the 25 different times that we shut down the highway, no one was actually cut off and prevented…(inaudible)…outside of the times when we were shut down for everyone.

We will try to improve the communication on what we’ve done, but our priority is safety, and people will travel the highway when it’s safe to do so. Thank you.

Question 836-17(5): Communications Policies Regarding Road Closures
Oral Questions

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

There’s very little I can disagree with in the last statement made by the Minister, but

the fact is he’s missing a point about vital communications. There’s the general information, which I think the Minister gets and he just spoke very well on it, but there’s also the vital information that needs to be carried forward, and I’m not talking about emergency.

As I said in my Member’s statement, if we gave about four days’ notice, the grocery stores can fully stock up for the long haul. If we gave them two days’ notice, they could get the bread, the eggs, whatever the case may be, milk, here in this community or any community along the road that could be in a part ban or closure situation. That’s the type of list I’m talking about. We’re not talking about thousands of people on the phone or e-mail list; we’re talking probably less than a dozen people, half a dozen people.

If the Minister isn’t willing to do it himself, frankly the question is this: If I go make a list and find key contacts in those industries, would the Minister be willing to use that list as a priority contact list so we can give the people the critical kind of notice that they would need to ensure that their industries are serving the public, which we should be doing as well?

Question 836-17(5): Communications Policies Regarding Road Closures
Oral Questions

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe

We will do everything we can to try to keep the traffic flowing on the highway, so if there is a list… It becomes a difficulty to try to anticipate when the road will be shut down. Last year we found that to be difficult to anticipate. But if there are fires near the highway, communications and Environment and Natural Resources will stay in touch with them. If we’re able to determine that we might have to shut the road down two days out, four days out, whatever, I will be prepared to accept a list from the Member and provide that to the departments, and the departments can touch base with those organizations that need to know in advance if there’s going to be a highway closure.

Question 836-17(5): Communications Policies Regarding Road Closures
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Beaulieu. Final, short supplementary, Mr. Hawkins.

Question 836-17(5): Communications Policies Regarding Road Closures
Oral Questions

Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate that. I appreciate the Minister’s answer and certainly the willingness to develop and work on something, and I’ll certainly get to work on it right away.

I’ve already been working on it, so frankly, I’m glad to hear the words “will be used.”

The last question is about priority. The Minister had talked about keeping traffic flowing. Actually, that’s interesting he said that, because I’ve got reports from industry that they’ve allowed non-perishable goods, things like lumber and whatnot, to travel through the highway system when convoys were allowed to travel through certain periods, but things like eggs and milk and perishable goods and food goods that are critical had been left on the side.

Sort of the old when you show up, you get to go through.

All I’m getting at with this illustration here is there must be a way the Department of Transportation could probably work with the Enterprise weigh station or whatever the case may be, to come up with a priority system that if you’re bringing perishable goods through the system, you get to keep them moving along, as well, with people. It’s just, I’d hate to see skidoos come forward before eggs. Thank you.

Question 836-17(5): Communications Policies Regarding Road Closures
Oral Questions

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe

When the highway is closed and we open up for our convoys, everyone that is at the convoy or waiting, we’ll use Fort Providence as an example, everyone that’s waiting there gets to go.

Now, I believe that we may have had situations where there were people en route with essential goods between Enterprise and Fort Providence and that we didn’t wait. We opened and closed the convoy before they were able to get to Fort Providence and, due to safety reasons, were unable to go further than that. What we’re going to do is we’re going to work with the people at the weigh scales and the industry that will be hauling, and if there is a situation where we know that there are some essential goods moving between Enterprise and Fort Providence and we’re ready to open a convoy, we’ll wait for them. Thank you.

Question 836-17(5): Communications Policies Regarding Road Closures
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Beaulieu. The Member for Frame Lake, Ms. Bisaro.

Question 837-17(5): Early Childhood Program Review
Oral Questions

May 29th, 2015

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My questions today are for the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment and I want to follow up on my statement. I asked a whole slew of questions in my statement and I’d like to ask some of those to the Minister now about the Early Childhood Program review, which the department has apparently been doing since sometime last fall, since September, October, I’m not exactly sure when it started.

My first question to the Minister would be to get an update on whether or not the work was done. Was the review done? There was a symposium that was supposed to be held. Can I get an update on the activities in regard to this review since last year? Thank you.

Question 837-17(5): Early Childhood Program Review
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Ms. Bisaro. The Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, Mr. Lafferty.

Question 837-17(5): Early Childhood Program Review
Oral Questions

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. The Early Childhood Development Framework, the framework action plan has been in the works for quite some time now and we felt that it was necessary and important that we engaged

the stakeholders, the operators, the early childhood workers, the front-line workers, the managers, and so we invited them to participate either by phone or interview or in person. So we’ve conducted those processes as well. The review also includes licensing processes and Healthy Children Initiative funding. There’s also Small Communities Initiative funding, child care subsidy funding. So the discussions, we’ve gotten feedback from a majority of the operators. I believe there’s 102 out of 113 licenced child care operators that returned the feedback. So we are currently reviewing those. The symposium that we had last year has been very successful to date. So, we wanted to have another one this year as well.

So, those are some of the processes that we are going through. Mahsi.

Question 837-17(5): Early Childhood Program Review
Oral Questions

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

Thanks to the Minister. He mentioned a lot of types of funding. My understanding was that this was a review of licenced daycare operations, governance and funding for daycare operators. I appreciate that they’re reviewing the information, but according to the terms of reference, which I found on the website, there was supposed to be a report as of the 31st of March of 2015.

So I’d like to ask the Minister, you’ve got answers from some 100-plus operators. Two things. Did it include the Montessori Children’s Centre here in Yellowknife? I don’t believe it did. Secondly, was there a report? I gather the report was not done March 31st . When is it going to be done? Thank

you.

Question 837-17(5): Early Childhood Program Review
Oral Questions

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

As I stated earlier, those operators in the Northwest Territories were invited for their input; and Montessori, I can’t really speak to that organization, but I’m pretty sure they were invited to provide input. If not, then they should be allowed to provide input into our Early Childhood Development Framework.

We want to hear from each and every operator in the Northwest Territories. Not only that but the terms of reference obviously stated that we needed to conclude by March 31, 2015.

As you know, the engagement has been extended to various organizations and early childhood workers and operators. We are in the process of dealing with a universal child care study, as well, so we wanted to wait until that information is available to us. So, we’re dealing with all these issues that are coming at us, but this obviously takes a lot of effort and a lot of time to consolidate all of the information, the feedback that we receive. Now we are going through those processes. Mahsi.

Question 837-17(5): Early Childhood Program Review
Oral Questions

Wendy Bisaro Frame Lake

The letter that I saw asking for input, there was a list of daycare operators on the back. It did not include the Montessori. I’d ask the Minister

to specifically extend an invitation to the Montessori Centre to ask for input.

I thought I heard the Minister say that there are lots of things going on. I appreciate that. There’s the universal child care review that’s also being done, but I didn’t hear from the Minister when he expects that the results of this particular investigation will be coming forward. So, can I ask again, this particular looking at governance and funding of licenced daycare operators, when can we expect to see a report on this canvassing for information? Thank you.