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This is from the 18th Assembly, 3rd 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.

Topics

Recorded Vote
Motions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

All those opposed, please stand. All those abstaining, please stand. The results of the vote: 16 in favour, zero opposed, zero abstentions. Motion carried.

---Carried

Recorded Vote
Motions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Colleagues, at this time, I'm going to call a short break.

---SHORT RECESS

Recorded Vote
Motions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi, Members. Members, we left off on the first motion, 5-18(2). That was completed. Motions. Member for Mackenzie Delta.

Motion 6-18(2): Action On The Alaska National Wildlife Refuge
Motions

October 20th, 2017

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

WHEREAS the Porcupine caribou herd has sustained Gwich'in people for thousands of years;

AND WHEREAS part of the critical calving habitat for the Porcupine Caribou is located within the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge that does not have permanent protection;

AND WHEREAS the Government of the Northwest Territories has actively supported previous efforts towards permanent protection of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge;

AND WHEREAS the current United States Federal Government is making public statements about lifting the protection for the Porcupine Caribou Heritage through the National Wildlife Refuge;

NOW THEREFORE I MOVE, seconded by the honourable Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes, that this Legislative Assembly calls upon the Government of Canada to make representations to the United States Federal Government opposing the removal of protection for the Porcupine caribou herd by allowing any industrial activities within the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge;

AND FURTHER, that the Assembly calls upon the Government of the Northwest Territories to actively support and assist Gwich'in governments and related organizations in the effort to prevent the opening of Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, and to seek permanent protection of this critical habitat for the Porcupine caribou herd.

AND FURTHERMORE that the Premier of the NWT convey this motion without delay to the Prime Minster of Canada with a letter requesting a reply. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Motion 6-18(2): Action On The Alaska National Wildlife Refuge
Motions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. The motion is in order. I'll allow the mover to speak on the motion.

Motion 6-18(2): Action On The Alaska National Wildlife Refuge
Motions

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, like many First Nations throughout the Northwest Territories, the Gwich'in people have relied on the Porcupine caribou herd, along with other herds throughout the territory. Mr. Speaker, all Dene in the NWT are also part of the Porcupine caribou management agreement. Even though the Porcupine caribou herd is one of the healthiest herds in Canada and in the United States, as well, you know that future drilling, if allowed in 1002 lands is what this motion is speaking to.

It can have huge impacts on the Porcupine caribou herd. We see it throughout all the herds in Canada that are declining at the moment, yet the Porcupine caribou herd is healthy at the moment., but future drilling can have impacts on this, as well. That is the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd, Mr. Speaker, and now is the time we need to stand up again. You know, this fight has gone on for many years in the Gwich'in, in the Yukon, Alaska, and the Northwest Territories have always been lobbying the Congress and senators in the United States to protect their calving grounds. I'd just like to read the latest update that I received.

"The Senate passed its budget resolution, which directs the Senate Natural Resource Committee, chaired by Alaska Senator Murkowski, to generate $1 billion in new revenues. This is expected to be found by removing the legislative barriers to drilling in the coastal plain, and counting highly speculative revenues from the future sale of oil leases. The Senate vote happened largely along party lines, with the budget resolution passing 51 out of 52 Republicans to 49, all 48 Democrats, and one Republican. Earlier in the evening, Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell tabled a proposed amendment to the budget resolution, which had passed.

"Whatever moved the direction to the Senate Natural Resources Committee and thus ending the drilling threat in the budget, it did not pass, with 48 votes in favour, democrats, and 52 against, republicans. Last week, the House passed its own budget resolution which also directed its equivalent of the Senate Natural Resource Committee to find $5 billion in new revenues, example, $4 billion more than the Senate budget resolution. Most of these budget resolutions are not legally binding. They are also substantially different budget resolutions."

As I understand the archaic U.S. political process over the course of the next few weeks, the House and Senate will begin negotiations to reconcile the two budget resolutions in a single bill, which will have to pass in the Senate before becoming law, 51 votes required.

Mr. Speaker, I understand that there is still the ability for the language that puts the coastal plain at risk to be removed from the bill prior to the final Senate vote. Given the outcome of the capital amendment vote, however, this will require a shift in position of a minimum of three Republican senators. Mr. Speaker, in the worst-case scenario, the Senate will pass a budget into law in the coming weeks that removes the provisions from the federal legislation which currently prohibits exploration and drilling for oil in the coastal plain. So Mr. Speaker, more than ever, this motion is very important, and we need lobbying of our Prime Minister to meet with the President of the United States. I know that he is pro-development, but Mr. Speaker, I think we also need to send a contingent down to Washington to lobby the senators. Like I said, we only need three to change their position.

If we have a lot people who depend on the Porcupine caribou in the Northwest Territories along with the Yukon, I know they are doing their part to send people down to lobbying. I just ask for your support, and Mr. Speaker, I will request a recorded vote. Thank you.

Motion 6-18(2): Action On The Alaska National Wildlife Refuge
Motions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. To the motion. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

Motion 6-18(2): Action On The Alaska National Wildlife Refuge
Motions

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm very happy to second the motion. There have been a number of motions over the past number of assemblies on protection of the caribou and this is just another one, but I think now, more than ever, it is quite critical that we follow through on this one because as the Member pointed out, I had exactly the same stats on the amendment that was made that was defeated that would have taken the Arctic wildlife refuge, the last wildlife refuge, out of it.

As the Member pointed out, it failed, and so there are two more people who need to be convinced. I do know that there are some representatives from, I think, one of the northern Yukon communities who are going down to Ottawa to try and change the minds down there. I do know that in the past, there have been a number of efforts by people of the Beaudel and Alaska and the Yukon to go down and point out the fact that they need to protect that particular -- because it's a different country and the volatility of the present administration in the United States, it makes it more critical than ever that we increase our efforts to try and make them aware of exactly what kind of effect that it's going to have.

I agree with the Member: the caribou sustained of the people of the North Slope and the Yukon and the Beaudel for years, and I've been a benefactor of the caribou, Members have been benefactors of the caribou, our children have been benefactors of the caribou, our grandchildren are starting to be benefactors of the fact that we have the ability to still harvest caribou, and we want their grandchildren to have that ability as well.

I have said before earlier in the House when I was responding to some questions that I give kudos to any Aboriginal government that shows leadership in protection of caribou across this country because that will ensure the survival of the caribou once the Aboriginal governments take it upon themselves and self-regulate themselves. The Tlicho government has done that and kudos to them. The seven indigenous groups I spoke of earlier in Ungava Peninsula in around Quebec have taken leadership roles.

I think it is extremely important that we continue to support this and we continue to try and get down and do some lobbying efforts and see if we can convince some people who this is an area that needs to be protected. I am very pleased again to the seconder of this motion. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Motion 6-18(2): Action On The Alaska National Wildlife Refuge
Motions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

To the motion. Member for Frame Lake.

Motion 6-18(2): Action On The Alaska National Wildlife Refuge
Motions

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Yes, I would like to strongly support this motion. I want to recognize the people who have done a lot of work on this. I am not going to name them all, but certainly the human faces. This has been a lifetime struggle for many of them, people like Norma Cassey, Joe Tedchey, Charlie Snowshoe, the late chief Johnny Charlie. This has been a lifetime struggle trying to protect the caribou herd. I want to recognize their efforts and leadership on this issue. I know that our government is going to get behind this as well and provide support and assistance. I am sure it is going to get unanimous support in the south. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Motion 6-18(2): Action On The Alaska National Wildlife Refuge
Motions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

To the motion. Member for Nunakput.

Motion 6-18(2): Action On The Alaska National Wildlife Refuge
Motions

Herbert Nakimayak Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as a neighboring MLA for the Member from Mackenzie Delta, I support this motion as well too. Mr. Speaker, this is a good opportunity for the Gwich'in settlement region as well as the Gwich'in International which is in Alaska and the GNWT. I think we are all in the right place to partner up to bring this to the Arctic level of the Arctic Council as well as to the United Nations.

Mr. Speaker, all those avenues are key to slowing down a process like this that maybe move by another government that is out of our control and out of our reach. We are working with the Government of Northwest Territories and the government of Canada. I think with all those avenues, we can have a strong voice together at that level. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Motion 6-18(2): Action On The Alaska National Wildlife Refuge
Motions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

To the motion.

Motion 6-18(2): Action On The Alaska National Wildlife Refuge
Motions

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Motion 6-18(2): Action On The Alaska National Wildlife Refuge
Motions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Question has been called. A recorded vote has been requested. All those in favour, please stand.