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This is from the 18th Assembly, 2nd 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 mandate.

Topics

MEMBERS PRESENT

Hon. Glen Abernethy, Mr. Beaulieu, Mr. Blake, Hon. Caroline Cochrane, Ms. Green, Hon. Jackson Lafferty, Hon. Bob McLeod, Hon. Robert McLeod, Mr. McNeely, Hon. Alfred Moses, Mr. Nadli, Mr. Nakimayak, Mr. O'Reilly, Hon. Wally Schumann, Hon. Louis Sebert, Mr. Simpson, Mr. Testart, Mr. Thompson, Mr. Vanthuyne

The House met at 1:30 p.m.

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Good afternoon, Members. Item 2, Ministers' Statement. Minister for Municipal and Community Affairs.

Minister's Statement 223-18(2): Municipal And Community Affair's Legislative Agenda
Ministers' Statements

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Mr. Speaker, part of my role as the Minister responsible for Municipal and Community Affairs is to ensure that we have a modern, responsive, and made-in-the-North legislative framework. This is no small task as Municipal and Community Affairs adMinisters 19 statutes in areas that range from property assessment to emergency management to local elections. The department is currently working on several major legislative initiatives that were identified in the 18th Legislative Assembly’s mandate, or that have been directed by the Financial Management Board.

Mr. Speaker, the department is in the process of developing a draft bill to replace the Civil Emergency Measures Act. This new statute to be introduced in 2018 will modernize the emergency management framework in the Northwest Territories and will be complemented by an updated Northwest Territories Emergency Plan.

The Fire Prevention Act relates to the investigation and reporting of fires, regulates fire hazards, and allows for the adoption of standards for the prevention and extinguishment of fires. It was passed in the mid-1950s and has never been thoroughly reviewed. Significant review and amendment is required in order to ensure that a new act reflects our modern operating environment and will serve residents into the future. The department has now completed a first round of stakeholder engagement on this very technical piece of legislation. As we identify solutions to some of the issues raised, additional stakeholder engagement will continue through 2018.

Mr. Speaker, in response to both the mandate, and at the direct request of the City of Yellowknife, we have taken the last several months to engage with stakeholders on amendments to the Cities, Towns and Villages Act that would permit the six tax-based municipalities to:

• provide loans tied to property taxes for resident-driven energy efficiency measures using a modified local improvement charge process; and

• establish municipal hotel levies through the creation of local bylaws.

The feedback we received during this process will help us to propose and develop amendments to the Cities, Towns and Villages Act that will respond to the needs of individual communities. Should there be broad support for these proposals, I anticipate bringing forward amendments for consideration in 2018. In the near future, I plan to introduce an amended Western Canada Lottery Act which will provide a framework to support the transition of the operation and administration of the Western Canada Lottery Program inside the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs. Mr. Speaker, I also intend to introduce legislation in 2018 which will provide for the operation and administration of a 911 program in the Northwest Territories.

In addition to these mandated legislative initiatives, I have also asked the department to reach out to our primary stakeholders to identify their most pressing areas of concern. In the fall and winter of 2017 and 2018, we will engage directly with administrative and elected officials in all community governments in a regionally-based engagement process to determine what community governments see as the legislative priorities for the department. Through this process, we will gain a better understanding of where we should focus our efforts in the next Legislative Assembly. I am committed to developing a legislative framework which reflects our modern environment and meets the needs of residents.

As you can see, the department has responded to an ambitious legislative agenda, and I am pleased with the progress made to date. I look forward to the opportunity to work with my fellow Members to review and answer questions about each of these initiatives as they come forward. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 223-18(2): Municipal And Community Affair's Legislative Agenda
Ministers' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. Member for Mackenzie Delta.

Closure Of Mackenzie Delta Ferry Services
Members' Statements

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, just a few weeks ago, I told this House how a disruption in the ferry services on the Peel River had stranded residents, tourists, and essential supplies, cutting them off from their homes and their travel destinations.

Now, it seems like no sooner than the Department of Infrastructure gets the ferry running again, that once again staring down the barrel of serious service disruption in the region. I am referring to the cancellation of ferry services for both the Louis Cardinal ferry on the Mackenzie and the Abraham Francis ferry on the Peel River. I have spoken of this before, Mr. Speaker, and warned of the possible risks and complications several months ago. Now, winter is on its way and I find that these questions and the concerns of my constituents have still not been satisfied.

Winter services for both ferries were slashed as part of the government's reduction in this year's budget. Regular Members opposed this decision, but the Department of Infrastructure persisted. Now, that is despite the impacts this decision on the communities in the region. Despite the number of Northerners who will be left in the lurch between the end of the ferry services and the opening of the ice bridges, and despite the risks of cutting off Inuvik from fuel and LNG supplies.

On average in the past 15 years, the Louis Cardinal ferry closed around October 31st, and the Abraham Francis around November 2nd. Ice bridges in the region which can see hundreds of tractor trailers throughout the season on top of regular traffic, do not typically open until mid-December, and that is assuming the weather is cold enough. Mild weather could easily shorten the ice bridge season from either end. The service cap that will result from ferry closures is obvious. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statements. Thank you.

---Unanimous consent granted

Closure Of Mackenzie Delta Ferry Services
Members' Statements

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you, Colleagues. Mr. Speaker, it is in this government's mandate to make strategic investments in infrastructure and to lower costs of living. Cutting ferry services and driving up the cost of living especially as the mercury drops is quite the opposite. Residents want to see continued ferry service and, Mr. Speaker, it just makes sense. It would keep communities connected, Northerners getting the supplies they need, and to make it clear to tourists that our small communities are open and accessible. The tourism will only grow in importance once the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk highway opens next month. Shutting down these services sends a wrong message. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will have questions later today.

Closure Of Mackenzie Delta Ferry Services
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statement. Member for Yellowknife North.

NWT Brewing Company Liquor Licencing Decision
Members' Statements

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, recent news reports outlined some of the details of the NWT Liquor Licensing Board's decision preventing the NWT Brewing Company from selling its product directly to other licensed establishments. I have said it before and I will say it again, the board's decision directly contravenes the mandate goals of this Assembly. Support for small business, tourism, job creation, diversification, economic development, manufacturing, it all goes down the tube with this decision.

Mr. Speaker, the success of the NWT Brewing Company is a sure indicator that there is a big demand for its products. In just two short years, the company has enjoyed reasonable commercial success, creating jobs and contributing to the government's coffers. The demand for such a product does not only exist here. In the Yukon, a microbrewery that opened up in early 2015 has had to increase its output three times in 2 1/2 years. Originally built to produce 300 litres a week, it has recently expanded to produce ten times that amount. Mr. Speaker, this is what we need to support, growth. Demand for NWT Brewing's product is high. The business has created jobs and has contributed significant dollars to the Territorial Treasury through the manufacturing taxes it pays.

The Stevens's were appreciative earlier this year, and I commend the Minister of Finance for authorizing the reduction in the manufacturing tax that the company pays. That said, while the Liquor Board was encouraged to permit direct sales to other licensed establishments and is authorized to make that decision, it declined to do so. Mr. Speaker, the board's decision requiring NWT brewing to market its products through the government's liquor warehouse along with the associated fee, prices its product right out of the market and, in my opinion, it flies in the face of the good work the Minister's department did to lower the manufacturing tax. We are supposed to be supporting small business growth, but this nonsense make it impossible for the NWT Brewing to grow even while their product is in high demand.

Mr. Speaker, I support the Minister in conducting a review of the act. That is commendable, but the board's original decision and the refusal to change that decision looks bad on this government, and it is simply bad for business. It needs to be changed. Later, I will have questions for the Minister of Finance. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

NWT Brewing Company Liquor Licencing Decision
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statement. Member for Deh Cho.

Zhatie Koe Friendship Centre
Members' Statements

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it may surprise the people to know that our Friendship Centres are a part of a network of 118 centres across Canada. We are represented in the North by the Northwest Territories for Nunavut Council of Friendship Centres, and initially by the National Association of Friendship Centres, or the NAFC.

Nationwide, Friendship Centres provide culturally enhanced programs and services to more than 780,000.00 Indigenous people in more than 100 communities, however, the door are open to everyone. Friendship centres provide critical social programs for the residents of our smaller communities. In Fort Providence, the Zhahti Koe Friendship Centre has been operating since 1983. Over the years, it has provided many essential programs. Currently, two youth workers run evening and weekend programs for the kids ages 6 to 14, a healthy children's worker supports mother, babies and preschool aged children. Two workers run the radio program, and the justice coordinator works for the NWT justice committees and income support and fine options clients.

Mr. Speaker, the Zhahti Koe Friendship Centre and the programs it delivers are not a luxury. Programs such as family life have helped many people in the community, and I worry about the people of my home town if the Friendship Centre has to close its doors. Unfortunately, because of federal funding delays and the lack of GNWT funding, this is a very real concern.

In September 2017, NAFC and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada finalized the agreement for funding friendship centres. The release of funds has, however, been stalled, and this delay has put many centres in crisis including the one in Fort Providence. They have waited since the new fiscal year, April 2017, to receive their funding, and they are still waiting today. Unfortunately, the GNWT has proven unwilling so far to step in and help most of the federal funding, either in the short term or on an annual basis. The Northern Territories group of friendship centres met with the MLAs in Kam Lake last spring to seek support for a proposed core funding agreement for the NWT friendship centres. Cabinet did not support the idea. This year, the Zhahti Koe sought $31,250 in funding through the GNWT's NGOs stabilization fund. Mr. Speaker, this funding meant to assist non-government organizations with capacity development was turned down because the centre did not have its registry filings up-to-date. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement. Masi.

---Unanimous consent granted

Zhatie Koe Friendship Centre
Members' Statements

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Mr. Speaker, this makes no sense to me. Mr. Speaker, with assistance to build capacity, maybe the friendship centre could get these housekeeping items done? Instead, they are too busy trying to raise funds on their own through bake sales and bingo. They are always looking for creative means for fundraising. Recently, they joined the local "Chase the Ace" to fund the youth centre.

Mr. Speaker, friendship centres are not federal organizations. They provide vital social programming in our communities. When is the GNWT going to recognize the important work they do by funding them so they do not have to continue to struggle to keep their doors open? Masi, Mr. Speaker.

Zhatie Koe Friendship Centre
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake.

Criteria For Mid-Term Review Of Ministerial Performance And Leadership
Members' Statements

October 4th, 2017

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. Tomorrow, we will conduct the mid-term review of Ministerial and Cabinet performance. In the interest of full disclosure and transparency, I want my constitutents and colleagues across the floor to know how I have gone about beginning to assess Ministerial performance. In preparation for the performance evaluation, I reviewed the leadership speeches made by each of the candidates who eventually became Ministers. I also reviewed the mandate letters assigned to each Minister, priority tasks for their portfolios. I have also used the performance criteria suggested by the Rules and Procedures Committee, and I will just read those out.

• effective leadership;

• responsiveness to issues relating to portfolio mandates;

• ethical conduct, honesty, integrity and impartiality;

• commitment to transparency and accountability;

• open, respectful and considerate communication with fellow MLAs;

• ensure Regular MLAs are informed of, and give an opportunity to provide meaningful input into important decisions in a timely and respectful manner;

• inclusiveness, earns the support and respect of NWT residents by engaging the public, municipal governments, business, NGOs, and the voluntary sector, seeking their input and advice;

• works to build and maintain respectful and effective government-to-government relations with Indigenous governments;

• works to build and maintain respectful and effective relations with the federal government; and

• engagement: encourages others to give full consideration to different, sometimes opposing points of view, to promote informed decision-making.

For my assessment of Cabinet as a whole, I have reviewed the progress on our Mandate. I have developed questions for each of the Ministers based on this preliminary assessment and look forward to our discussion tomorrow before making my final decisions on confidence. No Minister has met with me or attempted to influence my assessment in any way. It will be a learning experience for us all, something that we will likely wish to reflect on, and pass on any further advice for the next Assembly. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Criteria For Mid-Term Review Of Ministerial Performance And Leadership
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statement. Member for Nahendeh.