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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

Concerns Of The Bompas School Grade Four Class
Members' Statements

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, during my latest regional tour, I had the opportunity to speak to a number of students and teachers. I gave them the opportunity to do a Member's statement to present their ideas and concerns. Today, my statement is coming from the Bompas grade four class. Mr. Speaker, the class spoke about the positive things about the village: the quality of the water, and how it is the best in the world. People are really friendly, and they feel safe, and can walk around town without getting lost. They find the land to be very beautiful and clean. They really like the active after school program funded through Municipal and Community Affairs.

They spoke about what needed to be done to make their life better in Fort Simpson. Surprisingly, better housing. There is a huge demand for more housing units. Too many homes have multi-generations living under one roof. More things such as a movie theatre, bowling alley, arcade, restaurants, another grocery store, and more recreation facilities are on the list. Better quality of produce being sold. The students also stressed things that they liked about their school. They spoke about their teachers, how they are very friendly and caring. The willingness of teachers to take them out of the classroom for nature walks and visit various places in the community. They like the fact that culture and language is a very important part of the school activities.

The students also provided suggestions about what needed to be done to make the school a better place to be. They would like to see a full-time gym teacher, full-time French teacher, an art room, and more Dene Zhati opportunities.

They felt that the library needs to have more books in it. They would like to see a wood shop in the school, or allow them access to the one at TSS. They would like to see the school develop a track and field facility, plus a number of other recreational facilities. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the students for sharing, and allowing me to be their voice today, just like I wrote my own Member's statement. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Concerns Of The Bompas School Grade Four Class
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statement. Member for Sahtu.

Importance Of Government Strategies And Action Plans
Members' Statements

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Reviews on government direction, program and service delivery is essential to the healthy lifestyles of our Northern communities and the people we serve. Making a difference is a concept that only can be related to by realizing results, however, getting there means developing strategies and action plans. Over the past several statements, I have related to progressional measures to the few mentioned strategies. This is fundamental to the success, and more importantly, prudent management principles.

Mr. Speaker, the residents of the Northwest Territories expect change. We only have to review the 2015 election results both at the national and territorial levels. My colleagues had mentioned (1) government efficiencies and reviews; and (2) the best social program as a job. It is understandable that global commodity impacts are beyond our control, however, being resilient, adaptation, and diversification are strengths realized by this government. We can only see that and hear that in the successional statement presented by the Premier.

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to the term remaining to continue our efforts on improving program and services reviews, monitoring, and most importantly, the federal investing in Canada infrastructure initiatives. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Importance Of Government Strategies And Action Plans
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statement. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Mental Health And Addictions Services In Small Communities
Members' Statements

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marci cho, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to talk about alcohol and drinking, and would like to highlight all the work done by the staff at Health and Social Services to support the Government of the NWT's priority of ensuring that services are delivered locally with culturally appropriate methods on mental health and addictions. I was first elected in 2007 as MLA. Over the years, I have met many community members and organizations in my riding. I wanted to make a difference in the small communities and provide a voice for my constituents, hearing the constituents' concerns and issues, and overall assessment of their needs in the riding. The main issue was alcohol in small communities. In 2007, it was alcohol, and today, ten years later, it continues to be alcohol.

Mr. Speaker, one of the priorities of the 18th Assembly is community wellness and safety for the NWT residents, and "creating opportunities for healthy lifestyles and community leadership for our youth." Mr. Speaker, I had an opportunity to sit down with community health nurses and asked "What is the biggest cost driver in small communities in the NWT?" Nurses often note that alcohol is an extremely serious issue, and is the biggest cost driver to the health department. Mr. Speaker, Statistics Canada report that in 2012, the Northwest Territories has the highest per centage of heavy drinking at 31.7 per cent, while the whole country of Canada is 17.4 per cent.

A community health nurse noted in her assessment, the NWT has the highest rates of alcohol-related health centre visits, usually in the early morning after people have been drinking. Mr. Speaker, after having discussions with community members, the main issues I have heard are no job opportunities in small communities, and they also note that it is hard to find childcare services for kids if they have to work two weeks in and two weeks out of their community. It has been noted that it is hard on families, especially on the children. I would like to see early childhood development programs in all communities, and afterschool programs that can help families in promoting healthy families that can provide support to families in need. This will also create more jobs in smaller communities, and allow families to focus on healthy living. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement?

---Unanimous consent granted

Mental Health And Addictions Services In Small Communities
Members' Statements

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, there is a great issue with alcohol in the NWT, and a plan needs to be developed on how to strategically deal with addictions, and promote healthy families in small communities in the NWT. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mental Health And Addictions Services In Small Communities
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statement. Member for Kam Lake.

Non-Government Organizations Funding Policy
Members' Statements

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, non-governmental organizations, or "NGOs," provide essential and invaluable services to the people of the Northwest Territories. These not-for-profit organizations are run by dedicated, community-minded people who care about giving back and improving the lives of their fellow citizens. The list of what they contribute to our society is endless, and the work they do is not easy. In addition to fulfilling their primary mandates, many NGOs invest an inordinate amount of time and effort securing annual funding. This splits their focus, inhibits their ability to plan beyond 12 months, and leaves many budgeting carefully throughout the year, just to keep the lights on.

For this reason, many NGOs rely not only on their core funding, undertake on this government's Stabilization Fund which by the government's own policy is intended to "help NGOs who deliver critical government-funded programs or services to the public to stabilize or develop their capacity." "Critical" programs and services, Mr. Speaker, are defined as ones "the government would either deliver directly, or engage a third party to deliver if the NGO was not delivering them." Despite this, the amount of available funding under the policy, $350,000 annually, has not been increased in the last seven of the eight years that the fund has been in operation.

Mr. Speaker, I chair the Standing Committee on Government Operations which has continued to carefully monitor the government's management of this fund. Members are deeply concerned by our research which shows that the fund is over-subscribed by approximately three quarters of a million dollars each year. We continue to call for an increase to this fund, a request that our predecessor committee gave back in the 2012 Main Estimates. Mr. Speaker, we are concerned that the management of this fund has been improperly parked with the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs, where it is managed by Sport, Recreation and Youth, and inaccurately portrayed as an initiative supporting volunteerism. We are concerned that vital NGOs such as the Soup Kitchen in Hay River are being denied this funding because they do not meet the criteria.

Mr. Speaker, we have called on the administration of the NGO Stabilization Fund to be returned to the executive. We have called on this government to increase the amount of funding annually allocated to it. We have also called for a review of the fund's policies to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of our essential NGO sector. We continue waiting, Mr. Speaker, for a positive response from this government to any of these requests, and we will continue to push for this change as we review the 2018-2019 business plans in November. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Non-Government Organizations Funding Policy
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statement. Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Child And Family Services Audits
Members' Statements

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in March of 2015, the Office of the Auditor General released its audit of child and family services in the NWT as set out in the Child and Family Services Act. The auditor found both departmental and regional action on child protection wanting. Let us take a step back and remind ourselves why we are talking about protection services for children. They are, of course, the most vulnerable members of society. While most children are born into families that are able to meet their needs, some are not. Some families are dysfunctional because of addictions, violence, and the legacy of residential schools. It is the well-being of these children government must protect. According to the last annual report on child and family services, there are an average of 1,940 assessments and investigations per year, a number that has risen over time. We are talking, Mr. Speaker, about 2,000 children for whom there are concerns that warrant investigation.

Mr. Speaker, this is a shockingly high number, and the stakes are high too. As the Auditor General said in 2015, "it is critical that the territory have in place a well-functioning child and family services systems, one that provides the required protection and prevention services to children and families in need." As shocking as the numbers are, so are the conclusions. The Auditor General reported that "the Department of Health and Social Services and the regional authorities were not adequately meeting their key responsibility for the protection and well-being of children, youth, and families." Further, there was a lack of accountability, monitoring, and resourcing to make the system work. This situation is the background to the current discussion about compliance audits.

The OAG found that most health authorities had not completed audits most years. The Auditor General described the failure to complete the audits as "significant as they provide the department with information that allows it to monitor whether regional authorities are delivering services in compliance with the act, and more fundamentally, whether children are being protected from harm, abuse and neglect." The Auditor General recommended that the department conduct audits annually, and require health authorities to create plans to address deficiencies. The department agreed with this recommendation.

I'm sorry, Mr. Speaker, I will not be able to complete this statement in the time. May I seek unanimous consent to conclude? Mahsi.

--- Unanimous consent granted

Child And Family Services Audits
Members' Statements

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, colleagues. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, fast forward to January of this year. The standing committee on social development held a public briefing on child and family services. The Minister told us that the audit results were unavailable because of technology issues. He also said that trying to reproduce the audit would require him to go back and do a significant amount of work which he was unwilling and unprepared to do. What he did do was compile recommendations, and presented them as a letter to the committee. I am assuming that the audits for the 2016-2017 are now complete. I will be seeking assurance from the Minister that he was able to gather all the necessary data to monitor the provision of child and family services and to address any deficiencies the audit revealed. Masi, Mr. Speaker.

Child And Family Services Audits
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statement. Member for Hay River North.

Support For Northern Farm Training Institute
Members' Statements

October 4th, 2017

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Agriculture: where do I begin? I will start with the good. There is significant potential in agriculture in the Northwest Territories, not just as it relates to economy and employment, but also to food security and health. Right now, the demand for locally produced foods far outstrips the supply. To capitalize on this potential, we need to help current producers expand their operation, and help new producers enter the industry. The most urgent issues that must be addressed, according to producers, the Agriculture Strategy, and the revised mandate of this Assembly, relate to land, labour, funding programs, and training. Despite this urgency, there has been no progress towards resolving these issues and many producers are frustrated.

Access to land is probably the biggest impediment to sector growth. The land lease application process can take years, Mr. Speaker, and because each application is assessed on its own merit without clear guidelines, the process provides no certainty, predictability, and often ends in disappointment. However, this is a moot point in many cases because the cost associated with leasing land often makes it uneconomical for many types of agricultural use. Labour costs are also stifling growth and deterring new entrants. Under the GNWT's agriculture funding program, Growing Forward 2, the only agriculture-related positions eligible for funding are management positions at non-commercial enterprises. New entrants are further deterred by the utter lack of funding available for start-ups.

In communities without an established agricultural sector, consultations revealed that a deficit of local expertise, and a lack of training are also major barriers for new entrants. As luck would have it, a local farmer, Jackie Milne, not only took it upon herself to design a training program specifically for the North that is accessible to everyone regardless of education level, but also managed to get the feds to fund a physical campus for her Northern Farm Training Institute, or NFTI. NFTI has garnered recognition from former Prime Minister Harper, the federal Minister of Agriculture, the Assembly of First Nations, and even Hellman's. Yes, the mayonnaise people, to name a few. The campus is also internationally recognized and regularly hosts visitors from around the globe. In fact, Mr. Speaker, it seems like everyone is interested in NFTI except for this government.

Despite the fact that we need to train our residents, the Department of ITI has been refusing to provide funding to residents so they can attend NFTI since its campus was built. I will have questions on this and more at the appropriate time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Support For Northern Farm Training Institute
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Item 4, returns to oral questions. Item 5, recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Yellowknife North.

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

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize Fletcher Stevens. Fletcher is the owner and operator of the NWT Brewing Company and the Woodyard Pub which is located in the Yellowknife North riding. Welcome to the House.