This is page numbers 1699 – 1740 of the Hansard for 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 going.

Members Present

Hon. Glen Abernethy, Hon. Tom Beaulieu, Mr. Blake, Hon. Caroline Cochrane, Ms. Green, 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.


The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Item 2, Ministers' statements. Minister of Health and Social Services.

Glen Abernethy

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories has made a commitment in its mandate to work collaboratively to reduce poverty in the Northwest Territories by working with our partners to advance the Territorial Anti-Poverty Action Plan, funding community-based partners, supporting community priorities for wellness, and developing additional options for action.

Poverty is a complex issue and there is no single solution. The lack of a commonly accepted, shared definition on poverty makes it difficult to have a focused discussion among stakeholders. Because poverty and the factors that influence poverty are so all-encompassing, it makes it difficult to set parameters or put a box around the appropriate scope for a poverty reduction strategy.

However, our work in this area is guided by a territorial framework that was developed by the Government of the Northwest Territories in partnership with other stakeholders, including non-government organizations, Aboriginal governments, and business. The framework outlines five areas where we need to take action, including supporting children and families, promoting healthy living, ensuring safe and affordable housing, making our communities sustainable, and providing an integrated continuum of services to our residents.

The framework is supported by a Territorial Anti-Poverty Action Plan, which was also developed in collaboration with our stakeholders. This plan is rooted in the fundamental premise that the reduction and elimination of poverty requires a

sustained effort by all levels of government and civil society. The Government of the Northwest Territories has a leadership role, but we can’t do it alone.

Importantly, Mr. Speaker, we can’t do it without our communities. We’ve learned that, with our limited resources, the most effective approach is to follow the lead of local champions and provide resources to support local initiatives. As Minister, I have been impressed by the amazing proposals with tangible, achievable results generated in our smallest and most remote communities, and am pleased to support them.

Mr. Speaker, we recognize that holding annual Anti-Poverty Roundtables alone will not eliminate poverty in the Northwest Territories, but these roundtables provide an excellent opportunity for partners to discuss challenges and successes in each region, to share best practices, and to advise our government on priority areas for action.

In a similar vein, the Anti-Poverty Fund is not designed to solve poverty in the Northwest Territories on its own. Rather, it is intended to support local initiatives, tailored to respond to locally identified needs and priorities and hopefully to assist communities and non-government organizations to leverage other funding for these important initiatives.

Mr. Speaker, to get the complete picture on how much our government is spending to fight poverty, one needs to step back and take a broader look at the investments we are making in the NWT’s people. The GNWT is proposing to spend nearly $1.7 billion in its 2017-18 budget, Mr. Speaker, with a billion of that, 63 per cent, intended for departments in the social envelope. We talk a lot about new investments at budget time, but we shouldn’t forget the ongoing spending those new investments are being added to. Some of the ongoing spending includes:

● $151 million for schools, including $25 million for inclusive schooling;

● $48.8 million for income security, including $33.9 million for income assistance and $14.7 million for student financial assistance;

● $158 million for community health programs, including $68 million for community clinics and health services, $16.5 million for mental health and addictions, and almost $8 million for homecare;

● $27.5 million for community social programs intended to protect and support children and encourage strong, healthy families;

● $33.5 million for supplementary health programs, including $23 million for medical travel;

● $56 million for community housing services that support the operation of subsidized public and affordable housing units; and

● $7 million in homeowner programs like PATH, CARE and SAFE.

New investments in the proposed main estimates which will have a significant impact on poverty in our communities include:

● $750,000 to provide services to homeless people in Yellowknife;

● a commitment to fully fund junior kindergarten, which will reduce child care costs for many parents;

● $3 million to enhance the Small Community Employment Support program;

● $750,000 to extend the NWT Child Benefit; and

● $500,000 to provide a home repair program to low-income seniors.

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories has a unique leadership role in reducing and eliminating poverty because it provides health, social services, education, housing, and economic development to all NWT residents. However, to effectively reduce and eliminate poverty, we must continue to have a multi-faceted approach and a sustained effort provided by all levels of government from federal to municipal and community partners. We will continue to work with our partners to advance the action plan and support communities’ priorities for wellness. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Ministers' statements. Minister of the Department of Transportation.

Wally Schumann

Wally Schumann Hay River South

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Transportation is committed to working with our public sector partners to maintain a safe and effective multi-modal transportation system.

The Northwest Territories’ 27 community airports are critical to the economic and social well-being of our residents. In fact, four of our communities have no road access whatsoever and are completely reliant on a combination of marine and air services. In addition to enhancing safety operations, improvements to airport infrastructure help to better connect families, provide increased tourism opportunities, enhance reliable delivery of essential goods to remote communities, and support emergency medevac and response capabilities.

All airports in the NWT are federally regulated. Improvements to air services and airport infrastructure are mutually beneficial to both the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Government of Canada. The federal government plays an important role in funding northern aviation infrastructure.

A number of federal infrastructure funding programs have supported upgrades to NWT airports in the past.

The Airport Capital Assistance Program was developed in 1995 to help regional airports across Canada, by paying for up to 100 per cent of the costs of projects related to safety, such as airside surfaces and lighting, emergency response equipment, and mobile heavy equipment for airside operations. Currently, 20 of the Department of Transportation’s 27 airports qualify for ACAP assistance.

Since 1995, a total of $24 million has been invested in airports across the Northwest Territories under the ACAP program. This includes the purchase of a new snow blower in Hay River; the rehabilitation of airfield lighting in Norman Wells, Aklavik and Tuktoyaktuk; and runway surface rehabilitation in Sachs Harbour, Tulita, Inuvik, Yellowknife, and Norman Wells. This year, roughly $805,000 is being provided to purchase an aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicle for the Yellowknife Airport. The vehicle is expected to arrive in March and will help improve our emergency response capacity at the territory’s gateway air hub.

The GNWT is also able to access other federal funding programs to assist in the improvements at NWT airports. New airports were built in Trout Lake in 2016 and Colville Lake in 2012 under the provisions of the Building Canada Plan. This increased the safety and capacity of air travel in both communities.

A series of air terminal building replacements were undertaken in 2011 in Sachs Harbour, Paulatuk, and Tuktoyaktuk under Canada's Infrastructure Stimulus Fund. This program has also funded the replacement of a combined services building in Yellowknife. These projects provided resilient infrastructure with improved efficiency for community use. We have also been recently undertaking work to prepare for replacing the Inuvik Air Terminal Building.

Mr. Speaker, while federal investment in our transportation system cannot be underestimated, we cannot depend solely on Canada for necessary improvements at NWT airports. Federal funding is limited and there is no certainty that the Government of the Northwest Territories will receive approval for critical infrastructure improvement projects under the federal programs. These programs do not always allow us to invest in projects we know are required.

The Department of Transportation will continue to lobby the federal government for increased funding, but at the end of the day, essential capital investments in safety and security need to be made in a timely manner.

As Members know, the Department of Infrastructure has proposed a new approach to funding the Yellowknife Airport, the North's biggest and busiest airport. In other parts of Canada, airports of this size are usually able to pay for themselves without requiring substantial subsidies from government. Those airports do this by charging tenants and their users a fair and competitive price for services they receive from the airport. This is not currently the case in Yellowknife.

In Yellowknife, the government continues to contribute substantially to the airport, requiring the Government of the Northwest Territories to allocate money from within its operating budget. Money to fund capital improvements, while partially coming from Canada at times, also comes from the GNWT's limited capital budget, which also has to fund the construction of schools, health centres, and public housing.

Our studies show that the Yellowknife Airport substantially undercharges compared to Canadian airports of the same size. Landing fees are currently only 25 per cent of those at comparable airports in southern Canada. The Government of the Northwest Territories has to make up that difference, requiring us to divert resources from other programs and projects. We think it would be better for businesses and the people who directly benefit from use of the Yellowknife Airport to pay their fair share of those costs rather than requiring government money better suited for other programs and uses that would benefit all residents. We understand no one likes to hear that their expenses are going to go up, Mr. Speaker, but the fact is that these fees are a normal cost of doing business at airports across Canada and around the world. It does not make sense for the government to subsidize these same services. The proposed fee increase will bring the charges at Yellowknife Airport in line with the rates charges at similar-sized airports in southern Canada.

To address this, the government is proposing a revolving fund for the Yellowknife Airport that will allow for the airport to become financially self-sufficient. The Yellowknife Airport has sufficiently robust volumes that could support a user-pay system. Revenues collected at the Yellowknife Airport would go directly into this fund and be used to finance its operations and infrastructure investments. This model works at most similar-sized airports in Canada, providing freedom to finance infrastructure improvements and take advantage of economic opportunities without using taxpayer dollars.

Mr. Speaker, building capacity at NWT airports to support safe and effective travel and enhance business opportunities is critical to the future development of our economy and ensures self-sustainable communities. We will continue to work with our federal partners to make improvements to our air transportation system while investigating new ways to make strategic investments in our infrastructure. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

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

Frederick Blake Jr.

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as we all know, this will be the last season for the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk ice road. People across the Mackenzie Delta are looking forward to the grand opening of the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway. Canada will be connected from coast to coast to coast.

Mr. Speaker, ice roads will continue to be an important part of the region.

Mr. Speaker, the community of Aklavik would like to take on the contract for the ice road between Aklavik and Inuvik. The 120 kilometre winter road is open between December and April every year. It will continue to be a vital link for the community of Aklavik, connecting people, goods, and services to the region.

A local contractor already maintains roughly 80 per cent of the road. It makes sense for a business in Aklavik to take on the full job, leaving the more significant maintenance contract for the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway to other businesses from Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk.

Mr. Speaker, economic activity is very low in the region. Communities look to government contracts to give residents jobs and maintain some level of activity. Winter roads and all-season roads alike are an important consideration for all types of industry.

Mr. Speaker, residents of Aklavik feel strongly that the maintenance contract for their road should be awarded locally. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will have questions for the Minister later today.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake.

Socio-Economic Agreements
Members’ Statements

Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, monsieur le President. GNWT has negotiated socio-economic agreements for the following projects:

● Ekati Mine, 1996;

● Diavik Mine, 1999;

● Snap Lake Mine, 2004;

● Mackenzie Gas Project, 2007;

● Prairie Creek Mine, 2011; and

● Gahcho Ku'e Mine, 2013.

We all know that at least two of these projects announced the closure of their offices in the Northwest Territories and moved to Calgary. The most recent announcement by Dominion Diamond Corporation was met with silence by our government. Constituents contacted me about the loss of jobs and businesses for Yellowknife. I could only tell them that our government had negotiated a socio-economic agreement that did not contain any enforceable requirements for offices in the Northwest Territories.

Having reviewed the agreements again, I can see that Dominion is not required to have an office in the Northwest Territories. Diavik is to have an office in the Northwest Territories, and others are to have human resources offices only. Altogether, these agreements seem to be best-efforts arrangements, without any real targets or requirements with specified penalties or sanctions.

Our socio-economic agreements pale against the Voisey's Bay Development Agreement negotiated in September 2002. That arrangement contained the following:

● $10 million from Inco for an endowment to Memorial University;

● another $10 million from Inco for an innovation centre at Memorial University;

● $130 million in research and development commitments, including a site to process concentrates in Newfoundland and Labrador;

● $95 million in underground exploration and development to prolong the life of the mine;

● experts panels that can independently review the plans for the mine; and

● one or more offices for the development and operation of the mine, including engineering services and information centres to be located in three communities.

Here, we seem to live in fear that any terms and conditions will drive away development. In Newfoundland and Labrador, they imposed robust conditions and have 15 years of benefits to show for it. With our new authority under devolution, surely to goodness we can negotiate better agreements with resource developers to ensure more of the benefits are retained here.

I will have questions for the Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment later today. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Socio-Economic Agreements
Members’ Statements

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Members' statements. Member for Nahendeh.

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Mr. Speaker, on February 10, 2017, the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs announced an annual notice of nomination deadline for the NWT Outstanding Volunteer Awards, with a focus about recognizing and celebrating remarkable contributions of volunteers from across the NWT.

Mr. Speaker, last year Ms. Leona Berreault from Fort Liard was the 2016 Outstanding Volunteer in the youth category. I have had the pleasure of knowing and witnessing Leona volunteer and do the work in her community. For those who do not know Leona, she is a student at the Echo Dene School in Fort Liard, where she has contributed over a hundred hours of volunteer work for the school and her community.

Mr. Speaker, this is a very impressive amount of time when you need to consider she still has all her schoolwork to do, and don't forget her involvement in sports!

Mr. Speaker, I have witnessed her work hard in school, and she is always asking questions to better understand concepts.

Like other youth, Leona has faced challenges in her young life, but she has never given up on her goals and keeps a positive attitude. To top things off, Leona is a constant support for her little sister, babysits whenever she is needed, and finds a way to manage her busy schedule around this priority. To make things even more interesting for Leona, she has been working with her classmates for the past three years as they fundraise for a trip to Spain this spring. She is regularly in charge of running Saturday night movie for Fort Liard students.

Mr. Speaker, Leona has developed into a positive role model for others and can often be heard explaining the difference between paid work and volunteering to younger students she interacts with. Leona understands the value of volunteering and she is a wonderful representative of community minded spirit.

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what is in the water, but she is one of many youth in the community who steps up. The past couple years, I've witnessed Chase Berrault -- yes, her brother -- and Mikala Mcleod run the after-school program for the youth and coach the younger youth in soccer. They both give thankless hours for others.

Mr. Speaker, there are other volunteers out there who continue to contribute for the betterment of their community but have not been recognized. I would strongly encourage Northerners to nominate an elder, youth, individual, or group volunteer in their communities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife North.

Cory Vanthuyne

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, would you pay $18 for a cabbage, $55 for a whole chicken, or $80 for 12 litres of water? That's not the cost of a meal at some high-end restaurant, Mr. Speaker; that's the price of some basic foods at NWT grocery stores.

The cost of living is the biggest challenge facing Northerners. We know this, and that's why we stated as a priority in our mandate that we would lower the cost of living.

Many people who love the North but have left will tell you they just couldn't afford to stay. Wages are good for those who are working, but wage increases aren't keeping up with rising costs. The dollars slowly dwindle away year after year, not to mention that in many communities 65 per cent of the population can't find work.

We know that more people living here will increase our federal funding. The last Assembly made a pledge to grow the population, but this government has hardly mentioned it. Our population is starting to trend downward, and we are contributing to the decline by trying to meet fiscal targets.

At the same time, as we heard earlier from the Minister of Transportation, this government is considering a new airport user fee. For Yellowknifers, they face six consecutive years of power rate increases. We already feel the impact of Alberta's carbon tax at our pumps and in the stores and, like it or not, we will soon be paying a carbon tax of our own. Do you see what I mean about the dollars dwindling away?

Mr. Speaker, it's time to get serious about reducing the cost of living. It's time for real, concrete steps. We need to create more affordable housing and negotiate a new public housing plan with the federal government. That should have already started. We need to encourage more local food production and traditional harvesting. The Agricultural Strategy can't come fast enough. We must invest in alternative energy, renewable energy sources, and energy infrastructure. We must reduce our dependence on expensive diesel.

Like it or not, we must invest in critical transportation infrastructure that will drive down costs in our smaller communities while bringing jobs and opportunity for economic development. Mr. Speaker we've made this commitment. It's not re-inventing the wheel. We know what needs to be done. We must tackle the cost of living in concrete, specific ways.

It's a mandate commitment we made a year ago, Mr. Speaker, and it's time we put some of these ideas into action now. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Mahsi. Members' statements. Member for Kam Lake.

Land Rights Agreements
Members’ Statements

Kieron Testart

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I think one of the most important things that we can do for future generations is invest in the foundations of a strong and stable economy that can withstand the often tumultuous boom-and-bust cycle that our resource-driven industries so often leave us in. We want to diversify our economy. We want to reinvest in mining so we can use the benefits of that to fuel that diversification, to build a knowledge economy, to fund critical infrastructure. The one thing holding all of these objectives back, Mr. Speaker, are land claims or, as they should be known, land rights agreements.

The outdated language of colonial-based policies needs to stop. We need to start framing these as nation-to-nation dialogues about enshrining new rights, rights that need to be recognized so we can move forward in a healthy and prosperous future.

I know I'm not the only one who feels this way, Mr. Speaker. Our Premier is very passionate about this issue. In fact, during the Territorial Leadership Committee he made a speech where he enshrined this as one of his top priorities.

Mr. Speaker, if I may quote from this:

"Aboriginal people make up half the population of the Northwest Territories. They should have the same opportunities to participate meaningfully in the political, social, and economic life of our territory and share in its benefits."

I couldn't agree more.

I was very pleased to see the Premier committed to forming a working group with Regular Members of this House, a joint committee between Regular Members and Cabinet to provide oversight and give direction to our negotiation on files dealing with Aboriginal Land and Resource Agreements.

Mr. Speaker, this working group has met once since the Premier was appointed to that position. One time. How are we giving direction on negotiations and helping expedite this process ensuring that all Members of this House are consulted when this group is barely meeting, Mr. Speaker?

Furthermore, the Premier also committed to having a meeting with leaders of the Dehcho within 45 days and a new offer on the table in 90 days. It's been a long time since then, Mr. Speaker, and I believe that process is still unsettled. I will have questions for the Premier on if we are going to settle these outstanding claims by the end of this Assembly as he has promised. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Land Rights Agreements
Members’ Statements

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Mahsi. Members' statements. Member for Sahtu.

Community Energy Plans
Members’ Statements

Daniel McNeely

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Since the inception of the Arctic Energy Alliance Program with objectives of reducing energy consumption through education, home audits, alternative energy programs, rebates on more energy efficiency appliances for NWT residents and the business community, a governance structure was developed consisting of Northern residents, residents who understand the high energy cost and challenges faced by our smaller communities. This knowledge, Mr. Speaker, helps the program or the department design efficiencies on deliverance; however, improvements are an ongoing prudent management principal.

Mr. Speaker, this program is well received in the smaller communities where high energy cost exists and burdens the family income significantly. Planning on deliverances for these programs, Arctic Energy Alliance initiated development of a community-by-community energy plan in the Sahtu region.

This government is practicing on the principles of Arctic Energy Alliance directives. In the Sahtu Region, we have seen recent Installation of LED lighting, pellet boilers for public buildings.

Later, Mr. Speaker, I will have updated planning questions for the appropriate Minister. Mahsi.

Community Energy Plans
Members’ Statements

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Mahsi. Members' statements. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Anti-Poverty Initiatives
Members’ Statements

Tom Beaulieu

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marci cho, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as Regular Members in the House, we are in the process of asking government to put more money into the anti-poverty movement. Today, the Minister of Health had laid out all of the work this government is doing to combat poverty; however, most of those initiatives had been there for years, and we will have a very high percentage of people in poverty in the Northwest Territories, Mr. Speaker.

I wanted to get up quickly after the speech that the Minister of Health and Social Services made to respond to it quickly because I don’t want people to believe that $438,000,000 of additional dollars is being put into anti-poverty. Of the money that the Minister spoke of under the anti-poverty Minister's statement, there is about $36,000,000 of the $438,000,000 that he spoke of in his Minister's statement on actually combating poverty.

Most of these initiatives are not targeted towards people who are in poverty. I just wanted to make sure that I got that out. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Anti-Poverty Initiatives
Members’ Statements

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Mahsi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Julie Green

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I want to challenge all Members and all NWT citizens to take the Love NWT Water pledge and swear off bottled water for the coming year, and ideally, forever.

Love NWT Water is the promotional campaign recently launched by Ecology North, a northern environmental NGO, to encourage Northwest Territories residents to turn on their taps and stop buying bottled water.

According to Ecology North's research, 24 bottled water retailers sold more than 1.8 million liters of bottled water here in the NWT between 2014 and 2015. Those bottles are shipped from southern suppliers with all the negative environmental costs of greenhouse gas production resulting from the manufacturing of containers, processing of water, trucking, and the cost of handling the waste containers. About 200,000 bottles ended up in the landfill. It is not cheap; flats of bottled water can cost $20 and more if they are flown into communities off the road system. All this to replace a product that is available only steps away, in our taps.

This government transfers tens of millions of dollars to our municipal governments for the construction and operation of 29 water treatment plants serving our 33 communities. We mount training programs for plant operators while Health and Social Services conducts regular tests to ensure drinking water quality regulations are met. As the organization representing the 33 municipal governments in the Northwest Territories, the NWT Association of Communities has a standing resolution calling for municipal governments not to use bottled water.

So let's get with it. Our territorially funded municipal governments produce some of the finest drinking water in the world. If this government doesn't show its faith in the quality of that water, who will? We need to make our territorial offices bottled-water-free, starting with the executive offices here in this building, and challenge our municipal partner governments to do the same.

I am urging all Members here and citizens across the territory to take the pledge, drop the cost of bottled water, reduce their environmental footprint, and drink from the best municipal water supplies in the world. Go to #loveNWTwater to take the pledge. I will have questions for the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Members' statements. Member for Nunakput.

Herbert Nakimayak

Herbert Nakimayak Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, recently I had the opportunity to take part in a historic agreement between Inuit in Canada and the federal government.

Mr. Speaker, these terms of reference reflect the commitment by Inuit and the Crown to identify and take action on shared priorities through partnership. This partnership is based on the Government of Canada's special relationship with Inuit as Indigenous rights holders under the Constitution. Pursuant to this relationship, an Inuit Nunangat, the homeland, approach to policy development is necessary to advance shared priorities. The following permanent, bilateral committee, the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee, is tasked with advancing this relationship and creating prosperity for Inuit, which benefits all Canadians through the development of policy guidance by taking action to advance shared policy priorities and facilitate inter-agency collaboration.

The purpose of an Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee is to create prosperity for Inuit which benefits all Canadians through shared action. It will do so by identifying solutions, providing guidance, and addressing challenges shared by Inuit and the federal government. It is structured to ensure that we create success through a unified approach that is based on partnership and accountability.

The ICPC is outcomes-focused, and its parties are committed to working together in the spirit of cooperation to advance shared priorities. The ICPC will operate on the principles of collaboration, consensus, transparency, fairness, partnership, and inclusion. Members will respect existing Inuit land claim agreements, Indigenous rights, and the human rights confirmed by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Mr. Speaker, as I see the language and cultures thrive across the territory, it is clear there is a core that is unshakable, and we must build on those values for Indigenous people. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Members' statements. Member for Deh Cho.