This is page numbers 1991 - 2054 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 community.


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 1:31 p.m.


The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Good afternoon, Members. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.

Bob McLeod

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, national interest in a new relationship with Indigenous people is at an all-time high across Canada. We welcome that interest, and we invite Canadians to look North for a successful model of how to do that. The Government of the Northwest Territories has decades of experience working in partnership with Aboriginal governments to promote the best interests of Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents. We already know how to share jurisdiction, while respecting each other's rights and responsibilities. Canada does not need to reinvent the wheel; we are happy to share our wheel with them.

For 42 years, the Government of the Northwest Territories has worked to establish government-to-government relations with Aboriginal governments. Our government is a party to all six settled agreements and continues to participate actively in ongoing negotiations. We are committed to the full implementation of settled agreements and we continue to strengthen our relationship with Aboriginal governments through formal mechanisms like the intergovernmental Memorandum of Understanding.

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories made a commitment in its mandate to work to resolve outstanding land, resources, and self-government agreements during the term of our government. I would like to update Members and the public on the work our government is doing to fulfill that commitment.

Concluding these agreements and bringing increased certainty to land and resource management in the Northwest Territories is one of the most important challenges facing the 18th Legislative Assembly. Over the last year, all parties have made renewed efforts to tackle the remaining challenges and finalize agreements. As a result, I am confident that the 18th Legislative Assembly will see unprecedented success in this area.

Last fall, negotiators completed a full draft of a self-government agreement-in-principle for the Sahtu Dene and Metis of Tulita. The parties are now in the final stages of reviewing and considering the approval of the draft agreement. I am hopeful that negotiators will be in a position to initial the draft agreement-in-principle in the coming months, leading to the signing of the agreement this summer.

Similarly, negotiators for the parties have also completed an initial full draft of a Gwich'in self-government agreement-in-principle. Consultations with other potentially affected Aboriginal parties are complete, and negotiators will be arranging to meet to address any final issues and complete a final draft of the agreement-in-principle. The parties will then be in a position to consider approving the agreement.

Mr. Speaker, negotiators for the parties have also completed a full draft of a self-government agreement-in-principle for the Sahtu Dene and Metis of Norman Wells. Each party is currently reviewing the draft agreement, and consultations with other potentially affected Aboriginal parties are expected to commence soon.

I am also pleased to report that, having only just signed the agreement-in-principle in July of 2015, negotiators for the parties are working on the last few remaining issues to complete a full draft of an Inuvialuit self-government final agreement.

Self-government negotiations with the Sahtu Dene and Metis of Colville Lake have also begun and are looking at innovative approaches to expedite the completion of an agreement-in-principle. Similarly, self-government negotiations have had a promising start with the Sahtu Dene and Metis of Fort Good Hope.

Final agreement negotiations with the Acho Dene Koe First Nation of Fort Liard and the Northwest Territories Metis Nation have reached the point where key decisions on the central aspects involving settlement lands and land quantum and the approach to governance are before them. We hope the flexible and innovative approaches developed by the Government of the Northwest Territories will help parties quickly move to completed final agreements.

Over the coming months, the GNWT will continue to work hard to ensure that the momentum at these negotiating tables, along with all others that have been progressing well, are maintained so that final agreements are concluded as soon as possible.

Mr. Speaker, while the Government of the Northwest Territories has seen success in several negotiations, other processes have not moved as quickly as we would like. To address some of the challenges, the Government of the Northwest Territories has been implementing a more flexible and adaptive approach to advancing outstanding land claims in the Northwest Territories. Recognizing that not all negotiation processes face the same issues or challenges, approaches have been identified for each of the Government of the Northwest Territories' ongoing negotiations. Where appropriate, new direction has been provided in an effort to reinvigorate and reinforce relationships.

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories made a commitment in its mandate to establish a joint committee between Cabinet Ministers and Regular Members to share information and discuss approaches on the advancement of land, resources, and self-government agreements, as well as initiatives to enhance relationships with Aboriginal governments.

As Members are aware, the Joint Advisory Committee on Aboriginal Relations and Aboriginal Rights Agreements has been established and held its inaugural meeting this past October. We expect to meet again shortly, and I look forward to continuing to work with Members through this committee on this matter.

Mr. Speaker, an important aspect of our new approach was the joint appointment of ministerial special representatives for the Dehcho and the South Slave by myself and the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, the honourable Carolyn Bennett. The two ministerial special representatives have been tasked to talk to all of the parties involved in negotiations in these two areas, including the Dehcho First Nations, the Akaitcho, and the Northwest Territory Metis Nation, and provide advice to myself and Minister Bennett on any issues or roadblocks that continue to stand in the way of settling claims in these regions. I am hopeful that the advice of the ministerial special representatives will highlight opportunities that will lead to breakthroughs and ultimately result in agreements. We are awaiting the final reports from both ministerial special representatives and expect they will guide us in both developing new flexible approaches and allow us to tackle new proposals that will put us back on the path towards agreements for these negotiations.

Mr. Speaker, our territory is built on partnerships and collaboration. A prime example of this occurred on September 1, 2016, with the Deline final self-government agreement coming into force and the creation of the Deline Got'ine Government. This significant milestone was achieved by governments working together and resulted in a made-in-the-North model for implementing the inherent right of self-government that follows the vision that the elders and leaders of Deline have held onto for many years. This model of governance is unique in Canada and reflects our commitment to develop new and innovative ways to implement Aboriginal rights.

Decisions about how the land and resources of the Northwest Territories are used and managed are central to the health of our communities, our economy, and our environment. Concluding these agreements is an essential step towards providing certainty on how land in the Northwest Territories can be used for economic development, conservation, recreation, and traditional activities. The Government of the Northwest Territories remains committed to doing its part to finalize land, resources, and self-government agreements as quickly as possible, in a manner that is fair, balanced, and continues to promote workable and affordable agreements that respect Aboriginal rights. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs.

Caroline Cochrane

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Mr. Speaker, I rise to provide an update on plans to move the operations of the Western Canada Lottery Program within government and the Department of Municipal and Community Affair's response to the Sutcliffe Report.

In April 2015, the department commissioned the Government of the Northwest Territories: Sport, Recreation and Physical Activity Review Report, also known as the Sutcliffe Report, to review the sector and provide advice on potential improvements. The Sutcliffe Report was tabled in November 2016.

The report included 18 recommendations for improvements. Of these, 12 were accepted, four were accepted with modifications, and two were not adopted. As part of the department's priority to strengthen relationships and improve communications with organizations and groups, we will be reviewing all of these recommendations with the appropriate partners. In addition, the department is actively working with our partners to respond to several of the recommendations through the development of a Northwest Territories Sport, Recreation and Physical Activity Policy.

This new policy describes how Municipal and Community Affairs can most effectively fund its partner organizations in sport and recreation with Western Canada Lottery funding beginning in 2017-18. We will also proactively support the objectives and priorities set territorially by the Legislative Assembly and nationally by the Canadian Sport Policy, the Framework for Recreation in Canada, and Active Canada 20/20.

In response to feedback received from our partners on the draft policy, Municipal and Community Affairs has agreed to support the development of an additional sector-wide policy which will describe in more detail the activity which will take place among the partner organizations to support the mandate goals and objectives of the Government of the Northwest Territories. Work to develop this sector-wide policy will begin in April 2017 and will support the development of the Northwest Territories Physical Activity Strategy, which is currently under development.

One of the other key areas of focus for the department has been moving the Western Canada Lottery Program into Municipal and Community Affairs. It is important to note that the department has committed to ensuring that all proceeds from the lotteries will continue to be directed towards sport and recreation programming. The department is close to the completion of a legislative proposal that will set in motion the legislative amendments required to enact this change.

Municipal and Community Affairs is working hard to ensure that the recommendations included in the Sutcliffe Report are incorporated into the business of the department and the way we support our partners in sport and recreation to the benefit of all residents of the Northwest Territories. To this end, the department intends to present a comprehensive update on the implementation of the recommendations and the Western Canada Lottery Program funding framework to the Standing Committee on Government Operations. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister of Justice.

Louis Sebert

Louis Sebert Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, our government has committed in its mandate to improve access to information and the protection of privacy, which includes taking a number of steps. Today, I would like to provide an update on this work, starting with information on the comprehensive review of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

The main purpose of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act is to make government departments and other public bodies more accountable to the public and to protect personal privacy. The act gives all members of the public the legal right to request information held by public bodies and to request a correction of their personal information. The legislation sets out when a public body may collect, use, and disclose personal information and when refusals to disclose records can occur. Finally, under the act, the NWT Information and Privacy Commissioner has the independent authority to review decisions that are made, including how a public body has collected, used, or disclosed personal information.

Since the act came into effect in 1996, there have been a number of changes in Canadian policies, practices, and legislation related to access to information or protection of privacy. Changes were made to the act in 2004 and again in 2005 to respond to issues that had been raised either in our Assembly, by the Privacy Commissioner, or by those who use this legislation in their day-to-day activities. However, the environment in which our access and privacy regime operates continues to evolve, and it is clear that further changes are required to the act to respond to changes in technology and a variety of other issues.

In the initial phase of the comprehensive review of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Department of Justice conducted extensive research into access and privacy legislation in other provinces and territories and undertook a detailed examination of our current legislation. Based on this research and considering the issues previously raised, the department reached out to other government departments, public bodies, the Information and Privacy Commissioner, and the public to get their views. The results were consolidated in the What We Heard report, which was released last November. These results, along with our research, are informing the development of a proposal for amendments to the act. This proposal will be completed this spring.

Our mandate commitment to improve access and privacy rights includes the creation of a GNWT privacy framework. The purpose of this framework is to provide government departments with the tools and structure that they need to administer the privacy protections in the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act consistently and fairly. The framework builds on existing work, bringing together tools, practices, and policies that we already have.

This spring, in collaboration with other GNWT departments, the Department of Justice will complete the development of the framework. Once the framework and management programs are completed, they will be rolled out to all staff. Staff will receive training so they are aware of privacy requirements in the legislation and understand their role in protecting personal information.

The GNWT has also made a mandate commitment to create online access to information and protection of privacy training. This training is aimed at employees in GNWT departments as well as other public bodies. Upon completion of this short online course, staff will have a better understanding of the act, their obligations in relation to protection of privacy, the rights of residents to make an access request, and a number of simple steps that employees can take to protect the records and personal information they handle.

The Department of Justice currently provides this level of training face-to-face. The online course will not replace that training entirely, but it will make the information more accessible. It will also build awareness of privacy requirements in anticipation of more detailed training during the implementation of the privacy framework. The Department of Justice is currently testing this training, and plans to launch it on the justice website in March.

Before I complete my remarks today, I want to mention the GNWT Activity Report on the Administration of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. This annual report provides statistical information on the volume of access requests received by the GNWT departments, the timeliness of the responses, and other matters related to administration of the act. For those who are interested, the 2016 version of this report is currently available on the Department of Justice website.

Mr. Speaker, in closing I just want to say that progress on these initiatives is a strong indication of this government’s commitment to improving access to information and protection of privacy. I look forward to providing further information as these projects advance. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake

Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. This past weekend I had the pleasure of playing hockey on the ice surface at the new Ko Gocho Complex in Behchoko. The WIMPs, or Weekly Improvement for Mediocre Players league, was invited to play a game on the new ice surface on Saturday evening with a team of young players from Behchoko. Special thanks to Dolphus Nitsiza and Chris Hunt for organizing the game. The WIMPS have been around since the early 1980s, and I am proud to say that I have been playing with them for 30 years. Yes, after 30 years I can still occasionally push the puck into the net, but more seriously, I say to young people, if you are still playing hockey at my age, that is a success story!

How about that Ko Gocho Complex in Behchoko? MLAs had a tour when we held a meeting in the community in January, but having tested the ice now, I can truly attest to its excellence. The original sports plex closed in 2007. Unfortunately, plans to renovate the building fell through. In 2013, the community voted in favour of borrowing $9 million for a new complex. With contributions from the Tlicho and federal governments and the diamond mines, construction on the new complex started in August 2014. The $15 million facility officially opened in November 2016. It is 50,000 square feet and includes a fitness centre, a youth centre, a kitchen, full gymnasium, ice surface, and offices. It employs 20 people. It hosts judo classes, movie nights, cooking lessons, and traditional sewing classes. The community is now positioned to host tournaments and events of territorial significance.

I cannot say enough good things about this facility and, quite frankly, it is the best all-in-one facility in the NWT. Congratulations to the chief and community of Behchoko for this fantastic facility, and I look forward to more opportunities to visit and play hockey.

I am pleased to say that I have no questions for the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs today, but congratulate the department's efforts on supporting with this tremendous asset for the community of Behchoko and the whole NWT. Masi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Julie Green

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Mahsi. Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I am going to talk about Northern United Place. Every day, hundreds of people walk its halls -- tenants in affordable housing, students in student housing and Aurora College classrooms, the staff of Yellowknife United Church, and residents from across the city who attend workshops, film screenings, meetings, and social events in the auditorium. Northern United Place is the heart of my riding, and in November the community came together to celebrate its 40th anniversary as a Yellowknife landmark.

Mr. Speaker, Reverend Jim Ormiston of Yellowknife United Church had a vision of creating a building that would serve the religious, housing, educational, and recreational needs of the growing community. He gathered support from the federal and territorial governments, and Northern United Place was built at a cost of just over $5 million and officially opened in November 1976.

The block of units that faces toward downtown provides 84 affordable housing apartments for people or families who earn less than $33,000 a year. Tenants pay 30 per cent of their gross household income on rent. Seniors are priority renters, along with people with disabilities. The people at Northern United often stay for years, even decades, because they are offered safety and community. The GNWT rented the commercial space that faces 54th Street, and that is now home to Aurora College.

Mr. Speaker, on the other side of the building, the YWCA of Yellowknife occupied the floors of the tower that face the main street. For 20 years they provided transitional housing and a shelter for women fleeing violence, along with their offices. When the Y moved out, 42 housing units were allocated to Aurora College for their students. The main floor on this side includes the United and Lutheran churches, church offices, and the public gathering spaces that Yellowknifers know well. Northern United Place auditorium is the go-to, affordable gathering place for the community. If those walls could talk, the stories of community service, volunteerism, citizen engagement, and democratic opportunity our ears would hear.

Mr. Speaker, Northern United Place has been well served by its board, especially long-time chair Larry Elkin. It maintains the balancing act among tenants that keeps Northern United economically viable. The revenue from the commercial tenant makes affordable housing possible for low-income individuals and families, as well as low-cost rental rates for the public spaces. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Julie Green

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mahsi, colleagues. Mr. Speaker, congratulations to the board that operates Northern United Place, and best wishes for many more years of serving the community. Yellowknife would not be the same without you. Mahsi.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife North.

Cory Vanthuyne

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, historically speaking, Canada doesn't put a lot of thought into what the three northern territories want. Over time, there have been a lot of decisions made for us, as Northerners, by the Government of Canada. Often we are not asked and are not even included in the conversation. The recent moratorium on exploration in the Beaufort is an example of a decision made about our own back yard, in Ottawa, with no consultation with us.

Mr. Speaker, we have three things that attract the nation's attention:

● Resources; our economic base and often seen as our contribution to the federation;

● Governance; strong systems and capacity to self-govern in our First Nations communities and as a territory with new powers under our devolution agreement; and

● Sovereignty; the "North." Its pristine land, fresh water, and crisp, clean air is iconic to the rest of the country and our national identity as "the true North strong and free,"

Mr. Speaker, I think in our relationship with the national government, we need to do better. We owe it to Northern residents to have a unified vision, our own priorities, and to articulate them clearly and strongly to Ottawa. We need to fight to have our vision respected and appreciated when the federal government makes plans affecting our region.

We need a northern vision that represents a clear, coherent approach to our vision as Northerners. We need to commit to the relationships, conversations, and decisions that support it. This is work that will take commitment and energy and people power from all five NWT regions, along with our sister territories and the federal government, to make happen.

From that vision, we can advance a comprehensive Northern strategy that will recognize the national need for sovereignty. It will reflect the needs of our people for expanding economic opportunity and promoting good governance. It will respect our treaties and the First Nation governments, language, and culture. It will prioritize health and our systems for caring for our children and our elders. It will provide opportunity to our young people to get a solid education and become contributors themselves to the vision and values we have created as a society. It will enshrine our respect for the earth.

Mr. Speaker the North we want will be a healthier, more secure, and prosperous land that will benefit all Northerners, but to get there our government has to be the lead on a unified vision for a new, sovereign, independent North. We have to take action to ensure that vision comes to life -- for the benefit of all Northerners and Canada as a whole. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Kam Lake.

Small Business Incentives
Members’ Statements

Kieron Testart

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, small business is the life blood of our community. My riding of Kam Lake is home to many entrepreneurs and is as diverse as it can be when it comes to Northern-owned and operated businesses. Even while much of our economy struggles, Yellowknifers are seizing their own opportunities to open new businesses with nothing but a dream and I imagine a good credit score.

Even though Kam Lakers and Northerners will grind and grit through difficult times with perseverance and resolve, it cannot be stated enough that that this government must give greater priority to building confidence in our economy through tangible support to our industries and real investment in Northwest Territories' small businesses. Many of my constituents are the owners of these small businesses and they need real reassurance that this government's focus in not based solely on the big corporations who run the mines, but equally on the local suppliers who keep the mines running.

In the recent budget address, the Minister of Finance spoke of the need to create an environment that supports innovation and risk-taking for Northwest Territories residents and businesses to build a lasting economy, as well as the need to support the expansion and diversification of the economy.

I agree almost entirely with these aspirations, but I would also like to inform my honourable friend across the aisle that innovation, risk-taking, and diversity already exist in our economy, but will deplete over time unless we invest immediately in the Northerners, who already exemplify these qualities.

Mr. Speaker, we can start now by implementing my continued suggestion of lowering the small business tax and fulfilling our mandate commitment to lower the taxes on small business. Why stop there by merely lowering it 1 per cent, Mr. Speaker? We could follow the suggestions of the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce, lower it by an additional 2 per cent, or what our neighbours to the Yukon have pledged to do and eliminate it entirely.

Mr. Speaker, our businesses are looking for that tangible symbol of support, and I say now is the time to deliver on that commitment and lower the taxes once and for all. It's imperative to the economic health of the Northwest Territories that we do not lose pace with competiveness and ensure that we continue to be the best place in Canada's North to invest. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Small Business Incentives
Members’ Statements

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Nahendeh.

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In the past two months, the community of Fort Simpson held three hockey tournaments. Starting January 20, three teams from Fort Simpson faced off against teams from Hay River, Fort Providence, and Deline during the 30th annual senior men's hockey tournament.

The fans got to see some amazing hockey, with an ultimate win for the Hay River Huskies over the team from Deline in the final. The Huskies played Fort Providence in the semi-finals. After 60 minutes the game was tied; overtime didn't solve anything, so both teams went to a shootout.

Mr. Speaker, the Deline Braves had a slow start to the tournament because of travel delays. Due to the delays, they had to forfeit their first round robin game, but made up for it over the rest of the weekend by winning all their games except the final game.

The third and fourth games saw two rivals playing against each other. It was a great game that saw the play go back and forth. In the end, the Nahanni Inn Flyers won the game 2-0 against the Fort Providence Bulls.

The next weekend, January 27-29, saw some of the finest women's hockey players come together to battle for the annual Moosehide Mammas hockey tournament. The tournament saw teams from Yellowknife, Fort Nelson, and Fort Smith duke it out with the Mammas. As the weekend before, the fans were entertained with some of the best women's hockey. After the round robin, the Mammas were in fifth place. The semi-finals saw Fort Nelson win against Yellowknife Blue, and Yellowknife White won against Fort Smith. The final game saw YK White beat the Fort Nelson lcehawks to win the tournament, with YK Blue winning the third place consolation game.

Mr. Speaker, with these two tournaments completed, you would think that the community, fans, and organizers would be happy with all the hockey they witnessed these two weekends. No, this past weekend the community and the two hockey associations decided that they should host the first Dehcho Old-Timers Tournament.

The tournament saw two local teams and a team from Hay River play a double round robin starting February 24, and the playoffs on Sunday. After the round robin was completed, Fort Simpson Nogha's team ended up in first place, leaving Hay River and the Fort Simpson Flyers to battle it out for the right to play in the finals. After all the smoke cleared, Hay River ended up winning the tournament.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to say that each hockey group, including Minor Hockey, worked together to organize and run these tournaments. It was great to see the groups come together to offer three great events. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement. Thank you.

---Unanimous consent granted

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank my colleagues. I would like to say the fans were entertained with some great hockey, especially the Old-Timers Tournament, where they got to witness those young gentlemen skate their hearts out.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all the sponsors, community and regional businesses, for their support. I would like to say a big thanks to the referees from Yellowknife, Hay River, and Fort Simpson, who did a great job at all three weekends. As well, to the rec staff and the groups that ran the canteen. A+ job. Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

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

Tom Beaulieu

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marci cho, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I'll do a follow-up to questions that I had asked the Minister of Human Resources about Affirmative Action some time ago.

Mr. Speaker, in this budget, the government is planning to incorporate the Department of Human Resource into the Department of Finance. The Standing Committee on Priorities and Planning has expressed its concern that the newly amalgamated department will not ensure that proper attention is paid to human resources.

Mr. Speaker, the government must look at different, more innovative ways to deliver on the Affirmative Action Policy. I believe that all GNWT departments need to complete a human resources development plan to accurately plan for and track the hiring of Aboriginal people into the public service. The purpose should be to produce concrete, measurable improvements to get more Indigenous Aboriginal people into the public service and advance those who are already employed.

Mr. Speaker, we should be doing all we can to hire and advance these Priority 1 candidates. We should be giving them support and encouragement to get them on board and give them the opportunities for growth. Unfortunately, all too many Priority 1 candidates feel like they're applying for jobs for a foreign government.

For the implementation of the Affirmative Action Policy to be successful, the government should know, on a department-by-department basis, how many Priority 1 and Priority 2 candidates each department has, and the potential for those individuals to move into senior-level positions with the GNWT.

The government should know where each of its priority candidates lives, and design its Human Resource Development Plan with targets appropriate for each community.

Let's take Yellowknife, for example. We know that the Aboriginal people with Priority 1 status make up 18.5 per cent of the total workforce in the capital, yet the number of Indigenous Aboriginal people employed in Yellowknife is only 16 per cent. In order for the GNWT to be representative of the people it serves, it needs to increase priority hires in Yellowknife by 50 or 55 people.

Knowing this, the GNWT should be working to identify those in the public service who can be supported to take on jobs with greater experience, opening up more entry-level positions for new hires. This kind of analysis and planning should be happening on a community-by-community basis. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Tom Beaulieu

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marci cho, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, Aboriginal people represent 50 per cent of the population in the Northwest Territories, yet only 31 per cent of the GNWT's workforce is made of Indigenous Aboriginal people.

The bottom line is that the GNWT must know its human resource numbers. It must know the potential for each and every Aboriginal employee currently in the workforce in order to maximize their talents, and it must take steps to welcome new Aboriginal people into the public service. Only then can we resolve the issue of Aboriginal people feeling like they do not belong in the GNWT. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Sahtu.

Daniel McNeely

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Over the past weekend, Yellowknife hosted the Indigenous Volleyball and Traditional Games for members who participated. In the Sahtu, we saw three or four teams. This is an example of the many programs offered by this government to the rural and smaller communities, and in reality you really see the smiling faces when the children are playing ball or Indigenous games down by the bay, and one realizes that there is true value to the programs offered by this government.

I also want to thank the chaperones from Tulita, Don Witle and Lawrence Meneco, for taking the preparation efforts and fundraising for this event, which comes annually, and to the discount fares of Air North. Colville Lake has seen a team, and you also should have seen the children's faces when they did come to this large centre here.

The many offerings that this large centre has to offer is another example of the smaller communities enjoying the freedom of some of these reduced efforts and programming to visit the pretty lights of Yellowknife and come to enjoy the many diners offered to the children and youth.

Having said that, I have come to realize the many programs that this government has to offer and come to realize that we continue to try to better run efficient programs, even though we are going through our budget deliberations on reducing our fiscal position. I look forward to deliverance of the programs offered within this year's budget. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.