This is page numbers 2249 - 2288 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 airport.


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.


The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Good afternoon, Members. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Minister responsible for Status of Women.

Caroline Cochrane

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Mr. Speaker, today is International Women’s Day, a day recognized throughout the world as a chance to celebrate women’s progress towards achieving gender equality while identifying the challenges that still remain. In this spirit, I am pleased to discuss the Government of the Northwest Territories mandate commitment to support the delivery of workshops that help to get women into politics. In the Northwest Territories, women have largely been underrepresented in elected positions at all levels of government.

Mr. Speaker, we have made some progress in the Northwest Territories. I am pleased to report that the rate of women serving on territorial boards has increased from 43 per cent to 50 per cent between February 1, 2016, and January 31, 2017.

In reviewing current community government councils across our territory, 36 per cent of the seats are occupied by women. The rate of women’s representation on these councils goes from a low of 0 per cent to a high of 88 per cent. In 2016, 10 municipal elections were held. A total of 80 candidates ran, 28 of whom were women. Of the 40 seats that were available, 15 women now fill those seats.

Mr. Speaker, these numbers are very encouraging, but we have more work to do. In our own Legislative Assembly, of 19 Members, only two are women, and this was also true of the 17th Assembly. Recognizing that women make up 50 per cent of our population, our lack of representation in the Legislative Assembly is

concerning. Mr. Speaker, I would like to update Members today on the work our government is doing to encourage more women to run for political office.

During this past year, the first of two Campaign Schools for Women was delivered in Hay River by the Northwest Territories Status of Women Council. Participants gained knowledge of some of the obstacles specific to women running for election, and equip them for campaigning. I would like to thank the honourable Member from Hay River North and Minister Schumann for their contributions during this event. I would also like to offer a special acknowledgement to the honourable Member for Yellowknife Center, who joined me for the two-day workshop and provided invaluable advice and tips to the participants. A second Campaign School is scheduled for the middle of March in Inuvik. I am looking forward to meeting potential female leaders from the Beaufort Delta Region.

Mr. Speaker, the territorial government is working in partnership with the Status of Women Council to develop an action plan that would support women entering politics at all levels. The action plan will build on the current Campaign School for Women, and include the delivery of a series of workshops over the next couple of years leading up to the next territorial election.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to highlight the Daughters of the Vote event hosted by you and facilitated by MLA Green as another proactive initiative. This event brought young women between the ages of 18 to 23 to Yellowknife, where they were introduced to the political processes and the Legislative Assembly.

As well, the Government of the Northwest Territories is supporting the participation of Indigenous women in the National Indigenous Women’s Summit in Toronto. Delegates were nominated by Aboriginal government partners and the Native Women’s Association. This summit is a forum for Indigenous women and governments to share knowledge and expertise, with the aim of building a better future for Indigenous women and their communities. This summit provides an opportunity for Indigenous women to express their priorities and to hear, learn from, and speak to Indigenous women leaders from across Canada.

Mr. Speaker, increasing the number of women in leadership also requires role models. I would like acknowledge a few northern women who have received national recognition.

I will start by recognizing Dr. Erin Kelly, who was recently recognized by the Women’s Executive Network as one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women of 2016. The network celebrates the contributions of women in Canada’s private and public sectors, and I am pleased they have named Dr. Kelly, who has distinguished herself in a leadership role with our Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

During her six years with the Government of the Northwest Territories, she has led the implementation of the Northwest Territories Water Stewardship Strategy, served as a lead negotiator on transboundary water management agreements and, as assistant deputy minister and acting deputy minister of the department, led the development and implementation of the Environment and Natural Resources Strategic Plan.

Dr. Kelly is passionate about working collaboratively with Aboriginal governments and organizations and acts as an advocate for environmental education, stewardship and the use of local, traditional, and scientific knowledge in decisions affecting our environment. Dr. Kelly’s work encourages young women, particularly Indigenous young women, to consider educational opportunities in the environmental sciences with a focus on linking western science and traditional knowledge.

I would also like to mention Chief Frieda Martselos, who recently received the 2017 Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of Canada, Excellence in Aboriginal Leadership award in the national category. Chief Martselos was recognized for her work as chief of the Salt River First Nation.

Congratulations also go out to Ms. Cece Hodgson-McCauley, the first female chief in the Northwest Territories. On March 24th in Ottawa, she will be receiving the 2017 Indspire Award for her work in politics. Ms. Hodgson-McCauley is an Honorary Chief for Life and is also known as a business woman, newspaper columnist, an activist, and the founder of the Women Warriors.

Finally, I would like to recognize Ms. Heather Fikowski, a long-time northern social worker, who was one of the 2016 National Social Work Month Distinguished Service Awards recipients. Ms. Fikowski is recognized for her five-year research project titled “Rural and Northern Community Response to Intimate Partner Violence,” which is assisting in breaking the silence on intimate partner violence in our northern communities.

Mr. Speaker, I have named a few women who are role models; however, the Northwest Territories has no shortage of strong women who are working to create positive change for the North. I am proud to recognize all these leaders for, not only their work, but for the example they provide to other women who may be encouraged to pursue their own leadership roles.

Mr. Speaker, as I stated before, women make up half of our population in the Northwest Territories and, as such, we need to continue our work to increase our representation in elected seats. Only when women occupy half of all governing positions will our governments truly be representative of the populations we serve. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers’ statements. Minister of Environment and Natural Resources.

Robert C. McLeod

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories has made a commitment in its mandate to develop a territorial climate change strategy. I am pleased to provide Members with an update on the development of the NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework.

Since my last Minister’s statement about the Climate Change Strategic Framework in October, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Public Works and Services have coordinated four joint regional engagement workshops on energy and climate change issues.

Workshops have taken place in Inuvik, Norman Wells, Fort Smith, Fort Simpson, and Yellowknife. Additional workshops are occurring in Hay River this week and will occur in Behchoko in the coming weeks. Mr. Speaker, all workshops to date have been well attended, with more than 40 participants at each one. Feedback has been very positive.

Residents have been happy with the workshops. Participants were provided with a backgrounder and fact sheets and took part in breakout group sessions that allowed residents to share ideas and hear different perspectives.

A key issue raised was residents’ concerns that a carbon tax will add to the already very high cost of living, create an additional barrier to economic development, and add to the already high cost of operating a business in the Northwest Territories.

At the same time, residents expressed a level of acceptance of a carbon pricing scheme if some of the revenues received are allocated to improving energy efficiency in communities, getting communities off diesel and moving towards more renewable energy systems.

Residents also expressed support for increased research and monitoring. Key areas of interest included the impacts of thawing permafrost, an increase in invasive alien species and pioneer species, changes in wildlife migration patterns, the potential for contaminants and heavy metals to leach into community water supplies, and the impacts on human health.

Traditional knowledge was raised as a tool to help establish baseline information and identify changes occurring on the landscape. Traditional knowledge holders are concerned that their knowledge should be accessed, used, and acknowledged appropriately. Traditional knowledge will play an important part in the development of the Climate Change Strategic Framework.

We have heard, Mr. Speaker, NWT residents want better planning, community funding, and communication around climate change, renewable energy systems, and energy efficiency. It is important to remember, Mr. Speaker, we still have a couple of workshops to conduct. The remaining workshops will provide more information, perspectives, and feedback from residents, Aboriginal governments, and stakeholders on a draft framework.

Once the workshops have been completed, Environment and Natural Resources will analyze and summarize the feedback from community workshops, the results of the survey, and undertake a complete analysis of key topics.

These topics include carbon pricing, greenhouse gas emissions, and additional relevant issues flagged in the workshops. Mr. Speaker, the final NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework will rest on three key pillars: knowledge; resilience and adaptation; and emissions mitigation.

Currently, we are focusing our efforts on several important climate change resilience and adaptation issues. These include ecosystem management, resilient infrastructure, such as roads and buildings, health and safety, and Aboriginal culture and heritage.

We believe there are significant opportunities for our government to work together with Aboriginal governments and stakeholders on climate change. We believe there should be a particular focus on adaptation as we continue to take action towards ensuring our communities are healthy and resilient in the face of serious climate change impacts.

The GNWT is also working closely with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, to provide three days of climate change education in Yellowknife in April. The course is called Earth to Sky and will be the first time it has been offered in Canada.

NASA scientists will be delivering most of the course content and will be using their full suite of global data, imagery, and remote-sensing intelligence related to climate change. GNWT scientists will deliver presentations on the impacts of climate change on wildlife, forests, and permafrost and discuss the importance of traditional knowledge to support research on climate change.

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to working with communities to increase our resilience to, and mitigating, the effects of climate change. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers’ statements. Minister of Industry, Tourism and investment.

Wally Schumann

Wally Schumann Hay River South

Mr. Speaker, investments in the NWT film sector are growing the strength and diversity of our economy while promoting the unique sights, sounds, and stories of our territory worldwide.

We have made the commitment to support the film industry through investments in skill development, infrastructure, marketing, and communications. We are fulfilling this commitment through the work of the NWT Film Commission and its ongoing implementation of our government’s film strategy.

Today, I would like to celebrate some of the successes achieved through our continued work and investment in this area.

I begin, Mr. Speaker, with the continuing success of The Sun at Midnight, an entirely local production that was filmed near Fort McPherson. This film has been on the road, with showings at the Whistler Film Festival, Victoria International Film Festival, and, most recently, at the European Film Market; part of the Berlinale International Film Festival - and one of the world’s largest film showcases.

Along the way, its cast and crew have collected positive reviews, accolades, and awards for their work. Through the NWT Film Commission, our government has invested in the film’s marketing and promotion to highlight the world-class sights, sounds, and talent of our territory and its film sector.

Mr. Speaker, The Sun at Midnight is only one of many NWT-produced films that our Film Commission is supporting.

Three Feathers, based on the Richard Van Camp graphic novel, has just completed filming near Fort Smith. It will be produced in English, Cree, Chipeweyan, and South Slavey; a significant challenge that reflects the ambition of the NWT’s film community.

Meanwhile, a third feature-length film, Dark Sky, has been awarded one of the coveted top three positions in the Indie-Can-20-K competition. Again, the Department of ITI is pleased to have invested in Dark Sky’s post-production and in its success.

Mr. Speaker, building a film industry in the NWT is about more than just film projects. Our support includes initiatives to increase the industry’s profile, encourage greater participation and develop the technical capacity and skills of those working in it. This was indicative through our sponsorship of the 5th Annual Dead North Circumpolar Film Festival.

As a result of the festival, the film Bait, by first-time Yellowknife contributor Keith Robertson, was selected to screen as part of Telefilm Canada’s Not Short on Talent Program during this year’s Cannes Film Festival in France. In other areas, we have worked closely with guest producers to connect them with locations and talent within our territory. This has provided both greater profile for our locations and opportunities for NWT residents to get valuable on-set experience.

Most notably, we have also worked with the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk to develop the first local film policy in any of our territory’s small communities. There has been a great deal of interest from production companies interested in both the final ice road between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk and next year’s opening of the highway. This will position the hamlet to realize benefits from local and guest productions filming in the community.

Finally, and in partnership with CanNor, we are expanding the branding and marketing of our NWT Film Commission to push our international competitiveness to a new level.

Mr. Speaker, the NWT’s film sector continues to be a dynamic industry offering economic and artistic opportunities. The strong, growing network of film professionals shows the potential of this industry. The GNWT is committed to providing the support and funding necessary to realize this potential and position our film sector among our country’s elite. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers’ statements. Item 3, Members’ statements. Member for Hay River North.

R.J. Simpson

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in the gallery today, we have five members of the 1st Canadian Rangers Patrol Group from Hay River that I’m proud to welcome to the Legislative Assembly.

Rangers have become a fixture across the North. The 60 patrols and the three territories are comprised of 1,800 Rangers, making the 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group the largest single reserve unit in the Canadian Armed Forces. The Hay River Patrol was established in 2011 after two and a half years of commitment and hard work by its members.

It is often said that the Rangers are the eyes and ears of the military. However, Mr. Speaker, they are much more than that. Rangers provide local knowledge and expertise to the Armed Forces, participate in search and rescue operations, provide support in response to natural and man-made disasters and humanitarian operations, and provide assistance to federal, territorial, and municipal authorities.

The 18 members of the Hay River Patrol are responsible for patrolling an area within a 150 km radius of Hay River, which includes the Great Slave Lake to the north, taiga plains to the south, and boreal forest to the east. As we know, Mr. Speaker, conditions are very different in the winter and summer, so training occurs throughout the year.

Last summer, members of the Hay River Patrol took part in Operation Nunakput marine training exercises, alongside members of the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the RCMP, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association, and various federal government departments. They participated in maritime patrols and training, and search and rescue exercises, that allowed them to practice their interoperability and hone their skills.

As I said, Mr. Speaker, training happens throughout the year, and this week, the Rangers in the gallery had a chance to hone their skills on the lake, under different conditions. They made their way to Yellowknife from Hay River via the Great Slave Lake. They spent four days traversing the frozen lake on snowmobiles. The temperature was in the mid-negative 30s; however, the wind chill meant that it felt closer to -70. One Ranger was forced to tum back, not because he couldn't handle it, but because the machine he was driving couldn't handle it. However, Mr. Speaker, despite the machinery and communication equipment that could barely hand the journey, and despite the cold, the wind, the pressure ridges, the snow drifts, and the whiteout conditions, they made it across the lake no worse for the wear, and with a wealth of new experiences and knowledge.

At the appropriate time, I will introduce the members, but I would like to ask the Assembly to help me in welcoming them to the Legislative Assembly. Thank you, 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. [Translation] today, I would like to talk about International Women’s Day. I would like to talk about the ladies, all who are sitting here today. Today, I would like to talk about my mother. [End of translation] I would like to rise to pay tribute and thank the person with the greatest influence in my life, my mom.

Mr. Speaker, my mom was born April 30, 1934, in a place called Rocher River, as Annie Else Ana. Later, when she started school, they gave her her father’s name, “Look.” She went to school for only a couple of years, because there was so much pressure upon her to come home, do house chores, and care for her little brother. Her mother didn’t believe there was any value whatsoever in education.

My mom had to try to learn how to educate herself, and she did that by reading all of the cans that were bought from the stores, so every time her parents went out and bought canned food, cereal boxes, or bags of flour, she would read everything, to teach herself how to read. There wasn’t a single book in her entire house.

Mr. Speaker, at the age of 18 years old, my mom got married to my father, and lived life as a trapper’s wife for 16 years. Her and my father lived on the Taltson River, and raised three boys, including myself, in the bush. We were taught in the evenings, after we spent the day out with my mother: the younger ones, like myself, with my mother, and my eldest brother with my father. At nighttime, my father would teach us, because he had grade 8. We would learn from my father.

Mr. Speaker, my mother wanted so badly for all of us to graduate that she made it possible for us. She encouraged us to attend school, she made sure that we ate, and she made sure we had clean clothes, although we had no money at all, and all of us graduated from high school.

Mr. Speaker, she is self-taught. She continues to be a strong influence to all of her children, as we graduated and went on to good careers. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to continue my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted.

Tom Beaulieu

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my mother is 83 years old, and she lives in Hay River, and it is appropriate that Members are here from Hay River, who come from Hay River. Some of them may know my mom. She continues to be a strong leader in our family. I asked her if I could do the Member’s statement. She said, “Make sure you talk about my sewing. I have been doing it for 75 years,” so I thought I would mention that she had made all kinds of things, including slippers and card holders with Montreal Canadiens crests on them, for me. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

You are so special, Mr. Beaulieu. Members’ statements. Member for Deh Cho.

Michael Nadli

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. In honour of recognizing International Women’s Day, I wanted to take a moment in honouring the late Elder, Mary Agnes Bonnetrouge, who is featured in the book Nohecho keh, Our Elders, and these are the words that she shared.

Mary Agnes Bonnetrouge was:

“Born at the first lake, near Horn River, in the autumn of 1916. When I was a child, my uncle and aunt would take me hunting with them, by boat. He shot moose, and she made drymeat, and we ate very well. I remember the land being so beautiful then, as though it were newly created. In the springtime, only the bird song call of the ducks broke the tranquility.

Today, that peace is gone. Our land is torn up and destroyed, because of mining and exploration. The Dene gain nothing. We don't understand, and are left out in the cold.

I was educated at the mission, but as soon as I was old enough, I returned to my parents. My mother was blind, so it was hard for me to learn how to work. I used to watch others.

After I was married, I lived between Mills Lake and Big Point, wherever there was fish.

I have had many sad times in my life. I have lost two husbands, and some of my children. I think of them, still.

When my children were small, life was very hard. I had to depend on my eldest son to provide for the younger children, but then he was sent away to the hospital for three years. My children could not fend for themselves at all. I had to pack one of them on my back, and go and set snares.

At that time, if you lived in town, you were entitled to a ration. I used to get one scoop of flour, one of tea, one of sugar, and some oats. That was to last for one month. Can you imagine living like that?

Sometimes, we had no candles, and I had to sit in the dark with my little children. Those were, in truth, the saddest times in my life.

I am so glad that my children are all happily married. We must always communicate with our children, and teach them well. It is too late to try, when they are already grown.

Whenever I see children living well, I always think to myself, 'They must have listened to their parents well.’”

The words of the late elder, Mary Agnes Bonnetrouge, from Fort Providence. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members’ statements. Member for Nahendeh.

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as you have heard from my honourable colleagues, today is International Women's Day. Women celebrate this day every year, and encourage everyone around the world to stand up for the equality and freedom for women, as well as their contribution to society.

As I decided on how I was going to recognize this day, I reached out to the regional women’s leadership. We spoke about politics, leadership, education, and employment in regard to the equal opportunities for women. As we spoke, I explained that I was looking to recognize at least one woman today.

What I found to be very interesting is these women wanted me to celebrate other women in the region, including stay-at-home mothers, teachers, and nurses. You name a profession; that person was referred to me. They said it isn't always about the person in the forefront who makes the biggest change, or shows the biggest leadership. It could be someone like Rosa Parks, who refused to surrender her bus seat to a white passenger, spurring the Montgomery Bus Boycott and other efforts to end segregation. As they said to me, “You never know where true leadership will be found.” With this in mind, I found it very difficult to recognize just one woman, so I asked them for their help. We were able to narrow it down and, finally, recognize one individual: Gladys Norwegian.

Mr. Speaker, typically, the road to be a First Nations chief carries a very small percentage of females willing enough to stand forward for the challenge. Miss Gladys Norwegian, who now calls Jean Marie River home, is one of the very few female chiefs.

After 33 years as an educator, Gladys returned to her community and became their chief. I asked about her position. She replied, "It is a very complex position on many fronts." One main area is re-growing her community to believe in their own language and culture, in doing so, threading their beliefs, values, principles and carrying their ancestors' words forward, not an easy task in the dominant Western society. To be an effective chief today is to be consistently building and strengthening the world views and perspective of the First Nation.

This, coupled with society's political issue of negotiating processes and addressing other political matters facing them, such as health, climate change, social wellness, education, and technology, requires local, regional, and global knowledge. Gladys has proven to put in every effort to make her position work best for her community. Under her leadership, Jean Marie River has developed a five-year strategic plan and economic development strategy plan. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thanks, colleagues. She believes that, once the right people are in the right positions, Jean Marie River as a small community can be a leading force in all areas of existence, including climate change, energy efficiency, and health.

Mr. Speaker, as part of the regional leadership, Gladys serves on the Dehcho Executive Committee, Dehcho Education Scholarship Committee, and is the president of the Dehcho Helicopters Limited.

Mr. Speaker, this is just one woman from the region. I encourage women to continue to be the fabric of our society and take on leadership roles they feel they can take on. Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Sahtu.

Daniel McNeely

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today is marked as International Women's Day, a day to recognize women's achievements and acknowledge the challenges they face continuously in the quest for gender equality.

The missing and murdered Aboriginal and Indigenous women are our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters, aunties, nieces, cousins, partners, and wives, and they are missed and honoured every day.

The roles of the many women and girls are at the centre of our families and communities must be honoured and restored respectfully.

Mr. Speaker, I for one, would like to recognize my mother, Mary McNeely, a tuberculosis survivor. My brother and I, while attending residential school in Inuvik at that time, were off limits to visitors as she was in the isolation ward. We would only have contributed to her comfort and healing. I'm glad to advise and very fortunate that she is still with us today.

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Sahtu region, I applaud all the women in the Sahtu for their dedication and hard work within their small respective communities. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake.

Kevin O'Reilly

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. Today, March 8, is International Women's Day. It's the day we celebrate the contribution of women to our society and commit ourselves to action to improve the equality and participation of women.

Looking around this house, we can see there's a lot of work to do to boost equality of representation and participation.

Members know that our mandate for the 18th Assembly called for actions to increase the number of women running for elected office. One commitment is to support the delivery of workshops aimed at increasing the number of female candidates in elections. My colleague from Yellowknife Centre and our Minister responsible for the Status of Women are doing that through the Daughters of the Vote project and candidates' schools for women. I congratulate them on that work.

Another measure in our mandate aims to increase gender equity through appointments to boards and agencies. New statistics from the Department of the Executive show that half of the people sitting on boards are now women. In the past year, the government has appointed 107 people, 56 per cent of whom are women. That's up from last year, when only 46 per cent of board members were women. Three of the four Supreme Court judges and half our Territorial Court judges are women, although only a third of our departmental deputy ministers are women. I commend the Minister of the Executive for the transparent reporting and tracking of our board appointments. This is an important part of making our government more open and accountable. Perhaps the next step would be to consider the establishment of an NWT Public Service Commission to handle such appointments.

Appointments to boards are not the same as elections, but they are a very important first step in gaining experience and confidence. Participation on boards and governing bodies teaches invaluable skills in rules of order, accountability, and in pursuing priorities through cooperation. They are the incubator for tomorrow's elected leaders, and I encourage the government to continue our efforts here.

A third action under the mandate is the mounting of a communications plan to increase female participation in politics. The mandate progress report tabled in the House this week is silent on that matter. There has been some reporting and action from Elections NWT on this matter. I think we need a cooperative effort with that organization that ramps up soon, with the next territorial election only two years away. I'll look forward to details on that in the coming year. Happy International Women's Day. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife North.

International Women's Day
Members’ Statements

Cory Vanthuyne

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I am an advocate for women. I am still learning exactly what that means and how to advocate in the best way, but it is important to me.

As we've heard, today is International Women's Day, and I wanted to say something to recognize that. One can't help but reflect personally on the significance of this day. When I was a boy, my mom was my hero. She symbolized for me what I thought every person should be. Only in later years did I come to realize what a remarkable person she was and how much she achieved. She was a successful businesswoman and a single mother, and I like to think she did a pretty good job raising me.

Beyond personal experience, when I reflect on the meaning of International Women's Day, I think about the progress of our society on including women in our work in how we make decisions and prioritize issues. When I look around this room, Mr. Speaker, reflecting on women and their place here, in the Legislative Assembly, well, it's pretty clear. Of 19 of us in this room, there are only two women among us.

That is not enough. In fact, one of the things I am sure about is that we need to spend more time contemplating this and our roles in changing it. We need to actively work to change the current reality, whatever it takes, the processes we need to modify, the statements we need to make, the ideas we need to challenge to ensure that more women sit among us as leaders and decision-makers.

All of the things we want to change, the mandate goals we've set for ourselves, the good work we need to do, requires the guidance and wisdom of both genders. We need women who are willing to take up leadership roles and put themselves out there, people who will explore alternatives and stand behind the decisions they make. We need to look for new solutions, include other paradigms, see the world from different perspectives if we are going to make a difference. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

International Women's Day
Members’ Statements

Cory Vanthuyne

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you, colleagues. This is a day to honour and celebrate the women in our lives. It's a day to stand up for the achievements in equality made by the women who have gone before us, but clearly we haven't done enough.

So today must also be a day to renew our commitment to gender equity. It's a demonstrated fact that better decisions are made when there are women at the table. Our government will be better, stronger, more responsive, and capable, if this Assembly stands to support more women as leaders.

Mr. Speaker, I am here to make a difference. I want to support the women among us to participate in that goal. Let's start here and now by each one of us committing to a different future, a more inclusive Assembly. Thank you, Mr. Speaker