This is page numbers 2513 - 2554 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 work.

Topics

Members Present

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

The House met at 1:30 p.m.

---Prayer

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

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

Wally Schumann

Wally Schumann Hay River South

Mr. Speaker, in December of last year, the GNWT took steps to ensure the North did not lose an important transportation link that delivers essential petroleum products and cargo, including consumer goods and construction materials, to communities and customers on Great Slave Lake, the Mackenzie River, and the Arctic coastal region, when it purchased the assets of Northern Transportation Company Limited. These assets included the Hay River shipyard, properties in Hay River, Norman Wells, Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk, and a fleet of specialized tugboats and single-hulled barges for transporting deck cargo to all NWT communities that rely on marine transportation.

We have also purchased two double-hulled barges that were not included in the original assets, to satisfy Transport Canada regulations for transporting fuel in oceans. We will continue to update and improve our fleet to provide these essential services to our communities. We are working with our federal counterparts to determine how we might access federal funding that is being made available for northern marine initiatives. We are now taking stock of these assets and preparing them to ship goods and services. We are confirming the properties and leases for ongoing operational requirements and determining the best and highest-use options for surplus lands. We are currently registering owned properties and confirming crown lands and revenue leases.

Mr. Speaker, we take our responsibility to protect the environment seriously. Phase 1 environmental site assessments for all these sites with leases on

Commissioner's and territorial lands have been completed. We will continue to work with Environment and Natural Resources this summer to conduct phase 2 environmental site assessments on the lands we have acquired. This program will continue over the next three summers to determine what remediation activities will be required. I would like to give all Members an update on where we stand now, as we approach the 2017 sailing season. We have developed a sailing plan and have posted a schedule to our website. Our cargo office in Hay River is up and running, our website has been launched, and a toll-free customer service number has been established. We have run advertisements in all local newspapers and on social media, and we have been receiving daily inquiries. We will visit all NWT marine-accessible communities this season, and we have confirmed that we will also provide service to Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay.

A business model is currently under development with the assistance of Ernst & Young, which will help inform how Marine Transportation Services will be operated in the future. The summer operations will inform the analysis as to which business model is likely to be the most appropriate. In the interim, we are proposing that a revolving fund be established for Marine Transportation Services. The establishment of a Marine Transportation Services revolving fund will enable the marine operations to be self-financing until the determination of a long-term business model is made. It will allow for the management of costs associated with the ongoing operations, maintenance, and capital expenditures in a manner that does not require the GNWT to fund the capital, operations, and management through appropriations, as is required for normal program delivery.

We have established freight and cargo rates for this operating season. They are lower than the 2016 rates. This gives us a business benchmark for expenses and revenues, as we consider factors like reliability of service, reducing risk to the GNWT, return on investment, opportunities for NWT businesses, and employment opportunities for NWT residents. Our contractor's maintenance crews are now in Inuvik, making the vessels ready to sail. Three vessels have been dedicated to our core community business, as well as our Kitikmeot and Prudhoe Bay services. These will arrive in Hay River during the third week of June, where they will be dry-docked and inspected. The first cargo-loaded vessels will set sail from Hay River on or about the 1st of July. Customer cargo is rolling in to our Hay River yard. Fuel orders are currently being placed with our fuel supplier. We have made arrangements with the NWT Housing Corporation to move construction materials to northern communities. We will move goods for the northern stores and for Arctic cooperatives, and we are concluding contracts for the movement of fuel and cargo for various other large customers.

Increasing Marine Transportation Services business will help us keep rates affordable, keep our revenue projections on track, and sustain this service for Northerners. We have been awarded a contract to provide maintenance work for the Canadian Coast Guard on two buoy tender vessels that are dedicated to providing essential aid to navigation services on the Mackenzie River. This contract positions us to serve the coast guard with their ongoing and future needs and demonstrates the ongoing value of the Hay River shipyard. While we are on our way to making this sailing season a success, we are also already looking to the future of Marine Transportation Services, a critical role in the North. It reaches from Canada's northernmost port in Hay River all the way up to some of the highest communities in Canada. There are very few businesses like this in the world.

We are determining how this business can be sustained and improved to meet the needs of our residents and other customers and be positioned to seize the opportunities that the future may present. We have engaged a business consulting firm to assist, and we are working with the Department of Finance to analyze operations over the course of this season, determine optimal business structures and operating models for the long term, and produce a comprehensive analysis and report with recommendations by the fall of this year. Our purchase of the shipyard, terminals, and marine fleet is a strategic investment in transportation infrastructure that provides jobs, helps stimulate our economy, and will maintain the Mackenzie River as a primary route to safely and efficiently move essential goods to our communities‎. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister of Health and Social Services.

Glen Abernethy

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge that June is Seniors Citizens' Month, June 1st is Intergenerational Day, and June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. I would like to invite all Northerners to join me in recognizing seniors across the territory and their valuable contribution within our families and communities during this month. Seniors are currently the fastest growing population in the Northwest Territories. It is projected that the number of seniors over the age of 70 will nearly triple between 2015 and 2034. This will increase the need for home and community care and long-term care solutions.

Our government has made a commitment in its mandate to support elders to live in their own homes for as long as possible and to ensure adequate supports are available for those who can no longer do so. Today, I want to provide you with an update on some of the progress that our government has made to better serve our seniors. We have completed a review of the long-term care program. The review identified the need to expand long-term care capacity in Yellowknife and in other regions of the NWT. It is projected that, by 2026, there will be a shortfall of 258 long-term care beds in the NWT. The review helps us to plan and prioritize investments.

We have made and will continue to make investments in health infrastructure for

long-term care, such as the Jimmy Erasmus Seniors' Home that was completed earlier this year. Work is also underway on the construction of the new 18-bed long-term care facility in Norman Wells. The additional 10 long-term care rooms in the Jimmy Erasmus Seniors' Home and the long-term care facility in Norman Wells, once completed, will help reduce the wait list for long-term care in the NWT. Funding has also been approved to begin work in Yellowknife for long-term care beds, with planning currently underway. The GNWT is also committed to continue working with Avens on their proposal for a 48 bed long-term care facility. A business case for this has been completed, and we are exploring options to redevelop the old Stanton hospital into a 72-bed long-term care facility. We have also been working with the NWT Housing Corporation to support elders' programming in their new seniors' independent living units. The Fort Liard facility was completed last October, and elders' programming will be beginning soon. Construction is underway in Fort McPherson, Whati, and Fort Good Hope. We expect construction of all these facilities will be completed this year, and then we can begin offering activities for elders.

Mr. Speaker, we are committed to ensuring that seniors not only remain in their homes for as long as possible but remain independent, safe, and actively engaged in their communities. To achieve this, we are developing a Continuing Care Services Action Plan that includes actions for enhanced home and community care services and expanded palliative care services with an additional $2.5 million in funding. The action plan will build upon the seven priorities identified in the Our Elders, Our Communities framework which was released in June 2014. In addition, the Continuing Care Services action plan will kick off a comprehensive review of home care services that will be initiated later this year.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to take a moment to acknowledge the work of the NWT Seniors' Society. The society is a non-profit organization that we work closely with, and our government provides funding annually to the society so that they can support seniors across the NWT. Some of the work that the society does includes raising awareness of programs and services specific to seniors, supporting the Seniors' Advisory Council, providing a community outreach program and a toll-free seniors' information line. In addition they support Senior Citizens' Month in June by providing resources to communities to honour and recognize seniors. I would also like to a highlight the important work the Seniors' Society does in the prevention of abuse of older adults. Abuse of older adults can be verbal, physical, or financial. This problem is present in our communities, and the society has been actively creating conversations about this problem and educating NWT residents about the role we can play to find solutions. The society has also played an important role in establishing and providing ongoing support to the NWT Network to Prevent the Abuse of Older Adults. I would like to recognize their commitment to educating and working with partners to reduce, prevent, and ultimately eradicate the abuse of older adults. The Department of Municipal and Community Affairs is working with the NWT Seniors' Society to develop fitness and recreation programing for seniors.

Mr. Speaker, it is only by working together with partners like the NWT Seniors' Society that we are able to improve our programs and services to help support seniors so that they can continue to remain safe, independent, and actively participate in their communities. I wish seniors and the NWT Seniors' Society all the best in celebrating these three important events in the month of June. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister of Lands.

Louis Sebert

Louis Sebert Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, this government committed in its mandate to complete a framework for managing recreational leasing and completing a recreation management plan for the Yellowknife periphery area. In March, we fulfilled the first part of that commitment by releasing the Recreational Leasing Management framework, which will guide land management decisions for years to come. This framework outlines our vision, goals, and short-term and long-term priorities for improving the way we plan and manage recreational leases and other recreational uses. By working towards the goals in the framework, we aim to have an efficient, effective, and transparent recreational leasing system in the Northwest Territories.

Today I want to highlight the efforts we are taking to support recreation management planning in the priority areas, one of six goals outlined in the Recreational Land Management framework and a key component of our mandate commitment. As you are aware, we have already begun working on our first recreation management plan for the Yellowknife periphery area, which includes the public land surrounding Yellowknife, Ndilo, and Detah. Since last year's public engagements, we have been working with an external planning advisory group and engaging with Aboriginal governments and organizations in the area. We are doing this to determine what kind of recreational opportunities are wanted, based on the information we have collected through our research and public engagements. We are also working with other stakeholder groups to advance this work.

On-the-land activities, whether recreational or traditional uses, contribute directly to the quality of life, health, and wellness of the residents of Detah, Ndilo, and Yellowknife, today and into the future. The planning process takes time and significant effort. We are extending our timeframes so that we may continue to work directly with Aboriginal governments and organizations to ensure that their ideas are reflected, that we have adequately considered Section 35 Aboriginal and treaty rights, and have provided accommodations where appropriate. Based on this work, we look forward to establishing a plan that will provide for better management of recreational uses in the area, greater awareness of the cultural and historical value and of respectful uses of the land and water, and greater clarity around recreational cabin leasing. We are hoping to have a draft of the plan ready for public comment later this year. Moving forward on the goals outlined in the Recreational Leasing Management framework and completing our work on the Yellowknife periphery area recreation management plan are important steps in meeting our mandate commitment. This work requires the cooperation and participation of all interested parties and governments, and I look forward to continuing our collaborative work over the life of this Legislative Assembly. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. Member for Nunakput.

Ocean Pollution
Members’ Statements

Herbert Nakimayak

Herbert Nakimayak Nunakput

Mr. Speaker, pollution from human activities can be found all across the ocean's vast expanse. Rivers carry waste substances into the ocean. Discharge spills and waste from shipping and pollutants discharged into the air are also deposited into the ocean. Micro-plastics, agricultural run-off, untreated sewage and waste water, oils, nutrients, sediments, and marine debris; human activity like agricultural practices, port and harbour developments, damming of rivers, urban development and construction, mining, fisheries, aquaculture, and manufacturing, are all sources of marine pollution threatening coastal and marine habitat as well as human health and well-being.

Mr. Speaker, the United Nations estimates that currently at least two billion people do not have access to regular waste collection, and a large portion of the uncollected waste ends up in waterways and the ocean. Plastic debris causes deaths of large numbers of sea birds, as well as marine mammals, traditionally the main sources of food for the Inuit. Many uncertainties remain around the human health risk and microplastics in seafood and the possible effects of nano-sized plastic particles, which are capable of crossing cell walls.

Pollution from ships takes the form of both catastrophic events and chronic pollution from regular operations. Ballast is essential to the safe and efficient operation of ships, but the exchange of ballast water is a possible route for the introduction of invasive species, which can also be caused by aquaculture, ocean research, tourism, and sport fishing, Mr. Speaker. Human activities in the oceans are also responsible for generating increasing levels of underwater noise that disrupt marine habitat. More research and policy development is needed in addressing microplastics, endocrine-disrupting compounds, and harmful algal blooms.

Mr. Speaker, governments can help:

● raise public awareness on the impacts of plastic pollution and the benefits of recycling, including new regional recycling and waste collection centres;

● improve the sustainability of ports especially relating to waste management and reception facilities; regulate shipping emissions;

● strengthen implementation of the legal regime for the protection and preservation of the marine environment through activities and partnerships with Indigenous governments;

● also, by provide training and technical assistance on the development of legislation and policy, as well as developing the scientific and Indigenous knowledge capacity to monitor and address marine pollution.

Quyanainni, Mr. Speaker.

Ocean Pollution
Members’ Statements

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Member's statement. Member for Nahendeh.

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the school year is ending very soon and grad season is about to begin. In my riding, there are two high schools, Acho Dene School in Fort Liard and Thomas Simpson High School in Fort Simpson. The Fort Simpson school accommodates students from Wrigley, Sambaa K'e, Nahanni Butte, and Jean Marie River. The two schools will be hosting their graduation ceremonies on June 15th and June 17th respectively.

Mr. Speaker we will see 19 high school students graduate. They will represent part of the future work force, and I am proud of them for completing the first of their educational achievements. I look forward to celebrating this major achievement with them later on this month. Mr. Speaker, as part of the celebration of education, I would like to congratulate this year's Dehcho Education Hall of Fame Inductee, Teresa Jaffray. Teresa Jaffray, known mostly as Terry, has had an astounding 35-year-long career with education in the North. Terry taught across the North before arriving to Fort Simpson. During her teaching career in Fort Simpson, Terry taught all my children. Her capacity as an educator is enormous, and her heart is truly in educating the youth. For this I am thankful.

Mr. Speaker, the next logical step for Terry was to become the principal of the Bompas Elementary School. During this time, I had the opportunity to work with Terry as I sat on the DEA. Despite all that Terry had already accomplished, she still wanted to make a greater impact on more students, so she became associate superintendent and then became the superintendent of the Dehcho Divisional Education Council. During this time I have had the honour to work with Terry in my other role, as the sport and recreation person.

Mr. Speaker, all of her colleagues would say she has always lead by example and has always been a contributing team member, even with her hectic schedule. With her position on the DEA, Terry continues to provide guidance and leadership to staff as well as input and direction for the board and community. No matter what the situation is, Terry always has the children's well-being in mind. Terry's induction into the Education Hall of Fame represents the insurmountable work that she has done for education in the North and the care she has for the students. She is always encouraging students and providing them with any support she can for the opportunities that come their way. She has taken her abundant expertise of education in the North and big-heartedly shared her knowledge and support with anyone who needs it. Mr. Speaker, Terry's countless achievements speak for themselves. Inducting her into the Education Hall of Fame is an honour that Teresa Jaffray well deserves. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife North.

Preparing For Growth
Members’ Statements

Cory Vanthuyne

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Mr. Speaker, it's a slow economy we live in, not only in the North but around the world. Low commodity prices, sluggish exploration spending, looming climate change concerns, international security and safety, unpredictability in Washington, understandably, it's a nervous time. Economic cycles happen, meaning that, following each decline, there is inevitably a rebound. Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to hear the Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment's statement earlier this week, outlining a broad multifaceted approach to economic development in the Northwest Territories because moving ahead on many different fronts is what will prepare our economy to be ready when investment is ready for us. We already have bright prospects. The Whati road will support exploration and mineral development but also tourism and traditional economy. The TerraX exploration program returns a promising level of activity to the Yellowknife area. There is even positive interest once again in Pine Point.

Mr. Speaker, the NWT's world-class resources will continue to attract attention and ultimately investment, but we have to be ready. How? We must develop strategies based on the needs of our citizens and communities that will show potential investors we are open for business. For the economy, we must have strategies in place. Our mineral development, oil and gas, fisheries, forestry, agriculture, climate change, and energy. We must be prepared to develop our natural assets in a way that serves our people and communities and honours and sustains our land. For our people, we must resolve our land rights and Aboriginal self-government questions to provide certainty for all. We need to build an educated, capable work force that's ready to step into employment and training opportunities. The highest priority is healthy families and communities and security for our children and elders.

I was encouraged by the Minister's approach to economic development. It promotes the principles of a stable resource sector as the foundation of our economy while simultaneously prioritizing investment in our people and growth for new areas like agriculture and fisheries. A diverse economy will be a stronger economy. Mr. Speaker, these strategies and commitment to the goals we set in the mandate will help us kick-start the economy from the inside out. When investors look again to the North, they'll see the kind of certainty and confidence that they're looking for. Let's be prepared. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Preparing For Growth
Members’ Statements

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Sahtu.

Daniel McNeely

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. In recognition of Tourism Week, tourism is the largest renewable resource-based industry in the Northwest Territories. The Central Mackenzie Valley draws attentions from Great Bear Lake, the Mackenzie River, and the Mackenzie Mountains. With endless opportunities with hunting, cultural sightseeing, fishing, and hiking, we can no longer ignore one of NWT's best-kept secrets, the Sahtu Region and Central Mackenzie Valley, with huge potential that needs unlocking. Mr. Speaker, in the fiscal year 2014-15, NWT Tourism expanded from $146.6 million to $167.1 million in 2015-16, an increase of $20.5 million. These statistics are beyond our expectations and continue to grow. Tourism can offer opportunities to assist achievement of personal career aspirations, the vision that communities hold for their future, and the business opportunities objectives of tourism enterprises. I congratulate the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment for exceeding these expectations and targets. 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. Recently, I had two constituents contact me with regard to housing issues in Northlands Trailer Park. About 1,100 people live in this area of Yellowknife. This neighbourhood has a long and complicated history. It was developed around 1977 by a private developer and was turned into a condominium corporation in 1989. At that point, the infrastructure became the responsibility of the corporation. In 2010, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation stopped offering assistance with mortgages in this area due to the poor condition of infrastructure. A deal was reached between the condo corporation and the City of Yellowknife in 2013 to replace the infrastructure, with the city up-fronting the money and recovering through local improvement charges on individual properties. I applaud the efforts of the condo corporation board and the city in reaching this arrangement. The infrastructure has now been replaced, and the city will take over the responsibility for its maintenance. CMHC is again providing assistance with mortgages, and there is significant redevelopment happening within Northlands.

All of this is good news, but some residents in Northlands have found it difficult to adjust to the local improvement charges and the continuing condo fees. I am confident that the condo corporation board is making every effort to keep the condo fees as low as possible. Much of this situation is a matter between the condo corporation and the City of Yellowknife, but it does highlight a gap in support for our residents, especially those on a fixed income. We have the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation programs that can assist homeowners with retrofits and programs for seniors to assist with home heating and municipal taxes, but there are still problems with affordability. One of the five priorities of the NWT Seniors' Society is to "support more seniors and elders living independently in their own homes."

We should be doing more to enable citizens on fixed incomes to stay in their own homes and not go into arrears on municipal taxes, local improvement charges or condo fees. I support the efforts of our Housing Minister in carrying out the housing survey and beginning to redesign our programs and services. She kindly agreed to meet with a couple of my constituents recently to talk about the issues at Northlands and had some helpful suggestions. I'll have questions for the Minister later today on assistance with housing in Northlands. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Member's statement. Member for Mackenzie Delta.

Frederick Blake Jr.

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, like my colleague the Member for Yellowknife Centre did yesterday, I want to talk about the Voices on Housing report. This report on the results of the NWT Housing Corporation's recent engagement survey was tabled in the House last week. You can find it online or at our Legislative Library. Mr. Speaker, I have followed the progress of this survey closely. Many of my constituents wanted to participate, and I was pleased that the Housing Corporation extended the survey to let more people share their views and that it worked with residents to help them complete the survey. In the end, the corporation received about 1,500 responses and estimates that the results represent about one out of every 10 households.

Like my colleague mentioned, many comments focused on homelessness and housing affordability and availability, but many residents who wrote in also talked about maintenance. Some wrote positively of the corporation's maintenance staff, while others talked instead about the need for more timely maintenance. One common theme was the desire to engage tenants in the maintenance of their units; another, to ensure that local people are trained and employed in maintenance- and repair-related jobs. This echoes what I have heard, myself, from the people of the Mackenzie Delta. Beyond regular maintenance, Mr. Speaker, we need to talk about critical repairs and remediation. My constituents tell me about serious problems with mould in public housing units.

Mould is a danger to tenants' health. It causes eye and nasal problems, skin irritation, night asthma, and in serious cases, respiratory infections. It can't be solved with a bit of cleaning and a slapped-on coat of paint: it requires professional remediation. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement. Thank you.

---Unanimous consent granted

Frederick Blake Jr.

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Voices on Housing tells us that one resident wrote, "The Housing Corporation needs to be aware that some repairs cannot be made by tenants themselves. Example: mould is not always the result of poor cleaning habits." Our sister territory, Nunavut, knows this. Their government plans to use $2.6 million in federal money for repairs to tackle their territory's major mould problem. As we know, Nunavut will also see $240 million in housing money over the next decade. Meanwhile, the NWT will see just $36 million.

That begs the question, Mr. Speaker, just what is the Housing Corporation going to do about housing units that are a danger to tenants' health and safety? Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will have questions later today.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Kam Lake.

Immigration
Members’ Statements

Kieron Testart

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, immigration enriches our communities, enhances our economy, strengthens our diversity, and grows our population, which is a very important goal for this government. Though the benefits of immigration are indisputable, the policies that govern immigration are often complex and difficult to make effective in various jurisdictions in Canada. Mr. Speaker, immigration is a shared responsibility and much of it is under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Our government operates its own nominee program through the Departments of Industry, Tourism and Investment and Education, Culture and Employment. This program can fast track applications for permanent residency, assist prospective employers, and help foreign workers and their families make NWT their permanent home.

Immigration has been raised to a high profile through its inclusion in our mandate, which commits to increasing the number of immigrants working in the NWT and investment by immigrants by implementing an immigration strategy, which is now underway. Mr. Speaker, we will talk about where this strategy does not touch, which is family reunification. Many of the people who come here through our nominee program contribute valuable services to the community, enhance our labour pool, and open small businesses, but it's very difficult in many cases for them to have their family members join them, extended family members, not immediate family members. I met with some new Canadians in the Northwest Territories, and they said it is easier to bring a nanny in to help them than their own grandparents to help watch their kids. It just doesn't make sense, Mr. Speaker. Their concerns are that, without that family reunification piece in place, where other provinces are doing it better, the NWT is a less favourable place to live.

We need to strengthen this aspect that worked for the federal government to build a stronger family reunification program so we can ensure that all of our residents and, in this case, particularly newcomers to Canada can bring their families here and enjoy the quality of life that they expect and that they could find in other places in Canada and the world. We need to make the NWT the best it can be on immigration. I know we have willing partners with both Ministers across the aisle to make this happen. I'll have questions for the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment on how we can make this happen. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Immigration
Members’ Statements

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Family Violence Survey
Members’ Statements

Julie Green

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in her most recent report, the chief coroner noted that four out of five murders in the NWT in 2015 involved domestic violence. This is a repeat of 2012, where four of out five murders also involved domestic violence. That's 80 per cent, Mr. Speaker. The rate for Canada as a whole is less than half that, at 36 per cent in 2015. In discussing her findings with the media, the chief coroner said the territory needs a massive shift in attitudes so people realize that this is not normal and not acceptable. To make this shift, there needs to be education for young people, public advertising campaigns, and culturally appropriate on-the-land programs.

This government and previous governments have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in what our mandate calls the crisis of family violence, mostly on crisis responses. Money has been spent on prevention but to no effect, taking the unchanging murder rate as an indicator. Today I am renewing my call for this government to budget the necessary funds in the next business plan to redo the 2007 Family Violence Survey. You may recall, the NWT Bureau of Statistics surveyed 753 people in communities large and small 10 years ago to gauge their understanding of family violence. The good news is that 88 per cent of respondents said they were either very worried or somewhat worried about family violence, but the detailed findings are revealing. An important finding is that a quarter of men and 16 per cent of women still believe that physical violence between a couple is a private matter to be resolved within the family. There is a general reluctance to define family violence as a problem for which help is needed. Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that family violence is a problem, in fact a crisis, and that help is needed. Updating the family violence survey will give us the information we need to create an effective action plan, one that is aimed squarely at the attitudes that perpetuate family violence. It will tell us why what we're doing isn't working. It is time for us to strengthen the prevention of family violence, to work in smart and consistent ways to ensure every NWT resident hears the message that violence is not inevitable and it is preventable. I will have questions for the Minister of Justice. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.