This is page numbers 2599 - 2624 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 communities.


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 1:32 p.m.

Elder Lillian Elias

[no translation provided]

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Good afternoon, colleagues. On behalf of the Legislative Assembly I would like to thank our elder, Lillian Elias of Inuvik, for joining us today and leading us in prayer. Masi.

Colleagues, it is my pleasure to welcome you all back to the Chamber to resume the second session of the 18th Legislative Assembly. Another autumn is upon us. The days are growing shorter and the air is getting cooler. As we watch the leaves change colour, we can reflect back on our summer and prepare for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of us.

Before we begin today, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our newly elected Tlicho Grand Chief, George McKenzie, and all the four Tlicho chiefs elected this summer, as well. Congratulations to all of them.

Colleagues, I would like to acknowledge the Pages that we have with us throughout this sitting. We will have students from:

● East Three School in Inuvik;

● Chief Sunrise Education Centre in Hay River Reserve;

● Chief Paul Niditchie School in Tsiigehtchic;

● Ecole Boreale School in Hay River;

● Chief Julian Yendo School in Wrigley;

● Lutselk'e Dene school in Lutselk'e; and

● Mildred Hall School in Yellowknife.

Welcome and thank you to all the Pages who will be with us during this sitting. It is always a pleasure to share this Chamber with our young people, who are the future of our territory. Please join me in thanking them and welcoming them to the Assembly.

Colleagues, this sitting will be a busy and challenging time. Amongst other work of the Assembly, we as Members have agreed to publicly review our mandate and engage in a mid-term review for the first time in many years. I know that these reviews may seem divisive and taxing and that there will be times when we do not agree. However, we must remember why we are pursuing these public reviews: so that we may better serve and represent our constituents and our communities who elected us and all the people of this territory; so that we may be better, more thoughtful, and more transparent as a government; to do our jobs of governing this territory.

Throughout our sitting and our reviews, we also must keep in mind that we must conduct ourselves in keeping with the rules of this House and in keeping with the expectations of our people. We must show respect for this institution, each other, ourselves, and all residents of the Northwest Territories.

Now I wish to advise the House that I have received the following message from the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories. It reads:

Dear Mr. Speaker, I wish to advise that I recommend to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories the passage of:

● Appropriation Act (Infrastructure Expenditures), 2018-2019

during the second session of the 18th Assembly.

Yours truly, Margaret M. Thom, Commissioner of the Northwest Territories.

Masi colleagues. Orders of the day, item 2, Ministers' statements. The Honourable Premier.

Bob McLeod

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, as we begin the final sitting of the second session of the Legislative Assembly, many people are looking back at the past two years and our mandate successes. We have many successes to look at, and we will discuss them in more detail during this sitting. Right now, I want to look in a different direction, Mr. Speaker. Today, I want to talk about the future of the North.

When I think about what the Northwest Territories will look like in 20 years, I see a healthy and prosperous territory built on northern strengths and advantages. I see residents who have good-paying jobs built on the foundation of responsible resource development and who do not have to rely on income assistance to survive. I see residents who are able to purchase their own homes and healthy foods and who are able to provide for their children and help them reach their life goals. I see residents breaking the hold of colonialism to achieve economic self-determination.

At the same time, Mr. Speaker, I recognize that the Northwest Territories does not exist in a vacuum. We are part of a bigger confederation and subject to social and economic trends that affect the country and the world. If we are to achieve our vision of a healthy and prosperous territory, we need a plan that takes these trends into account. That plan also needs to strategically rely on the ingenuity and determination of Northwest Territories residents and the natural wealth of the land.

Late last month, I hosted my counterparts from Yukon and Nunavut to discuss how we are working together to ensure that Northerners have increasing opportunities including good jobs close to home and sustainable communities.

Mr. Speaker, we share in a unified vision for the North that will give Northerners a fair and equitable chance to create strong communities, stable and diversified economies, and a clean environment. We agree that responsible, sustainable development and economic diversification are keys to enhancing prosperity and wellness in remote communities by creating jobs and facilitating reconciliation for all territorial residents.

The foundation of the Northwest Territories’ economy is resource development, Mr. Speaker. Natural resources are not only key to growing and sustaining our economic future, but are also essential to lowering the cost of living, as well as developing our residents through training, educational, and capacity-building opportunities.

Currently, the resource sector accounts for nearly 40 per cent of our gross domestic product. By comparison, tourism accounts for 3.5 per cent and fishing 0.01 per cent. Diversifying our economy is critical to providing opportunities for our residents, and we have begun that work in agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing, and the knowledge economy to improve the possibility of economic prosperity.

Mr. Speaker, while growing and diversifying our economy is a priority for our government; resource development will continue to be the territory’s main source of jobs and prosperity for the foreseeable future. Mr. Speaker, it will be the strong, stable foundation that diversification is built upon, at the same time as it provides jobs to our residents, opportunities to our communities, and revenues to support government programs and services.

If we are to achieve a brighter future for the generations to come, northern leaders need to be setting the vision for the North. Decisions about the future of Canada’s North have a direct impact on the lives and economic future of our residents. We cannot simply rely on the good intentions of others to look out for the needs of our people. The Northwest Territories deserves an opportunity to participate fully in the Canadian economy, and our people the opportunity to achieve economic self-determination.

We also cannot overlook, Mr. Speaker, the link between economic independence and reconciliation with Indigenous people, including here in the North. Meaningful self-determination requires having the resources to make and implement your own choices.

Creating this kind of a future was the focus of discussion between myself and Premiers Taptuna and Silver last month. We are optimistic about the future and are actively working to balance environmental preservation and economic development to achieve wellness and prosperity throughout our communities, particularly in rural and remote Indigenous communities. We agreed that investment in economic infrastructure, people, and sustainable communities are critical steps in ensuring that territorial residents thrive socially, economically, and are contributing members of the Canadian federation. We also agreed the three territories need a vision for sustainable development that reflects what Northerners want and need, not what somebody else thinks is best for us. In particular, the federal government needs to stop making unilateral decisions that will have long-lasting impacts for the North. Significant decisions around resource development, environmental regulation, and Indigenous relations that have an impact on the North are being made without Northerners’ input.

While we recognize that these decisions may have been made with the best of intentions, we are concerned about the unintended impacts on the northern economy and how we govern ourselves.

The Prime Minister has said he is committed to growing the middle class by making sure people have access to good, well-paying jobs. Northerners and their governments want the same thing for themselves. I hope the Prime Minister understands that the best jobs in our territories come from resource development and sectors that support it.

I also hope the Prime Minister understands that the North is the one area of the country where great strides have already been taken towards reconciliation with Indigenous people. As far back as 20 years ago, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, or RCAP, noted that "the North is the part of Canada in which Aboriginal people have achieved the most in terms of political influence and institutions appropriate to their cultures and needs."

At the same time, however, the Commission noted that "the North itself is a region with little influence over its own destiny. Most of the levers of political and economic power continue to be held outside the North and, in some cases, outside Canada."

We have made some moves to change that, most notably with devolution here in the Northwest Territories, but that transition is not complete. Twenty years later, Northerners are still being left out of decisions that affect their land, communities, and families.

Completing that transition will be essential to our ongoing self-determination and our economic future. Canada’s recent decision to reorganize the federal Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs provides an opportunity to rethink the relationship between our two governments and honour the intent of devolution agreements and the modern treaties we have been negotiating in the North.

Mr. Speaker, all regions of the country deserve a fair and equitable chance to create strong communities for healthy, educated people, stable and diversified economies, and a clean environment. That is all we want. We have an opportunity as a nation to transform the North in a way that will create huge social and economic benefits for its people and that all Canadians can be proud of by investing in its people, its economy, and its infrastructure.

As we take time during the upcoming mid-term review to look back at our progress as a government, I encourage Members to also look ahead to the kind of territory we hope to leave to our children and grandchildren and the vision we need to get there. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Ministers’ statements. Minister of Justice.

Louis Sebert

Louis Sebert Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, our residents have demonstrated that cannabis is an important issue for them. Since I last spoke of the legalization of cannabis in May, our government has been hard at work undertaking an extensive engagement program with the public and stakeholders to make sure we understand the views of Northerners.

Our engagement, which formally began in July, has included public meetings in regional centres and select small communities. Seven public meetings have been held to date, with two more scheduled for today and tomorrow in Hay River and Behchoko. An online survey has also been made available to provide residents with the opportunity to make their views known.

Additionally, we have written directly to 120 key stakeholders such as community governments, Indigenous governments, and nongovernmental organizations, to seek their views on the proposed principles and related issues. In our engagement we have been asking specific questions relating to issues such as the legal age for consumption, public smoking of cannabis, possession limits, community restriction options, and possible retail models.

Mr. Speaker, we have seen an unprecedented level of response to our public engagement. To date, the online survey has received over 1,100 responses, with representation coming in from all regions of the Northwest Territories. In our community meetings we have seen strong turnout and thoughtful and insightful commentary, with members of our interdepartmental working group reporting that they have learned something new at each session.

As a government we are committed to making sure that effective measures are in place to promote the health and safety of our people and our communities, and we value the input of Northerners on the best ways to do it. An initial look at the survey responses we have received so far has shown that there is a strong consensus on certain issues, but that public opinion is divided on other questions. With this in mind, I want to encourage residents who have not yet shared their opinions on this important topic to take part in our public engagement meetings online survey, which will close on September 22nd. After that we will be hard at work producing a "what we heard" report which will be shared with Members and the public later this fall. This will still give us the time we need to incorporate feedback into the legislative planning that will proceed over the fall and winter.

We know the federal timelines for cannabis legalization are very short and we will have to work efficiently to be ready for July 2018.

The legalization of cannabis is a complex issue that touches on many areas, and it requires a coordinated response from many departments, agencies, and other stakeholders. It is no secret that the Northwest Territories faces challenges in addressing addictions and the abuse of alcohol and drugs. The use of tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis in the NWT is considerably higher than the national average. Our residents understand those challenges, which can be seen through the outstanding response and participation in our public engagement thus far.

I would like to express my gratitude to all those who have taken the time to make their views known, and to my colleagues in this House for encouraging their constituents to make their views on cannabis known through our survey and participation at public meetings. I am sure that we will have many more discussions about how to regulate cannabis as specific plans and legislative initiatives are developed and brought forward for consideration over the fall and winter. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Colleagues, I’d like to draw your attention to the people in the gallery. I’m pleased to recognize Ms. Wendy Bisaro, former Member in the 16th and 17th Legislative Assemblies. Welcome to our proceedings. Item 3, Members’ statements. Member for Nunakput.

Herbert Nakimayak

Herbert Nakimayak Nunakput

Quyanainni, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, almost 20 years ago the Department of Health and Social Services was "encouraged to hire competent traditional healers in situations where their expertise and knowledge may be beneficial in treating a patient."

It wasn’t the first recommendation like that, and it wasn’t the last. We heard it again just last year in the Report on Needs for Aboriginal Wellness at Stanton Territorial Hospital Authority, yet we still lag behind other jurisdictions in Canada. We might no longer see Indigenous medicine practices expressly criminalized, but it is clear that significant bureaucratic obstacles remain.

Mr. Speaker, Canadian law and policy historically made elders and medicine people unable to practice openly, and younger people skeptical, ashamed, and afraid, breaking knowledge cycles. With good reason, then, Indigenous people today may be unwilling to discuss medicine practices with physicians or nurses who, in turn, are likely unfamiliar with their patients’ culture and traditions. Today, the cycle continues.

Indeed, western and Indigenous medicine traditions are often at odds. Even if a physician is open to talking about medicine practices, they may not understand that such discussion is highly unusual. They are just as perplexed by this as an Indigenous medicine person could be if asked to speak openly of their sacred knowledge or set a price on their practices.

What does this mean in practical terms? Not only are Indigenous medicines poorly integrated into healthcare, but there is also significant debate on how much it should be integrated at all. Meanwhile, Indigenous people pay the price. Attempts at a traditional food program at Stanton, hampered by food inspection rules and red tape, are a prime example, Mr. Speaker.

Other jurisdictions have found ways to serve their people. In Northern Ontario, the Noojmowin Teg Health Centre combines primary care with traditional Anishinaabe practices, while the Metis Addictions Council of Saskatchewan has operated for almost 50 years. In Nunavik, the Inuulitsivik Health Centre supported the reintroduction of Inuit midwifery, and at the Whitehorse General Hospital, the First Nations Health Program brings Indigenous medicine into patient services.

Mr. Speaker, it is past time for the NWT to step up. I know the government's role is not an easy one. The National Aboriginal Health Organization warns of risks in the "institutionalization of tradition" and the need for Indigenous medicine to maintain autonomy from the state, but the GNWT has a responsibility to serve public health and that means Indigenous peoples, too. Quyanainni, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

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

Hay River Summer Activities
Members’ Statements

R.J. Simpson

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and welcome back. I would love to say it is great to be here, but right now I empathize with the kids who are back in school after their summer vacation. That is not because I do not love the work we do in this beautiful Legislature; it is just that Hay River is such a beautiful place to be in the summer.

You know, if you are a geologist or someone else who just loves rocks, then I am sure Yellowknife is a great place to be in the summer, too. Personally, I love Hay River's lush greenery, spending hot days on our long stretches of sandy beaches, watching eagles fish as I canoe down the East Channel, playing on our beautiful golf course with its stunning views, socializing and buying fresh local produce and fish at the Fisherman's Wharf, taking day trips to some of the most spectacular places in the NWT, and watching breathtaking sunsets over the Great Slave Lake.

On top of all that, the Hay Days Festival made its triumphant return this summer. The five-day festival had musicians from across Canada performing in the streets and on the beach. It had art workshops for all ages and all levels. Combined with the Canada Day long weekend, the air show, events put on by the town, tourism operators, and other local organizations, there were eight straight days of nonstop activities and events. I commend all the volunteers and organizers who made it happen.

However, Mr. Speaker, I want to let my constituents know it was not all fun and games. I was in my windowless constituency office every day dealing with constituents' issues and concerns, many of which I will be raising in the coming days.

I also made an effort to reach out and meet with more local organizations. Over the summer I met with representatives from the town, the Seniors' Society, the RCMP, Arctic Winter Games Committee, Friendship Centre, Fishermen's Federation, the Northern Farm Training Institute, the Rangers, and so on. I also made a point to meet with local businesses, including retailers, manufacturers, farmers, fishermen, and more.

Because this job extends beyond the borders of Hay River, I also attended the Dehcho assembly in Fort Providence, the swearing in of the new Tlicho Grand Chief, the Canadian Council of Public Accounts Committees conference, Opportunities North, and the signing of the MOU between the NWT and Alberta, where I gave Premier Notley the same sales pitch about summer in Hay River that I just gave you and invited her to visit.

All in all, it was a busy, productive, and fun summer, and it is a shame that it is ending. Luckily, Hay River is a great place to be in the winter, too. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Hay River Summer Activities
Members’ Statements

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Kam Lake.

Guaranteed Basic Income
Members’ Statements

Kieron Testart

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Mr. Speaker, I want to begin this session with a subject that has become the topic of conversation across Canada: a guaranteed basic income. Across the political spectrum, the private sector, and dinner tables of northern families, a guaranteed basic income is accepted as the inevitable future for our country. Guaranteed basic income is the best way to address income disparity, eliminate poverty, and prepare our economy for the future. It is time for the Northwest Territories to embrace what is inevitable and start testing guaranteed basic incomes.

Mr. Speaker, a guaranteed basic income is a form of social security in which all citizens receive a regular, unconditional sum of money, either from a government or from some other public agency. This is independent of any other income. Now, to some people, this may sound like a farfetched scheme with no grounding in economic reality; a purely theoretical program that would be impossible for any reasonable government to consider. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report that a pilot is about to begin in Ontario. Their government has embraced this bold idea and is working with communities to make it a reality.

Mr. Speaker, the Ontario government is acting on the 2016 recommendations of former Conservative Senator the Honourable Hugh Segal and will provide residents in Hamilton, Thunder Bay, and Lindsay with a basic income. Roughly 4,000 recipients will be randomly chosen from the three regions, where a single person could receive up to $16,000 per year, while a couple could receive up to $24,000 annually.

This three-year pilot project will stabilize the living situation of those struggling with poverty and who rely on income support payments and low-wage jobs. I wish all the recipients great success, and although we will not know the results for some time, fortunately, there is historical precedent on the success of a guaranteed basic income. From 1974 to 1979, a basic income pilot called Mincome was conducted in Dauphin, Manitoba. The poorest residents of the community received payments that topped up their earnings and ensured a basic minimum income. Mr. Speaker, in five short years, this program virtually eliminated poverty in that community.

Mr. Speaker, we often dream of a day when we will be free of poverty in the Northwest Territories and in Canada, and with this program, we can make that dream a reality today. I will be asking questions and encouraging our government to pilot a basic income program for the future of the Northwest Territories so we do not have to play catch-up once this becomes commonplace throughout Canada. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Guaranteed Basic Income
Members’ Statements

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. It is time for another statement on "What I Did for My Summer Holidays," or "Yellowknife Rocks."

Committee work began almost immediately after the last sitting ended on June 2nd. I also travelled to Inuvik for the Alternative Energy and Emerging Technologies conference, June 14th to the 16th, and I attended the Dehcho and Tlicho assemblies. The never-ending work on the Rules and Procedures Committee on our review of several reports of election matters continued over the summer.

In August, my wife and I travelled to the Yukon and Alaska, where tourism is really booming. We share a lot in common, but the Yukon government really takes tourism seriously. Later in August, we had our Caucus retreat at Reindeer Station in Inuvik. A sincere thank you to the Inuvik Community Corporation for our use of Reindeer Station. It was my first time back since 1988, and probably the first time that the MLAs have been there at the same time. Later in August, Regular MLAs began our review of the 2018-2019 capital budget.

Harvesting of our home gardens has begun, with about 40 pounds of Alaskan Bloom potatoes. Carrot harvesting is also under way, and if the MLAs and Ministers perform well, there will be carrots and not sticks in this sitting.

In late August and early September I personally delivered a summer newsletter to about 900 households in my riding and engaged residents wherever possible. I also held a constituency meeting last week. The top issues were the state of Yellowknife's downtown area, support for a carbon tax if it includes revenue recycling to further reduce fossil fuel dependency, concern over the state of the Bathurst caribou herd, and distress over the future of visitor services in Yellowknife. I will be working on these issues in this sitting and the remainder of our term.

As we head into budget season, I will be pushing for more investments into social infrastructure, including housing, a made-in-the-NWT carbon tax regime that protects low-income Northerners and remote communities but invests revenues in renewable energy and energy efficiency while creating local jobs. I will be after a real investment in visitor services and tourism in Yellowknife and better protection of the Bathurst caribou herd. Mahsi, 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, just a few days after our last sitting here the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment dismissed the board of directors at Aurora College and appointed an administrator in their place. The Minister said this move would ensure stability and continuity for the college through the foundational review of its operations. Dismissing the board does not provide for continuity, but for the opposite, an upset in the established order. Worse, much worse, it throws the college's status as an arm's-length authority of government into question.

Mr. Speaker, the last ECE Minister paid for a thorough assessment of the college. The report delivered in March 2013 contained dozens of recommendations to improve the college's performance. Today I'm going to recap just a few of those recommendations that have to do with the relationship between the college's board and the Minister. First, that the Minister and the college's board meet four times a year to review programs and services as well as the budget. Second, that the Minister bring the board and Regular Members together to discuss the college's plans and activities. Third, that he expedite the board of director appointments when there are vacancies. Fourth, that the board employ the president and review his or her performance, and so on. There are 11 recommendations in this section alone and they build on the division of responsibilities outlined in legislation.

Mr. Speaker, the 2013 assessment of the college recommended that the board of directors' role be strengthened, not eliminated. The report writer thought it was important to the college's credibility as a post-secondary institution; important in the competition to attract students to its classrooms and important to academic freedom. The report said the board had an important role to play in setting the strategic direction for the college and for providing accountability.

Mr. Speaker, the biggest test of that relationship between the college and the current Minister occurred this spring, when the Minister announced that the teacher education and social work programs would be suspended. There was a lot of finger pointing about who made that decision and why. It's a decision with many consequences, with the Minister deciding on a foundational review of the college and dismissing the board. He has the whip hand.

Mr. Speaker, residents of the NWT want a credible and competitive post-secondary institution in the NWT. That credibility took a hit when the Minister fired the board without a valid reason, or at least one that he has not yet discussed. I will have questions.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Deh Cho.

Michael Nadli

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to be back in the House after another brief and beautiful summer. I would like to begin this sitting by congratulating Margaret Thom, who was appointed by the Prime Minister as the new Commissioner of the Northwest Territories in June of this year.

Ms. Thom is a very distinguished appointee, who brings a lifetime of public and community service to her role as Commissioner. She was born in Redknife as Margaret Gargan, raised on the land, and has dedicated her life to caring for her family and community as an active educator, counsellor, advocate, and volunteer.

Margaret, who herself was educated in the residential school system, went on to devote her career to teaching. She is an admired educator, who has served the DehchoDehcho Education Council as a community counsellor at Deh Gah Elementary and Secondary School in Fort Providence for close to 20 years. As such, she has played an important role in educating an entire generation of children from the Dehcho region. She is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal, a member of the Northwest Territories Education Hall of Fame, and has been awarded the Territorial Wise Woman Award.

Margaret has played an important leadership role within the Dehcho region, with many years of service to the people of the NWT. As a role model, she leads by example and promotes healing and lifestyle of wellness.

She has served on numerous boards, including as the governor of the Aurora College Board, a member of the Territorial Board of Secondary Education/Akaitcho Hall Advisory Board, and as Vice-chair of the Nats'ejee K'eh Treatment Centre.

Together, Margaret and her husband Jim raised four daughters and are now enjoying watching their nine grandchildren grow.

As if that wasn't enough, Margaret also brings to her new role many years of experience serving as the territory's deputy commissioner in 2005 to 2011.

Margaret replaces former Commissioner George Tuccaro, who retired in May 2016, and deputy commissioner Gerald Kisoun, who served on an interim basis. I would like to thank both gentlemen for their service to the NWT, and I would especially like to welcome Margaret Thom to her new role. I wish her the very best as she begins her service as the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

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, when I look at our mandate I see support for tourism, for manufacturing, for economic diversification and job creation. I see support for culture and heritage and support for entrepreneurs and small business.

If there was a way to check many of these boxes in one fell swoop, I don't think there's a Member in this Chamber who would turn down that opportunity.

Mr. Speaker, the NWT Brewing Company was that opportunity. The company is owned by two fantastic young entrepreneurs, Fletcher and Miranda Stevens. They manufacture a made-in-the-North product. Their Woodyard Pub and Eatery is the gateway to Old Town and a popular tourist destination. Their pub has murals by local artists and relics that represent the culture and heritage of our community, and they create home-grown jobs right here in the North.

One would think this successful venture would receive hearty support from this government, but then the story changes. As they were just getting started with permitting and development, they were met with endless red tape and uncertainty. It required investment and commitment on their part because the permit process required approval of a finished product, even though they couldn't produce a finished product without a brewing facility. Numerous families, including tourist families, showed support and wanted to go for dinner there, but antiquated licensing policies have prevented that from happening. Afraid the local product would be so popular it would reduce tax revenues from sales of other beer, the GNWT taxed them at a rate that priced them right out of the market, and now the liquor board has made a decision about warehousing their product which will drive up the price of this manufactured good even further.

Mr. Speaker, this isn't about us versus them. It isn't about pointing fingers or slinging mud at each other. In fact, the Stevens are very grateful to the Minister of Finance and his department for reducing the tax rate. That good work was quickly lost by the board's recent decision.

In many ways this new business is the first of its kind and was a new undertaking for all of us, but our government has an excellent opportunity now to learn from this experience and make right a number of wrongs.

Mr. Speaker, let's get back to checking off the boxes in our mandate. Let's support the Stevens and the NWT Brewing Company, and let's help them become the made-in-the-North success that we all want them to be. 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. Welcome back, colleagues. I hope you all had an enjoyable summer, as I did.

This year is GNWT's 50th year and Canada's 150th. Firstly, Mr. Speaker, I would like to express my congratulations to the summer's elections in Tulita, Fort Good Hope Chief and Council, followed by the first year anniversary at the beginning of this month for the Deline Got'ine Government.

Mr. Speaker, by conserving our strategies and fiscal responsibility directives, we will achieve our goals, implemented through approaches, for meaningful benefits.

I also commemorate Canada 150, the GNWT on its 50th anniversary as a service provider representing the uniqueness of this part of Canada. Both governments evolved significantly from a generation of societies since those inceptions. A tale of two worlds.

Mr. Speaker, over the last 50 years the GNWT has taken its place nationally and internationally and established its ability to adapt, innovate, and implement solutions by Northerners for Northerners.

During this time, the government has taken on several new jurisdictions, authorities, extended into all the regions of our territories, anticipated responsibility, and delivered a wide range of programs and services, modernized service delivery, created northern institutions, and achieved the many political and public service "firsts." One only has to review devolution responsibilities, resource development destinations, and Indigenous land claim settlements.

Mr. Speaker, we are moving forward with the mandate strategy.

I seek unanimous consent to complete my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Daniel McNeely

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Mahsi, colleagues. It is the first day at school, so you slip a bit.

Mr. Speaker, we are moving forward with the mandate, strategies, and commitments. We are also pleased with the recent Liberal infrastructure dollars that were announced. Mr. Speaker, efficiencies and reviews are prudent principles of governance. As we advance on the downward cycle of our term, I look forward to replies of the strategies and the progress reports. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Nahendeh.

Report On Summer Activities
Members’ Statements

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to welcome everybody back. I hope you had an enjoyable summer. I would have to say mine, like most of you, went very quickly.

Today I would like to recap my summer adventures. Like most of you, I was dealing with constituents' issues. Some were more complex than others. Each session becomes a learning opportunity and a good reference for future challenges people face.

Mr. Speaker, there were a number of babies born in the riding, as well. It was great to see the happiness they bring to the families and communities. I am happy to say my family grew by one this summer. On Aboriginal Day, my newest grandson, Ezra James Whelly, was born. My soccer family also saw a number of new additions, as well.

Late June, the community of Fort Simpson had the opportunity of having Minister Abernethy attend a community meeting. This was a rescheduled meeting and well attended. It also

coincided with the same time the region had experienced a number of tragic deaths. We had a number of great discussions, and I thank the Minister for attending.

A couple of weeks later Minister Schumann and Minister Sebert did a regional tour to all six communities. I believe the trip was very helpful for the Ministers to see first-hand some of the challenges they face, and I thank them for coming.

As in past summers, I had the opportunity to work with youth from across the NWT and Nunavut who were selected to be part of the Northern Youth Aboard experience. It was amazing to witness first-hand the youths' growth. I was lucky to see youth from my riding, Fort Liard, Fort Simpson, and Nahanni Butte, make it through the Canadian and the Next Phase. Later in this session, I will be doing a Member's statement about this organization.

As has been the practice of former Nahendeh MLAs, I hosted the 15th annual Nahendeh Classic. I would like to thank the businesses and organizations from Fort Simpson, Hay River, Yellowknife, and Vancouver for providing the prizes, and the 12 teams that took part. Like other ridings, the communities hosted spiritual gatherings, festivals, and hand game competitions. It was great to see the excitement of all those involved and the willingness of people to come out and volunteer.

Mr. Speaker, there were a number of people who passed away, and I will be doing eulogies on these individuals. It is my common practice to work with the families to share their life with the people when they wish to. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.