This Hansard has not been finalized - this is the "Blues" in Parliamentary speak, or unedited transcript in regular speak.

This Hansard is the unedited transcript and will be replaced by the final copy soon (generally within 5 business days). In the meantime, direct quotes should not be used, when the final is published it will seamlessly replace this unedited copy and any existing links should still work.

This is from the 18th Assembly, 3rd 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 business.

Topics

Question 419-18(3): Liability Caps in Oil and Gas Regulations
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Question 420-18(3): Investing in Tourism Diversification
Oral Questions

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my questions are for the Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment. I fear the Minister is not walking the talk on diversification. Tourism represents a tremendous opportunity for our economy for diversification, but we do need considerable investment to make the most of it, for example, in community infrastructure. He has said that, in this biggest-ever capital budget, we will see all kinds of goodies, but what I see here is incremental changes rather than new projects. Can he tell me whether there are any new tourism infrastructure projects in the capital budget? Mahsi.

Question 420-18(3): Investing in Tourism Diversification
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment.

Question 420-18(3): Investing in Tourism Diversification
Oral Questions

Wally Schumann Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. When ITI is up in Committee of the Whole, and I believe we are probably going to be one of the first ones up, we have a capital budget of a significant investment of, I cannot remember the exact number, but we will be able to deliberate our capital investment around infrastructure and tourism when I get into the Committee of the Whole around all regions of the Northwest Territories.

Question 420-18(3): Investing in Tourism Diversification
Oral Questions

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

I hate to spoil the surprise, but the capital estimates for tourism and parks show a decrease of more than 50 per cent over last year, to just over $3 million, so it's hard to reconcile that level of investment with the "biggest-ever capital budget we have seen." So why is tourism consistently losing out in this government's capital estimates?

Question 420-18(3): Investing in Tourism Diversification
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

I would just like to remind Members that capital estimates is before the Committee of the Whole. When it comes to that, there will be detailed discussion, so it should not be discussed in question period. If you want to rephrase your question, Member for Yellowknife Centre?

Question 420-18(3): Investing in Tourism Diversification
Oral Questions

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my concern is that, when it comes to community infrastructure, we are not seeing significant new investments. For example, we heard from my colleague from Nunakput about the lack of tourism services in Tuktoyaktuk, despite years of road development and the anticipation of tourism being a big draw there. Likewise, we don't have a visitors' centre here in Yellowknife, so my question is: what kind of investment can we expect before the end of this term, in real economic diversification in tourism?

Question 420-18(3): Investing in Tourism Diversification
Oral Questions

Wally Schumann Hay River South

As I have said, we are going to be going into the Committee of the Whole. We have clearly laid out what our investment is around the money that we've been allocated, and that we will continue to work on that. I am not scared to talk about tourism. Tourism is a big deal in the Northwest Territories. We just came from an FPT; it's a significant challenge right across this country. Things that I have learned from earlier this week's meeting at our FPT is some of the challenges right across this whole country are no different than what we are facing in our territory. In fact, when they were doing the presentation, I reached over to the assistant deputy minister, and I said, "It's almost like the exact same thing that is going on in the NWT and what challenges we are facing."

So the whole country is facing these challenges around infrastructure needs, shortage of hotel space, high cost of air travel across this country, how do we move people out of regional centres to the regions. This is a problem that's right across this country, and it's very well information-shared, I think, across the country about how we have to figure out a way to address this with federal support, as well.

Question 420-18(3): Investing in Tourism Diversification
Oral Questions

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

It's cold comfort to find out that these problems are widespread. We are talking about what's happening here in the NWT, and the investments we need now to capitalize on tourism. How many people who went to Tuktoyaktuk and found there wasn't even a place to dump their sewage are going to be in a big hurry to recommend their friends go back? So my question really is about the priority of investing in tourism. I still have not heard that the Minister is willing to invest any additional money in tourism diversification and infrastructure before the end of our term. Is that, in fact, the case?

Question 420-18(3): Investing in Tourism Diversification
Oral Questions

Wally Schumann Hay River South

As I have said, I only have the money that is allocated to me, but I am glad to sit down with committee. Anytime they want to have a discussion on how we can improve different funding levels for different programs within my portfolio, I am glad to do that, but the real crux of this is we only have so much money that this government has. If you are going to give it to me, you are going to have to take it from someone else on this side of the room, so that is the hard discussion that we are going to have to make here. Without increasing revenues in this territory and attracting more capital and industry to help support our economy and grow our economy, because that is 30 per cent of our economy, the mining sector in particular, what are we going to do? That is why all 19 of us are in this room, and we have to have those discussions.

We are trying to grow the economy, particularly the Department of ITI, to unlock our potential on what we are going to do to increase revenues for this government, but the reality is we only have so much money. If you want to put more money into tourism and diversification, I am all for it, but we have to have those conversations amongst all of us, and, to make my pie bigger, you are going to have to take it from someone else's.

Question 420-18(3): Investing in Tourism Diversification
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Question 420-18(3): Investing in Tourism Diversification
Oral Questions

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Mr. Speaker, the pie is pretty big at $1.8 billion. I think there are different ways that it can be sliced. As someone else in this House has already pointed out today, when money is needed on an emergency basis, it's there. The pie seems to get bigger as needed, so this is a conversation that we will have in the Committee of the Whole on the capital budget and during the O and M budget in the winter.

My final question is about the feasibility of winterizing one campground north of Great Slave Lake and one south to accommodate late-season travellers. I noted when I went to Hay River about three weeks ago that there were quite a number of RVs on the road. I knew that, at the same time, they would have nowhere to park on their way to Yellowknife. There was nowhere to park in Hay River either. The campgrounds are closed. Can the Minister consider winterizing two campgrounds in the Northwest Territories to accommodate these late-season travellers? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 420-18(3): Investing in Tourism Diversification
Oral Questions

Wally Schumann Hay River South

If I remember correctly, and we would have to go to Hansard, I think I made the commitment that, when we put out these campgrounds to tender, because it all comes back to funding, I would actually ask for a provision on how much it would cost to keep these things open a little bit longer. Based on the amount of money that we have allocated, I don't believe that we can do that.

One thing we are doing around winter campgrounds, particularly in the Yellowknife region, is we are looking at keeping these open for entrepreneurs around the tourism sector to be able to access our campgrounds and use them. We are doing that. I can't remember the number off the top of my head at briefing, though, but I think there are 36 businesses that have permits to use our campgrounds for Aurora viewing, and we will continue to support that.

The reality is that this comes back to what I just answered in my previous question. There's only so much money. That's what we have to work with, all of us. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 420-18(3): Investing in Tourism Diversification
Oral Questions

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Hay River North.

Question 421-18(3): Policies Impacting Small Businesses
Oral Questions

October 18th, 2018

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I guess when you wear rose-coloured glasses, red tape just looks like tape. I think that's sort of the issue we are running into here with this cross-departmental comprehensive plan to help small businesses. The Ministers don't seem to see a problem. I can't believe I'm bringing this up, but I'm going to discuss a few policies here.

The first is procurement. At first, there were no issues. Then he's heard issues from one or two people. Now it's five people he's heard issues from. I've heard issues from 15 people off the top of my head. I get CCed on the same emails that go to the Minister a lot of the times. I see people coming out of this building, and I know that they have talked to the Minister about it. I know he has heard it more than five times. I'll ask this because the number keeps growing: how many people have to come to the Minister with procurement issues before he considers it to be an actual problem? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.