This is page numbers 4361 - 4398 of the Hansard for 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 going.

Topics

Members Present

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

The House met at 1:31 p.m.

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

Page 4361

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Good afternoon, Members. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation.

Minister's Statement 107-18(3): Housing Partnership with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
Ministers' Statements

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Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, this government has committed to working in partnership with other governments to address affordable housing requirements in support of their service delivery to Northwest Territories residents. The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation has made progress in meeting this mandate commitment in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.

The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation have entered into a Memorandum of Agreement that reflects our shared goals of affordable, adequate, and suitable housing for Inuvialuit and residents of the region as a whole, as well as improving the economic and social well-being of the region's people.

The agreement, officially signed September 4, 2018, will see the Inuvialuit construct 34 public housing replacement units in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region this year and next, with support from the federal government under their Indigenous Housing Strategy.

Once constructed, these units are turned over to the Housing Corporation for a nominal price. They will replace aging public housing units that have reached the end of their useful lives, that are not energy-efficient, and that have become too expensive to maintain.

To date, 12 units have been constructed in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. This includes a four-plex project in Tuktoyaktuk, a six-plex in Inuvik, and, most recently, a duplex in Aklavik.

Last month, I had the pleasure of attending the opening of the Inuvik six-plex. I am proud of the quality of work by our partners that went into the units and the benefits the project brought to the community in terms of housing, skills development, and economic opportunities.

Work has started on the other projects, with most expected to be completed by February 2019. Land has been identified and provided to the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation to incorporate into their plans.

These projects will stimulate economic development in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region by adding important social infrastructure, supporting local and regional businesses, and creating a wide range of training opportunities.

I am glad that the Government of the Northwest Territories has been able to work together with the Inuvialuit to forge this important partnership. The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation is truly a valued partner. Moving forward, Northerners will reap the benefits of affordable housing through this partnership for many years to come. Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 107-18(3): Housing Partnership with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister responsible for the Status of Women.

Minister's Statement 108-18(3): Family Violence Awareness Week
Ministers' Statements

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Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge Family Violence Awareness Week. This week is recognized across the country and takes place from October 21 to 27, 2018.

Statistics Canada reports that, in 2016, family violence accounted for one-quarter of all violent crimes. These are criminal acts perpetrated against the most vulnerable members of society: youth, seniors, women, and girls. In 2016, two-thirds of all victims of family violence were women and girls.

Mr. Speaker, this is not okay. The national violence rates are concerning enough, but the fact that the Northwest Territories has maintained the second highest rate of violence in our country demonstrates the importance of the work being done to end this crisis.

We all need to take this issue seriously and recognize that working to end family violence is a shared responsibility. The Government of the Northwest Territories is being proactive in supporting initiatives that not only provide support to those experiencing family violence but also to those who perpetrate it. We recognize the need for strong services that address the root causes of family violence and give our families, communities, and survivors an opportunity to heal.

Mr. Speaker, our government is working as a team to provide services to victims, perpetrators, and the general public. In addition to our own programs, we are providing funding to partner organizations that offer community-level support to people affected by family violence. These services include prevention and awareness activities, shelter for those fleeing violence, healing programs, and the development of protocols for first responders, such as the RCMP. Throughout this week, activities to create awareness will be taking place across Canada and here in the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories and our partners are working hard to address family violence, but this is a social issue. We need everyone to support our efforts to raise awareness and keep the conversations going. We must speak openly about family violence and pledge that we will not tolerate it in our homes or in our communities. Sharing experiences, cultural practices, and positive alternatives helps those experiencing family violence. Sharing also reminds us that we need to be role models in our own actions and take a stand against family violence. We must stand together, so that our families and our communities are empowered and supported in wellness.

Mr. Speaker, this week was set aside to create awareness about family violence and to promote change in attitudes and behaviour. This year's theme is "Let's Stand Together to End Family Violence." This is a fitting theme, as it will take all of us working together to end family violence. I encourage everyone to participate in Family Violence Awareness Week activities to show support and solidarity to those struggling with family violence. I also urge you to carry on the conversations in your homes and communities, not just this week, but right up to the day a Minister can stand in this House and announce that family violence is no longer an issue in our territory. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 108-18(3): Family Violence Awareness Week
Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

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

Climate Change and Carbon Pricing
Members' Statements

Page 4362

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report tabled in this House on October 11th of this year outlined grave consequences for the future of our planet if immediate action is not taken to mitigate the increasing global temperatures. This 1.5 degree Celsius increase in temperature is predicted within the next 12 years, and if nothing is done, there will be catastrophic consequences. The cost of inaction is estimated in the same report at $54 trillion by 2040, costs to the global economy.

Mr. Speaker, Northerners know all too well the cost of climate change. Our homes are subject to the greatest impacts of warming temperatures, and the Arctic sees more climatic shifts than any other region. Our children and grandchildren deserve safe and secure communities that adapt to climate change and whose residence can continue to practice the traditional way of life that has been handed down throughout generations.

Mr. Speaker, when the Premier signed on to the Pan-Canadian Clean Growth and Climate Change Framework, he agreed to look at ways to reduce carbon emissions in the NWT. Carbon pricing was only one option, and apparently, the only option considered by the GNWT. Little effort and attention was given to establishing a northern carbon market through cap and trade policies that could have joined with existing markets in Quebec, California, and, until only recently, Ontario. Instead, this government went for new taxes, and this developed a proposal that burdens our middle class with paying the costs which are the responsibility of large, industrial emitters.

Mr. Speaker, northern families are responsible for a mere 10 per cent of total carbon emissions, whereas industry and transportation accounts for nearly 82 per cent of emissions. The concerns I have heard from my constituents, hardworking northerners already struggling to pay with ever-increasing costs of living, is that they cannot afford another tax, even one that supports climate security and a sustainable future for the NWT. I cannot support the GNWT's carbon pricing plan as it is currently formed. The shortcomings are too flawed, and it treats 10-per-cent emitters equivalently to 82-per-cent emitters. It does not do enough to reduce the burden to everyday families, and it fails to show clear leadership for the GNWT on building a sustainable clean-growth economy with new investments in energy that make a difference in the lives of northern residents.

Mr. Speaker, the GNWT has given us a Made in the North plan for carbon pricing, and now it is the time of the honourable Members of this House to make it better to protect the economic and environmental interests of our citizens. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Climate Change and Carbon Pricing
Members' Statements

Page 4363

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements, member for Yellowknife North.

Establishment of Thaidene Nene
Members' Statements

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Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today, I'm talking about the ever-important and longstanding matter of the establishment of Thaidene Nene Park.

The deep, clear waters of the east arm of Great Slave Lake and rolling boreal forest and tundra surrounding form Thaidene Nene. Known as the "Land of the Ancestors," the park has an expanse of over 33,000 square kilometres. Our government, the Government of Canada, and the Lutselk'e Dene First Nation along with other key stakeholders are advancing this initiative to foster ecological integrity, cultural continuity, and economic sustainability through permanent protection of this critical, ecological, and cultural landscape.

The Thaidene Nene Park is an innovative approach to creating a new form of protected area. It is one that will enable Indigenous people to fulfill their responsibility as stewards and hosts of their traditional territory, one that fulfills our government's commitment to build upon our conservation network and protected area strategy. It will contribute to Parks Canada's goal of representing each of the 39 distinct natural regions within their national park system.

Mr. Speaker, the establishment of Thaidene Nene is one of the 18th Assembly's mandate commitments. In addition, we said, in order to advance our vision of land management, that we will evolve our legislation, regulatory and policy systems, by developing a new Territorial Protected Areas Act.

This is necessary, in fact critical, legislation because, without it, we can't establish the GNWT's portion of the park. Without this territorial legislation, the establishment of the park will be delayed, and that, in turn, could compromise significant philanthropic and federal funding. Both are necessary for the park to be established.

In other words, Mr. Speaker, it's up to us to make Thaidene Nene happen. We must get this legislation done, or we will fail to achieve this unique Made-in-the-North deal.

I urge the government to honour its commitment to producing the Protected Areas Act in the very near future. We must ensure the 18th Assembly can fulfill its mandate commitment to make Thaidene Nene a reality. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Establishment of Thaidene Nene
Members' Statements

Page 4363

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Mackenzie Delta.

Income Support Worker in Tsiigehtchic
Members' Statements

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Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, people who are not familiar with this government's program might think "income support" just means one program. Not so, Mr. Speaker. In the Northwest Territories, our income security programs include regular income assistance, as well as NWT Child Benefit, a seniors' supplementary benefit and home heating subsidiary, and student financial assistance.

For clients, the administrative burden of these programs can be very intimidating. Take income assistance as an example.

After their initial applications, clients must regularly stay on top of their reporting forms, sometimes monthly, as well as their rent report forms, their productive choice time log forms, their child care provider invoice forms, their disability assessment forms, and more.

That's assuming clients don't run into any problems or have any questions.

As you can guess, it's not easy. In communities with local income security staff, clients have someone to turn to when they need help. Someone who can answer their questions, handle their documents, and make sure everything runs smoothly.

Communities like Tsiigehtchic don't have that. Right now in Tsiigehtchic, clients of income security programs have to rely on a worker who comes in once a month from Fort McPherson when that worker isn't delayed by freeze-up, breakup or other issues.

I've been talking with the leadership in Tsiigehtchic, and this is a serious concern for the community. That's why I raise it in the House today. In the past, Mr. Speaker, Tsiigehtchic has had a resident income support worker. The community would like to see that position reintroduced, and I will have questions for the Minister on this matter later today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Income Support Worker in Tsiigehtchic
Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Apprehension and Detention of Sexual Assault Victim by RCMP
Members' Statements

Page 4364

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to talk about an incident that calls into question the trust that should exist between women and the Yellowknife detachment of the RCMP. That trust has been eroded here by the police response to a recent assault. The national leadership of the RCMP is talking about a new relationship with women, but I am concerned the news hasn't reached "G" Division here, in the NWT.

In May of 2017, a man sexually assaulted an intoxicated woman in the alley behind the movie theatre in Yellowknife. Theatre staff called the RCMP, who arrested the assailant. What is more surprising is that the RCMP took the woman, who had just been sexually assaulted, to their cells, not to the hospital, not to a family violence shelter, not to the women's shelter, to their cells.

Mr. Speaker, Judge Garth Malakoe brought this unacceptable treatment to light when he convicted the accused in August. In his ruling, he said, and I quote: "I am unable to imagine circumstances which would justify this type of treatment of a victim of sexual assault. It appears the victim was not treated with dignity or compassion that she or any victim of sexual assault deserves."

After the assailant was sentenced, the officer in charge of the Yellowknife detachment responded to the questions the judge and others have raised about this incident. He claims this incident has provided a teachable moment for members, but he hasn't given a reason for not taking the victim to the hospital, to Alison McAteer House, or anywhere else that was safe. He has said, "Members offered the woman victim services, but she didn't want them." The inspector acknowledged the victim shouldn't be in police cells because it appears insensitive. These statements, Mr. Speaker, miss the mark in terms of treating the victim with compassion and dignity.

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP at the national level responded to the scandal of their handling of the unfounded sexual assault complaints by promising a new relationship with women. An action plan was released in December of last year. It says, and I quote: "Sexual assault is a devastating crime that has traumatic and long-lasting effect on victims. A negative experience with police investigators can bring more trauma to victims and discourage others from reporting these crimes."

Mr. Speaker, I would argue that the Yellowknife detachment has further damaged an already frail relationship with women because of their treatment of this victim, and I will have questions for the Minister of Justice. Mahsi.

Apprehension and Detention of Sexual Assault Victim by RCMP
Members' Statements

Page 4364

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake.