This is page numbers 4521 - 4570 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 work.

Topics

Yellowknife Airport Hotel Study
Members' Statements

Page 4525

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Infrastructure Department is in the process of conducting the Yellowknife Airport Hotel Study as part of developing the airport's 20-year master plan. Unfortunately, it seems to have mishandled communications around this project, and Yellowknife's private hotel industry representatives are very concerned.

Mr. Speaker, responding to the growth in tourism and the overall growth of the city, the hotel industry is in the middle of a $50 million investment in growing its capacity in Yellowknife. Just between the Explorer Hotel and the recently completed Nova Hotel, there will be a 31 percent increase in room capacity over three years. That is an additional 50,000 room nights.

For the government, in this climate, to decide to consider the feasibility of a hotel located at the airport seems ill-advised at best, and at worst, hostile to the good, corporate citizens in our hotel industry. It has the appearance of the government competing against the private sector at a time when the private sector is making major investments in responding to demand.

Mr. Speaker, it is also a time when the capital city is focusing hard on revitalizing the downtown core. Any new infrastructure supported, studied, or even considered by the GNWT should surely be done with extensive consultation with the city in recognition of their long-term plans.

Mr. Speaker, I know that the Minister has tried to assure concerned industry people that the GNWT has no intention of competing with the private sector, nor to build a business case for an airport hotel, but I also know that, while the industry reps have been promised consultation, they were not contacted in advance of this undertaking.

Mr. Speaker, in recent years, Edmonton has built a hotel at the airport. Downtown Edmonton is a 45-minute highway drive, and that is if the traffic is good from the airport. In Yellowknife, downtown is five minutes away.

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure why the department considered that investing taxpayers' dollars in this study was a good idea. Long-term planning and knowledge is always good, but it is equally important to recognize the importance of the City's future plans for revitalization, plus we must respect our good private sector partners and the investments that they are making in our communities, infrastructure, and our economy.

At the appropriate time, I will have questions for the Minister of Infrastructure. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yellowknife Airport Hotel Study
Members' Statements

Page 4526

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Sahtu.

Consensus Governance
Members' Statements

October 29th, 2018

Page 4526

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Consensus model of governance. Mr. Speaker, this building and its unique design matches the principles of a healing circle. Mr. Speaker, the principles of consensus government were historically within the First Nations community. Today, with that and the British traditions, it is defined by the ability and willingness of all legislative Members on working together for success.

Mr. Speaker, many times, many previous Assemblies held discussions on the effectiveness of this consensus government.

Mr. Speaker, this is my first term representing the Sahtu riding. It was brought to my attention by a colleague, "You will never find a job description on the website for your position. What you achieve is your efforts and ability on working with everyone and your colleagues."

Mr. Speaker, last year was our government's 50th anniversary since the days of Stuart Hodgson. This government has seen our territory divided with the creation of Nunavut, four land claims settlements, and devolution. Through Indigenous partnerships, our system will grow and provide defined relationships for success.

Mr. Speaker, we have growing issues in our regions' and small communities' social environment and the many challenges they face with housing, education, et cetera, and we need improved deliverance. On that note, Mr. Speaker, I am very confident that consensus government and strengthening our continued relationships with our federal counterparts can be successful for future generations. Mahsi.

Consensus Governance
Members' Statements

Page 4526

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Deh Cho.

Fall Hunt in Kakisa
Members' Statements

Page 4526

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. [Translation] Mr. Speaker, today I would like to talk about our traditional fall hunt in Kakisa. Every year, around mid-September, the community of Kakisa organizes a fall moose hunt. This is a traditional activity that brings together the entire community, from elders to youth, and every member has the opportunity to take part in different aspects of the hunt.

Mr. Speaker, this year, the community travelled to a remote part of the K'aagee Tu First Nation traditional territory by float plane, an area around Tathlina Lake. Youth participated in the hunt and learned a great deal from their elders, who passed on traditional knowledge and values to the younger generation.

Mr. Speaker, it is encouraging to see activities like this on the land, as they are great opportunities to engage with youth and get them involved in the traditions and culture that have shaped our way of life for generations. I am glad to see another successful fall hunt in Kakisa and continue to encourage traditional activities where our communities are engaged. Mahsi. [Translation ends]

Fall Hunt in Kakisa
Members' Statements

Page 4527

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Kam Lake.

Union of Northern Workers and Government of the Northwest Territories Contract Negotiations
Members' Statements

Page 4527

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to a matter that is very concerning to the Members of this House and the citizens of the Northwest Territories, and that is the potential for a strike that will be taken by the Union of Northern Workers, following the reported failure of mediation between the UNW and the GNWT's negotiators. We, as a territory, have more than enough divisive strike actions in our history that Northerners know they don't want another one.

Mr. Speaker, 4,000 employees of the territorial public service have been without contract for two and a half years, easily the longest period that negotiations have endured in this territory. Added to this the looming strike of the Northwest Territories Power Corporation, without contract now for three and a half years, and it becomes clear that there are significant shortcomings in how labour negotiations have been managed to resolve these issues to ensure a fair deal for workers and for all of our residents who depend on government services and continued investment of government resources in our communities.

Mr. Speaker, as we are all aware, the economy of the NWT depends on the continued productivity and earning power of its workforce. The employees of the Government of the Northwest Territories are our friends and neighbours, the customers of our local businesses, and the patrons of our arts and crafts, just like those employed in the private sector.

Mr. Speaker, the government's employees pay their mortgages for their homes in the North, buy their groceries, clothes, and tools at local stores, and all of that comes from the wages they earn. Mr. Speaker, it doesn't take an economics degree to understand the crippling blow that casting these employees out of the workforce will have on the economy of our territory or the negative effect that it will have on local businesses.

Mr. Speaker, before running for office, I was a public servant struggling to make ends meet as a single father. Much of my salary went to rent and groceries, and at the end of the day, there was little left in the way of savings or funds to invest in my son's future. There are employees who had it better than I did, and there are employees who had it worse. None of them will come out of any strike action better off.

Mr. Speaker, given the fragile state of the northern economy, it is not the time for any member of the workforce, particularly more than 4,000 of them, to be on a picket line when a strike could have been avoided through timely and reasonable negotiation in good faith.

Mr. Speaker, an effective and engaged public service is a goal we should all share, and we must, at all costs, avoid a crippling strike to our economy. We cannot allow these negotiations to fail, and we must work with all sides to come to a resolution, get bargaining back on track, and get a fair deal for workers and all of our residents that depend on their continued public service. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Union of Northern Workers and Government of the Northwest Territories Contract Negotiations
Members' Statements

Page 4527

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake.

Resource Royalties Reporting
Members' Statements

Page 4527

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. During the summer, my office cobbled together information on the amount of money that our public governments get in return for the extraction of our non-renewable resources.

According to figures from the NWT Bureau of Statistics, the value of diamonds mined in the Northwest Territories since 1999 is $29.4 billion. The value of all mineral, oil, and gas production was $38.6 billion. Unfortunately, the public accounts for both the federal and the NWT governments don't report separate royalty figures for each type of mineral, oil, or gas, so it's impossible to see exactly what royalties were paid on diamonds. The value of production figures are for calendar years, not the fiscal year report of royalties. Using the best data at hand, we estimate that, for the $39 billion in minerals, oil, and gas, the public governments received $1.2 billion in royalties, or a measly 3 percent of total production value.

A GNWT-commissioned report on our management of resources describes our return as "paltry" under the "world's most charitable fiscal regime for the mining sector." The most recent study released by ITI, "Policies for Generating Socio-Economic Benefits from Natural Resource Extraction Projects," that I will table later today, makes the statement that, if the NWT were a country, it would be the second-richest in the world after Luxembourg on a GDP-per-capita basis. While our government receives more from tobacco tax than royalties this year, Cabinet has cut programs and service in the name of fiscal austerity and refuses to review our resource royalty regimes. So much for the "evolve" following "devolve" and responsible management of resources.

As legislators, we have been told that we cannot have precise amounts of the royalties paid for each extractive industry, just as our federal government and the entire world moves to greater accountability and transparency in reporting of resource revenues. Royalty amounts for diamonds are lumped in with other minerals, even sand and gravel. I have asked for these details but have been refused. I think that's shocking. One of the foremost responsibilities as a legislator is oversight of our public finances. One of our greatest duties is to ensure citizens get a fair return for the exaction of our one-time natural capital. I will have questions later today for the Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Resource Royalties Reporting
Members' Statements

Page 4528

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Nahendeh.

Passing of Madeline Nelner
Members' Statements

Page 4528

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Madeline Nelner passed away on October 4, 2018. She was an amazing person. She was 91-year-old community member of Liidlii Kue, who was a pillar of wisdom and common sense.

Madeline was born at the confluence of the Willow and Mackenzie Rivers on April 19, 1927, to Paul and Marguerite Jose. Madeline has a twin sister, Celine Villeneuve, and a younger sister, Diane Edwards, still alive. She was predeceased by her parents, four sisters, two brothers, and a son.

Madeline was five years old when she went to residential school. After 10 years of residential school, Madeline was sent to Liidlii Kue to work with the nuns who ran the hospital. She worked there for three years before moving down south.

Mr. Speaker, Madeline was a beautiful woman who turned her future husband, Ivan Gerald Nelner's, head, and they soon began courting one another in 1963. After getting married, they started their family. They had two sons, Dennis and John. Unfortunately, John passed away two weeks after his birth.

Back in those days, homemakers would not buy clothes at the store. Madeline would buy patterns, fabric, and sew her own clothes and the family's.

The Nelner family moved to Liidlii Kue in the early '70s. After her husband passed away in 1981, Madeline worked at several jobs. She was a guard at the local police station, caretaking for the youth group home and the seniors' home. In those days, Madeline had the patience of Job. She was bound and determined to see her son graduate from high school, which meant she was going to be alone most of the school year. Dennis thanked his mom for her courage, strength, and determination to see him graduate.

Madeline enjoyed knitting, crocheting, and baking during her spare time. She liked to socialize and play cards, Rummoli, crib, and frustration rummy until all hours with her friends. She enjoyed reading and, most importantly, spending time with her two grandchildren. Madeline loved her grandchildren, Nicholas and Lydia, and her son, Dennis, and daughter-in-law, Trudy.

Madeline was well-grounded in her Catholic faith. She helped raise funds to replace the aging church. Madeline used her own residential school money to pay for the ingredients.

Madeline was amazing for 91 years old. She had an exceptional memory, excellent comprehension, could read and write like a 20-year-old, and had her own home, where she lived and cooked on her own.

Dennis had the privilege to live with his mom for the last five months of her life in Yellowknife. She told him she'd had a long life and, if the Lord came calling, she would not feel any sorrow. The pain and suffering is now over, and that's the main thing. Madeline was surrounded by her family and friends in her own home when she passed away. This is how she had described it. She would not have had it any other way. I would like to thank Madeline's niece, Susan, and her husband, Larry Pucka, for being here today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Passing of Madeline Nelner
Members' Statements

Page 4528

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Our condolences to the family and also to the community, as well. Members' statements. Member for Nunakput.

Need for Transitional Housing in Nunakput Region
Members' Statements

Page 4528

Herbert Nakimayak Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I have often spoken about the critical need for housing in my region. Today I would like to focus on one particular part of this very large issue, the need for transitional housing.

Mr. Speaker, historically, transitional housing has been focused in our larger communities through organizations like Inuvik Transition House or the YWCA here in Yellowknife, whose Rockhill Apartments were recently lost in a fire.

We have come to better understand, Mr. Speaker, that homelessness is not a problem limited to the regional centres. Residents themselves have made their voices heard, calling for more transitional housing with options spread across the territory.

The NWT Housing Corporation responded with the Northern Pathways to Housing program, a five-year partnership with three communities, to introduce new transitional housing units and fund ongoing caseworker support.

Mr. Speaker, the program is intended to help tackle homelessness in small communities specifically because, even though public housing is typically the norm, some residents are unable to access housing. They are being left out in the cold, sometimes literally.

Mr. Speaker, Northern Pathways to Housing is making significant headway on a serious problem but unfortunately is not enough. Nunakput communities are among those not included.

Although the funding agreement between the Government of Canada and Inuvialuit Regional Corporation will bring much-needed housing replacements for the region, that money is not going to result in additional units. Today, right now, we have current residents in need and prospective residents looking for options. This is an area that needs urgent attention. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Need for Transitional Housing in Nunakput Region
Members' Statements

Page 4529

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Item 4, returns to oral questions. Item 5, recognition of visitors in the gallery.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 4529

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Colleagues, I would like to draw your attention to visitors in the gallery. I have the pleasure of recognizing Mrs. Maria Andrelita S. Austria, who is here with us today, Consul General of the Philippines. She is here on the occasion of her first official visit to the Northwest Territories, and she advised me that this will not be her last trip. She will make other trips coming to the North. Accompanying her is Ms. Arlene Magno, Consul from the Philippines consulate in Vancouver. Please join me in welcoming Ms. Austria and Ms. Magno to our Chamber this afternoon.

I would also like to recognize Ms. Elaine Keenan Bengts, the NWT Information and Privacy Commissioner, who is here with us today to witness the tabling of her annual report later on today. Masi for being here with us.

[Translation] we also have a guest, Donna Camsell from Behchoko. I would like to thank her, as well. [Translation ends] Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Range Lake.