This is page numbers 4571 - 4620 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 yellowknife.

Topics

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 1:30 p.m.

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

Page 4571

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Good afternoon, Members. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Minister for Industry, Tourism and Investment.

Minister's Statement 121-18(3): Unlocking Our Potential
Ministers' Statements

Page 4571

Wally Schumann Hay River South

Mr. Speaker, the first pillar of our government's mineral development strategy is to improve our territory's competitive edge. It sets the goal that investors in North America and around the globe see the Northwest Territories as an attractive place to invest in mineral development. Under the umbrella of unlocking our potential brand and marketing plan, we continue to invest in this goal.

On behalf of our government and our territory, the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment acts as a champion of our immense resources potential to investors and resource companies around the world.

We are fostering the partnerships and the trade needed to be competitive in the global marketplace and to transform our extensive mineral and gas resources into exploration, jobs, and economic opportunities for the people and businesses of our territory.

Mr. Speaker, at a time when resource projects and companies must stand up to increased skepticism and stronger scrutiny, we have a good story to tell. Canada's Northwest Territories offers low-risk investment jurisdiction that is setting the bar for Indigenous partnership, and one that contributes to improved outcomes from northern communities and meaningful opportunities for Northerners.

We tell our stories to audiences that have the knowledge and capital to get projects going in our territory at conferences, trade shows and showcases, attracting leaders and experts in the resources sector. Representatives from Industry, Tourism and Investment were in Toronto earlier this month to attend Mines and Money Americas, an annual event that brings together over 600 delegates, including institutional investors, bankers, brokers, mining, and exploration companies from across the globe.

A two-person delegation has also just returned from China after attending the China Mining Congress and Exhibition, one of the world's largest mining and exploration conferences, where again we pitched investment in both our mining and oil and gas sectors for a rapidly-growing Asian market. The agenda for the mission also included mineral investment forums in both Beijing and Shanghai and meetings with Chinese investors and resource companies along the way.

Mr. Speaker, with markets on the upward trend, now is the time to intensify our efforts to sell the many advantages of doing business in the Northwest Territories.

Next week, Members of Cabinet will be attending the Yellowknife Geoscience Forum, confirmation of our continued whole-of-government approach to supporting exploration and mining in our territory. This is also a reminder that our support for mining and resource development is not limited to the promotion of investment. It is reflected in our approach and financial contribution to training and labour force development, in permitting, public geoscience, taxation, and the management of our legislative and regulatory environment.

Meanwhile, we are preparing once again to attend January's Mineral Exploration Roundup in Vancouver, working with our Indigenous governments and investment organizations to demonstrate to delegates at this major international mining conference that the NWT means business. We will follow that up with a presence in Toronto at the annual gathering of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada's International Convention, Trade Show and Investors Exchange in March.

Northern interests will also be represented at the Arctic Oil and Gas Symposium in Calgary that same month, where we will seek partners to help us realize our petroleum resource strategy's goals of local benefit today and global reach for the future.

Mr. Speaker, our territory is at a crossroads. To sustain our economy into the future, we need to stimulate new interest in the development of our natural gas resources and replace the anticipated closure of our existing diamond mines with new projects.

I would like to assure Members of this Legislative Assembly that the Government of the Northwest Territories, led by Industry, Tourism and Investment, will continue to invest and make the case on the global stage for investment in our territory in defense of the thousands of jobs, millions in investment, and about four billion in economic activity that is at stake. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 121-18(3): Unlocking Our Potential
Ministers' Statements

Page 4572

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

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

Minister's Statement 122-18(3): Cultural Safety and Relationship-Based Care
Ministers' Statements

Page 4572

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as a government we have committed to putting the principles of reconciliation in action and to transform the way that we deliver programs and services to be more culturally informed and respectful throughout our mandate. Today I would like to update colleagues and the public on efforts that we have been adopting within our Health and Social Services system to put these principles into action to better serve our residents.

Embedding the concept of cultural safety into our Health and Social Services system has been one of our main areas of focus. Cultural safety is an outcome; when organizations adopt the cultural safety approach, the needs of clients and families are the priority, and Indigenous peoples feel safe and respected, free from racism and discrimination.

This means that cultural safety is a key to improving quality and access to care for Indigenous residents, because it addresses some of the difficult truths: that the status of Indigenous health is a direct result of government policies; that the legacies of colonization and residential schools have affected health outcomes and shaped the way services are delivered; and that the Health and Social Services system has too often not been a place of healing for many Indigenous residents. Simply put, our commitment to cultural safety recognizes that Indigenous clients should not have to adapt to our system, but rather, it is the responsibility of the system to change and transform to meet the needs of the clients.

In 2016, I tabled the document "Building a Culturally Respectful Health and Social Services System" that outlined our approach to making sure that cultural safety is incorporated across the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services system. In that document a commitment was made to develop a Cultural Safety Action Plan, in collaboration with Indigenous and northern residents and partners. Based on the principle of "nothing about us without us," the Department of Health and Social Services began a knowledge-sharing process with Indigenous and northern peoples and staff in the fall of 2017 to hear their experiences, concerns, and aspirations for our system.

Mr. Speaker, through this knowledge-sharing process we have heard directly from our residents that they envision a territory where Indigenous peoples, families, and communities enjoy physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health and wellness. The stories shared in these sessions were powerful reminders that, while our system has many strengths to build upon, there is still much work to do.

A whole system approach is required to embed cultural safety in the Health and Social Services system. We began this shift with system transformation and the creation of the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority in 2016. This has created a foundation for cultural safety and placed us in a stronger position to respond to the needs of Indigenous and northern clients. The department is just beginning the cultural safety journey, but in the long term it is expected to help address the health disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people through increased access and use of health and social services and improved client and community experience.

Mr. Speaker, we know that cultural safety is key to improving quality and access to care for Indigenous residents, but it also provides a framework for better care for all NWT residents. We've heard from residents that relationship-based care is a priority for them, meaning that they want trusting, caring, and ongoing relationships with their healthcare providers. Relationship-based care honours the value that Indigenous peoples have placed on relationships, and improves the quality of care for everyone by putting the needs of the clients and the family first.

The Department of Health and Social Services recognizes that building long-term relationships between clients, practitioners, and staff makes a meaningful difference to achieving improved health outcomes and providing comfortable, safe, and respectful care for all people in the NWT. In August of 2018, the NWT Health and Social Services Leadership Council passed a motion to support the redesign of our system of care toward a team and relationship-based approach that is driven by community feedback and data and built upon a foundation of trust and shared outcomes. This marks another significant milestone in the ongoing effort to create an operational philosophy, organizational culture, and governance structures that will allow us to achieve our vision of Best Health, Best Care, and a Better Future for all residents of the Northwest Territories.

The next step in this journey will be the release of the Cultural Safety Action Plan, which is going to occur in the coming months. There is much work yet to be done to embed cultural safety and relationship-based care throughout our Health and Social Services system, and an action plan will be an essential guide as we focus our efforts to create a better system for all residents. As we do this work, our department is committed to moving forward with continued collaboration with our partners and guidance from Indigenous as well as northern residents. This is critical work for the health and wellbeing of our people, now and for the future. Thank you to all of those who have supported this work, and we look forward to getting it done. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 122-18(3): Cultural Safety and Relationship-Based Care
Ministers' Statements

Page 4573

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister of Environment and Natural Resources.

Minister's Statement 123-18(3): Environmental Monitoring and Research Projects
Ministers' Statements

Page 4573

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories has a mandate commitment to support the Northwest Territories Cumulative Impact Monitoring Program, or NWT CIMP. This program is a research and monitoring program to help understand environmental trends and the cumulative impacts of both human and natural changes.

Today I am pleased to announce this program is providing $660,000 this year to initiate 11 new research and monitoring projects. These projects address key cumulative impact monitoring priorities for caribou, water, and fish. Funding recipients include Indigenous governments and organizations, universities, territorial and federal government departments.

Mr. Speaker, these projects include studying the impact of wildfire on boreal caribou, understanding ecosystem processes in our two Great Lakes, and using traditional and local knowledge to monitor environmental change.

Results from the projects will provide valuable scientific and traditional knowledge to support effective resource management decisions by communities, governments, and co-management boards.

The recommendations on project funding were made by a steering committee of Indigenous, territorial, and federal government representatives.

Mr. Speaker, NWT CIMP provides approximately $1.7 million in funding for scientific and traditional knowledge projects each year. This year the program is supporting a total of 28 projects. Fourteen projects were completed in 2018, and results are available online. Information on NWT CIMP, including a list of completed projects since 1999, can be found on-line at www.nwtcimp.ca. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 123-18(3): Environmental Monitoring and Research Projects
Ministers' Statements

Page 4573

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs.

Minister's Statement 124-18(3): 2018 Northwest Territories Sport Hall of Fame Inductions
Ministers' Statements

Page 4573

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to highlight and celebrate the 2018 inductees into the Northwest Territories Sport Hall of Fame.

The Northwest Territories Sport Hall of Fame was created to honour athletes, coaches, officials, and contributors to sport from all parts of our society. Sponsored by the Sport North Federation, the Hall of Fame shares the history and the impact of our greatest contributors to sport.

Mr. Speaker, I invite Members of this House to join me in congratulating Ms. Robin Mercer-Sproule, Mr. Abe Theil, and the 1970 Fort McPherson Centennial Canoe team, who will be recognized at a special ceremony to be held in Yellowknife on November 23rd.

Ms. Mercer-Sproule competed on behalf of the Northwest Territories in figure skating, softball, volleyball, basketball, hockey, and broomball in no less than 12 Arctic Winter Games and numerous other regional and national competitions across Canada. A breakthrough leader in women's hockey, she started in the sport by playing with a boys' team in 1977 as a forward. She later became a top goaltender.

Mr. Theil is being recognized for his lifelong contribution to volleyball, and for the significant role he played in the development of the Sport North Federation. He participated in 10 Arctic Winter Games from 1972 through 1998. His contribution to the sport from the local club level through to the national and international levels has been significant and remains an important part of the sport's legacy in our country.

The Fort McPherson Canoe Team participated in the historic Northwest Territories Centennial Fort Providence to Inuvik canoe race in 1970. The six-member team finished in first place after a series of races covering the 1,800 kilometre distance, competing against teams from Aklavik, Inuvik, Fort Providence, Fort Good Hope, Yellowknife, Detah, Tsiigehtchic, and from outside the Northwest Territories. Team members were Captain Phillip Blake, Woody Elias, Fred Vittrekwa, Joe Vittrekwa, John Itsi, and Joseph Kaye.

Mr. Speaker, these inductees and those selected in previous years are role models, mentors, and leaders in sport. They have worked tirelessly to develop the North's capacity to pursue active healthy lifestyles through engagement and participation in sports programming.

It is important to recognize and celebrate the past and the present successes of our Northern athletes and sport builders. Applauding their commitment to excellence, as athletes, coaches, or as an entire team helps to set a benchmark for the next generation. On November 23rd, we will celebrate these inductees for their accomplishments and for the inspiration they have provided to us all.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank our community governments, the Sport North Federation, and all the territorial sport organizations for their efforts to support opportunities for these inductees and all the residents to pursue their dreams through sport.

I would also like to thank the many volunteers who contribute their time, talent, and energy to the sport system. The work you do is important to the well-being of our youth, the growth of the sport system, and our collective efforts to build healthier communities in the Northwest Territories. Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 124-18(3): 2018 Northwest Territories Sport Hall of Fame Inductions
Ministers' Statements

Page 4574

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Colleagues, I would like to draw your attention to the visitors in the gallery. We have with us Wendy Bisaro. She has been a former Member of our 16th and 17th Legislative Assembly. Welcome to our proceedings.

Members' statements. Member for Mackenzie Delta.

Implementation of the Gwich'in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement and the Inuvialuit Final Agreement
Members' Statements

Page 4574

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, under its mandate, this government has committed to fostering government-to-government relationships with Aboriginal governments and to implementing land resources and self-government agreements. This has been a top-of-mind issue since we first began to develop our priorities of the 18th Legislative Assembly. Although the government has made some important strides, including a pilot project of the Gwich'in Tribal Council, challenges in communication and collaboration mean that the process is in trouble.

Mackenzie Delta residents are coming to me with their questions and concerns. They have asked me about public reporting and public accountability around these mandate commitments. They have asked me about the GNWT's responsibilities to Aboriginal governments under the Gwich'in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement and Inuvialuit Final Agreement. They have also asked how the GNWT is making its commitment to fulfilling these agreements part of its daily practice. I will have questions for our Premier about the GNWT's role in the implementation of these agreements later today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Implementation of the Gwich'in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement and the Inuvialuit Final Agreement
Members' Statements

Page 4574

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

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

Broadband Connectivity
Members' Statements

Page 4574

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about connectivity. If the Mackenzie Valley Highway or the road to the Slave Geological Province had been built when they were first proposed or in the decade since, the outlook for our economy would be much different, but because we lack basic transportation infrastructure that has been connecting southern Canada for over a century we are facing a relatively near-term economic crisis. However, Mr. Speaker, that's not the kind of connectivity I want to discuss. I want to talk about high-speed Internet access.

If we don't start to capitalize on the recently completed Mackenzie Fibre Optic Link and begin putting the infrastructure in place to ensure that everyone in the NWT has access to high-speed Internet, we will once again be in a position where our infrastructure deficit is holding back our economy and we are playing catch-up with the rest of the developed world.

In 2016, the CRTC declared that broadband Internet access with unlimited data options and a target download speed of 50 megabits per second is a basic telecommunications service that should be available to all Canadians. Although many communities in the NWT are served by a fibre optic backbone, which is more than capable of achieving such results, homes and businesses are still connected to the backbone through antiquated infrastructure, resulting in slow and unreliable Internet for which we are forced to pay top dollar.

According to the CRTC, Canadians living in rural areas need high-quality Internet and mobile wireless service to fully participate in the digital economy and access healthcare, education, government, and public safety services. The vast size of our territory makes this especially true for us, Mr. Speaker. That's why we need to put the right infrastructure in place. If we do it, the possibilities are endless. We could have telehealth services, allowing residents to see and speak with medical professionals anywhere in the world without ever leaving their communities; every school could deliver immersive and interactive educational experiences; we could utilize the economies of scale to broaden the range of courses offered to high school and polytechnic university students. Internet service set as an asset and not as a liability could generate new business opportunities for our residents. Municipalities that install their own broadband infrastructure could use it to generate revenue and make their communities a more attractive place to invest. The list of possibilities is endless, and the time to act is now.

Just last month the CRTC announced it will soon be accepting applications for a $750 million broadband fund which is intended to support infrastructure projects. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Broadband Connectivity
Members' Statements

Page 4575

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

As I stated, just last month the CRTC announced that it will soon begin accepting applications for a $750 million broadband fund which is intended to support infrastructure projects that will help close the gap in Internet connectivity between rural and urban areas. Last week the federal, provincial, and territorial Ministers for Innovation and Economic Development agreed to making broadband a priority and to develop a long-term strategy to improve access to high-speed Internet services for all Canadians. At the appropriate time, I will have questions for the Minister of Infrastructure to see what he is doing to bring our infrastructure into the 21st century. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.