This is page numbers 4621 - 4676 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 communities.

Topics

Newly Elected Council in Norman Wells
Members' Statements

Page 4625

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs revoked the duties from the town of Norman Wells leadership on October 18, 2017. The town of Norman Wells since has been under the appointment of the administrator.

Mr. Speaker, the NWT seen six municipal elections on October 15, 2018, Norman Wells included. The community encountered many downward economic challenges in the absence of leadership. Residents continue to reside in an environment of uncertainty.

Now, Mr. Speaker, through determination and resiliency the community is experiencing positive growth. The oilfield is back in operation, residents are returning to the community, and the first 14 kilometres of the Mackenzie Valley Highway are completed with signs of further sectional construction.

The Department of Health and Social Services' regional health centre, with employment of 70 positions, has made a huge economic contribution to the community's stability.

Mr. Speaker, concerned parents are united and determined to reopen the Norman Wells daycare. Kudos to them.

Mr. Speaker, with a 64.5 percent election turnout during the last election on October 15th, I look forward to working collaboratively with the new leadership. This will start right after the inauguration set by the leadership during the first week of November. Mahsi

Newly Elected Council in Norman Wells
Members' Statements

Page 4625

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Nahendeh.

Municipal and Community Affairs Funding
Members' Statements

Page 4625

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in the Northwest Territories, community governments can provide municipal services to our residents who rely on annual core funding from the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs for their operation and maintenance needs. This funding also allows them to provide vital water and sewer services to community residents and build public infrastructure.

At the start of the Legislative Assembly, the Government of the Northwest Territories acknowledged that there is a gap between the core funding needs of the community governments and the level of funding that they are getting. In its 2016 mandate, the GNWT committed to developing a strategy to close this funding gap over the next nine years, which meant we could expect the gap to be closed by the year 2025-2026.

In 2018-2019, MACA's business plan said that the community operations division would begin to implement the strategy that "will allow the government to close the gap in community government funding levels over the next nine years." On this basis, it would appear that we now expect the municipal funding gap to be closed by the year 2027-2028.

Mr. Speaker, it has been three years since this commitment was made, and the Members of this Assembly have yet to see the strategy. Every year that there is a shortfall in funding to community governments, the amounts of the shortfall compound, meaning that the funding gap that existed in 2016 has grown over three years, while at the same time inflation increases the cost of living and erodes the spending power of municipalities.

I am concerned at the lack of process by GNWT on mandate commitment 4.5.5. If the department keeps pushing off the start of the nine-year window for closing the gap, we will never see this gap being addressed. For years that we delay this work, there needs to be a recognition that the strategy may have to change to account for the compound growth in the funding shortfall.

I'm not confident MACA is accurately accounting for this fact, nor do I have any comfort that a strategy is forthcoming. Today I will have questions for the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs on the department's work in this area. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Municipal and Community Affairs Funding
Members' Statements

Page 4625

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Colleagues, I am drawing your attention to the visitors in the gallery. We have with us here today Mr. David Ramsay, former Member and former Minister. Welcome to our Assembly. Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake.

Tourism Regulation
Members' Statements

October 31st, 2018

Page 4626

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. Recent CBC reports raise many concerns that tourism licensing, regulation, and enforcement is weak and ineffective, and that operations could pose a risk to tourists, to the reputation of the tourism industry, and even to personal safety.

The media reports are detailed and extensive, citing problems with individual operators and the ability of the GNWT to enforce its rules and correct operators who may be out there doing something that is not quite right.

Under the law, an operator must have a licence issued by the territorial government to take money from tour services. If an operator is unlicensed, they are not obliged to follow safety rules nor have the proper insurance for their activities that can place tourists at a greater risk.

Media reports include many instances of operations providing poor tour experiences, including uninsured operations such as unsupervised canoeing. Instances of baiting wildlife to arrange photo ops for visitors have been reported, and we're all aware of the instances of road accidents, unsafe parking, and stranded tourists in and around Yellowknife.

I've also spoken in the past on the inadequacy of our consumer protection law. The case of a Yellowknife restaurant offering fish from Kazakhstan as local pickerel. Any policing of the tourism sector requires the ability to receive and investigate complaints in a timely fashion, and provide redress and restitution to customers who have not been fairly treated.

In the Hansard of October 18th, Small Business Day, the ITI Minister had this to say about tourism: "We are a victim of our own success. I have said that in this House before. Build it, and they will come. That is what happened around tourism, and that is what is happening particularly in the region of Yellowknife." As I can't fail to point out again, the commitment to building the tourism industry has not included a new visitors' information centre for Yellowknife, and according to these recent CBC reports, has not included an adequate capacity to regulate and protect the quality of the tourism industry.

As this government continues to promote tourism as economic diversification, we need to protect the quality of our product and ensure adequate regulation for the experience and safety of the visitors who come to Yellowknife and the NWT as a whole. I will have questions for the Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment later today. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Tourism Regulation
Members' Statements

Page 4626

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Passing of Charles "Sunshine" Larocque and Jay Larocque
Members' Statements

Page 4626

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marsi cho, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to do a eulogy for two men who were lifelong residents of the Northwest Territories; both of whom were close friends of mine. Their names are Charles Larocque and William Larocque. They were first cousins, and they passed away about a month apart last September and last August.

Mr. Speaker, Charles Larocque was born on July 17, 1955, and passed away at the age of 63 on September 27, 2018. Charles had a nickname. To everyone who knew him, he was "Sunshine." Sunshine was predeceased by his father, Archie Larocque, and his brothers, Johnny and Pat, as he had a nickname so that the majority of his family are his siblings.

Mr. Speaker, Sunshine is survived by his wife, Margaret Mckay; his mother, 90-year-old Florence Larocque; his children, Kento, Shawna, and Savanna. I am going to try some nicknames of these siblings, Mr. Speaker. His siblings were Wally, Terri, Annie, Dawna, Allan, known as "Stinky," James "Lovey," Frank, Vernon "Sweet," George "Snuckie," Darryl "Levie," Elaine "Fatso," Melvin "Ugly man," Jack "Arsenic," Roy "Bucklow," Archie "Smokey," Clifford "Blue," Therese, Brian "Garbage," and Henry.

Mr. Speaker, William Larocque also had a nickname, and he was known as "Jay." He was born on January 29, 1954. He was 64 years old when he passed away on August 15, 2018. Jay was predeceased by his mother, Harriet (Mcswain) Mercredi, and his father, Stan "The Man" Larocque, and his brother, Allan.

Mr. Speaker, Jay is survived by his wife, Gibby; his children, Janice, Michelle, Nancy, Russel, and Brendan; his siblings, Martha Mercredi, Ruth McCullough, Lloyd Willy, James "Ugly Man" Larocque, Larry "Buckler" Larocque, Gord Mcswain, and William Mcswain, better known as "Willy."

Mr. Speaker, Sunshine was a well-liked man, known to everyone across the Northwest Territories. He has been a friend of mine. He was a mine for 50 years, and I never heard one single person say anything negative about him.

Jay Larocque was much the same, Mr. Speaker. In fact, at his funeral, I spoke to Jay's mother-in-law, Mrs. Hamilton. After the church, she came up to me, and she said, "I had no idea how many friends Jay had."

Mr. Speaker, both of these were wonderful people. The NWT has truly lost great individuals in Sunshine and Jay. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Passing of Charles "Sunshine" Larocque and Jay Larocque
Members' Statements

Page 4627

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Our condolences to the family, as well, and the community. Members' statements. Item 4, returns to oral questions. Item 5, recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Nunakput.

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

Page 4627

Herbert Nakimayak Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize Rita and Joe Banksland. Rita is originally from Ulukhaktok, and lives in Yellowknife now; my high school buddy, Ryan Yakeleya is up there, as well, too; again, the Mayor of Paulatuk, Ray Gruben; and also my beautiful wife, Yvonne, who is sitting in the gallery. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

Page 4627

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Nahendeh.

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

Page 4627

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize two constituents of mine: first, Gladys Norwegian, Grand Chief for the Dehcho Nation; and Emma Amundson, who is on the board of directors for the Native Women's Association. Welcome and thank you very much for attending.

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

Page 4627

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Range Lake.

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

Page 4627

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I have a list of people I would like to recognize today. I would like to recognize Mr. Fraser Oliver and David Murphy from the Northwest Territories Teacher's Association. Thank you for being here.

The Native Women's Association, we have from the board of directors Ms. Liza Piper, the president; Mabel Brown; Rita Banksland; Cheryl Voytilla; Karen Caesar; Emma Amundson; Angela McKay; Jane Weyallon; Therese Villeneuve. From the staff of the Native Women's Association, we have Jennie Turner; Rachel Tambour-Zoe; Marie Speakman; Tina Hawker; Delilah Turner; Cheryl Moore; Sandra Cumming; and Rita Wray.

I would like to also take a moment to welcome another woman in leadership, Ms. Gladys Norwegian. I am honoured to have you here. Of course, I could not forget my nephew. Garrett Cochrane is in the gallery today. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

Page 4627

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Kam Lake.

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

Page 4627

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to recognize two members of the Kam Lake constituency: Mr. Todd Parsons, president of the Union of Northern Workers and Kam Lake constituent; and Mr. Fraser Oliver, Kam Lake constituent and member of the NWT Teacher's Association. Thank you for being here today.

I would also like to recognize Mr. Dave Ramsay, the former Member for Kam Lake, and Mr. Garrett Cochrane, the former CA for the Member for Kam Lake. Thank you.