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

Motion 22-18(3): Coordinated Cannabis Taxation Agreement, Carried
Motions

Page 4633

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Question has been called. All those in favour, please stand.

Recorded Vote
Motions

Page 4633

Clerk Of The House Mr. Tim Mercer

The Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes, the Member for Hay River South, the Member for Thebacha, the Member for Hay River North, the Member for Mackenzie Delta, the Member for Sahtu, the Member for Yellowknife North, the Member for Kam Lake, the Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh, the Member for Nahendeh, the Member for Frame Lake, the Member for Yellowknife Centre, the Member for Deh Cho, the Member for Nunakput, the Member for Inuvik Boot Lake, the Member for Range Lake, the Member for Great Slave, the Member for Yellowknife South.

Recorded Vote
Motions

Page 4633

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. All those opposed, please stand. All those abstaining, please stand. The results of the recorded vote: 18 in favour, zero opposed, zero abstentions. Motion carried.

---Carried

Recorded Vote
Motions

Page 4633

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Colleagues, at this time, I would request a short break.

---SHORT RECESS

Recorded Vote
Motions

Page 4633

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Colleagues, we left off from the first motion. We are onto the second motion. Motions. Member for Kam Lake.

Motion 23-18(3): Revocation of the Appointment of the Honourable Member for Hay River South, Defeated
Motions

October 31st, 2018

Page 4633

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

WHEREAS pursuant to section 61(1) of the Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act, the Legislative Assembly recommends to the Commissioner the appointment of Members to the Executive Council Act. The Legislative Assembly recommends to the Commissioner the appointment of Members of the Executive Council;

AND WHEREAS pursuant to section 61(2) of the Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act, the persons appointment to hold office during the pleasure of the Legislative Assembly;

AND WHEREAS the Assembly pursuant to these powers have chosen the honourable Member for Hay River South to sit as a Member of the Executive Council;

NOW THEREFORE I MOVE, seconded by the honourable Member for Deh Cho, that this Assembly formally revoke the pleasure of the Assembly from the appointment of the honourable Member for Hay River South as a Member of the Executive Council;

AND FURTHER, that this Assembly recommend that a Member be chosen to be a Member of the Executive Council.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I would like to request a recorded vote.

Motion 23-18(3): Revocation of the Appointment of the Honourable Member for Hay River South, Defeated
Motions

Page 4634

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. The Member requested a recorded vote. The motion is in order. To the motion. Member for Kam Lake.

Motion 23-18(3): Revocation of the Appointment of the Honourable Member for Hay River South, Defeated
Motions

Page 4634

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It brings me no great pleasure in bringing forward this motion to revoke the appointment of the honourable Member for Hay River South. As a Regular Member, I work regularly with the Members on this side of the House to work on issues of mutual concern to our constituents to find resolution to the leadership of the Members of Cabinet and their respective portfolios.

This is a difficult issue for me to speak to today. A problem of being a representative in a territory as small as ours is that many take personal what is a fundamental requirement of our duties as Members, which is to ensure that each Minister in this House upholds and is bound by the principle, a ministerial responsibility. The idea that, in a responsible government, all organizations are the responsibility of a Minister, and a Minister is accountable to his or her elected colleagues in the legislature.

This principle exists to protect the anonymity of the public service, of the departments under the Minister's purview, but it also ensures the accountability of the actions or inactions of departments to the public. In short, ministerial accountability exists to maintain good governance. It brings me no joy to rise and on the question of holding our honourable colleagues to account; accountability for the actions or inactions of their departments, agencies, or files. Rather, it is our necessary duty as elected representatives for the preservation of the principles of this legislature and the aspirations laid out in the principles of consensus government.

Under consensus government, we are unique in that the power is granted to the whole House itself over the appointment of Minister and over holding them ultimately accountable to the public interest. This is what we were elected to do. Some do feel that the disruption of activities normally associated with our roles in this House is merely political grandstanding or worse, scapegoating.

Given our small population, it is easy for people to get personally invested in the goings on of their friends and neighbours, thinking that Members of this House are merely making personal attacks on Members of their community, which there is only a desire for political gain in pursuit of a witch hunt.

Before I get too far into my statement, I wish to reiterate an earlier point: if any motion to remove a Member of Cabinet is successful today, I will not accept stepping into a ministerial position and I will not stand for election to the Cabinet. I know there has been much speculation and whispered hearsay to that effect. I felt I needed to get my response on the record.

Ultimately, having this discussion on the public record is how we, as a legislative body, ensure that government is best representing all peoples of our territory, and ensuring that the public will and the public good are maintained and in the forefront of our thought.

The honourable Minister in question has provided answers to our questions, provided briefings to our committees, and arranged meetings in his office to hear these concerns. However, it has become apparent to me and other honourable Members that there is only so far this Minister is willing to go in order to address our concerns. When disagreement emerges, a hard line is drawn by the Minister with no room for compromise and all further discussions have taken on a contemptuous tone. This has played out in many forums and question periods during committee hearings and in recommendations to legislative proposals and policy initiatives. This unwillingness to engage is often combined with dismissive responses and a bellicose attitude that undermines the principles of this legislature, laid out in our guiding principles and conventions, inspired by the open, honest, and full communications anticipated in a healing circle, a concept upon this institution is inspired.

Ultimately, having this discussion on the public record is how we will move forward.

Mr. Speaker, matters of confidence are difficult and highly contentious. The most serious issue of the performance of this particular Minister is the ongoing management of Marine Transportation Services or MTS under the Minister's Infrastructure portfolio. The highly publicized failure of MTS to completely resupply deliveries to Arctic communities, communities most vulnerable to the lack of essential supplies, has raised concerns among all Members of the House. These concerns are not only due to the thought of some of our residents being isolated without needed goods and fuel, as the winter begins, not to mention businesses in these regions that will miss out on thousands of dollars of economic opportunity, but also because of the millions of dollars this is costing taxpayers, this corrective action is taken to complete these deliveries by more costly means.

When questioned on the handling of this instance, the Minister in the House side-swiped answers, referring back to his private sector experiences as a business owner. Yes, as a business owner, one must be aware of fiscal responsibility. One must also be concerned about the ability to deliver on what has been contractually agreed upon. This House, unlike a business, does not just get to pick and choose who we serve. In business, if you fail a client, you are merely likely to just lose their business in the future. In government, when we fail our people, there are long-term consequences. Might I remind the House that winter is not coming; it is already upon us.

Mr. Speaker, at no point the Minister has stood up, taken personal responsibility for this failure, nor has he apologized to the residents who missed out on these crucial deliveries; nor to those who will not see their shipments until the ice thaws come the spring. Instead, he has insisted that the faults were due to unavoidable series of coincidences, and he is not to blame. In fact, to quote from Hansard from October 23rd, the Minister's response to his management of the situation was to say, "I'm not going to sit here and take it, that saying this was an error of our department."

If I understood the implications correctly, the Minister does not feel that he or the department must take into account foreseeable variables, such as changing seasons, the changing state from water to ice. These are all predictable occurrences in the North, Mr. Speaker. I need not remind you. The buck does not stop at the department. If it does not stop at the Minister, who does it stop with?

I believe the counterpoint is being paid that the buck only stops every few years during an election. How does this give confidence to Northerners? How is this example of responsive and responsible government?

If the Minister doesn't like the questions of our constituents, how does he feel when they are deprived of essential supplies and vehicles for an entire season? Are they just supposed to sit there and take it? Are they supposed to feed, clothe, and heat themselves with his best of intentions? The refusal of a Minister to accept responsibilities for the actions of his or her department is inconsistent with the principles of responsible government.

In this Chamber, in our system of consensus, Minister are accountable for their departments; not public servants, not departmental officials. In this matter, the Minister has refused even a simple apology for a grievous error in the management of MTS.

Since the acquisition of MTS, the department has prioritized private cargo deliveries over community resupply. Communities are getting the short end of the stick. The Minister has made excuses, but the truth of the matter is that MTS had ample opportunity to resupply Paulatuk and the other communities in Nunavut, but chose to put a higher value revenue opportunity presented by private contracts above the needs of Northerners.

I say this, Mr. Speaker, knowing full well that the Minister has denied this suggestion; the management decisions were behind the failure to resupply Arctic communities. I will provide both the Minister's excuses and the facts I have learned since looking further into this incident.

On October 17th, the Minister was first questioned in the House on the performance of the GNWT's marine transportation services. In response to questions from the honourable Member for Nunakput, the Minister said, "This isn't an error. This is a situation that happened because of unfortunate ice that came down. I have been on TV. I have been interviewed a number of times around this issue."

Later on October 23rd, the Minister repeated his refusal to accept that the failure of Arctic resupply was due to the management of MTS, stating in response to questions again from the honourable Member for Nunakput, "The Member keeps calling this an error and he keeps trying to blame MTS, and that is not the case." The Minister has relied on three reasons for the failure to resupply Arctic communities. I will use his words from Hansard on the Committee of the Whole review of Minister's Statement 103-18(3): "High water knocked all the buoys out. The delivery of fuel to the Hay River terminal that didn't meet specification that delayed the scheduling to all communities again and multi-year sea ice that came down."

I consider the Minister's three stated reasons for this incident carefully. I did my own research using ship schedules contained on NORDREG, the Coast Guard Arctic marine tracking system, along with consulting with private sector marine operators, who can be considered experts in the Arctic resupply.

I'm not arguing that the three factors the Minister is relying on to defend his performance were not present and did not play a factor in preventing shipping, but it only occurred when MTS had run out of time to complete its community resupply operations because it had become preoccupied with chasing private contracts in Alaska and the Sabina gold mine in Nunavut, putting business interests above the needs of everyday people.

What I'm saying plainly, Mr. Speaker, is that the Minister put the fiscal needs of the GNWT above the essential resupply of Arctic communities, which is and has always been the principal goal of the government's purchase of MTS. The Minister has clearly stated in the House and on the public record that as many as five ships were delivering freight all over the place, and has denied suggestions that the delivery to Sabina gold and other private customers did not affect the deliveries to the communities.

I want to be clear and present the facts to show quite the opposite. In reviewing the arrivals and departures of the MTS vessels, only two ships, the Kelly Ovayuak and Edgar Kotokak, were assigned to Arctic trips, not including private charters that were covering the areas of resupply. The Edgar Kotokak was sent to service a private contract to pick up a power plant in Prudhoe Bay in Alaska, and then it was supposed to go to Cambridge Bay to go up to resupply. The ship did not get back to Tuktoyaktuk until September 25th, taking so long to do the Alaska work that they were too late to resupply Cambridge Bay and Ulukhaktok, again, putting income generation above the needs of every day Northerners.

Meanwhile, the Ovayuak was deployed on a shipping run to Bathurst Inlet in Kitikmeot and service the needs of the Sabina gold mine and silver mine. This was before the vessel did its first trip to Sachs Harbour in Ulukhaktok. At the time, the second trip to Sachs Harbour, Ulukhaktok, and Paulatuk was supposed to start on October 1st, it was too late. If MTS had followed their original schedule that they published in the spring of this year, they would have finished all of their community deliveries. All deliveries were planned to be completed by the end of August. Instead, new contracts were added to increase government revenues at the expense of small communities in the NWT and Nunavut.

Compare this to the private charter, Investigator, that left Tuktoyaktuk in the same sailing season on September 20th on its final trip to the TMAC mine that completed that delivery successfully, without any delays caused by sea ice. It's clear that MTS had a very large delivery window, and this costly error cannot be blamed solely on environmental factors. The failure was caused by poor planning and a pursuit of private-sector contracts. This is especially troubling as the Minister has told this House that a private business could not have done any better and would have left our communities worse off.

Mr. Speaker, in actuality, a private charter was more than able to resupply their customers on time, without issue, in the month of September. The bottom line is, if MTS had concentrated on community deliveries instead of doing all this commercial work, the department could have completed the deliveries to our communities. The Members of this House have supported the GNWT's efforts through MTS to ensure the communities get their deliveries, but, in his zeal and fervour for the GNWT to enter into the private shipping market, the Minister has dramatically affected the ability of MTS to do its job in essential resupply. This has occurred in both years, 2017 and 2018, and again MTS has been pursuing these contracts under the government's watch, putting the needs of outside interests above the needs of our own residents.

This concern has been brought forward to the Minister's attention. He is well aware it exists, and he has defended his approach at every opportunity, sharply rebuking any suggestions that the choice to prioritize revenues over people is the wrong approach. On this point, Mr. Speaker, the Minister and I cannot be farther apart. When discussing the role of public government, it seems at all times the Minister may have forgotten what his title is in another portfolio, the Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, not chief executive officer of a for-profit corporation. The House's focus should be on the peoples of the NWT and on securing a future for the territories, not in pursuing revenue-generating schemes.

The Minister has blamed bad fuel as one of the factors in delaying shipping. Unfortunately, this occurrence is all too common in Arctic resupply operations, and the department should have made sure the fuel was on-spec when it was purchased because you only get one chance at resupply in the challenging weather conditions present in an Arctic environment. With the Minister's experience as a businessman, one would assume that, before deliveries were signed off on, steps were taken to ensure the delivery met expected standard, that this was the right product and it was required for the shipments. Not just the residents but businesses are without their supplies, crippling some businesses to deliver their products and services to market, leaving remote northern communities out in the cold. These explanations are an all-too-common rule of thumb in the private-sector shipping business.

I would be remiss not to quote the Minister from Hansard when asked about the risks of Arctic shipping on October 24th. He stated, "If I lived in the High Arctic, I'd realize there are substantial risks to getting my freight in." Mr. Speaker, the Minister was well aware of the tight timelines for resupply and the need to get fuel purchases right from the start. There can be no excuses for this as it is clear the Minister knew the risks. Poor planning or a lack of concern are not enough to justify this issue concerning fuel nor suggesting to Northerners in remote communities that it's their fault and that they should have known better when they chose to stay in their communities. This is contrary to so much of what we in the House are working for: strong, stable northern communities.

The Minister's tone and hard-line attitudes to these issues are saddening and very concerning to me and other Members of this House. Though the concerns of the residents of affected communities are driving the issue, the cost to airlift the missed deliveries is a concern to taxpayers everywhere in the Northwest Territories. Millions of dollars have had to be spent to send these missed goods by aircraft. While these costs are being paid out of two government revolving funds and will not impact the government's budget directly, they are additional and unnecessary, that directly affect the performance of these funds in question. As a business owner, I wonder if a cost-benefit analysis was completed prior to the prioritization of private ventures over the needs of the public. I wonder if profits made from private deliveries outweigh the costs associated with airlifting some supplies and the unknown-as-of-yet costs associated with freight which cannot be airlifted and will spend the winter in the government's possession.

Mr. Speaker, when this government decided to purchase MTS, it was through a special warrant. They did not come before this House for approval by its Members. This action was met with no small amount of concern by Regular Members, but, ultimately, we all decided to support the move to ensure essential community resupply could be maintained. The willingness of Members to support the government on MTS continued when the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment agreed to fast-track the bill to establish the MTS revolving fund that was allowed the bypass the normal 120-day review period by standing committee normally required of legislation. Part of this expediency was an agreement that all Members of this House would be involved in the future operations of MTS and the eventual governance model that would be implemented to run the operations. We have seen little willingness from the Minister responsible to work with Members on both operational and governance issues subject to MTS.

MTS is not a public institution subject to public insight. It is a part of the Department of Infrastructure, and Members have raised these concerns. The honourable Member for Nunakput, the honourable Member for Hay River North, they have both raised these concerns, and they have brought numerous complaints from clients, and even MTS employees, forward to the Minister. Again, these concerns have fallen on deaf ears and been met with dismissive rebukes. I, along with the honourable Member for Yellowknife North, the honourable Member for Frame Lake, and the honourable Member for Nunakput, again have again implored the Minister to take action to sever MTS from the Department of Infrastructure and transform it into a Crown corporation or special operating agency. These concerns are supported by an independent consultant's report. They have been dismissed sharply by the Minister. It seems to me there is much confusion on the part of the Minister. Maybe he is used to accounting only to shareholders, toeing a corporate line, forgetting that, in a public institution, we must be concerned with the good of all stakeholders and the public need, not solely the bottom line.

Regular Members have shown their commitment to working with Cabinet and the Minister on MTS through our acceptance of the special warrant and our consent to rush the revolving fund legislation, but we have little to show for it in return, Mr. Speaker. The focus of MTS on private contracts and the pursuit of profits over people are reflected solely by the actions of the Minister in question. He has never denied this is the case and refused to ensure the focus of MTS is focused squarely on essential supply and the people of the Northwest Territories. That is why this issue is so important to the Members of this House, and that is the main reason we have brought forward a revocation motion as a result.

Mr. Speaker, there are other issues regarding the Minister's performance. Unfortunately, the suffocating cloud of secrecy that surrounds our work as Members of this House prevents me from clearly demonstrating many of the serious concerns Regular Members have relied on in their support for this motion. The public has been kept from the full range of facts that surround the Minister's performance, and the Minister is all too happy to distort the issue of his performance in his portfolios to a partisan conflict between opposing camps of MLAs, a "he said-she said" divide motivated by personal ambition and political gamesmanship. These are arguments repeated all too frequently when these matters of confidence are brought forward, and those arguments could not be farther from the truth.

In secret meetings behind closed doors, the Minister has repeatedly refused to accept the recommendations of standing committees to improve GNWT policies, laws, and legislative proposals. Often, his reply to these concerns and the suggestions of Members is to say, "Not as long as I am Minister," almost as if he is goading Members to take action against an intransigent Minister who has demonstrated time and time again an unwillingness to collaborate with all Members to better serve the interests of Northerners brought forward by Regular Members who represent 31 of 33 communities, Mr. Speaker. This confrontational tone must be answered, and the Minister must be held to account.

Ministers are solely responsible to the questions of their departments in the House and to take responsibility for their departments' deficiencies. Sometimes, this can be accomplished through an apology and a commitment to do better. Other times, more direct and decisive action is needed.

Mr. Speaker, I am supporting this motion for revocation for the reasons I have laid out. I have done my best efforts to ensure that my position on the Minister's performance is clear and that this motion supports the interests of Northerners and ensuring they have a government that is accountable to its failures as much as it is entitled to its successes. This is not a partisan issue. These are questions fundamental to the duties and principles we swore to uphold. This is a statement of fact. I ask that the honourable Members of this House give full consideration to the decision that is being asked of them today in support of our consensus system and in support of ministerial accountability. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Motion 23-18(3): Revocation of the Appointment of the Honourable Member for Hay River South, Defeated
Motions

Page 4638

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. To the motion. Member for Deh Cho.

Motion 23-18(3): Revocation of the Appointment of the Honourable Member for Hay River South, Defeated
Motions

Page 4638

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this motion. I second the motion because I believe that our leadership and decision making could have been exercised in ensuring our remote communities were supplied with goods during the past summer barging season. I felt like our communities, left out in the cold and isolated, in terms of operational oversight and communication on this file. As a Regular MLA, I did not get assurances that everything possible was being done to transport goods to communities that rely on barge services. Now, I know that corporate profit trump resupply in remote communities.

In addition, I was not informed of the progress or issues along the way, and it became a debacle. For those reasons, I will stand in support of this motion. Mahsi.

Motion 23-18(3): Revocation of the Appointment of the Honourable Member for Hay River South, Defeated
Motions

Page 4638

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. To the motion. Member for Hay River North.

Motion 23-18(3): Revocation of the Appointment of the Honourable Member for Hay River South, Defeated
Motions

Page 4638

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in this Assembly, it's a fool's errand to try and remove a Minister. As the Premier stated in this House just a few weeks ago, "he who pays the bills, plays the tune," and we all know that Cabinet controls the cheque book. That's not how consensus government is supposed to work, but that's how it works. That's why no Ministers have yet been removed, and it's the reason that during the budget deliberations, Regular Members are relegated to fighting over scraps instead of addressing large, fundamental issues. The style of governance perpetrated by Cabinet is why we find ourselves in this situation today, and the reason why I would be shocked to see any changes to the status quo come from this exercise. However, the situation is before us, so I will try to make the most of it.

As you can imagine, this motion has put me in a difficult position. The Minister at issue is not only from the same community as me, but is the first Hay River MLA to serve on Cabinet in a very long time. Beyond that, I owe him a personal debt of gratitude because I would not be a Member of this Assembly if it were not for him. Mr. Speaker, you can appreciate that this is not a decision that I take lightly, and regardless of the outcome, I will continue to work with the Member to advance the interests of Hay River.

That being said, Mr. Speaker, the people of this territory, including my constituents demand that we hold this government and this Minister accountable. Since Cabinet is unwilling or incapable of ensuring the accountability of its own Members, it falls to us. I have no choice but to support the motion.

The issue that precipitated the situation was the failure of MTS to fulfill its contractual obligations to deliver goods to multiple communities. On its own, the failure would not have warranted a revocation motion, however, the Minister's handling of the situation followed a pattern of behaviour that is contemptuous to the residents of the NWT, and out of line with the principles of consensus government.

The Minister has repeatedly stated that no mistakes were made, and that a series of issues beyond the control of MTS caused the delay. He has also said that there are lessons to be learned, and that they are creating an emergency contingency plan for next year. If nothing went wrong, what is there to learn? If creating an emergency contingency plan will avoid the situation in the future, then doesn't not having such a plan this year constitute a mistake? This non-mistake is costing taxpayers millions of dollars, but no one is taking responsibility, and neither the Minister nor the Premier is holding anyone accountable, and the public is expected to just swallow it. The Minister's department got in over its head, and is bailing itself out with public funds. I promise you that he would not extend the same courtesy to a private business. In fact, his department is continuously nickel and diming local employers, often to the benefit of southern companies and to the detriment of Northerners. This hypocrisy and lack of accountability cannot continue unabated.

However, the Minister obviously does not agree, and Cabinet is fine with doing business in this way. Earlier this week, the Minister commented to a news outlet that he works hard and sees no reason why he should lose his job. He does work hard, Mr. Speaker. I can attest to that, but I'm not here to hand out participation ribbons for hard work. I'm here to keep the government accountable. The fact that he doesn't understand why he's in this position is a prime example of why he's in this position.

As I alluded to earlier, Mr. Speaker, the failure to deliver goods while a major issue onto itself is not the sole reason that this motion was brought forward, but it was the straw that broke the camel's back.

Time and time again, the Minister has demonstrated that he does not grasp or does not care to abide by the principles of consensus government, and treats engagement with standing committees and Regular Members as a box to be checked, and not an opportunity to collaborate. Just look at how every discussion about government procurement has unfolded on the floor of this House. Half a dozen Members have raised it as a concern, and in his speech for the Premiership, the Premier noted it as an issue that needs to be addressed. Yet, every time we raise our constituents' concerns about this issue, the Minister tells us that the business community is not concerned with the government's procurement practices. We stand here and tell him that we've heard concerns, and he responds by essentially telling us, we haven't heard concerns. What conclusions can we draw from this bizarre, ongoing denial? I'm not sure whether the Minister honestly believes that we just stand up here and lie, or if it's a way to ignore our concerns.

Procurement is just one example. We've all heard a Member ask the Minister to consider an option, and him respond by proclaiming, "Not as long as I'm Minister."

I admit that, when our goals are aligned, the Minister is open to working with Regular Members; however, if our opinions are at odds with his, there is little, if any, room to work together.

I believe that much of the problem is that the Minister has never served as a Regular Member. Throughout the year, often for weeks on end, the Regular Members sit together in a room and discuss the concerns of our constituents, and how to address the issues facing the territory. Cabinet Ministers, on the other hand, spend most of their time with senior bureaucrats, and it's my impression that, if they're not vigilant, they will grow to become more concerned with management than with governance. The Minister has developed a narrow, bureaucratic mindset, and appears to be more concerned with the GNWT than the people of the NWT. We have enough bureaucrats, Mr. Speaker. We need leaders.

Mr. Speaker, I don't like this situation. I wished we didn't have to do it. I wanted to let the Minister know that this is not personal. If it was personal, I'd throw my full support behind him.

I am supporting this motion because I believe it's what is right for Hay River and for the NWT, and because I hope that this will be the wake-up call the Minister needs. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Motion 23-18(3): Revocation of the Appointment of the Honourable Member for Hay River South, Defeated
Motions

Page 4639

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. I'd like to remind people in the gallery, the public, that we have a few Members still who need to speak, and refrain from making noise because it is distracting to this House. Out of respect, please, thank you. To the motion. Member for Nahendeh.

Motion 23-18(3): Revocation of the Appointment of the Honourable Member for Hay River South, Defeated
Motions

Page 4639

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I stand today in support of this motion. My support doesn't come from a personal grievance, but I have to stand up for the people of the Northwest Territories. I know that a debate like this will risk becoming a painful, combative experience, but I am confident that this Assembly can raise above that to make the best possible decisions in the Northwest Territories.

What do I want to see come from this debate? I am looking for accountability. I want to see respect toward this side of the House and questions answered. I want residents' concerns to be heard and looked at Members' ideas and suggestions on important issues should be considered in the spirit of consensus government.

The failure of Marine Transportation System to deliver the full load of goods ordered for the coastal communities will have a very serious impact on the residents and businesses. Air freight costs will run into millions of dollars. I've been told today, $3.4 million. I believe this situation was avoidable. I want the Minister to say, "This happened on my watch. I take full responsibility." I'm looking for an apology to the coastal communities.

It worries me for our future when I see so many contracts going to southern companies for Infrastructure projects without enough attention to jobs, northern businesses, and benefits to our residents. These decisions have a rippling effect in our communities and government services. Without work, people have to go on income support. Our youth and their education are impacted. This needs to be changed, but not to the detriment of the northern businesses and families.

As I prepared for today's debate, I considered the action of past Assemblies and past Members. I looked at the leaders who came before us and the precedents they set. In 1992, the then Member for Yellowknife South resigned from the Executive Council. When he made his statement in the House, he took ownership of the problems facing his department. He spoke of his responsibility to his constituents, and his recognition that he could not carry out his duties as Minister without the full support of other Members. I would like to quote from Hansard for that date, December 1, 1992. The Minister said, "I believe in good government and clean politics. I'm going to walk it and talk it with no compromises."

Those words, I think, we should all live by. Those words I want all Members to reflect on as we vote on this decision. Mr. Speaker, as we move forward, it's about ownership, it's about what we do for the residents, and if Ministers over there are our leaders, they're the ones we've put in those seats. However, we've seen this issue we've seen a number of issues that other colleagues talked about, and we need to move forward, and we need to respect the dignity of the residents of the Northwest Territories. For that, I will support the motion. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Motion 23-18(3): Revocation of the Appointment of the Honourable Member for Hay River South, Defeated
Motions

Page 4640

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. To the motion, Member for Yellowknife North.