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This is from 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 housing.

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

Elder Michel Louis Rabesca

[Translation] I would like to say a prayer for the Legislation here. I know that our people are listening to us. [End of translation]

I ask the elders up there to join me when I pray, and I'm going to say a short prayer that we always pray. I have been here in this House many, many times, my friends, and I know the Premier well. I worked with the Premier when I used to work with ENR when I was a Grand Chief, and so I shook a hand with him and I told him I haven't seen him for a long time.

I just want to say that it is good to be back in here. I haven't been here a long time, but don't forget that you are in the eyes of the public. Someone is always watching you all the time. Well, when I pray, I am going to ask the Creator to help every one of you that is here, so that people can work together. That is what we always do. Our elders are always telling us, when we start a meeting, always pray. Things will pan out, work for you. He is there watching us all the time. That is how the elders always talk to us.

I will pray in my own way and you can shut your eyes and ask your Creator to help you as a government, because we need you guys as a government. We need government to govern our country, our people communities out there that need a government, and that's who you are. I will pray for you in my own language.

[Translation] I know that I would like to say a prayer for all the Members and the Regular Members and also the staff, and also the Ministers and the Speaker, and help them to work together and to support one another, and help them to be like one. So I would like to say a prayer now. I would like to pray. [Translation ends]

[Microphone turned off] pray in your own like you guys used to do every morning before you start this meeting, so I will just start my own prayer.

[English translation not provided]

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you, very much.

Prayer
Prayer

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Good afternoon, colleagues. Colleagues, I would like to draw your attention to visitors in the gallery at this time. We have with us two elders from Behchoko. Noel Drybone is here with us and Louis Frankie from Behchoko, two of the respected elders from my community of Behchoko; and also with us Richard Charlo, my CA. Welcome to our Assembly. Masi.

We also have former Grand Chief Joe Rabesca; his son is here with us as well. I would like to thank him for coming, as well. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Minister of Health and Social Services.

Minister's Statement 127-18(3): Anti-Poverty Update
Ministers' Statements

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Mr. Speaker, over the last five years the Government of the Northwest Territories has worked in partnership with people and organizations across the Northwest Territories to better understand and meaningfully address the root causes of poverty in this territory. This outreach supports our mandate commitment to reduce poverty in the Northwest Territories.

In 2013 the GNWT released Building on the Strengths of Northerners: A Strategic Framework Toward the Elimination of Poverty in the Northwest Territories. The development of this Framework was a collaborative effort between our government, Indigenous governments, and the business and non-profit sectors. It is the guiding document for all the work that has been carried out since its release, including the development of a GNWT Action Plan and a multi-stakeholder Territorial Anti-Poverty Action Plan, as well as annual roundtables to bring all partners together, significant new investments, and innovative new programs and services in communities across the Northwest Territories.

Next week the Sixth Anti-Poverty Roundtable will be held in Hay River, continuing my commitment to host these annual meetings in a different region each year to help partners better understand the unique contexts of poverty throughout the territory.

Mr. Speaker, the roundtable will focus on two critical pieces of work: informing the development of a progress report on the strategic framework toward eliminating poverty since its release five years ago; and working to develop a renewed Territorial Anti-Poverty Action Plan to guide our work moving forward. Co-creating these documents with involvement from all partners is critical to respecting the collaborative model we have embraced in our poverty reduction efforts.

Mr. Speaker, this commitment to working together is foundational to how we have chosen to address poverty. The Territorial Anti-Poverty Action Plan released in 2015 sets out three principles for action:

  • Respect and equality are essential to anti-poverty work;
  • People are our most important resource; and
  • How we do things is as important as what we do.

Elder Paul Andrew has said, "We didn't know we were poor until the government told us we were, and no one was homeless until someone told us we had to live in a house."

The GNWT has an essential leadership role in addressing poverty, there is no question. We also have a responsibility to carry out the role with humility, especially cultural humility, recognizing that people and communities are best able to drive solutions that are based on their lived experience and understanding and informed by the needs and priorities they articulate for themselves.

Mr. Speaker, poverty is not an Indigenous issue, but Indigenous peoples living in the Northwest Territories continue to be disproportionately impacted by poverty and the negative health and social outcomes associated with it. This is the direct result of colonial policies that have removed people from the land that sustained them, forcing them to adapt to life in settled communities, residential schools, and other institutional environments.

Investments in community health and wellness, mental health and addictions, and opportunities to reconnect to the land and culture have been essential elements of our work to address poverty and address the legacy of colonialism. Addressing the wrongs of the past and helping to create healthy, hopeful futures begins with and will be sustained by the personal development, wellness, and wellbeing of all northern peoples.

Mr. Speaker, one of the tools that we have established as part of our approach to eliminating poverty, in partnership with our communities and partners, is the Anti-Poverty Fund. Since the Anti-Poverty Fund was established in 2014, it is conservatively estimated that 13,000 people have been touched by the programming and supports. Over the years, youth and families have been the most frequent recipients of the program supports. Women, persons with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness, and elders have also benefitted from targeted programming. These efforts are essential to breaking the cycle of poverty for individuals and from generation to generation.

This year, the $1 million Anti-Poverty Fund has been allocated towards more than 40 projects across the Northwest Territories.

Through the fund, food security for children, elders, and those in need is being immediately addressed with meal and snack programs, as well as soup kitchens. It will also support longer-term solutions by investing in initiatives such as community gardens, traditional harvesting programs, and training for small-scale agricultural and poultry production.

Employment and life skills, including traditional and cultural skills, are being supported by programs all over the territory including the Tlicho Government's Dene Warriors Program; the Hay River Committee for Persons with Disabilities' Life-Skills Employment Action Program; and the Deh Cho Friendship Centre's Community Helper Program.

Housing is being addressed through numerous programs, ranging from emergency shelters to rapid rehousing projects, Housing First programs, and an extended stay program to provide extra support for women and children in crisis.

Mr. Speaker, these projects, led by community partners with financial support from our government, are examples that show how we are working together to alleviate the effects of poverty in the short term, while meaningfully addressing the root causes of poverty in the long term.

Poverty is not just an issue of income or economy. It cannot be solved by more jobs, or better-paying jobs, if those opportunities are not accompanied by social policy that respects the dignity of those who are not able to work. Social and technological change everywhere is shifting the nature of work itself, and it is more important than ever that we find ways to invest in the creativity and ingenuity of northern people to create their own opportunities, generate their own employment, and drive employment to community-based economies that are meaningful, sustainable, and grounded in culture and a way of life.

There is much work yet to be done. The GNWT is committed to ongoing leadership in the effort to address poverty in the Northwest Territories, and we are committed to continued collaboration and co-creation in the work that we do and the way that we do it. Today I want to recognize the progress that has been made so far and acknowledge the sustained efforts of all partners, including my colleagues on both sides of this House, Indigenous and community governments, NGOs and community service providers, and the business and philanthropic sectors that support our work. Thank you to all of them for their continued support to advance these programs and initiatives, and I look forward to working with you all in Hay River next week. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 127-18(3): Anti-Poverty Update
Ministers' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statement. Minister for NWT Housing Corporation.

Minister's Statement 128-18(3): Northwest Territories Housing Corporation Community Housing Plans
Ministers' Statements

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, access to housing continues to be one of the most serious issues for people in the Northwest Territories. Many new players are coming to the table with a new interest in addressing this need, and roles and responsibilities for housing delivery continue to change and evolve. Our government is committed to working with the other governments and housing stakeholders to implement Northern solutions for Northern housing to help address our high cost of living.

The federal government has come back on the scene with a potential long-term commitment under the National Housing Strategy. We are still negotiating with them on the final amount and how to use those resources. Indigenous governments are now taking more of an interest in housing delivery. Although no Indigenous governments have drawn down jurisdiction over housing, there have been offers for engagement and partnerships.

Mr. Speaker, these shifting roles and some new resources offer an opportunity to reshape housing governance, partnership, and planning in the Northwest Territories. To set the stage for more multi-stakeholder involvement in housing projects, the Housing Corporation will be working with individual communities to undertake long-term housing planning in all 33 communities in the Northwest Territories. Housing plans will be developed through a partnership involving the Housing Corporation, the community, and other stakeholders with resources and information to offer.

Mr. Speaker, our focus is to ensure that values and priorities communities have about their housing are reflected in their housing plans. By synthesizing community knowledge and perspectives with housing data and statistics, housing plans will form a comprehensive map to better direct federal and territorial governments, Indigenous governments, community governments, and private industry on future housing investments.

Mr. Speaker, the Housing Corporation has also committed to working with communities to monitor these housing plans on an ongoing basis once they have been developed. The deliverables that communities can expect include a comprehensive community profile, a needs analysis, and a housing plan with goals and outcomes we can use to measure housing changes over time. Some areas housing plans will focus on include housing needs, housing demand, health, education, crime, economic information, available land, population growth, and other factors that support a comprehensive strategic planning document.

Mr. Speaker, the Housing Corporation has undertaken discussions over the past three months with stakeholders in the Government of the Northwest Territories, the federal government, Indigenous governments, and individual communities to start the first round of housing plans for this fiscal year. A community selection process has been established, including readiness criteria that are based on community interest and stakeholder input. Key criteria include a municipal community plan, committed leadership ready to lead the housing plan process, existing advisory or other committees, and potential to hire a local facilitator to engage the community, gather local feedback, and to help plan for a community housing forum.

The Housing Corporation has presented this concept to the Tlicho Government and the Government of the Northwest Territories Housing Working Group. The Housing Corporation will be working with Tlicho representatives towards the development of community housing plans over the next year. My understanding is that Whati will be one of the first communities within the Tlicho region to begin the housing plan process. The Housing Corporation met the week of October 15 with the community's leadership to seek formal approval and agreement to participate.

The Housing Corporation has also presented this concept to the Deline Got'ine Government. The Deline leadership was anxious to proceed, and they will shortly be issuing a formal resolution to participate in this project.

The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the Gwich'in Tribal Council, and communities in the Sahtu and the South Slave regions have also expressed interest in starting plans. The Housing Corporation is targeting at least four communities, in addition to Deline and Whati, to complete plans in the next six months.

This is not planning for planning's sake, Mr. Speaker. Once the Government of the Northwest Territories and the federal government have come to an agreement under the National Housing Strategy, there will be further housing investment opportunities in all of our communities. The Housing Corporation will multiply this investment by stacking resources through its Community Housing Support Initiative, which has already seen the development of new housing in partnership with Indigenous governments such as the Salt River First Nations.

Mr. Speaker, we have all heard the saying, "Nothing about us without us." The Housing Corporation's initiative to develop 33 community housing plans meets the spirit of that saying. Investment by all our housing stakeholders will be informed by and grounded in direct feedback from the community residents, ensuring that our resources are used in the most effective way to meet community priorities. Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 128-18(3): Northwest Territories Housing Corporation Community Housing Plans
Ministers' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister for Infrastructure.

Minister's Statement 129-18(3): Energy Initiatives Update
Ministers' Statements

Wally Schumann Hay River South

The Government of the Northwest Territories has made a mandate commitment to implement the 2030 Energy Strategy. This includes renewable and alternative energy solutions and actions that the Government of the Northwest Territories and our partners will undertake to meet targets for greenhouse gas reductions in heating and power generation as well as our 10-year strategy for investing federal and other funds towards energy projects.

Later today I will table the Energy Initiatives Report 2017-2018, which provides an overview of the many energy initiatives completed last fiscal year by various government departments, Crown corporations, and partner agencies that support energy projects, programs, and services for our residents, communities, and Indigenous governments.

Our collaborative approach in these initiatives allows us to make the most of limited resources and to achieve many of our mandate commitments.

Last spring the Government of the Northwest Territories publicly released the 2030 Energy Strategy, along with the Climate Change Strategic Framework and the Northwest Territories Petroleum Resources Strategy. Together, these documents are defining our long-term vision and approach to energy and climate change and will enable the Northwest Territories to transition to a strong, healthy economy that is less dependent on fossil fuels.

The 2017-2018 Energy Initiatives Report supports the strategic objectives outlined in these three documents, which, Mr. Speaker, is a reassurance that we are on the right path.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to highlight some of the noteworthy accomplishments in the Energy Initiatives Report 2017-2018, and begin by sharing some of the projects that we advanced in the Government of the Northwest Territories' mandate commitment to continue to develop and advance initiatives to displace diesel generation in the Northwest Territories, including biomass energy projects.

The Government of the Northwest Territories installed a biomass boiler at Ecole Allain St-Cyr School, which I toured earlier today. This system will meet nearly 100 percent of the heating needs of the school. The system will save 115,000 litres of diesel, or about $130,000, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 306 tonnes per year. The Government of the Northwest Territories also installed a 950-kilowatt biomass boiler at East Three School in Inuvik, making that school the first GNWT asset in the Beaufort-Delta to install biomass heating. This system will offset 270,000 litres of propane or the equivalent of 410 tonnes of carbon dioxide. It will also provide an annual savings of close to $370,000.

Last year, we also marked the 10th anniversary of the Government of the Northwest Territories' Capital Asset Retrofit Fund, also known as CARF. As Members know, this program uses money saved through energy efficiency improvements to government buildings to further fund improvements. Over the last decade, CARF-supported initiatives that have effectively reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the Government of the Northwest Territories assets by over 10,000 tonnes annually and have displaced the equivalent of 27 million litres of diesel fuel since the program's inception, representing a nearly 24 percent reduction in annual emissions.

Mr. Speaker, our government is also fulfilling our mandate commitment to displace diesel generation through wind energy projects, including the proposed Inuvik High Point Wind Project, and assessing the feasibility of wind energy projects in other communities or regions.

The Government of the Northwest Territories is undertaking wind monitoring in Sachs Harbour to better understand wind resource potential in the High Arctic. We are also undertaking wind monitoring and data collection in Norman Wells, and collecting water flow information that could lead to a community-scale hydro project in partnership with the community of Gameti.

In 2017-2018, work continued on the Inuvik Wind Project as part of the 2030 Energy Strategy targeted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from diesel electricity by 25 percent by the year 2030. To support this project, the Government of the Northwest Territories has undertaken community outreach, including a Traditional Knowledge and Land Use Workshop in Inuvik with Gwich'in and Inuvialuit elders, land users, and youth.

Mr. Speaker, looking forward, other strategic energy initiatives are taking place. For the first time, we have secured a long-term commitment from our federal partners to invest in energy infrastructure projects and incentive programs that are tailored to advance our policy objectives and deliver on mandate commitments.

This past March, the federal government committed to fund the Government of the Northwest Territories with more than $570 million over the next 10 years under the Investing in Canada Plan. Approximately $350 million of that commitment will support the 2030 Energy Strategy and Energy Action Plan. Notable projects for which the Government of the Northwest Territories submitted applications under the agreement include the mega-size wind turbine project in Inuvik, overhauls to the aging Snare hydro system. We look forward to providing Members with further updates on these projects in the very near future.

Earlier this month, we also signed a $23 million funding agreement as part of the federal Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund. Part of this funding is being used to increase the Arctic Energy Alliance funding by approximately $9 million over four years.

Remaining funds will be used to support the new government Greenhouse Gas Grant Program, which was announced earlier this month and will provide up to $1.8 million in grants per year for community governments to undertake greenhouse gas reduction projects.

Mr. Speaker, the Energy Initiatives Report 2017-2018 is an excellent reference for those interested in learning how the Government of the Northwest Territories has linked broad policy objectives to community projects and to programs across the Northwest Territories over the last year and how it is helping the 18th Legislative Assembly fulfill mandate commitments.

Looking forward, we are focused on leveraging the significant federal investment that we have secured to advance and fulfill our mandate commitments, reducing our infrastructure gap, and ultimately improving the sustainability of our communities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 129-18(3): Energy Initiatives Update
Ministers' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

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

Minister's Statement 130-18(3): Municipal Government Elections
Ministers' Statements

November 1st, 2018

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, six community governments in the Northwest Territories had an election on October 15, 2018. These elections took place for all of our communities with city, town, or village status, including the city of Yellowknife; the towns of Hay River, Fort Smith, Norman Wells, and Inuvik; and the village of Fort Simpson.

There were 87 candidates in total, vying for 52 available seats. The large number of candidates shows that there was keen interest in the local level of government and that individuals want to serve as leaders and decision-makers for their community.

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to report that our territory continues to benefit from gender parity at the local government level, with four of the six mayor positions taken by female candidates. In total, 26 percent of the total 87 candidates for municipal office were female, and 78 percent of those candidates were successful in their bid for election.

The voter turnout rate was between 34 percent and 78 percent across the Northwest Territories. The lowest turnout rates were in communities where either the mayor or council was acclaimed.

Seventeen percent of candidates overall were acclaimed, with the mayor of Hay River and eight councillor seats for the town of Inuvik not requiring a vote. Overall, the mayor position was well contested, with two to four candidates running for mayor in each of Yellowknife, Inuvik, Fort Smith, Norman Wells, and Fort Simpson.

Local elections remain important to community residents. Being an elected official is one of the best ways that an individual can support their community in providing a safe, sustainable, and healthy environment for their residents. Congratulations to all who were elected on October 15, 2018, especially to the mayors. I look forward to working closely with Mayor Natasha Kulikowski in Inuvik, Mayor Frank Pope in Norman Wells, Mayor Sean Whelly in Fort Simpson, Mayor Rebecca Alty in Yellowknife, Mayor Kandis Jameson in Hay River, and Mayor Lynn Napier-Buckley in Fort Smith.

Many thanks to all the candidates who ran in the six communities, whether they were successful or not. People's willingness to serve is what makes democracy work, especially at the community level.

I would also like to thank the staff and volunteers who not only led the election process on behalf of the municipalities, but also those who supported candidates with their campaigns. It takes a significant effort by many people to facilitate this process behind the scenes so that residents can exercise their right to vote in elections.

Mr. Speaker, there will be an election for nine hamlet community governments on December 10, 2018. During this election, there will be 35 positions to be filled. This will be an opportunity for aspiring candidates in those communities to run and for residents to choose their leadership and determine the future direction of their community. I encourage all qualified residents to put their names forward and, especially, to get out and vote. Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 130-18(3): Municipal Government Elections
Ministers' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife North.

Air Tindi 30th Anniversary
Members' Statements

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to speak about a good-news success story stemming from the riding of Yellowknife North. It's the story of a good idea, hard work, and community partnerships that grew into a northern legend and thriving business.

Mr. Speaker, today is the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Air Tindi. On November 1, 1988 Peter and Alex Arychuk and their wives Teri and Sheila, along with eight employees and three aircraft, opened their new business. They loved aviation, loved the people the North, and brought confidence and a strong work ethic to their new airline. They started with seasonal tourism flights, wildlife surveys, and mining exploration, and grew from there.

Over time they earned loyalty and friendships among customers and communities by building a tradition of excellence, reliability, service, and safety. Starting in 1991 they have forged a total of six Aboriginal joint ventures. Continuously since 1993 Air Tindi has provided medevac services across the NWT. The diamond rush of the early 1990s boosted the airline even further, leading to growth in business and the acquisition of more-capable aircraft, like the Dash 7.

Today Air Tindi employs 200 people flying 18 aircraft. It provides vital daily connections between five communities and the capital. Its medevac crew is ready to be in the air anywhere in the NWT within 45 minutes of getting a call. In 2017 they flew over 1,200 medevac missions.

Air Tindi flies specialty charter missions of almost every description. It carried the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Blachford Lake Lodge, dog teams to the Arctic Winter Games, and a load of piglets to Gameti for the community's local agricultural project.

Mr. Speaker, like many northern businesses Air Tindi has benefitted from a focus on safety and best practices. This past year it achieved 1 million hours and three full years' operation without a lost-time injury.

The airline also grows its own northern workforce. About 30 apprentices or trainees are at Air Tindi at any given time, learning to be pilots or mechanical engineers.

Mr. Speaker, Air Tindi is truly a northern success story. After 30 years it continues to play a central role in transportation services in the NWT, providing a vital service and connecting northern communities and peoples.

Colleagues, please join me in congratulating Air Tindi on its 30th anniversary in business. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Air Tindi 30th Anniversary
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Sahtu.

Infrastructure Projects in the Sahtu
Members' Statements

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, we conclude our capital planning session.

Mr. Speaker, I recall growing up in the community of Colville Lake, and being mindful on the proposed new school facility gives me pleasure.

Mr. Speaker, in those early days we did not have a school in the community and therefore attended the Inuvik residential school.

Mr. Speaker, the Colville Lake First Nations built their own facility. Now, Mr. Speaker, the community children will soon be able to attend classes in a community-participation designed facility and no longer have to whisper from behind panels made from bookshelves.

Mr. Speaker, the community of Tulita held their first joint meeting with Infrastructure on their design input involvement to their community health centre, a true partnership approach by the Departments of Health and Social Services and Infrastructure.

Both buildings, Mr. Speaker, will contribute to building and strengthening community-based education and healthcare.

Mr. Speaker, advancing forward during 2019, I look forward to the community benefits by construction.

Mr. Speaker, in closing, I would like to extend best wishes to all Members for the remainder of 2018. Mahsi.

Infrastructure Projects in the Sahtu
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Kam Lake.