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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 going.

Topics

MEMBERS PRESENT

Hon. Glen Abernethy, Mr. Beaulieu, Mr. Blake, Hon. Caroline Cochrane, Ms. Green, Hon. Jackson Lafferty, Hon. Bob McLeod, Hon. Robert McLeod, 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

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Good afternoon, colleagues. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Minister of Justice.

Minister’s Statement 20-18(3): Transparency On Resource Royalties
Ministers' statements

Louis Sebert Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, in responding to oral question 77‑18 (3), I referenced the Bauer report and stated that I thought royalties received by the government of the Northwest Territories would be approximately $83 million a year. I have reviewed the Bauer report and the main estimates and would like to take this opportunity to correct the record. According to the main estimates, non‑renewable resource revenue for 2015‑2016 was $58,346,000, and for the following year was $63,284,000. I apologize for any misunderstanding this may have caused. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 20-18(3): Transparency On Resource Royalties
Ministers' statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

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

Minister’s Statement 21-18(3): Recognizing Northwest Territories Olympians
Ministers' statements

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Mr. Speaker, today I rise as the Minister responsible for Sport to congratulate three prominent athletes, all with ties to the Northwest Territories, who are competing for Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. On behalf of the Government of the Northwest Territories and all of our residents, I am proud to speak today about Brendan Green, Jesse Cockney, and Kevin Koe.

Hay River’s Brendan Green will represent Canada in men’s biathlon events. Brendan was a member of Team NWT at the Arctic Winter Games in Yellowknife in 1998 and in Whitehorse in 2000. He has competed in the Canada Games in 2007 in both biathlon and cross-country skiing, where he won gold in the cross-country skiing event. As his career advanced, he reached the ultimate achievement in sport, appearances at the Olympic Games in Vancouver in 2010 and again in Sochi in 2014. Through his career, the Government of the Northwest Territories has been proudly supporting him through the High Performance Athlete Grant program going back to 2005. His hard work, dedication and commitment make him a strong role model for young athletes across the Northwest Territories.

Jesse Cockney started cross-country skiing in Yellowknife at age three. He carries on the proud family tradition in the sport. His father, Angus Cockney, a former TEST Skier was an accomplished artist, represented the Northwest Territories on a number of occasions and won two gold medals at the Canada Games in 1975. As Jesse continued to advance in his own career, he, too, reached the podium with three gold medals at the 2011 Canada Winter Games. He would go on to make his Olympic debut in Sochi in 2014. In addition to his rigorous training, Jesse takes the time to be actively involved in mentoring other young Indigenous athletes.

Kevin Koe. Kevin comes from the well-known Koe family of curlers, and got his start in the sport in his earlier days in Yellowknife. Kevin participated in the Arctic Winter Games in 1992 in Whitehorse and in 1994 in Slave Lake. He is a three-time Canadian champion and two-time world curling champion. I am sure the family is brimming with pride as Kevin attends his first Olympic Games as a member of Team Canada. While Kevin now makes his home in Alberta, we in the Northwest Territories still take pride in claiming him as one of our own.

Winter sports are natural to Northwest Territories athletes. Sports not only keep our residents healthy and strong, but they develop lifelong teamwork and leadership skills. We are proud of all of our athletes, and having three athletes from the Northwest Territories reaching this level of success is empowering. These are true role models for all Northwest Territories residents, from children to seniors, whether you’re a weekend warrior or a high-performance athlete.

It is with great pride that, on behalf of all residents of the Northwest Territories, I acknowledge the achievements of these Northern Olympians, and wish them great success in Pyeongchang. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister’s Statement 21-18(3): Recognizing Northwest Territories Olympians
Ministers' statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment.

Minister's Statement 22-18(3): What We Heard And Next Steps – Creation Of The Mineral Resources Act
Ministers' statements

Wally Schumann Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, our government committed to providing support for mineral exploration and the mining sector, and to support the territorial vision of land and resource management in accordance with the Land Use and Sustainability Framework. The proposed Mineral Resources Act will be a landmark, made-in-the-North legislation for our territory, and we are investing in its drafting with this degree of importance.

As we work to develop what will be the NWT’s first-ever homegrown mining legislation, the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment has completed its most extensive public engagement since devolution.

The extent of our public engagement and the themes that emerged from it are highlighted in the What We Heard Report released last month in association with our government’s work and investment in the AME Roundup.

Our 120-day public engagement period closed on December 1st last year. In total, the department received 516 oral and written submissions from NWT residents, Indigenous governments and organizations, industry, NGOs, and stakeholders.

Three hundred and twenty-eight people participated in one-on-one engagement sessions that took place in Fort Smith, Fort Simpson, Hay River, Inuvik, Norman Wells, Behchoko, and Yellowknife.

ITI’s engagement portal received over 2,700 visits. While the broad public engagement period is now closed, a second round of targeted follow-up meetings are now being held with key stakeholders, and close to 200 people, subscribed to the project’s newsletter, will continue to be informed of progress on this file.

As we advance through the drafting process, we will also continue to meet and work with the Inter-Governmental Council and reach out to key stakeholders and subject matter experts to ensure our bill is the best product possible and will meet the needs of NWT residents.

Mr. Speaker, our engagement has sparked a great deal of discussion around royalties. It is undoubtedly one of many whole-of-government discussions we need to have as we take ownership and responsibility for our future post-devolution.

Royalties directly impact the profitability and viability of resource development projects in the NWT. While we must get the best deal possible for NWT residents, we must also remember that we are almost wholly reliant on these projects to protect the economic environment that we already have.

Capturing the economic benefit of resource development for the people of the Northwest Territories is a serious matter, but we will not be reviewing our resource royalty regime as part of our work on this proposed act.

I can assure Members that we will have the discussion, and when we do, it will be in the context of a broad fiscal review that includes and considers our existing taxes and other revenue collection methods related to the mining sector.

Mr. Speaker, what we heard during public engagement, along with a consideration of key elements, the results of our scoping exercise, cross-jurisdictional reviews, and policy research, will now guide and inform the development of the new Mineral Resources Act.

I look forward to working with Members of this Legislative Assembly as this process continues to move forward. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 22-18(3): What We Heard And Next Steps – Creation Of The Mineral Resources Act
Ministers' statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

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

Hay River Beautification Committee
Members' Statements

February 12th, 2018

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, each week of this sitting, I am going to use one of my Member's statements to highlight one of Hay River's many non-profit organizations. With only five weeks left, I will barely make a dent, but it is worth starting to recognize those who make differences in our community.

Mr. Speaker, whenever anyone visits Hay River, especially in the summer, they always comment on how beautiful it is. Of course, much of that is thanks to the natural landscape, but a debt of gratitude is also owed to the Hay River Beautification Committee.

As the name implies, the Beautification Committee leads and promotes several initiatives to beautify public and private spaces around Hay River. If you happen to be walking or driving around town and you see some flowers or some art and you think, "Oh, that is nice," there is a good chance the Beautification Committee had a hand in it one way or another. The all-volunteer committee, with the help of residents, is responsible for the schools of decorative fish found on fences throughout town; the pots of flowers surrounding mailboxes; the wooden boats that are used as planters and teem with plants and flowers in the summer; the benches that line the walking trail along the river; and much more.

Perhaps what the Committee is most known for is its annual “Yards in Bloom” competition, which encourages individuals and organizations to showcase their gardening skills. This encouragement has really paid off, and the effort that people put into their yards and gardens around Hay River, even if they’re not competing, is remarkable. Last year, there were 156 official entrants into the competition. Awards are given for the best yards in each of the six areas of town in the categories of either master or amateur gardener. There is also the Blooming with No Space award, the People’s Choice Award, and of course the Darm Crook Overall Winner.

In addition to aesthetic improvements to the community, the Beautification Committee also collaborates with other organizations to help the environment. For example, the committee teamed up with Ecology North to encourage the planting of flowers that support bees and to promote the important role bees play in our ecosystem.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I want to encourage the committee to keep up the good work and thank them for making the world a more beautiful place. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Hay River Beautification Committee
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife North.

Cannabis Policy
Members' Statements

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, later this year cannabis will become legal in Canada. A lot of Canadians think it is about time. People have been smoking cannabis for years. Its impacts are minor compared to things like alcohol, and medicinal marijuana has been legal for some time now.

For others, it is dangerous ground with potential risks for young people, public safety, health impacts, impaired driving. All of these concerns are important to carefully consider.

Canada will be the first G20 nation to legalize and regulate cannabis at the national level. How should it be regulated and managed? How do we make sure it is safe? How do we best take advantage of its economic potentials?

That potential is enormous, and that is the piece I want to talk about. It is estimated that, in BC alone, the illicit cannabis industry is worth $5 billion a year. After legalization, that kind of money will be available to be channelled into the public sphere, where it can help fund regulation, research, education, medical applications, and economic development. Because it is an entirely new system, when we design our regulatory system we must remember our mandate goals, in particular, our commitment to diversifying the economy.

Some northern entrepreneurs have already made their case. They want to get into the cannabis business and are prepared to work with the government as partners moving forward. There are plenty of provincial models we can look to for examples of private retailing.

In Vancouver, over the past year, newly designed dispensaries are providing an enhanced customer service shopping experience for sales of cannabis products. They offer professional sales, expert-level product knowledge, and effective products.

Even Nunavut is considering some level of private enterprise participation. They recognize that, with public oversight, there is potential for private sector benefits and efficiencies in the marketing of cannabis.

Mr. Speaker, it is important that, from the outset, our management regime should commit to the spreading of the wealth, permitting and encouraging private sector participation in this new industry. Private sector participation will not compromise responsible public oversight.

I fear if we say, "Well, we will do it later," then when later comes, consumers will be buying elsewhere and the prospect will be lost. Mr. Speaker, now is the time to make sure that we don't allow a valuable opportunity for economic growth and diversification to pass us by.

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

Cannabis Policy
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Kam Lake.

Updating Cities, Towns And Villages Act
Members' Statements

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Mr. Speaker, the 33 communities of the Northwest Territories are governed by a suite of territorial legislation made up of the Hamlets Act, the Charter Communities Act, and the Cities, Towns and Villages Act, all of which were enacted in 2003. Together, these statutes provide the legal authority for municipal operations in all of our communities.

The Cities, Towns and Villages Act, also referred to as the "CTV Act," governs the larger communities in the Northwest Territories, including the City of Yellowknife. It provides the essential legal framework establishing a municipality and authorizing it to conduct business. It prescribes the roles and duties of the mayor, council members, and municipal employees. It sets out how records must be kept, the power of a municipality to enter into contracts, and its legal authority to own property.

The act also establishes the legislative powers of municipalities, setting out their authority to pass bylaws and placing limitations on that authority. It governs how a municipality must manage its financial affairs, including borrowing and debt management. As well, the act governs how a municipality must interact with members of the public, including provisions for public notice, voter petitions, and access to public places.

Mr. Speaker, our municipal governments do a big job. They ensure our citizens have access to vital front-line services. They keep the traffic moving, the water flowing, and they make sure our residents are safe and able to participate in programs that support vibrant community living. Municipalities need all the help they can get from this government. They deserve to operate with up‑to‑date legislation that helps them get the job done in today's fast‑paced world.

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, the City, Towns and Villages Act has not had the benefit of any comprehensive review or substantive updating since it was passed 15 years ago. The act is administered by the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs. During the review of this department's budget, Regular Members and the Standing Committee on Government Operations have repeatedly expressed deep reservations about the ability of this department to meet its own legislative agenda.

During the review of MACA's 2016‑2017 Main Estimates, the deputy minister at the time acknowledged in this House that the legislation requires a lot of amendments, including those that have been requested by the NWT Association of Communities "over the years."

Mr. Speaker, Members of this Assembly are growing increasingly frustrated with the slow pace of legislative change from this government. Above all, we are put here by our constituents to do the job of passing legislation. Let's get on with the CTV Act amendments, and let's get our cities, towns, and villages the help that they need. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Updating Cities, Towns And Villages Act
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake.

Carbon Pricing
Members' Statements

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. Regular MLAs and the public have heard almost nothing from our Cabinet colleagues on the issue of carbon pricing since the fall of 2017. On July 26 of last year, the Minister of Finance released a discussion paper and public comment closed on September 15. A public survey was also conducted.

Although the discussion paper shows a heavy anti‑tax bias, the right questions were generally asked in terms of taxes versus cap and trade, revenue use, sectoral distribution, implementation, and reporting. Where are the results of this public engagement? Here we are, five months later, and our government has not released a "What We Heard" report. There has been no policy direction, no legislative proposal, nothing in the budget, and hardly a mention in the NWT Energy Strategy or the Climate Change Strategic Framework. What are we waiting for?

The federal government released proposed legislation for carbon pricing on January 15 of this year. Letters were also sent to all provincial and territorial Premiers setting a March 30, 2018, deadline for choosing the federal backstop or developing their own system to be in place by the end of 2018.

The federal carbon pricing system has two elements:

• A charge on fossil fuels (for example, gasoline, diesel, propane, natural gas), which would be paid by fuel producers or distributers.

• An output-based pricing system for industrial facilities with high levels of emissions.

What will our government do with regard to carbon pricing? Does our government even believe in carbon pricing or climate change? There continues to be rumours of the NWT getting some kind of exemption, which this government has been pushing for all along. Has this government finally accepted our responsibility to address climate change with carbon pricing?

Since we've heard so little from our Cabinet on climate change, I will have questions later today. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.