This is page numbers 3795 – 3814 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 work.


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.



The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Good afternoon, Members. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Minister of Environment and Natural Resources.

Minister's Statement 59-18(3): 2030 NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework
Ministers' Statements

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Mr. Speaker, this Legislative Assembly made a mandate commitment to develop a territorial climate change strategy that takes into account Northern energy demands and the cost of living, while reflecting international and national commitments to lower greenhouse gas emissions, exploring options for carbon pricing systems, and capturing local alternatives.

The people of the Northwest Territories are concerned about the changes they are noticing to the land and water. They want to be part of improved planning and communication around climate change, renewable energy, and energy efficiency, and they have expressed interest in transitioning to a lower carbon economy.

The 2030 NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework, which will be publically released this spring, will address the concerns and interests of our residents through three key objectives:

1. Transitioning to a strong, healthy economy that is 30 per cent less reliant on fossil fuels;

2. Improving our understanding of climate change impacts on the NWT; and

3. Building resilience and adapting to a changing climate.

Mr. Speaker, the 2030 NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework was developed through extensive engagement with Indigenous, community, territorial, and federal governments; stakeholders, such as industry and non-government

organizations; and NWT residents. It also addresses many of the findings and recommendations outlined in the Climate Change Audit released by the Office of the Auditor General in October.

During the most recent round of public engagement, we received 145 detailed comments, which were compiled and incorporated, as appropriate, into the framework. The amount of feedback received demonstrates the importance of this issue to Northerners. A "what we heard" document summarizing these comments is being finalized and will be posted on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources website in the coming weeks.

Following the release of the Climate Change Strategic Framework, an action plan for its implementation will also be finalized. This plan will guide the NWT as we begin work to achieve the goals outlined in the framework over the next five years. Annual reviews will ensure we are making progress. Every five years, another five-year action plan will be developed so that we continue to meet the coming challenges and opportunities presented by climate change.

Partnerships with Indigenous governments, communities, and stakeholders will be critical for the successful implementation of the action plan. Environment and Natural Resources will continue strong leadership and coordination within the NWT and with other provinces, territories, and the federal government to ensure its success.

Mr. Speaker, when it is completed, the 2030 Climate Change Strategic Framework will closely align with related plans and strategies being developed by our government, including the 2030 Energy Strategy, the NWT Petroleum Resources Strategy, and our approach to carbon pricing in the NWT. This coordinated approach to energy and climate change will build on our previous successes to ensure the future sustainability of our communities and lay out a clear vision that will benefit all NWT residents.

This work will take time to achieve, Mr. Speaker, but with a clear plan, we will all benefit from this long-term vision for generations to come.

The government has worked diligently to ensure the voices of our Indigenous governments, communities, and residents have been included in this comprehensive framework that will provide us with a roadmap to greater climate change mitigation, resiliency, and adaptation over the next 12 years.

I would like to thank everyone who took the time to provide their input into the future of climate change mitigation and adaptation in the Northwest Territories, and I look forward to bringing forward the 2030 NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework this spring. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 59-18(3): 2030 NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework
Ministers' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

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

Minister's Statement 60-18(3): On The Land Collaborative Fund
Ministers' Statements

March 12th, 2018

Glen Abernethy Great Slave

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to provide Members with an update on the NWT On the Land Collaborative. We know that on the land programs contribute to community wellness, healing, healthy living, and environmental stewardship and protection. These are fundamental goals of our government's mandate. Residents have also been clear in telling us that opportunities to be on the land are important to them. That is why, in addition to community wellness and programming supports, our government worked with partners to launch a new type of funding model, the NWT On the Land Collaborative, three years ago.

The funding collaborative approach brings people together: government; the charitable sector; business and industry; and other community partners, so that we can combine our efforts and pool our resources, including funding, expertise, tools and equipment, and other supports. The Department of Health and Social Services was a proud partner in the creation of the NWT On the Land Collaborative in 2014, and has continued to work closely with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Tides Canada, and the NWT Recreation and Parks Association as the administrative leads for the collaborative.

At its heart, the collaborative's goal is to find new approaches to meet shared priorities across sectors. Businesses, governments, and charitable organizations contribute financial and human resources collectively to maximize the overall impact and benefit to NWT residents. This partnership approach has shown great success towards improving the lives and well-being of NWT residents and has proven to be an efficient and effective use of resources.

Mr. Speaker, one of the most innovative elements of the collaborative, and a key to its success, is the participation of community advisors who are appointed by participating Indigenous governments. We have been fortunate to have representatives from the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Gwich'in Tribal Council, Tlicho Government, Dehcho First Nations, NWT


Nation, and Akaitcho Territory Government sitting at the table as equal partners throughout the creation of the collaborative and its ongoing work. Community advisors are an amazing resource for anyone applying for funding through the collaborative, and they contribute a huge amount of time and effort towards helping people through the application process. They also provide invaluable insight and guidance to the other partners to help them make good decisions about how to allocate funding.

With the help of community advisors and the continued commitment of funding partners, this innovative approach to support land-based programming has seen tremendous success since it was first launched, and has reached an important milestone this year.

Mr. Speaker, this year the NWT On the Land Collaborative has successfully grown its funding pot to $1 million. To provide some context, three short years ago the collaborative distributed $381,850 to 35 projects in year one, followed by $634,845 for 35 projects in year two. Now, with $1 million available, this year the collaborative will support 48 land-based initiatives across the territory, with more than half of these projects receiving full funding. This remarkable growth is made possible through the increased support of existing partners and by welcoming new partners to the table.

Two more GNWT Departments have joined the collaborative and have committed time and funding this year. I would like to acknowledge my colleagues from the Departments of Education, Culture and Employment and Industry, Tourism and Investment for seeing value in the work that the collaborative makes possible. I would also like to recognize my colleague from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, who was an early partner and supporter of this initiative. Most importantly, Mr. Speaker, I want to acknowledge and congratulate the other sector partners for believing in the On the Land Collaborative and recognize their continued support: Tides Canada, Dominion Diamond Corporation, the NWT Recreation and Parks Association, the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, Diavik Diamond Mine, Health Canada, and the Gordon Foundation.

As has been the case in previous years, a wide range of grant amounts and project types will be supported in 2018. Small grant recipients include an ice fishing program in Whati and a land and culture-based retreat for LGBTQ+ students and their allies in the South Slave. Medium-sized grants will allow the Ulukhaktok Community Corporation to run a summer language camp for young people in their community, and Chief Julius School in Fort McPherson to immerse students in traditional Gwich'in culture while travelling on the Peel River. Large grants have been awarded to the Dehcho First Nations' Stewardship and Guardian Program, and the Tulita Dene Band's walking journey along traditional trails for elders and youth.

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all of the collaborative partners, I want to congratulate all of the recipients and thank all of the applicants for their leadership and dedication to on the land activities in their communities. I also want to recognize all of the partners whose continued commitment to the NWT On the Land Collaborative is supporting meaningful programming in our communities and is contributing to the health and wellness of our residents. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 60-18(3): On The Land Collaborative Fund
Ministers' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister of Infrastructure.

Minister's Statement 61-18(3): Transportation Corridors
Ministers' Statements

Wally Schumann Hay River South

Mr. Speaker, as per the mandate of the Government of the Northwest Territories and the commitments made in the 25-year Transportation Strategy, the Government of the Northwest Territories has been working to secure funding to advance planning and construction of critical transportation corridors in the Northwest Territories.

The Government of the Northwest Territories' three proposed transportation corridors, the Tlicho all-season road, the Slave Geological Province Access Corridor, and the Mackenzie Valley Highway, will bring great benefits to the Northwest Territories. These corridors will connect residents to the services they rely on, stabilize the cost of living, provide well-paying jobs and training opportunities, and increase our resiliency to the effects of climate change. The corridors will also support northern industry and businesses by providing a gateway for increased trade and development.

We are getting closer to improving access for residents of the Tlicho region. The Tlicho all-season road project will be funded using a P3 model, with the Government of Canada covering 25 per cent of the costs. In December 2017, the GNWT signed the final financial agreement for the project with Canada and issued a request for proposals for construction. Three preferred proponents identified through the request for qualifications stage were invited to submit proposals. The RFP was released in alignment with the environmental regulatory schedule, and will allow ample time for the proponents to prepare the required documents. A report of environmental assessment is expected to be released by the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board later this month.

Mr. Speaker, as we await critical decisions regarding the Tlicho all-season road, the Government of the Northwest Territories continues to work with the federal government to deliver meaningful investment in the two other transportation corridors. In November of last year, the Government of the Northwest Territories submitted comprehensive project proposals for the Slave Geological Province Access Corridor and Mackenzie Valley Highway to Transport Canada for funding consideration under the National Trade Corridors Fund. Up to $400 million in funding is being dedicated to transportation projects in the three territories under this program. The funding allocated to projects will be based on merit, with a focus on trade corridor efficiency and reliability.

Construction of an all-weather road into the Slave Geological Province Access Corridor would address the lack of access to this mineral-rich part of Canada. The project would increase our resiliency to the impacts of climate change, while significantly reducing associated additional costs and operational difficulties for the mining industry. All-weather road access would also support the delivery of green energy projects, such as the Taltson Hydro Expansion Project, which would ensure a more sustainable energy system for the Northwest Territories and Canada.

Extension of the all-weather Mackenzie Valley Highway would increase intercommunity mobility in the Sahtu Region. The Government of the Northwest Territories is working closely with the Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated to advance the project. The highway would replace the existing winter road into the region, which is currently affected by the impacts of climate change, resulting in increased maintenance costs, travel and resupply delays, and potential safety risks. It would allow for increased traffic volumes and weights along this corridor, resulting in efficiencies in the delivery of essential goods and lowering the cost of living in communities. Increased economic development could be enabled by providing increased access to mineral and petroleum resources in the region and reducing costs of production and exploration.

The Government of the Northwest Territories' proposals under the National Trade Corridors Fund identified funding for all project phases, with a focus on next priority phases. This includes replacement of the Frank Channel Bridge for the Slave Geological Province Access Corridor, construction of the Great Bear River Bridge for the Mackenzie Valley Highway, and undertaking environmental assessment and planning activities for both projects. It is anticipated that decisions around this first round of proposals will be announced in April.

These project proposals will also be shared with the Canada Infrastructure Bank, as there is significant opportunity to fund other phases of both projects under the bank. The Infrastructure Bank will provide $35 billion over 11 years using loans, loan guarantees, and equity investments. The bank will focus its investments on large, transformative, revenue-generating projects, including transportation networks. At this time, we are still awaiting additional details about the operations of the bank.

Mr. Speaker, we are in the early days with regard to the extension of the all-weather Mackenzie Valley Highway and the Slave Geological Province Access Corridor. As we move toward securing funding for the projects, we will continue to engage Indigenous groups and work with them to take advantage of the benefits that the projects will bring. We will also work closely with these groups and our counterparts in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to ensure ongoing protection of wildlife and the natural environment.

Mr. Speaker, strong, effective partnerships with the federal government and Indigenous governments are essential to the success of these projects. Together, we can improve transportation connectivity across the territory, helping achieve our social and economic goals and improve the quality of life of the North. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 61-18(3): Transportation Corridors
Ministers' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

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

2018 Arctic Winter Games
Members' Statements

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, can you feel it? Can you feel the excitement? It's in the air because the 2018 Arctic Winter Games are almost here. The towns of Hay River and Fort Smith have been busy for the past three years getting ready for the 25th Arctic Winter Games, and now the final preparations are being made to put on what will undoubtedly be the biggest event this territory has seen in the past decade, and that is being modest.

We are less than a week away from the opening ceremonies on March 18th at the Hay River Recreation Centre. Mr. Speaker, what a way to break in the brand new recreation centre, and when I say brand new, I mean brand new. It opens tomorrow.

Mr. Speaker, it's a thing of beauty. That facility is undeniably the most beautiful sports and recreation centre in the NWT, and it alone is worth a trip to Hay River.

The opening ceremonies will be a spectacle that you do not want to miss, but that is just one of the many things to see and do during the week-long games.

Do you like sports? There will be badminton, ski biathlon, snowshoe biathlon, Dene games, dog mushing, futsal, gymnastics, hockey, snowshoeing, volleyball, wrestling. I am still going, Mr. Speaker. There will be arctic sports, basketball, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, snowboarding, speed skating, and table tennis. Hay River is host to 11 events. Fort Smith is hosting nine.

There will be competitors from Nunavut; Yukon; Nunavik; Northern Alberta; Greenland; Alaska; Yamalo, Russia; Sapmi; and, of course, the Northwest Territories. The 353 Members of Team NWT include athletes, coaches, mission staff, and cultural performers, and I have to give a shout-out to the participants from Hay River North, athletes Trey Beck, Riella Bordey, Nicole Griffiths, Layne Leonard, Chandelle Leonard, and coach Therese Fordy.

If sports aren't your thing, that's not a problem, Mr. Speaker, because each contingent is bringing cultural delegates who will showcase cultures and talents from around the circumpolar world. There will be daily cultural performances in Fort Smith and a cultural gala on March 23rd at Fort Smith's Catholic cathedral. The Arctic Winter Games marketplace will be held at the Chief Sunrise school gym at the K'atlodeeche First Nation Reserve, and it will be a must-see. There are also to be a number of exhibits and workshops in both communities that you will not want to miss.

There is going to be a lot to see, so don't forget to bring your camera, and, when you are taking a selfie with Kechi, the AWG mascot, don't forget to wear your official Arctic Winter Games gear, available at stores throughout the South Slave.

Finally, thank you to the host society, the sponsors, and all of the volunteers who are making these games a reality, and, of course, good luck to all of the athletes. So come one, come all, and find your power at the 2018 Arctic Winter Games. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

2018 Arctic Winter Games
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

What a way to start Monday afternoon. Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake.

Giant Mine Remediation Project Socio-Economic Benefits
Members' Statements

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I don't know if I can top that. So, I attended a public meeting on the Giant Mine remediation project last week. This will be the largest-ever project for Yellowknife, at over $1 billion, with up to 250 to 300 jobs for at least 10 years, then jobs in perpetual care. The federal government awarded the main construction management contract to US-based Parsons Corporation, a US company. The $600 million contract will begin as early as 2020 and may run as long as 22 years.

While our community continues to deal with the terrible legacies of the Giant Mine, the remediation represents a very significant opportunity for major socio-economic benefits. Unfortunately, the federal government does not have strong procurement requirements for northern benefits. For example, in the main construction management contract, only 10 per cent of the total hours are targeted for Indigenous employees, with only a 2 per cent penalty if the target is not met.

The federal government wants to use Parsons to manage the remaining work and incorporate unknown northern targets. There does not appear to be any overall socio-economic benefits strategy with clear targets or binding minimum requirements: not good enough.

For the diamond mines, northern employment targets range from 30 to 60 per cent, increasing during the operational phase. Local purchase of goods and services targets range from 28 to 70 per cent, again increasing with the operational phase. There are additional requirements for literacy training, employment of women, monitoring, and reporting. None of these things seem to be in place for the Giant Mine remediation.

This project has the potential to develop world-class expert capacity in remediation management, supply, and technology. A huge amount of remediation work is still required in the North, including the more than 700 sites identified under the devolution agreement and others such as Norman Wells and Faro, in the Yukon.

There have to be better ways to ensure Northerners benefit from the remediation at Giant Mine. To get around federal restrictions, we need a formal socio-economic agreement for this project so that funds flow through GNWT as we seem to be able to incorporate more comprehensive targets than the federal government is willing to set. I will have questions for the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources about northern benefits to be gained from the Giant Mine remediation and how we can begin to develop the remediation economy. Mahsi. Mr. Speaker.

Giant Mine Remediation Project Socio-Economic Benefits
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Nahendeh.

Recognition Of Volunteer Darcy Lafferty
Members' Statements

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in times of hardship, the communities of the Nahendeh riding always come together. A valuable Member of the riding is Darcy Lafferty of Fort Simpson.

For the last couple of years, Darcy has been a reliable non-medical escort for many patients in the Nahendeh riding. He realized the value of being a non-medical escort after he escorted his father when he was ill. Darcy began accompanying friends and family so that he could be there for them in their time of need, like he was there for his father. Soon enough, Darcy became known as a very reliable escort by all patients, so they began to request him by name.

Thus far, Darcy Lafferty has escorted patients on more than 70 appointments. Although most trips are to Yellowknife, Darcy has accompanied patients to Edmonton. His longest trip was six days long. He sits next to the patients going to and from Yellowknife or Edmonton and riding back home to and from appointments, and calming their nerves when they are nervous. He is relied upon by the patients and residents. He puts them at ease and ensures that the patient knows what is going on. He is punctual in getting them to their appointments and making sure he has all the patients need.

Darcy is always prepared. For himself, he always has a packed bag at home in case he comes back from escorting one patient and has to go the next day escorting another. Despite facing difficult challenges during certain medical trips, Darcy continues to serve with a smile and continues to accept patients when requested. Darcy's commitment while escorting patients is 24/7. He never leaves the patients, even during times outside of the medical appointment. Darcy is so reliable that other patients at the boarding home who Darcy is not escorting will request his assistance. Darcy gladly helps them out after checking that the patient he is escorting is okay with them.

Mr. Speaker, Darcy has served a valuable role for our medical system, supporting patients. Unfortunately, it is tiring and he has missed out on employment opportunities as a result. An ironic thing about this is that, when Darcy required a medical escort, he had nobody available.

Due to challenges in our region, it is increasingly difficult to find non-medical travel escorts. Some patients have no families to accompany him, and those close to them are unable to leave home and Darcy is their saving grace. I would like to thank Darcy from myself and the residents. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Recognition Of Volunteer Darcy Lafferty
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Deh Cho.