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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 report.

Topics

Committee Motion 45-18(3): Committee Report 6-18(3): Standing Committee On Government Operations Report On The Review Of The 2017 Report Of The Auditor General Of Canada On Climate Change In The Northwest Territories - Ministerial Round Table On Climate Change In The Northwest Territories, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Question has been called. All those in favour? All those opposed?

---Carried

Mr. Testart.

Committee Motion 46-18(3): Committee Report 6-18(3): Standing Committee On Government Operations Report On The Review Of The 2017 Report Of The Auditor General Of Canada On Climate Change In The Northwest Territories - Development Of Procedural Authoritative Instruments, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I move that this Assembly recommend that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources give consideration to the development of the following procedural authoritative instruments: a territorial climate change act; a formal GNWT climate change policy; memoranda of understanding, identifying ministerial and departmental responsibilities for climate change initiatives; and an assessment exercise designed to identify and provide the department with sufficient capacity to fulfill its leadership role; and further, that ENR report back to the committee on its consideration of these recommendations, identifying those procedural authoritative instruments that it will adopt, together with reasons for any decision to not proceed with these instruments. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 46-18(3): Committee Report 6-18(3): Standing Committee On Government Operations Report On The Review Of The 2017 Report Of The Auditor General Of Canada On Climate Change In The Northwest Territories - Development Of Procedural Authoritative Instruments, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you, Mr. Testart. There is a motion on the floor. To the motion. Mr. Testart.

Committee Motion 46-18(3): Committee Report 6-18(3): Standing Committee On Government Operations Report On The Review Of The 2017 Report Of The Auditor General Of Canada On Climate Change In The Northwest Territories - Development Of Procedural Authoritative Instruments, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Again, over the course of our review of the Auditor General's findings, the Auditor General was quite clear that authorities were not in place to allow ENR to fulfill its leadership role in the previous greenhouse gas strategy, and some of the items that are contained in this motion are the kinds of instruments that were suggested to us as examples by the Auditor General's Office as the kind of authoritative instruments that ENR could employ to strengthen its leadership role.

Over the course of our hearings, this point was somewhat lost. We wanted to ensure that the committee was very clear in what it is recommending. We appreciate that the deputy minister, in this case, is being very proactive in his role of reaching out to communities, to stakeholders, to other GNWT departments in the work on climate change, and we appreciate that the Minister responsible sits on a Cabinet committee and these discussions are ongoing, but the committee wants to ensure that, apart from those working relationships, there are clear authoritative instruments that allow the department to be the lead on a whole-of-government approach to climate change. What we are proposing, I think, will greatly help the government in its decision-making around climate change and ensuring that all departments are working together.

This goes back to a longstanding view of many of the honourable Members of this House that the silos need to come down in the public service and in the government's various departments and public agencies. We need to find formal ways to work together and also informal ways. I think the GNWT has developed great informal ways to work together. Now we need to strengthen the formal ways so that we can give solid leadership roles to ENR, in this case. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 46-18(3): Committee Report 6-18(3): Standing Committee On Government Operations Report On The Review Of The 2017 Report Of The Auditor General Of Canada On Climate Change In The Northwest Territories - Development Of Procedural Authoritative Instruments, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you, Mr. Testart. Mr. O'Reilly.

Committee Motion 46-18(3): Committee Report 6-18(3): Standing Committee On Government Operations Report On The Review Of The 2017 Report Of The Auditor General Of Canada On Climate Change In The Northwest Territories - Development Of Procedural Authoritative Instruments, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks, Mr. Chair. In my first set of comments, I neglected to thank the committee members and, obviously, the Auditor General. In fact, the Auditor General himself came to Yellowknife for the hearing. There was a lot of hard work that was put into this report by the committee, and I sincerely thank them and thank them for the opportunity to participate in their review of the report.

I just want to make sure that my Cabinet colleagues focus on the report. This is the most important recommendation that comes out of this whole exercise, and it's about leadership. I am just going to quote one sentence from the audit itself. It says, "Overall, we found that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources did not fulfil its leadership role and meet its commitments on climate change." That is a pretty serious finding. Now, when we heard from the department, the Minister, the deputy minister, on this, they did provide us with a draft action plan in response to the audit findings, and, on this particular item around leadership, the idea would be that there would be an assistant deputy minister's climate change committee set up. Well, actually, it has been in operation since 2016. There were really no other ideas in here, even from the discussion that was held, about how to make sure that the proper authority and structure is in place to make sure that we can do the work that is required on climate change. Committee heard from the department, from the Minister, the deputy minister, and I have looked, we have looked, at the Climate Change Strategic Framework. There were no ideas about how to make sure the proper authority is in place, proper structures are in place, to make sure that we achieve those greenhouse gas reductions that are required as part of the international and national obligations that this government has signed on to. The leadership structure is just not there from what the committee heard.

So committee did some thinking around this. We have made some suggestions about how to make sure that the proper authority and structures are in place to make sure that we can deliver on those commitments. That is what this recommendation is about. A climate change act formalizing the roles and responsibilities is one way to do it. A Cabinet-approved policy is another option. Making sure that climate change is incorporated into the way that Cabinet submissions are prepared, financial management board decisions are made, those are some other ways to ensure that we are able to deliver on the climate change commitments that we have agreed to as a government. So this, as I said, is the most important recommendation coming out of the entire report to make sure that we can succeed at the end of the day, so I really urge our Cabinet colleagues to focus on this one in particular. There are some good ideas here, and I look forward to a positive response from our Cabinet colleagues moving forward so that we can all share in the success of making sure that we achieve our climate change objectives, policies, targets, and move forward together and benefit all of the residents of the Northwest Territories. Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 46-18(3): Committee Report 6-18(3): Standing Committee On Government Operations Report On The Review Of The 2017 Report Of The Auditor General Of Canada On Climate Change In The Northwest Territories - Development Of Procedural Authoritative Instruments, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you, Mr. O'Reilly. To the motion. Question has been called. All those in favour? All those opposed? The motion is carried.

---Carried

Mr. Testart.

Committee Motion 47-18(3): Committee Report 6-18(3): Standing Committee On Government Operations Report On The Review Of The 2017 Report Of The Auditor General Of Canada On Climate Change In The Northwest Territories - Fulfilment Of Wildlife Management Actions Recommended By The Office Of The Auditor General, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Mr. Chair, I move that this Assembly recommend that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources identify in its own Climate Change Strategic Framework Action Plan specific measures that will be undertaken, with the associated timelines, to fulfil the wildlife management actions recommended by the Office of the Auditor General, including the development of an inventory of commitments already identified as important to addressing climate change impacts on wildlife, with a view to ensuring those commitments are met. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 47-18(3): Committee Report 6-18(3): Standing Committee On Government Operations Report On The Review Of The 2017 Report Of The Auditor General Of Canada On Climate Change In The Northwest Territories - Fulfilment Of Wildlife Management Actions Recommended By The Office Of The Auditor General, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you, Mr. Testart. To the motion. Mr. Testart.

Committee Motion 47-18(3): Committee Report 6-18(3): Standing Committee On Government Operations Report On The Review Of The 2017 Report Of The Auditor General Of Canada On Climate Change In The Northwest Territories - Fulfilment Of Wildlife Management Actions Recommended By The Office Of The Auditor General, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chair. This is another area that committee found that the department had agreed with the Auditor General's finding, that there were significant issues with the management of wildlife species identified "at-risk" and that there was a piecemeal approach where certain species were prioritized over others. There are statutory obligations for protection of all species of risk, and, although the department agreed with the Auditor General's finding, their response was largely to maintain the status quo as to how they had been managing these resources. Although committee appreciates that there are limited resources available to any branch of this government, there are statutory obligations in place to protect these species, and, at the end of the day, our role in this audit process is to ensure that the obligations that the government sets for itself are in fact being met. This recommendation is largely designed to address those concerns as our evidence found that the department's response to date has not been satisfactory in directly and effectively responding to the Auditor General's findings. I will conclude there, Mr. Chair, but I hope that we develop a more systematic approach to protecting species at risk in the Northwest Territories. Thank you.

Committee Motion 47-18(3): Committee Report 6-18(3): Standing Committee On Government Operations Report On The Review Of The 2017 Report Of The Auditor General Of Canada On Climate Change In The Northwest Territories - Fulfilment Of Wildlife Management Actions Recommended By The Office Of The Auditor General, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you, Mr. Testart. To the motion. Question has been called. All those in favour? All those opposed? The motion is carried.

---Carried

Mr. Testart.

Committee Motion 48-18(3): Committee Report 6-18(3): Standing Committee On Government Operations Report On The Review Of The 2017 Report Of The Auditor General Of Canada On Climate Change In The Northwest Territories - Comprehensive Response To Report Within 120 Days, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

March 15th, 2018

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I move that this Assembly recommend that the Government of the Northwest Territories provide a response to this report within 120 days. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Committee Motion 48-18(3): Committee Report 6-18(3): Standing Committee On Government Operations Report On The Review Of The 2017 Report Of The Auditor General Of Canada On Climate Change In The Northwest Territories - Comprehensive Response To Report Within 120 Days, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you, Mr. Testart. There is a motion on the floor. The motion is in order. To the motion. Minister McLeod.

Committee Motion 48-18(3): Committee Report 6-18(3): Standing Committee On Government Operations Report On The Review Of The 2017 Report Of The Auditor General Of Canada On Climate Change In The Northwest Territories - Comprehensive Response To Report Within 120 Days, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Mr. Chair, I was actually waiting for the last motion. I had a few comments, but I thought I would wait until the last motion. You know, we appreciate the work that committee does. We do not always necessarily agree with some of the findings of the Auditor General's report. However, we did incorporate a number of their recommendations into the draft framework. Committee is aware of the work that we are doing because one of the things I have tried to do is to keep committee apprised as to all of the work that we are doing.

There was a motion there on the knowledge agenda action plan. There is currently under development. It will be ready for review by the end of summer. The Auditor General themselves did acknowledge to ENR the departmental work being done on the department of the draft Climate Change Strategic Framework, and they would not document the work completed as the framework was a draft document and was not finalized in 2017 and, therefore, it could not be included in the report. I think we all recognize that. They admitted that we were doing some work, and that it was not going to be included in the Auditor General's report.

Our folks have been working hard trying to get this out. We recognize the importance of this, more so than anybody else. They are writing about it. I am actually living it, so we know that it needs to be addressed. There was a comment on silos. This is the one issue where I do not believe we are working in silos. We can't, not on something as important as this. So we are working with the other departments in coming up with a plan that I think is going to be a good one. My understanding is they have done all jurisdictions, the Auditor General has done all jurisdictions, and none of them are shining knights. Every one of them has some issues.

We are taking the Auditor General's recommendations seriously. I do not take it as gospel, but we are taking it seriously.

There was one other comment that I had here, but, again, we appreciate the work that is done. I just do not want people out in the public who are watching to get the impression based on the committee report and the Auditor General's recommendations that we have done absolutely nothing. That is the furthest thing from the truth, and I take exception to that. It's not on my behalf but on behalf of the people who are putting all the good work in. To say that we are not fulfilling our goal, I mean I have heard some other comments about maybe they are not resourced enough. I think we heard that as we went through the business plan. Maybe that is something we have to visit.

I can assure you, though, that our work is being done. It will be done well. I would have been criticized had we gotten it out too early because you would have said, "Well, it's too quick. You've got to have some work being done." Our plan is to have the document out, tabled in May-June session. We have got the whole summer to do the last round of consultations, and then we will table the action plan in the October session. As I always do, I will work with committee and give them a briefing before we actually table it so they are aware of what is coming down the pipe. Now, I will stop there, Mr. Chair, because I can see that we have got a few Members who want to contradict everything I have just said. Thank you, sir.

Committee Motion 48-18(3): Committee Report 6-18(3): Standing Committee On Government Operations Report On The Review Of The 2017 Report Of The Auditor General Of Canada On Climate Change In The Northwest Territories - Comprehensive Response To Report Within 120 Days, Carried
Consideration in Committee of the Whole of Bills and Other Matters

The Chair R.J. Simpson

Thank you, Minister. I gave you a wide berth because you did hold your comments to the end, but generally we speak to the motion. So, to the motion, the motion that is in front of us. To the motion. Mr. Testart.