This is page numbers 4103 - 4182 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 going.

Topics

Members Present

Hon. Glen Abernethy, Mr. Beaulieu, Mr. Blake, Hon. Caroline Cochrane, Ms. Green, Hon. Jackson Lafferty, 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
Prayer

Page 4103

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Good afternoon, Members. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation.

Minister's Statement 83-18(3): National Housing Strategy
Ministers' Statements

May 31st, 2018

Page 4103

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to report on the progress being made on the National Housing Strategy.

On April 9, 2018, I, along with my provincial, territorial, and federal counterparts, met in Toronto to endorse a multilateral Housing Partnership Framework. The partnership framework further advances the National Housing Strategy and sets the foundation for federal, provincial, and territorial governments to work together toward achieving a long-term, shared vision for housing.

This endorsement means that we are now moving toward accessing funds beyond the Northern Housing funding previously announced. One such fund is the Canada Housing Benefit. To address the affordability of market rents, the Canada Housing Benefit will launch in 2020 and provide affordability support directly to families and individuals in housing need.

Another area of funding under the strategy is the National Housing Co-Investment Fund. This fund is application- and partnership-based, and will support the construction of new affordable housing and the repair and renewal of existing community and affordable housing. A major component of the strategy is the support under the Canada Community Housing Initiative. To support this Legislative Assembly's priority of addressing the cost of living, we committed to increasing lobbying of the federal government to halt the continued reduction in Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation operation and maintenance funding for public housing units. This was a key aspect of our negotiation with the federal government. As a result, while our previous agreement with Canada is still in effect, the federal government has agreed to provide under the Canada Community Housing Initiative funds equal to the cumulative decline of public housing operations and maintenance funding for the life of the National Housing Strategy.

Mr. Speaker, it was a long and hard fight to get the recognition that existing public housing needs long-term support, especially in the North, where public housing forms such a large part of the total housing stock. I am proud to say that we have made significant progress. While this victory is good news, we must continue to advocate on the importance of public housing to ensure that any future agreements and strategies beyond this National Housing Strategy see such housing supported long into the future.

Further work is under way to address the disproportionate allocation of funds under the Northern Housing Fund. I met with federal Minister Jean-Yves Duclos to raise the issue and to find opportunities to address this funding gap. During this meeting, I had the opportunity to discuss our concerns about the lack of information being shared on the Indigenous Housing Strategy. It is critical that all Indigenous peoples in the Northwest Territories are able to access these funds, and I will continue to place pressure on the federal government on this issue.

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories is working through its ongoing engagement with the Government of Canada to access funding for the Northwest Territories that will directly benefit residents. The Housing Corporation is now negotiating our bilateral agreement with Canada, which I anticipate may be concluded prior to our next sitting. Once completed, I will share the full details with this House, including funding amounts.

The road ahead involves tough, critical work to ensure that our final funding agreement with Canada truly works for the benefit of our residents. I know that the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation will work tirelessly to ensure a result that will have a meaningful impact on housing in the Northwest Territories. Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker

Minister's Statement 83-18(3): National Housing Strategy
Ministers' Statements

Page 4104

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister of Infrastructure.

Minister's Statement 84-18(3): NWT Airport Improvements
Ministers' Statements

Page 4104

Wally Schumann Hay River South

Mr. Speaker, for many communities across the North, air travel is an essential service. The Government of the Northwest Territories is committed to improving airport infrastructure and operations by working and strengthening connections with public and private sector partners in transportation infrastructure.

The Northwest Territories' 27 community airports are critical to the economic and social well-being of our residents. They provide essential services, including community resupply, air ambulance, search and rescue, forest fire response, and much more. Ongoing improvements to our airports allow for safe and efficient movement of these and other essential goods. They also help our residents, relatives, and friends looking to stay connected do so in a more safe and effective way.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to provide an update on key airport improvement projects under way across the NWT. It was announced earlier this year that the federal government will be investing over $2 million toward new airfield lighting in Fort Smith airport. This work is now under way and not only will the new lights be more effective for aircraft pilots and airport maintainers, they are also energy efficient LED lighting, which will help our government meet territorial and national commitments to lower energy consumption. Similar lighting replacement projects were completed last fall at the Tuktoyaktuk and Norman Wells airports.

The Government of the Northwest Territories has also received $300,000 for the new airfield sweeper for the Norman Wells airport. This improvement will help keep snow, ice, and debris off runways and taxiways, which is an important aspect of maintaining our airports. The new sweeper will also allow for more reliable and effective airport operations.

Mr. Speaker, both of these projects are funded under the Airport Capital Assistance Program, also known as ACAP. ACAP is administered by Transport Canada and provides financial support to eligible airports for the replacement of key infrastructure and assets related to safety. The program has made a significant impact on the NWT airports system, with over $27 million in improvements over the last 20 years. With this fiscal support, the Government of Canada is helping to enhance not only safety and efficiency, but also the economic potential of transportation infrastructure in the Northwest Territories.

The GNWT is currently awaiting approval for funding from ACAP on a number of airport improvement projects. These include funding for a snow blower for Fort Smith, new airfield lighting for Fort Simpson, an overlay of the Hay River runway, and reconstruction of taxiway C in Inuvik.

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the biggest airport project currently under way is the replacement of the air terminal building in Inuvik. The current terminal was built in 1958 and is in need of replacement. The GNWT has budgeted $30 million for this important infrastructure project that will serve residents and visitors travelling to Inuvik and beyond.

Detailed design and site preparation is expected to happen by this fall. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2019, followed by the demolition of the existing air terminal building in 2021. Once the new build has reached substantial completion and is commissioned, design of the building will focus on public space, baggage systems, concessions, airport operation and administration, improved accessibility, a tower height that meets required specifications, and overall, travelers will notice an improved passenger experience and an airport that better fits the needs of various users.

Mr. Speaker, as the largest and busiest aviation gateway to the North, the Yellowknife airport continues to focus on improvements that contribute to economic growth and better passenger experience. In July of 2017, Yellowknife airport began operating as a self-sustaining business model and, since that time, it has collected $10.5 million in revenues.

Recent enhancements at the Yellowknife airport include the launch of the Cabin gift shop, which has already received positive feedback from local, national, and international visitors wishing to take home souvenirs of their uniquely northern stay. Merchandise is sourced from northern suppliers, providing additional income to some of the many small businesses operating across our territory.

Yellowknife airport is also working with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, known as CATSA, on major upgrades to the pre-board screening area and departures lounge. These improvements will allow CATSA to have a more efficient security screening process. We anticipate upgrades to the pre-board screening area will be completed by the end of June, just in time for the peak summer travel season.

Improvements to the departure lounge are also continuing in order to offer passengers a greater assortment of food and beverages to enjoy before flights. The next phase, phase three of this project, will also include improvements to aesthetics of the departure lounge, with new paint, new carpeting, and an overall fresh look.

Mr. Speaker, another major initiative at the Yellowknife airport that I would like to share with you is the development of a 20-year master plan. The plan will consider growth and improvement options for the airport and serve as a guide to future development initiatives. We are exploring a number of options to further contribute to the airport's sustainable business model, increased employment, and economic growth and development. A few of the considerations include commercial development, new partnership opportunities, and improved service delivery to our existing stakeholders.

The Department of Infrastructure aims to maintain a safe and secure multi-modal transportation system. We will continue to work with our federal partners, air carriers, and other stakeholders to make improvements to our air transportation system while investigating new ways to make strategic investments in our infrastructure. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 84-18(3): NWT Airport Improvements
Ministers' Statements

Page 4105

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Minister of Education, Culture and Employment.

Minister's Statement 85-18(3): 2018 Education Hall of Fame
Ministers' Statements

Page 4105

Caroline Cochrane Range Lake

Mr. Speaker, today in the Great Hall of the Legislative Assembly we celebrated seven individuals who have made tremendous contributions to education in the Northwest Territories.

The Department of Education, Culture and Employment launched the Education Hall of Fame in 2010 to recognize outstanding educators, volunteers, board members, administrators, and community members involved in education across the territory.

Mr. Speaker, for this year's celebration, nominations came from every region. From the Beaufort Delta region, Bella Kay is a life-long learner who began her career in 1968 as a teacher's aide in Fort McPherson. In 1976, she enrolled in the Teacher Education Program through Aurora College and the University of Saskatchewan and entered the world of teaching. That wasn't the end of her learning. Ms. Kay once again returned to Aurora College for the Aboriginal Language Instructor program, from which she graduated in 2007. Bella Kay has dedicated more than 30 years to educating the children of the Beaufort Delta. She has shown an outstanding commitment to both teaching and life-long learning.

From the Deh Cho region, Brian Jaffray is a Teacher Consultant with the Dehcho Divisional Education Council. Mr. Jaffray has a long and varied career in northern education, spanning more than 36 years. He has been a leader in the procurement and use of education technology, ensuring small schools have the resources they need to succeed. He has worked on special school projects requiring technology and media support, and he served both as a regional coordinator of Heritage Fairs and the president of the NWT Heritage Fairs Society. Mr. Jaffray is a true leader who has always been motivated by a deep and abiding desire to do what is best for students.

From the South Slave region, Lois Firth Lafferty is a retired teacher from Fort Smith who is Metis of Gwich'in and Scottish heritage. She is committed to excellence and willing to give her time, knowledge, energy, and passion to make sure students achieve excellence in all that they do. Lois is described as an unselfish, compassionate educator who has touched the lives of many, young and old, through her contagious, positive attitude and instinctive ability to light up any classroom since 1979.

From the Tlicho region, Rosa Mantla is the language and culture coordinator in Behchoko. Ms. Mantla is fluent in the Tlicho language and she is deeply committed to the revitalization of the Tlicho language and culture in the region. She has worked in many capacities in the education system, including teacher, immersion teacher, and principal. A recent graduate of the University of Victoria with a Master's degree, she is a strong advocate for education and a resource for others working to obtain degrees in many different fields.

In the North Slave region, Jean Marie Mariez is the supervisor of French Studies at the Yellowknife Education District No. 1. He has been instrumental in promoting second-language education for children in Yellowknife for more than 15 years. Through his tireless efforts, thousands of children have obtained second-language proficiency in French. At YK1 schools, he initiated an early immersion program and an Intensive French and post-intensive French program. These programs have allowed students to graduate with proficiency in English and French. Each year, there is an increase in the number of students who enter either the French immersion or intensive French program. The linguistic approach in intensive French and the overall success of the program has led to the advancement of the Indigenous language program.

Also from the North Slave region, Gerard Landry is a teacher at St. Patrick's High School, where his dedication to fair play in sports and in the classroom has been experienced by students for decades. Mr. Landry will create numerous teams to make sure every student who tries out has a spot, and he works to give all of them the opportunity to play and experience teamwork and dedication to a goal. In the classroom, whether a student is initially engaged or not, he encourages and supports them to reach their potential. One of his former students said, "Because of his humility and calm demeanor, his efforts and the impact of his actions are often overlooked...he has had a profound but quiet impact on the lives of northern students. It's hard to describe the impact an educator has on a student's life. It's not the big events that make a difference, it's the small and constant ones that add up to change a student's life."

Mr. Speaker, I had the difficult task of choosing the Minister's Choice Award. Chris Gilmour, superintendent of the Beaufort Delta Education Council, stood out this year amongst the many great choices. After assuming responsibility for educational technology in lnuvik's schools, he recognized that students in small community schools needed better and more consistent access to academic courses. With his strength in instructional technology, he was pivotal to developing the northern distance learning program, which provides academic high school courses in small communities.

This is an exciting program which continues to expand to more communities and that will serve the territory for years to come. Next month, thanks to the program Mr. Gilmour started, three students from Ulukhaktok will be graduating from high school and entering a university of their choice, without having to complete any upgrading. From his beginnings as an elementary school teacher to his current role as the superintendent, Chris Gilmour has made equity in education his priority.

Mr. Speaker, this is the ninth group of inductees into the Education Hall of Fame. The 2018 inductees inspire us with their dedication, caring, creativity, and passion. All of these distinguished people are with us in the gallery today.

Mr. Speaker, I ask Members to join me in honouring the 2018 Education Hall of Fame inductees for their commitment to the students, families, and communities of the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 85-18(3): 2018 Education Hall of Fame
Ministers' Statements

Page 4106

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Congratulations once again to the 2018 Education Hall of Fame recipients. Masi for being here with us. Masi for making a big difference in the Northwest Territories. Ministers' statements. The Deputy Premier.

Minister's Statement 86-18(3): Premier Absent from the House
Ministers' Statements

Page 4106

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Mr. Speaker, I wish to advise Members that the Premier will be absent from the House for the remainder of this sitting to receive the Diamonds Do Good Responsible Government Award on behalf of the Government of the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 86-18(3): Premier Absent from the House
Ministers' Statements

Page 4106

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

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

Minister's Statement 86-18(3): Premier Absent from the House
Ministers' Statements

Page 4106

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you. Mr. Speaker, if I may with your indulgence, I would like to request a change in the order of the day to move item 5 to item, well, now, which would be item 3. I seek unanimous consent. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

---Unanimous consent granted

Minister's Statement 86-18(3): Premier Absent from the House
Ministers' Statements

Page 4106

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Right now, he says. Item 5, recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Yellowknife North.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 4106

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you, colleagues. Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize and welcome to the House today Jean Marie Mariez, who, as we heard earlier today, is one of the inductees into the Education Hall of Fame, long-time supervisor with YK1, and strong promoter, of course, of Francophone programs in the education system. So I want to congratulate him once again. He is a resident of Yellowknife North. I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to also congratulate Mr. Landry, who was a teacher of mine from grades 2 to 6 in Saint Patrick's. I talked to him today. He has no intention of retiring. So congratulations to them both. Thank you for being here, and congratulations. Thanks.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 4106

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Nahendeh.