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

Nahendeh Graduates
Members' Statements

Page 4108

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is fitting I am doing this Member's statement today. Graduation ceremonies are a life event. They are one of those rare and special times when we take a pause and recognize that an achievement has been made, an accomplishment has been recognized, and determination has been rewarded.

We do it with our peers, both with those who have shared in their experience and reached this milestone with us and those who have watched, supported, and encouraged us in pursuing our goals. Like marriage, or even birth, it represents the end of one chapter in our lives and commencing on another. As spectators in the story of our lives, let us all pause and offer congratulations on a job well done.

Mr. Speaker, on April 28th, I had the opportunity to be part of the Aurora College graduation ceremony, where five constituents from Nahendeh achieved this goal. In the upcoming weeks, the communities are going to see a number of celebrations I would like to share with you here today.

On June 14th, Sambaa K'e will be having a celebration for their grade 9 students because, next year, they will be going off to Fort Simpson to complete their high school.

Fort Liard will see two graduation ceremonies. The first one being June 14th, where we will see the largest grad class for the school. We will see nine students graduating, with at least six students heading off to the Grande Prairie Regional College thanks to the Distance Learning Program. On June 19th, the junior kindergarten class will be graduating.

Fort Simpson will see the grade 6 and kindergarten class graduate on June 15th. On June 16th, we will see students from TSS graduate. This will be the last time people will be graduating from TSS. This class will include students from Wrigley and Fort Simpson. You ask why they are only graduating from Fort Simpson? They are changing the school's name, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to say that these graduation ceremonies are happy moments for the students, parents, and staff. I would like us to congratulate them all. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Nahendeh Graduates
Members' Statements

Page 4108

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Nunakput.

Arctic Maritime Shipping
Members' Statements

Page 4109

Herbert Nakimayak Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, last week I spoke about the widespread use of heavy fuel oil in vessels transiting the Arctic and the severe dangers that it poses in comparison to other types of fuel. I also highlighted the fact that, unlike Antarctica, the use of heavy fuel oil is not regulated in its northern counterpart.

Mr. Speaker, in February the International Maritime Organization approved a new two-way route in the Arctic Ocean through the Bering Strait, after accepting proposals by the United States and Russia. These routes take effect on December 1st. The approval of these routes will likely contribute to a further increase of vessel traffic in the Arctic Ocean. While increased traffic in and of itself is not a bad thing, the NWT is not ready for it, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, our fragile environment is in danger in the case of accidents and spills. Search and rescue is far away, and clean-ups would take too long to prevent the apparent damage. Our communities have decaying docks that can barely support local use, let alone be of any use to larger shipping and cruise boats. We do not have the infrastructure to support increased maritime traffic and respond to emergencies, and yet, we are the ones who will suffer the negative impacts the most.

Mr. Speaker, with the new highway to Tuktoyaktuk, the community is in an ideal position to host a deep-sea port. As traffic in the Northern Sea Route and Northwest Passage grows, governments will have to invest in our lagging infrastructure, and the Government of the Northwest Territories has a key role to play in working together with federal and Indigenous governments.

Later, I will have questions for the Minister of Infrastructure. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Arctic Maritime Shipping
Members' Statements

Page 4109

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife North.

Clean Energy and Net Metering
Members' Statements

Page 4109

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, by now, we all accept the importance of developing clean, renewable, carbon-neutral energy sources. I am very pleased that we are moving ahead, with assistance from our federal partners, in developing a business plan for the Taltson River hydro system. That's a game changer, Mr. Speaker; clean, renewable power that will significantly reduce our reliance on diesel. There is even talk in GNWT hallways about investigating molten salt reactors. This technology has future potential to provide answers to all of our energy needs, from isolated communities to new mines, another game changer if it comes to fruition, Mr. Speaker.

While we wait for these future initiatives, other alternative energies need our support. Right now, consumers in our territory want to invest in solar and wind. Right now, there are innovating businesses wanting to provide it. It should be the government's role to support that, not restrict it, but, Mr. Speaker, through the net metering, this government regulates the scale of alternative energy projects.

Currently, we limit alternative energy installations to 15 kilowatt hours. That means that they can set up on residences, but they can't get a foothold in commercial operations. That 15-kilowatt hour cap prevents that scale of installation. When medium-to-large businesses do the math on cost versus benefit at this rate, there is no incentive to make the switch.

Mr. Speaker, the Yukon permits projects up to 50 kilowatt hours. Case studies show that that allows businesses to offset 35 to 40 per cent of their energy needs with alternatives. At 15 kilowatt hours, they can only generate 8 to 10 per cent, not enough to make it worth the investment. Mr. Speaker, no one wants to pay more for power, but we have to ask: is our commitment to alternative energy real? If this government's power strategy doesn't promote alternatives at a scale that makes it viable for our small businesses and industries, is it the right strategy?

The demand is there for affordable, renewable, clean energy. Innovative technologies are here now and growing by the day. Our Energy Strategy Climate Change Framework calls for reducing diesel in favour of clean power, but our regulations create a significant obstacle, allowing carbon emissions to continue.

Surely, Mr. Speaker, it is time that this net metering policy be changed to match the needs and demands of the Northwest Territories. Mr. Speaker, at the appropriate time, I will have questions for the Minister responsible for the Public Utilities Board. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Clean Energy and Net Metering
Members' Statements

Page 4109

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Deh Cho.

Upgrade to Kakisa Dock
Members' Statements

Page 4109

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the community of Kakisa is perhaps most well-known due to its proximity to Lady Evelyn Falls. The adjacent territorial park provides amenities that make the falls a comfortable experience. The community is small, but with beautiful log houses, it provides a welcoming atmosphere to visitors.

One of the facilities available in the community is a dock on Kakisa Lake. The dock is popular among the locals for recreation purposes and is heavily used for fishing and tourism. Because of the multitude of uses and its popularity, residents are interested in upgrading the dock so that it can accommodate floatplanes as well.

Mr. Speaker, as tourism in the NWT continues to grow, it is important for our communities outside regional centres to also take advantages of this growth. With investments already in place around Kakisa in the form of Lady Evelyn Territorial Park, roads, and others, the natural progression is to upgrade facilities that are both heavily used by locals, but that would also offer enhanced experiences to tourists and allow for floatplanes to be safely used in and around the community.

Mr. Speaker, investments in local community infrastructure improve the quality of life for our residents. This is especially true when considering upgrading heavily used facilities. Upgrading the dock in Kakisa would offer residents a better experience, provide opportunities for tourism growth, and allow for the safe operation of floatplanes into and out of the community. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Upgrade to Kakisa Dock
Members' Statements

Page 4110

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Housing Policies for Families
Members' Statements

Page 4110

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, last week, I provided my mandate letter to the Minister now responsible for the Housing Corporation and Homelessness. One of my priorities is to help get families experiencing homelessness into housing. I mentioned constituents of mine, a working family of six, who have been living in a bachelor apartment for the last three years and who have not been able to obtain housing from the Yellowknife Housing Authority.

I was puzzled by the Minister's reply to me about this situation. He said, and I quote, "In some of our small communities where we don't even have housing, those numbers go up, and that's where we need to work on addressing needs right across the Northwest Territories." I interpreted his answer to mean they aren't homeless, because at least they have a home.

Mr. Speaker, this family doesn't really have a home. There are six of them in a place that is intended for one person. They have a mini-bar and a hot plate. This accommodation does not meet their needs, but because they aren't living in a tent, they are not absolutely homeless. As a result, they have not risen to the top of the Housing Authority waiting list. In fact, it would increase their chances of getting into housing if they did live in a tent.

Mr. Speaker, this situation is familiar from my YWCA days. The staff at YWCA Transitional Housing Program helped families stabilize themselves by providing various kinds of support. When the family is ready to move out of Rock Hill, they usually have to move back into homelessness in order to gain enough points to get into public housing. All that good work that is done to help the family goes out the window, and the family has to go back to square one, at least temporarily.

Mr. Speaker, when I considered the family of six and the YWCA, my conclusion is that the Housing Authority is looking for an excuse not to house people. Their approach tells me that, no matter how unsuitable the housing, it is, at least, a house. This is clearly wrong-headed. Families should not have to live in a tent or on a couch to rise to the top of the public housing waiting list. I encourage the Minister to take a closer look at families whose accommodation is marginal and figure out how to make their lives better without first making them worse. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Housing Policies for Families
Members' Statements

Page 4110

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Sahtu.

Sahtu Regional Housing Conference
Members' Statements

May 31st, 2018

Page 4110

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in preparation for the summer months, for discussions to the Sahtu housing needs and assessment with proper strategy planning, which is fundamental to family home security in this steadily growing demand environment.

Mr. Speaker, all regions, including our capital, are experiencing shortages and overcrowded homes. Mr. Speaker, as we already know, our territory faces many challenges, such as seasonal community access, high operating and building costs, and limited resources. However, the NWT Housing Corporation continues to balance their efforts with additional focuses on accessing federal resources.

Mr. Speaker, last June, this government tabled as a starting point a community-by-community core needs assessment on the concept of prudent management, allowing our communities to analyze their housing goals and aspirations by reviewing this assessment material. Mr. Speaker, on the issue of advancing forward, developing a sound model, and giving thought to what we have done, where we were, where we are, and more importantly, where we want to go, this theme can be the Sahtu Regional Housing Conference Summer 2018.

Mr. Speaker, it is incumbent upon us to utilize information both nationally and territorially to not only advocate, but ensure our residents are accessing all necessary available programs and services. Later, Mr. Speaker, I will have questions for the Minister of Housing on this theme. Mahsi.

Sahtu Regional Housing Conference
Members' Statements

Page 4111

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake.

Giant Mine Remediation Socio-Economic Benefits
Members' Statements

Page 4111

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. Giant Mine Oversight Board is responsible for independent oversight of the mine remediation project. That board recently held its second annual public information meeting in Yellowknife, attended by about a hundred people, including me. The meeting follows on the release of the board's second annual report. Earlier in this sitting I tabled a recent board letter to the Prime Minister of Canada on the need for an apology and compensation for the damage done by the Giant Mine. The board has also written an urgent letter to the federal Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister and to our ITI Minister, calling for action to capture more of the massive potential benefits of the billion-dollar-plus project.

The board letter to the Ministers points out there is "no public comprehensive socio-economic strategy developed for the remediation project." Of the more than $350 million in project work spent so far and the more than $1 billion spending in the coming 10 years, there is little prospect of local people getting jobs, contracts, or training. In its 2017 annual report, the Giant Mine Oversight Board pointed out that the federal government spent $40.3 million on work at Giant in 2016-2017, but only 23 per cent of the workers were from the Northwest Territories and only 4 per cent were Indigenous. The future does not look much better. Parsons Inc., a US-based multinational, was awarded a $32 million contract to be construction manager for the work at Giant for the next two years, and will likely go on to be the project manager following the proponent's completion of water licensing.

Urgent action is needed now, Mr. Speaker. The board points out that, with only two years before remediation work begins, "the timeframe for developing the socio-economic strategy is now." The letter calls for vision and leadership from the most senior levels of both governments.

The board has called this government to action. Our government needs to step up the pressure on the federal government to make sure the people who suffer Giant's legacy at least get some benefits from the planned remediation. I will have questions later today for the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources as the lead on Giant Mine for the GNWT. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Giant Mine Remediation Socio-Economic Benefits
Members' Statements

Page 4111

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Mackenzie Delta.

Mackenzie Delta Graduates
Members' Statements

Page 4111

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, graduation is without a doubt a huge accomplishment to many students this time of year. Throughout every school, there is excitement in the halls, decorations going up, the students are excited, parents are proud, teachers are happy.

We have kinder grads, grade 6 grads, grade 9 rites of passage, high school graduation, not to mention college and university grads. We celebrate with our families and other families in our communities. Graduation is a special occasion, and we take every aim to congratulate our students any way we can.

Mr. Speaker, it takes teamwork to survive anywhere in life. Our students' teams consist of parents, teachers, friends, siblings, mentors. The list goes on, Mr. Speaker, but that does not mean teachings are done. Our students have a long way to go in life. Achieving this goal is a milestone to many, one that will stay with them forever.

Mr. Speaker, at this I would like to mention grade 12 graduates from the Mackenzie Delta riding; Amanda Andre-Niditchie, Darius Andre, Cassandra Paul, Dakota Whitbread, Raquel Blake, Keenan Francis, Judah Hanthorn, Janessa Blake, Richard Stewart, Brandon Firth, Tony Alexie, Dre Neyando, and Calvin Macdonald. Congratulations to each of you. We are all very proud of your accomplishments and wish you all the success in your future endeavours. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.