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.

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Tabled Document 204-18(3): Northwest Territories Office of the Regulator of Oil and Gas Operations Annual Report 2017-2018
Tabling Of Documents

Page 4131

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Tabling of documents. Member for Frame Lake.

Tabled Document 205-18(3): Letter dated May 24, 2018 from Giant Mine Oversight Board to Honourable Carolyn Bennett and Honourable Wally Schumann regarding the Giant Mine Remediation Socio Economic Strategy Tabled Document 206-18(3): Bill C-262, An Act to Ensure that the Laws of Canada are in Harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Tabled Document 207-18(3): Letter dated May 28, 2018 from President of Union of Northern Workers to Honourable Wally Schumann and Honourable Robert McLeod regarding Dominion Diamonds - Lay offs and Contracting Out
Tabling Of Documents

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Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, monsieur le President. I have three documents I wish to table today. The first is a letter from the Giant Mine Oversight Board to the federal Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs and our Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, dated May 24, 2018, regarding Giant Mine remediation socioeconomic strategy.

The second document I wish to table, Mr. Speaker, is a copy of Bill C-262, An Act to Ensure that the Laws of Canada are in Harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as passed by the House of Commons, May 30, 2018.

The last document, Mr. Speaker, is a letter from the president of the Union of Northern Workers to the Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment and our Honourable Premier, regarding Dominion Diamonds layoffs and contracting out, dated May 28, 2018. Masi.

Tabled Document 205-18(3): Letter dated May 24, 2018 from Giant Mine Oversight Board to Honourable Carolyn Bennett and Honourable Wally Schumann regarding the Giant Mine Remediation Socio Economic Strategy Tabled Document 206-18(3): Bill C-262, An Act to Ensure that the Laws of Canada are in Harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Tabled Document 207-18(3): Letter dated May 28, 2018 from President of Union of Northern Workers to Honourable Wally Schumann and Honourable Robert McLeod regarding Dominion Diamonds - Lay offs and Contracting Out
Tabling Of Documents

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Tabling of documents.

Tabled Document 208-18(3): Discussion Paper - Temporary Special Measures to Increase Representation of Women in the NWT Legislative Assembly
Tabling Of Documents

Page 4132

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Colleagues, I wish to table a discussion paper entitled "Temporary Special Measures to Increase Representation of Women in the NWT Legislative Assembly." This paper explores a number of positive actions this Assembly could take to meet its targets of increasing the representation of women in this House to 20 per cent by 2023 and 30 per cent by 2027. I am tabling this paper today in the hopes that it will initiate a public discussion about the role of women in public office in the Northwest Territories, particularly leading up to the next general election.

Masi. Item 15, notices of motion. Item 16, notices of motion for first reading of bills. Item 17, motions. Member for Kam Lake.

Motion 17-18(3): Review of Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway Project, Defeated
Motions

May 31st, 2018

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Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I MOVE, seconded by the honourable Member for Nahendeh, the following motion:

WHEREAS the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway (ITH) project is the largest infrastructure project completed to date by the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT), with a cost of more than $300 million;

AND WHEREAS the ITH project was undertaken by the GNWT as a negotiated contract;

AND WHEREAS construction of the highway was initiated by the previous 17th Legislative Assembly;

AND WHEREAS cost and contract considerations during construction resulted in changes to the project's methodology;

AND WHEREAS there have been unplanned closures during the first year of the operation of the highway;

AND WHEREAS it is in the public interest to ensure that large infrastructure projects are well-managed according to best practices, deliver good value for money, and that any potential improvements are identified for future projects;

NOW THEREFORE I MOVE, seconded by the honourable Member for Nahendeh, that the 18th Legislative Assembly request that the Auditor General of Canada undertake a special audit of the ITH project and report thereon to the Legislative Assembly;

AND FURTHER, that the Auditor General assess project control, administration, and the long-term implications of related financial arrangements; value for money; reporting; and adherence to the standards for contracting and procurement;

AND FURTHERMORE, that the Auditor General investigate and consider any other factors that, in his opinion, are relevant;

AND FURTHERMORE, that all employees and officials cooperate fully with the Auditor General in providing all appropriate documents, papers, and information;

AND FURTHERMORE, that the GNWT inform all relevant contractors of the nature and purpose of the special audit;

AND FURTHERMORE, that the Auditor General be requested to complete the audit as soon as practical and provide a report to the Legislative Assembly;

AND FURTHERMORE, that the Speaker formally transmit this motion and the content of our proceedings today to the Auditor General for his consideration. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Motion 17-18(3): Review of Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway Project, Defeated
Motions

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. The motion in order. To the motion. Member for Kam Lake.

Motion 17-18(3): Review of Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway Project, Defeated
Motions

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Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I make this motion today to address, as I said previously, the largest infrastructure project completed to date by the GNWT.

As many Members of this House and the public know, I'm a fan of public accounts, and in particular the public accounts role that our Standing Committee on Government Operations plays here. Often times, we will receive reports from the Auditor General and look into how the government is managing projects or managing departments or managing policy issues that are important to the public's interest. In this case, we are talking about a significant expenditure of public funds, both on the part of this government and the part of the Government of Canada. I think it's important that we take a look at those, the contributing factors to this project.

I want to be clear that I'm in no way questioning the integrity of the construction process, the methods of procurement, and the reporting to date on the ITH project. My concern, again, is to take a look at this $300 million project that is the first of its kind in the world, and certainly in Canada, and to find the best practices for this kind of procurement and this kind of construction that we can use to apply to other projects, and not just here in the Northwest Territories, but in our neighbouring territories as well, Yukon and Nunavut.

With this government's stated strategic goals of building numerous transportation corridors, the Mackenzie Valley Highway, the road to Whati, the Slave Geological Province, these all will take significant expertise, and it is of interest both to the public that we know that the ITH project is not just a portion of that vision of a coast-to-coast-to-coast highway network, but we can learn from it and use it to apply broadly to public works projects of a similar size. Further, that our committee be given the tools, information, and resources to really look into how we best manage these projects and ensure that Northerners maximize from the benefits.

I see this as one of many infrastructure projects that is deserving of special attention through the Office of the Auditor General or through a concerted effort by standing committee. The new Stanton Hospital project comes to mind someday in the future, and of course, if we are to complete the Slave Geological Province road, these are all areas that I think are worthy of this level of inquiry. So the intention with this motion is to signal to the Auditor General that this is of interest to Members of this House, and is of an interest to Northerners. We want to ensure that these projects are well-managed, that we can learn as much as we can from them after they're completed, and that we ensure good value for money for major construction projects.

Again, this is the largest infrastructure project completed to date by the Government of the Northwest Territories. So, again, my interests behind this motion are signalling quite clearly to the Auditor General that the honourable Members of this House are very much committed to value for money, good project management, and ensuring that our future transportation corridor projects are successful, by learning best practices from a thorough review of the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway project. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

Motion 17-18(3): Review of Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway Project, Defeated
Motions

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. To the motion. Member for Nahendeh.

Motion 17-18(3): Review of Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway Project, Defeated
Motions

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Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I'm honoured to second this. I've seen the government with the Deh Cho bridge, and they audited that, and they came out with a good report, but also the Minister here in this House here said that, most likely, this will be audited, and I think we need to audit it.

I honestly think that we've heard the value of the importance of this project, and I think it was a good project that had a big benefit for the Inuvik and BeauDel region, but again, the importance of it is to audit this project. I will also say that we need to do the Stanton Hospital that's going to be coming up, the Mewati road, and if the Mackenzie Valley Highway ever gets built, I would say audit that as well.

I think we need to make sure that we're doing things right. I honestly think we need to look at it and show the best practices out there, because I think the government has done some really good things with it. You know, you look at the various people who are doing research on it. You know, people who are engaged, and it has a huge impact, as the Minister has said here, coast-to-coast-to-coast. It's connecting the community of Tuktoyaktuk to the rest of Canada, and this is an opportunity, but I think we just need to be able to do this, make sure it's audited, make sure it's done right, and to be able to show success of this. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Motion 17-18(3): Review of Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway Project, Defeated
Motions

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. To the motion. Member for Sahtu.

Motion 17-18(3): Review of Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway Project, Defeated
Motions

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Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thanks, colleagues, for allowing me to share my views on this motion here. In my previous life, I was extremely, I would say, happy to hear that the parties behind this piece of infrastructure did their many efforts in securing the necessary funds to not only create employment, but create access. In my view, and I have a similar project under way in my riding, which is incomplete, this motion refers to a project that is not complete. You've got security requirements through the whole back of contractual arrangements which protects you in reviewing the deficiencies come the audit time, which is provisions of the contract or arrangement. So I foresee this as putting the cart before the horse. So given that and my previous experience, I don't think I can support this motion at this time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Motion 17-18(3): Review of Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway Project, Defeated
Motions

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. To the motion, Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Motion 17-18(3): Review of Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway Project, Defeated
Motions

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Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as we know, this road was billed as an all-weather road, and it was a road in which the GNWT has invested a substantial amount of money. Where we're at today is a road that's been closed for more than two weeks. Twenty-nine per cent of the total road length is slated for substantial improvements, and a very small segment of five-and-a-half kilometers has been the pinch point of not being passable. I think that we need to get to a full understanding of how this road went from being completed, according to the Minister's messaging, to being substantially complete, to being closed. I think we need to understand how this project, the learnings from this project, could be applied to other road-building projects that the government has in mind. I think that the value for money proposition is a very important one, and so I think that this motion gets at some key issues that are important to not only this road project, but future planned infrastructure projects. As I said earlier, I will be supporting it. Thank you.

Motion 17-18(3): Review of Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway Project, Defeated
Motions

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

To the motion. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Motion 17-18(3): Review of Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway Project, Defeated
Motions

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Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marsi cho, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would support the motion. I'm interested to see what would happen as the result of a third party looking at this project. Of course, my background is that I was heavily involved in the construction of the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway as Minister of Transportation in a previous government, and it would be interesting for the Auditor General to look at the project and identify what had happened as a result of negotiations that had occurred between Cabinet of the last government and the Regular Members. I would like the Auditor General to look at the impacts of employment, employment that was created as a result of a negotiated contract. A negotiated contract was done between two of the largest construction companies in the Beaufort Delta and the Government of the Northwest Territories. It showed the results; I know that the Members from that area had recognized the positive impact of that.

Many times since that point, we have asked this government to consider negotiated contracts and the positive impacts of a negotiated contract. I think what would happen is that that particular contract would be, as people indicate, proof in the pudding that, when you negotiate a contract and you look at hiring high numbers of individuals from the area, you can see the results of it. I support that because I want to see, I want the Auditor General to tell us, what had happened, what went wrong that the road is not usable, but what are also the positive aspects of it, what had to change during construction. The Auditor General will be able to indicate what has changed during the construction in order to end up with this result or whether or not this was something was not possible to change the outcome because of what it was constructed on.

At the time of the construction, it was indicated that there was never any type of highway ever built on alluvial ice in the whole world, and we had individuals from other countries who came in and actually paid for researching sections of this highway during this construction so that they could look at it and how the material was put down, what material was used, what material was good, and so on, and what material failed. So I would support this for the benefit of the Northwest Territories to be able to see best practices on that highway. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing to hide. There should be nothing to hide from the government, and there should be nothing to hide from the people of the Northwest Territories, so I support this motion. Thank you.