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

Question 335-18(3): Giant Mine Remediation Project Socio-economic Benefits
Oral Questions

Page 4113

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

ENR is the lead department for the Giant Mine project. However, we do work closely with other departments, such as ITI, through the Interdepartmental Working Group. This is a federal-funded project, and federal procurement and contracting rules are being followed. We continue to work with the federal government on bringing our concern forward. I believe our Minister of ITI, in his conversations with his counterpart, has raised it. I believe our Premier has also raised it in his discussions on there, as I have as well.

This work is expected to be completed by the summer of 2018. We will outline considerations to ensure Indigenous businesses and Northerners benefit from the remediation project.

Question 335-18(3): Giant Mine Remediation Project Socio-economic Benefits
Oral Questions

Page 4113

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

I want to thank the Minister for that. It sounds like more than one Minister is raising this matter in Ottawa, and that is a good thing. There doesn't seem to be very good tracking and reporting of northern benefits from this project. I would like to know: how does the Minister plan to begin tracking northern benefits from the Giant Mine remediation in accounting for the future economic impacts of this project? I understand it is being led by the federal government, but what is he going to do to help make sure that better tracking of benefits takes place?

Question 335-18(3): Giant Mine Remediation Project Socio-economic Benefits
Oral Questions

Page 4113

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

The main construction manager's contract requires them to track northern and Indigenous benefits. The Giant Mine Remediation Project team will be reporting on the socioeconomic benefits associated with the project on an annual basis.

Question 335-18(3): Giant Mine Remediation Project Socio-economic Benefits
Oral Questions

Page 4113

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Frame Lake.

Question 335-18(3): Giant Mine Remediation Project Socio-economic Benefits
Oral Questions

Page 4113

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. Thanks to the Minister for that. On an annual basis, maybe we can get something quarterly or something, but I am sure he is going to take that up.

Our government gets millions of dollars in federal funding for infrastructure projects each year that we administer to maximize Northwest Territories benefits. I don't understand why we can't manage the remediation of the Giant Mine, with appropriate federal oversight, and use our better-equipped toolbox and experience some benefit retention. Have the Minister and his officials considered whether we could take this approach and work with the federal government on Giant Mine remediation and use the full suite of our tools, things like negotiated contracts, the Business Incentive Policy, and so on, to make sure that the benefits from the remediation stay here in the Northwest Territories? Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Question 335-18(3): Giant Mine Remediation Project Socio-economic Benefits
Oral Questions

Page 4113

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

The federal government has contracting authority on this project, and they have awarded the contract to Parsons Canada. The benefit of having a main construction manager is that the delivery of the project is broken down into smaller work packages, which maximizes local opportunities for Indigenous and northern business. Using this approach, there are a number of contracts related to the project presently out for award. Once these contracts are awarded, we should have an indication on how the socioeconomic benefits are rolling out for Northerners. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 335-18(3): Giant Mine Remediation Project Socio-economic Benefits
Oral Questions

Page 4113

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Nahendeh.

Question 336-18(3): Indigenous Government Consultations on Land Leases
Oral Questions

May 31st, 2018

Page 4113

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, earlier in this week I was asking questions to the Minister of Lands about leases. As I said, when I looked into this further, I noticed a large number of residents who live in designated authorities were hit big time with increases due to their leases, whether it's their homes or their traditional cabins. In speaking with the residents, they came up with a question: how is this government working with First Nation peoples if we continue to do this? Can the Minister please explain how his department is working with the First Nations community? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 336-18(3): Indigenous Government Consultations on Land Leases
Oral Questions

Page 4113

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister of Lands.

Question 336-18(3): Indigenous Government Consultations on Land Leases
Oral Questions

Page 4113

Louis Sebert Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In November of 2016, the department engaged committee with our intent and duty, in fact, to consult Indigenous governments with respect to proposed fee changes. The consultation included changes to fees for lease rent minimums, among others.

In November, following up on that commitment, consultation letters were sent out to IGOs. Now, I have the letter in front of me, which I would be very happy to share with the Member opposite, and can see that it dealt with a large number of fee changes, including the lease fees. This letter went out to a large number of Aboriginal organizations, dozens of them, both within the Northwest Territories and outside the Northwest Territories. As I mentioned the other day, there was a consultation period, and committee was informed when that consultation period was over. That consultation, as I say, included a great number of Aboriginal groups, so we felt that we fully fulfilled our obligation to consult. That really is the consultation period that I referred to in some earlier questions, the consultation with Aboriginal groups. That took place, and as a result, after the consultation period was over, we moved ahead with this.

Of course, quite apart from the letters that did go out, there was considerable discussion in this House and in the press about the proposed changes. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 336-18(3): Indigenous Government Consultations on Land Leases
Oral Questions

Page 4114

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

I thank the Minister for his answer. I guess consultation is different in my books. I think we should be engaging. We should actually be going to the communities and talking to them, and not just downloading a whole bunch of letters to them and expecting them to understand what we are talking about, but I will take the Minister up on it and get to see the letter, and we will go from there.

When the government was looking at this increase, I was wondering why they didn't have an implementation over a period of time on that instead of just the one-time shot. Can the Minister explain why this idea was not looked at and implemented?

Question 336-18(3): Indigenous Government Consultations on Land Leases
Oral Questions

Page 4114

Louis Sebert Thebacha

There is no phase-in for individual lessees because the approach taken is to have the changes take effect during rent review or lease renewal processes. Because the changes to lease fees do not take effect until an individual lease is renewed or at the next rent review date, as stipulated, some leaseholders may not see changes for their lease fees for up to five years. This means that some leaseholders will have received, in essence, a five-year advance notification of the fee change.

As I mentioned yesterday, although it seems, when I was looking at Hansard, I may have used the wrong dates, if a lease was renewed last year for a period of five years at the old rate, if I can put it that way, then that rate would still be in effect for the term of the lease.

Question 336-18(3): Indigenous Government Consultations on Land Leases
Oral Questions

Page 4114

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

I thank the Minister for that answer. I guess I am still struggling with why we didn't do a phase-in over a period. Leases change, and that, but they could have done that. I think the government could have been working with the residents instead of seeing a 336 per cent to up to a 560 per cent increase in their fees. That concerns me.

With the Government of the NWT reducing Commissioner's lands to 5 per cent, I have to give credit to the government. That was a positive step. I would have loved to see 3 per cent, but 5 per cent, as the Minister says, is better than the 10 per cent. I will have to give them credit for that.

However, was this part of the strategy to make up the shortfall for the revenue that the GNWT was losing when the Commissioner's lands leases were reduced, by increasing these fees?

Question 336-18(3): Indigenous Government Consultations on Land Leases
Oral Questions

Page 4114

Louis Sebert Thebacha

No, the matters are really unrelated. I think for some time we had thought that the lease fees were too low, and of course when discussing the 10 per cent amount, which we have now reduced to 5 per cent, we heard from the Members opposite this was of great concern, and in response to those concerns, we lowered the rate.

Question 336-18(3): Indigenous Government Consultations on Land Leases
Oral Questions

Page 4114

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Nahendeh.