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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 work.

Topics

Temporary Special Measures
Members' Statements

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you for tabling your discussion paper yesterday with the title "Temporary Special Measures to Increase the Representation of Women in the NWT Legislative Assembly." I appreciate your leadership in finding a solution to this longstanding injustice. I have spoken often and at length about this issue, culminating in my motion on International Women's Day to set targets for increased representation.

Mr. Speaker, the South Pacific island of Samoa is a democracy with roots the same as ours, in Britain. Samoa started with the same problem of under-representation. After considerable debate, the government amended its constitution in 2013 to guarantee five of 49 seats to women.

Mr. Speaker, the NWT legislature has set a target of doubling women's representation by 2023. That means four seats. All the work that goes into getting women to run and getting them elected will continue. Come the election, let's say voters elected three women, one short of the goal. In that case, the Legislative Assembly would create one additional temporary seat for the four-year term of that Assembly, and that seat would be occupied by a woman. Note that this is an additional seat, so that means the Legislative Assembly would then have 20 members.

The next question is: who would fill that seat? One way to answer that question is to look at candidates who earned the highest percentage of votes, but who were not election. In the last election, the former Member for Hay River South earned the highest number of votes, but wasn't elected. In the 2011 election, it was Bertha Rabesca-Zoe, from your Monfwi riding, and in 2007, it was Denise Kurszewski from Inuvik Twin Lakes. Another way to fill the extra seat is to award it on the basis of representation by population.

The temporary in the title means just that. The seat, or seats, would be created for just one Assembly. When the next election comes, if the women's representation goal is met, there would be no extra seats. If it's not met, there would be extra seats to meet the goal.

Temporary special measures offer the possibility of a solution to the under-representation of women in this House. I believe that having more women here will encourage more women to run. When women demonstrate their competence, initiative, and tenacity, voters will be more likely to elect them.

Mr. Speaker, as we both know, it's time to take action on this issue, and I encourage Members of this House and the public to read the paper outlining this option and to join the debate. Mahsi.

Temporary Special Measures
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake.

Intergenerational Equity through the Heritage Fund
Members' Statements

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. As noted by our Minister for Seniors, today, June 1st, is Intergenerational Day. Among the many awareness days and events, this national day is particularly important as a reminder of the power of making simple, respectful, intergenerational connections. It's the day where we should also consider how our actions today affect those who will come after us.

Intergenerational Day Canada provides an easy opportunity to raise awareness of the many benefits that connections between generations. Stereotypes of both young and old people are broken down when they learn about each other. Intergenerational Day Canada makes a powerful statement about the value of connecting within each and everyone's community and neighbourhood.

There is another side to intergenerational respect and heritage, and that's what I'd like to focus on today. It's the need for this generation to ensure that we don't take away from opportunities for future generations, and build a positive legacy from today's wealth to ensure the financial stability and prospects for all those who will come after us. That is supposed to be the goal of the NWT Heritage Fund. Since its inception in 2012, the NWT Heritage Fund has grown to a very small amount of only $17.1 million. The fund is so neglected that the last annual report posted on the government website is for 2014, and the website link to the statute and regulations doesn't even work. That neglect seems to spread to the promised discussion paper to revitalize the Heritage Fund and its legislation.

The intergenerational wisdom that prompted the creation of the Heritage Fund was sound, and we only have to look at other international examples to see the benefits of an aggressive wealth-building philosophy. Consider Norway, where, per capita, citizens hold the richest national wealth in the world, over a trillion dollars, thanks to vigorous royalty policy for non-renewal resources and state ownership. Norway's standard of living has left Canada far behind.

Our NWT Heritage Fund website claims that "by accumulating financial assets for the future, by which point resources may have been depleted, the NWT Heritage Fund will play an important role in preserving the benefits of resource development for future generations." Those words and the $17 million in the fund won't even make a small dent in the housing needs for our seniors.

I will have questions for the Minister of Finance on improving intergenerational equity of residents of the Northwest Territories. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Intergenerational Equity through the Heritage Fund
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Sahtu.

Connecting Community Needs to Government Programs
Members' Statements

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today is our last day of the spring session. The most controversial decision that was made by Members was Bill 6 to legalize cannabis. Making hard decisions, balanced decisions, for the people we serve is one of the many challenges that come with this job. However, Mr. Speaker, I look forward to my summer on engaging discussions with my community residents and leaders on the many prosperous funding sources available to making meaningful family security supports. Most importantly, Mr. Speaker, I witnessed the many hours and dedication of government and the staff on program and service delivery. Achieving success is being determined.

I put my speech down, because I want to speak from the heart on what I've learnt as a first-time MLA to this government. I have grown to see and respect my colleagues and the passion I've seen from all levels of this government, right from our Premier's position to the Regular MLAs' side, and to the staff, on providing for the people of the Northwest Territories and making a difference, and going out there and securing the funding from all sources, what is given to us, as well as what is available for us through aggression on applications from the federal level.

I am truly inspired by our Premier's sessional statement, the health initiatives by our department and the Minister and the staff. Those differences of providing sound programming could be seen by the undertaking by the department: the new facility in Normal Wells; the new facility here in Stanton, and the renewed renovation plans for the old one; the new facility coming up in Hay River; the new facility coming up in Inuvik to provide long-term care through a new facility to our aging elders; advancing forward to provide sound education to the people we serve through revisiting and reforming the Arctic College Foundation Review; the housing programs.

Connecting Community Needs to Government Programs
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Member for Sahtu, your time for Members' statements has expired.

Connecting Community Needs to Government Programs
Members' Statements

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

---Unanimous consent granted

Connecting Community Needs to Government Programs
Members' Statements

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

My last department address is Housing Corporation. I was inspired by the statement made by our Minister yesterday. I have shared that with our leaders. There are multiple sources of programming here, in our community, our government, as well as the federal government. One could say there are millions, billions, just waiting to access for our community residents, to deliver to the ones that we represent.

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. I look forward to working this summer on making a difference and, most importantly, taking advantage of the resources available during the last term of this government as well as the federal government. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Connecting Community Needs to Government Programs
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife North.

Power Rate Increases for Seniors
Members' Statements

June 1st, 2018

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as noted, today is Intergenerational Day. That is a day when we remind ourselves of the importance of building connections between generations, connecting our elders and youth. Those connections in our communities make life richer for both younger and older people and support education, health, and our community wellness.

Today marks another annual observation, Mr. Speaker. Today is also Power Rate Increase Day. That's a day when for the past seven years the Public Utilities Board has approved the Power Corporation's annual application to increase power rate, the fees that all Northerners have no choice but to shell out to keep their homes heated and the lights on.

It's been seven years, Mr. Speaker, that we've been marking Power Rate Increase Day. In that time, this government has approved increases in the cost of power that have totalled nearly 40 per cent. That's a cost, Mr. Speaker, that everyone has to pay. It's a cost that affects the price of everything because, like it or not, everything relies on power. We have no choice.

That's a harder challenge for some than others, but many of our seniors don't have many options. Our elders have spent a lifetime working, building communities, raising families in the North. Now they deserve rest and reward, but, as we know, many of them are on fixed incomes and rely on government support for basic needs. When we think of the cost of fuel, I wonder: has income assistance increased by 40 per cent in seven years? Has the Seniors Fuel Subsidy risen that much over the same time? Of course it hasn't, so more and more of our seniors are actually having to go back into the workforce and subsidize their own income in order to live comfortably.

Mr. Speaker, our mandate commitments to NWT residents include lowering the cost of living and creating secure communities for all generations. That commitment should especially focus on people who have limited means and who can be most vulnerable to changes in their living conditions, especially when it has been our doing that has impacted those living conditions.

Our government has done well in the past few years to make sure its fiscal house is in order. We've done that through increased user fees, taxation, rate increases, et cetera. Now it's time to live up to our responsibility to make sure that our most vulnerable residents have the same chance to balance their books without being subject to additional costs or financial hardships.

Mr. Speaker, folks don't need more government handouts. They need less fees, less taxes, and they need cheaper power.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Power Rate Increases for Seniors
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Mackenzie Delta.

Intergenerational Programs in Mackenzie Delta
Members' Statements

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today is Intergenerational Day. The work between our elders and youth is thriving in my riding, Mr. Speaker. Whether it is hunting, trapping, fishing, or language programs, both in the schools and on the land, Mr. Speaker, those teachings that our elders bring to our youth are thriving today.

Mr. Speaker, I see it in the last few years. Our youth are out hunting and sharing what they have harvested with the communities. Also, we have dance groups in our communities who are teaching our youth our traditional ways.

Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to acknowledge that today. Please keep up the good work in the communities. Mahsi cho.

Intergenerational Programs in Mackenzie Delta
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Kam Lake.

Power Rate Increases
Members' Statements

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I, too, would like to rise on the occasion of Power Rate Increase Day. Effective today, the Northwest Territories Power Corporation will increase electricity rates for its customers an average of 2 per cent. That means residential customers using around 1,000 kilowatt-hours in the winter will pay between $4 and $7.50 extra per month. This, compounded with the 40 per cent increase over seven years of electricity rate in the Northwest Territories, is increasingly making our cost of living untenable.

There is only so much we can do, being Northerners and having to accept the reality that some things will be more expensive here, but power doesn't necessarily have to be one of them. I firmly believe that the NWT has such tremendous hydroelectric potential that we could be a net exporter of hydroelectricity at some point in the near future.

To get there, we need a transformative plan and a real vision to expand our hydroelectric system and make connections with the south. This is the only real way, I believe, that we can effectively reduce our power rates. The current system is unsustainable. We are always going to see more and more increases year on year and more and more people struggling to pay.

That increases the cost to government. It increases the cost to our social programs. It increases the cost to the average household, the average Northerner.

I do see the government is taking the Taltson hydro expansion seriously, but I have to question how seriously when they are committing their energy strategy and their climate-change strategy to this Taltson project and that 44 per cent of their greenhouse gas reductions depend on the completion of this project, yet we have received no federal funding.

If we are going to meet our commitments to climate change, if we are going to once and for all reduce the cost of living, we need to back this project. We need to make it a top priority with the time we have left in this Assembly and make sure we have the strongest case possible to finally put an end to the endless increases of the electricity rates in the Northwest Territories and make a real difference for our residents. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Power Rate Increases
Members' Statements

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.