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 totaled 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.