This is page numbers 4183 - 4214 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 work.

Topics

Affirmative Action Policy and Human Resource Planning
Members' Statements

Page 4183

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marci cho, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in all my years in the public service, I have worked hard to increase the number of Priority 1 Indigenous candidates that are hired by the GNWT.

Mr. Speaker, I have worked as president of the NWT Housing Corporation and later became associate Deputy Minister for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. In both instances, I worked to increase the number of Priority 1 and long-term NWT residents who are Priority 2 public servants. I am very thankful that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has maintained high Priority 1 numbers, around 45 per cent.

Mr. Speaker, when I was the Minister of Human Resources, it was like pulling teeth to have the departments develop a five- to 10-year human resource plan. Indigenous people born and raised in the NWT feel that they do not receive the same consideration as others for government jobs.

Mr. Speaker, apprenticeship jobs would be ideal for Indigenous people that plan to remain in the NWT and pay their taxes, instead of relying on income support and short-term jobs to make ends meet. They, too, need an opportunity to become productive members of society.

Mr. Speaker, I have many friends in the NWT, and we have seen the GNWT slide non-priority people into public service employment with ease, while Priority 1 candidates are busy jumping through hoops and running into obstacles.

Mr. Speaker, when most people retire from the GNWT, they know that they have spent their last day on the job, but when some senior managers retire, they are put on contract, and they will be making just as much, if not more, money before retirement. Meanwhile, they tie up salary dollars that could be used to hire some Northerners. Mr. Speaker, I have been fighting for Priority 1 candidates in this government, but, without support from the highest level and without a human resource plan to actively work on increasing Priority 1 candidates, we will remain the same and half of our citizens will continue to live in a territory where the public service is not representative of the population they serve. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Affirmative Action Policy and Human Resource Planning
Members' Statements

Page 4183

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Nahendeh.

Cuts to the Deh Cho Divisional Education Council
Members' Statements

Page 4183

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, about a month ago, I was informed about upcoming reductions to the school support staff for the next year in the Nahendeh riding.

Mr. Speaker, we are seeing an increase in the number of students who have complex needs. According to the information provided to me, we are above average compared to other regions. Unfortunately, the resources that the DDEC receives from the department do not recognize this fact. This is a huge concern for parents, DEA members, students, and myself.

In the Deh Cho region proper, we have nine schools spread out over eight communities. Some of our schools have small student populations. This provides the DDEC with challenges to provide the support that the other regions enjoy. When you look at the requirements, you need a teacher, a language specialist, and/or a classroom assistant.

To the department's credit, we have seen a program support teacher in each community. Unfortunately, this becomes unrealistic for our smaller communities. The DDEC has come up with a plan to combine a number of half-time positions into a travelling position for some of the smaller communities. This is a good step; however, this means each of the smaller communities only gets service one week per month.

This year, we are seeing a reduction to the DDEC. This means that the support staff in schools are being cut or reduced to part-time. I personally disagree with these cuts. These cuts will have a huge impact on wellness of the staff and students.

In some of the smaller communities, we are putting the teachers in an unsafe environment. Part of the day will see teachers being the only adult in the school with the students. Safety becomes a concern. What happens when a student gets hurt? What about the other students? Without proper support staff in place, the teachers end up supervising the students during the breaks all of the time. We could see teachers spending more time managing their class instead of teaching.

Mr. Speaker, the formula looks at the number of students in the region instead of the school's population individually. This ends up affecting the larger schools. I am happy that the department is recognizing the importance of paying the teachers at the level that they are on the pay grid. Unfortunately, it is not the same for superintendent, finance, and administration staff, who are UNW personnel. They are paid at the mid-point, but that doesn't take into account the staff that are long-term. Because of this, the DDEC has to come up with the difference. This means cuts to other staff and programs.

Due to this fact and students' enrolment, the divisional office has seen a reduction of staff from 14 to 8 staff since 2007. These are our support system for teachers and students.

Cuts to the Deh Cho Divisional Education Council
Members' Statements

Page 4183

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Member for Nahendeh, your time for Member's statement has expired.

Cuts to the Deh Cho Divisional Education Council
Members' Statements

Page 4183

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

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

---Unanimous consent granted

Cuts to the Deh Cho Divisional Education Council
Members' Statements

Page 4183

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the department needs to look at the Dehcho Divisional Education Council funding allotment, and how we are looking after the NWT's most important resource: our youth. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will have questions for the Minister later on today.

Cuts to the Deh Cho Divisional Education Council
Members' Statements

Page 4183

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Hay River North.

Mental Health Supports
Members' Statements

Page 4183

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker the upcoming legalization of cannabis has sparked a lot of discussion about addictions and addictions treatment. That is not surprising, given our staggering rates of substance abuse in the NWT and the fact that many of us either see or feel the effects of addictions on a regular basis.

However, we must recognize that, while addiction is a problem, it is also a symptom of an underlying issue. If an individual feels a need to escape reality through drugs or alcohol on such a regular basis that he or she develops an addiction, there is a reason behind that need. There is something else driving that need.

Unfortunately, those driving forces, the mental health issues that lead to addiction, are often hidden. However, the impacts of mental health issues can be very real. Addiction is just one potential outcome. Suicide is another, as many Northerners know all too well. Even when the impacts are not this extreme, they can still be debilitating, life-altering, and affect people's emotional, physical, and economic well-being. Mental health issues can prevent people from holding a job, from maintaining adequate housing, and from having healthy relationships.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to think that this isn't news to people. I would like to think that everyone here is well-aware of these facts. However, the mental health supports available to the people of the NWT, and Hay River in particular, make me think otherwise. The government often pays lip service to mental health issues and produces many frameworks, strategies, and action plans with the best of intentions, but since I have been in office, I have seen little come from these efforts in terms of what is happening on the ground in Hay River. The wait list for community counselling in Hay River is still months long. They simply don't have the resources to keep up with the demand, meaning that many of the people who need treatment never end up receiving it. What happens to those people? Many trudge on and make it through each day, suffering quietly. Others may see their symptoms worsen and develop into a substance abuse problem, at which point the GNWT will step in to help.

Well, Mr. Speaker, I would like to see this government become more proactive and less reactive, so they are not forced to react to situations that could have been avoided in the first place. I would like to see this government pay the same heed to the state of our human infrastructure as it does to our capital infrastructure. I will have questions for the Minister of Health at the appropriate time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mental Health Supports
Members' Statements

Page 4183

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Nunakput.

2018 Nunakput High School Graduates
Members' Statements

June 1st, 2018

Page 4183

Herbert Nakimayak Nunakput

Quyanainni, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the high school graduating class from my riding in Nunakput.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to have the 2018 graduating class from my hometown of Paulatuk and the communities of Tuktoyaktuk, Sachs Harbour, and Ulukhaktok. Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the following 2018 graduates: Jasmin Keogak from Sachs Harbour, who is attending East Three Secondary School in Inuvik; Matt Chloe, Jacob Klengenberg, and Nadine Kuneluk from Helen Kalvak School in Ulukhaktok; Jerry Ruben Bennett, Heather Thrasher, Keara Ruben, and Curtis Kregnaktak from Angik School in Paulatuk; and Allysa Felix, Elishia Lugt, Breanna Wolki, Marcus Kimiksana, Brayden Teddy, and Lucas Emaghok-Felix from Mangilaluk School in Tuktoyaktuk.

Mr. Speaker, our youth have the potential to transform their lives and their communities for the better. It is my wish that they succeed in all of the things that they set out to do. Mr. Speaker, the North has many youths who are very gifted and intelligent. It is my hope that they discover and hone their unique talents and to always believe in themselves and their abilities, whatever path they decide to take. Mr. Speaker, I wish for them to never give up on their dreams, no matter how hard things seem. Pick yourselves up and finish well.

Mr. Speaker, we must give our youth the tools they need to succeed, as they will be the next generation of leadership in the Northwest Territories and around the globe. Colleagues, please join me in celebrating the 2018 graduating class of Nunakput region and across the Northwest Territories Quyanainni, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

2018 Nunakput High School Graduates
Members' Statements

Page 4183

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Deh Cho.

Indigenous Housing Policies and Land Leases
Members' Statements

Page 4183

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. [English translation not provided.]

Mr. Speaker, for example, the minimum annual lease rate increased to $840 in both territorial and Commissioner's lands, up from $150 and $600, or 560 per cent and 40 per cent respectively.

Mr. Speaker, during our February/March session, discussions in this House also centred on issues of land tenure, with the Department of Lands creating several positions to address equity leases. My colleagues and I raised a number of concerns regarding both the sticker shock of significant lease rate increases, as well as the location of positions to address land tenure issues.

[English translation not provided.] Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Indigenous Housing Policies and Land Leases
Members' Statements

Page 4183

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

Recognition of Inuvik Twin Lakes Science Fair Award Recipients
Members' Statements

Page 4183

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I think it's important that, as an Assembly, we acknowledge our young people and their achievements across the Northwest Territories. We've heard a couple of Members talk about graduations that are going on across the NWT.

Today I would like to speak to a young lady who was at the Canada-Wide Science Fair in May, and she won a bronze medal. Her name is Tyra Cockney-Goose. She actually served as a Page in this Assembly a couple of years ago. Her project was sleep deprivation, and she actually experimented on herself. She found in the project she put forward that, because she was a high school student, she stayed up late and was studying, and she likes to procrastinate, so that caused her to lose some sleep. I thought that was a very good study that she did.

I would also like to acknowledge Kaylin Harder, who is a grade 9 student in Inuvik. She was also at the science fair in --- I'm not sure where it was held, but she was also at the science fair, and she won a scholarship for a month-long science camp this summer.

Speaking of the achievements of young people, tomorrow, in Inuvik, East Three Secondary School will be having their graduation. Members have spoken to it in this Assembly. I mean, we all want to acknowledge the accomplishments of our young people, so I would ask the Assembly to join me in congratulating Tyra and Kaylin and all the other young students across the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Recognition of Inuvik Twin Lakes Science Fair Award Recipients
Members' Statements

Page 4183

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Item 4, returns to oral questions. Item 5, recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Great Slave.