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.