This is page numbers 1 - 10 of the Hansard for the 19th Assembly, 1st 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 assembly.

Topics

Members Present

Hon. Frederick Blake, Mr. Bonnetrouge, Hon. Paulie Chinna, Ms. Cleveland, Hon. Caroline Cochrane, Ms. Green, Mr. Jacobson, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Lafferty, Ms. Martselos, Hon. Katrina Nokleby, Mr. Norn, Mr. O'Reilly, Ms. Semmler, Hon. R.J. Simpson, Mr. Rocky Simpson, Hon. Diane Thom, Hon. Shane Thompson, Hon. Caroline Wawzonek

The House met at 1:30 p.m.

---Drum Prayer

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

Page 1

Clerk Of The House Mr. Tim Mercer

Members, invited guests, members of the public, as Clerk of the Legislative Assembly it is my duty to inform the House that the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, the Honourable Margaret Thom, is not prepared to enter the Chamber until a Speaker has been elected. I will now open the floor for a motion to elect a Speaker. The Member for Monfwi.

Motion 1-19(1): Election Of Speaker, Carried
Prayer

Page 1

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Masi. [Translation] I move, seconded by the Member for Range Lake, that Frederick Blake, Jr., of the electoral district of Mackenzie Delta, do take the Chair of this House as Speaker. [Translation ends]

Motion 1-19(1): Election Of Speaker, Carried
Prayer

Page 1

Clerk Of The House Mr. Tim Mercer

Thank you, Member for Monfwi. The motion is in order. To the motion.

Motion 1-19(1): Election Of Speaker, Carried
Prayer

Page 1

Some Hon. Members

Question.

Motion 1-19(1): Election Of Speaker, Carried
Prayer

Page 1

Clerk Of The House Mr. Tim Mercer

Question has been called. All those in favour? All those opposed? The motion is carried.

---Carried

I would now request the mover of the motion and the seconder to please escort the Member for Mackenzie Delta to the Chair.

Motion 1-19(1): Election Of Speaker, Carried
Prayer

Page 1

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake) Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Members, for the trust you have put in me as your Speaker. I will do my very best to uphold that trust.

Colleagues, we have elected the first gender-balanced legislature in Canada. We have elected the only sitting female Premier in Canada, and we have elected the only majority female Cabinet in

Canada. This is truly an Assembly that will go down in history, and I am grateful that you have given me the opportunity to serve as your Speaker.

I heard it said during the campaign that the role of Speaker is largely ceremonial. Those of you who have worked in the Legislative Assembly before know that it is not the case. The Speaker continues to be an MLA and to represent their constituents in this House. In order to maintain the neutrality and objectivity that is required of any presiding officer, they do this by working directly with Cabinet and all Members of the Assembly. As your Speaker, the needs and concerns of the communities I represent, Aklavik, Fort McPherson, and Tsiigehtchic, will always come first.

Colleagues, I would like to recognize the following people who are joining us in the Chamber today:

  • Grand Chief George Mackenzie;
  • Charles McNeely;
  • Chief Edward Sangris;
  • Chief Ernest Betsina;
  • Betty Villebrun;
  • The Honourable Justice Shannon Smallwood;
  • The Honourable Judge Christine Gagnon;
  • Brigadier-General Patrick Carpenter; and
  • Chief Warrant Officer Sherri Forward.

Thank you for being here with us today.

I believe strongly in consensus government. We have heard many times from our constituents, from Indigenous and community leaders, and from each other that we need to work together to make life in the Northwest Territories better. I believe consensus government is how we are best able to do this.

As your Speaker, I will champion our uniquely northern system of government. I will remain open to new ways of doing business because I believe improvements are always possible, but I will resist any changes that I believe will divide us as Members of this Assembly working for the people of this territory.

As your Speaker, I respect the right of all Members to speak their mind in this house. The rules of the Legislative Assembly should not be used to score political points or shut down open debate. That is not the way we solve problems here.

As Speaker, I will resist the use of procedural games to achieve political ends and will always err on the side of allowing more fulsome debate, even if it takes longer.

We need strong leadership in our territory, but every Member should be free to vote the way they choose and the way they feel best represents their people. As Speaker, I will fight to protect this and other rights that Members enjoy.

Colleagues, I promise to make you proud as your Speaker. I promise to do this by being open-minded, consistent, and fair with you, both inside and outside this Chamber. Most importantly, I plan to lead by example and to embody the high standard that we expect of all elected leaders.

Mr. Clerk, would you ascertain if the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, the Honourable Margaret Thom, is prepared to enter the Chamber and open the first session of the 19th Legislative Assembly.

Commissioner's Address
Commissioner's Address

Page 2

Commissioner Of The Northwest Territories Hon. Margaret Thom

Please be seated. Mahsi. [Translation] I am glad that you guys are here, that I am here. I am glad that I am here to open this for you and I am honoured; that would be good for all of us. That is why I feel this way. Thank you. [Translation ends]

Thank you to the drummers. I am happy to be in the House again. I believe strongly that, to open such important work with drum and singing, this is a sacred way to go into the work that you will be doing. Mahsi.

It is once again a pleasure and an honour for me to be in this great House, and I am pleased to welcome each and every one of you to the First Session of the 19th Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories.

I begin by extending my sincere congratulations to the returning Members, three of whom were acclaimed. By being acclaimed or re-elected, it shows that your constituencies have great confidence in you and they know you will continue to serve them to the best of your ability.

I also extend congratulations to the newly elected Members of the Legislative Assembly, and welcome to our consensus form of government.

I need to express how impressed and proud I am with the number of women elected to our government. It is the very first time for our elected government officials to have such gender equality. Mahsi cho.

We must also take the time to thank and extend sincere thanks to the past Members who have served their constituents and our territory in this House. We thank them for their hard work and contributions to the government and to quality of life for all residents of the Northwest Territories. Hopefully, they are making plans to enjoy much-needed time with family and friends.

I would like to welcome all guests in the public gallery who are watching this, and those who are watching these proceedings on television. In the public gallery and in the communities are spouses, families, and friends who should be thanked for their continued love and support. You will all need their support to carry out the very important work that you will do for the people of our territory.

At this time, I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to our new Premier, Ms. Caroline Cochrane, and her newly elected Cabinet, Ms. Paulie Chinna, Ms. Diane Thom, Mr. R.J. Simpson, Mr. Shane Thompson, Ms. Caroline Wawzonek, and Ms. Katrina Nokleby.

I would like to congratulate Mr. Fredrick Blake, Jr., on his acclamation as Speaker. The Members of this Assembly will be well served by the fair and good judgment and experience you bring to this vital position. I wish you the very best and have every confidence that you will be successful in your role as Speaker. Mahsi cho.

As Members of this Legislative Assembly and of this House, you will be faced with many challenges during the next four years. Therefore, it is very, very important that you have good balance in your life between work and family. You will need to juggle your time, family commitments, and the important work that you will be involved in. Take care of your physical health, your spiritual health, your emotional health, and mental health, so that you can carry out your duties as Members of the Legislative Assembly.

My good wishes are extended to each and every one of you, and I am confident that you will serve your constituents and the people of the Northwest Territories with fairness and to the very best of your abilities. As your elders would say: be respectful. Be attentive. Listen to each other. Listen to your constituents. Share your knowledge so you can make wise decisions.

Mr. Speaker, before declaring open this First Session of the 19th Legislative Assembly, I would like to invite all Members and visitors in the public gallery to a reception in the Great Hall after the swearing-in of the Executive Council, which will take place at 3:00 p.m. this afternoon.

As your Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, I now declare open the First Session of the 19th Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. Thank you. Merci beaucoup. Mahsi cho. Quyanainni. Quana.

Commissioner's Address
Commissioner's Address

Page 3

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake) Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you. Thank you, Members. We will continue after a 10-minute recess. Thank you.

---SHORT RECESS

Commissioner's Address
Commissioner's Address

Page 3

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake) Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Members. We will now continue with the orders of the day. Item 3, Members' statements. Member for Monfwi.

19th Legislative Assembly Acknowledgements
Members' Statements

Page 3

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Masi, Mr. Speaker. [Translation] We now have a new government in place. We are very thankful for that. We all have a huge job to do. The Cabinet, as well, has a huge job. The only way to go forward is to support each other. We all want to work well together.

We have the Tlicho leadership here in the gallery to support me, and I thank them. I also thank the Tlicho Nation. They advised me and sent me messages. I am thankful for that. I know that they are standing behind me in support.

Also, I would like to thank my family as well. I know that they love me and support me. My wife, Diane; my children, Jayde, Cheyenne, Sahara, and Denae. I have three children. They also support me. Some days, it is very difficult when you have family, and they really support my work.

Also, Ares Blue is my grandchild. He is two-and-a-half years old. Every time he comes to my house, he gives me a hug. As an MLA, I want to be able to spend more time with my grandchild, so that is why I am on this side. For my children and my family, we need to keep our family first. That is the decision I have made. I also say this to my relatives in the Tlicho Nation. [Translation ends] Masi cho, Mr. Speaker.

19th Legislative Assembly Acknowledgements
Members' Statements

Page 3

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake) Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member Lafferty. Members' statements. Item 4, recognition of visitors in the gallery. Mr. Bonnetrouge.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

October 25th, 2019

Page 3

Ronald Bonnetrouge Deh Cho

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to welcome to the House a few members of my home community of Fort Providence. I have Joachim Bonnetrouge and his lovely wife, Nancy Ann; and also, Jim Thom, husband of the Commissioner. Both of these are former Chiefs of our Deh Gah Gotie First Nations. Also, in the new term this Assembly, my colleagues, I have learned over the last little while that they are also knowledge keepers. Mahsi.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 3

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake) Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Mr. Bonnetrouge. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Mr. Jacobson.