This is page numbers 81 - 106 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 work.

Topics

Question 26-19(1): Evictions from Public Housing
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 95

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

In regard to the eviction process that we currently do have, I really would like to acknowledge the safety that is among the units, the public housing units, and the activity that carries on, but then, yet, we do have a high rate of outstanding debts that are carried by the public housing tenants. I am wanting to work with the tenants and wanting to work with the eviction notices and try my best to really exercise my department to use that as a very last resort.

Question 26-19(1): Evictions from Public Housing
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 95

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

As the Housing Corporation across Nunakput, I know the rent scale is out of whack. We have to sort that out for the people. The T4 system is not working. The high rates, the cost of the units that we're providing, which is 42 percent problematic since the last census, there are problems in every unit that we have. There is overcrowding. People are suffering, Mr. Speaker. We need to make the residents, my constituents in my riding, they have to have a place to stay. Would the Minister answer me, yes or no, if she could provide the answer to stop the evictions for the next six months so we can review this with the department?

Question 26-19(1): Evictions from Public Housing
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 95

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you to the Member for his question. I will have to work with my department in order to make this decision, and I would like to work with each of the clients in the local areas and try to recover the debt that is required and try to understand why the eviction is taking place, but I would like to go forward and like to deal with these evictions on a case-by-case basis. I am open to further discussion.

Question 26-19(1): Evictions from Public Housing
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 96

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr)

Thank you, Minister. Member for Nunakput.

Question 26-19(1): Evictions from Public Housing
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 96

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In regard to this go-forward on the rent scale, I'm giving notice now, Mr. Speaker, if I'm unsatisfied with the Housing Corporation, I'll be bringing a private Member's bill to bring forward for the next sitting of this House to provide our own rent scale, but I want to work with the Minister in regard to working on that rent scale and for the people in the Northwest Territories. This is not only my riding; this is across the whole territory. This rent scale has to be sorted out, because people who want to work, people can't work because they are penalized if they do, paying that rent right through the whole year when people are only working four or five months a year, Mr. Speaker. So I give notice. Thank you.

Question 26-19(1): Evictions from Public Housing
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 96

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr)

Thank you, Member. Minister, I'll give you a chance to respond.

Question 26-19(1): Evictions from Public Housing
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 96

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you to the Member for your questions. This is an ongoing issue that is throughout the Northwest Territories. I would also like to acknowledge, coming from a smaller community, that I do see this at the grassroots level. I do see this in the smaller communities, and I am committed to review our rent scale program right now. I do realize and I recognize that it's not working throughout the Northwest Territories, but yet we need to work with the local housing authorities and societies to recover and try to work effectively and efficiently in our smaller communities. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 26-19(1): Evictions from Public Housing
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 96

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr)

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Thebacha.

Question 27-19(1): Recreational Land Leases
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

December 12th, 2019

Page 96

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

Mr. Speaker, the concerns regarding the recreational land leases have been a very hot topic in all different venues with Indigenous and municipal governments, including members of many of our communities. My primary concern is for the residents of Fort Smith. My question for the Minister is: how is your department going to undo a major, poor decision of the 18th Assembly that should not have happened without proper consultation?

Question 27-19(1): Recreational Land Leases
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 96

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr)

Thank you, Member. Minister of Lands.

Question 27-19(1): Recreational Land Leases
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 96

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We will have opportunities to revisit the mechanisms used to set the rent and fees, and it will be part of bringing our Public Lands Act into force. We are starting to work on it. It's part of a process. It's not going to be fixed overnight; it's going to take some time. We are in the process and there are mechanisms in there. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 27-19(1): Recreational Land Leases
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 96

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

The Minister's response to my office regarding land leases which he sent out on December 9, 2019, is unacceptable. After bringing forward concerns well over 31 times in the 18th Assembly, I want to know why the Minister of Lands is stalling to address these concerns in a positive and proactive manner that will work for all the NWT residents, especially the residents of Fort Smith dealing with this issue.

Question 27-19(1): Recreational Land Leases
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 96

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

The department is not stalling. We're trying to work on this. It's critical that one of the main focuses for the Department of Lands during the life of the 19th Assembly is to do the work on regulations needed to bring into force the Public Lands Act. This work needs to be done in advance of further changes to lease pricing.

It is important to note that, although there was an increase to recreational land lease fees, there was a decrease to the lease fees for residential leases where people's homes are in communities of Commissioner's land. This was part of the result of my questions 31 times that the Member talked about, when I was speaking to the Minister of Lands in the past.

Question 27-19(1): Recreational Land Leases
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 96

Frieda Martselos Thebacha

I am also concerned about the contents and tone of the multiple letters I've seen from constituents who received letters from the Department of Lands stating that, if the new lease fees were not paid within a specified time, the residents would need to bring the land to its original state. Does the Minister of Lands agree with bureaucrats and civil servants writing these letters to the people we represent as MLAs?

Question 27-19(1): Recreational Land Leases
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 96

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

The letters that come from the department are letters that support legal contracts such as lease agreements. They need to be clear. They are not meant to carry a specific tone, but to ensure that there is no misunderstanding of the points that need to be communicated. If a lease fee remains unpaid and there is no intent to continue use of the parcel of land, it is the responsibility of the department to ensure that the land be left in an acceptable condition. This often means a condition that is as close as possible to the original state. I agree with the principle when addressing public lands outside the municipalities.