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 30-19(1): Enforcement of Impaired Driving
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 99

Caitlin Cleveland Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Can the Minister of Justice confirm if reducing the levels of impaired driving is still on their business plan for the Department of Justice? Thank you very much.

Question 30-19(1): Enforcement of Impaired Driving
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 99

Caroline Wawzonek Yellowknife South

Reducing impaired driving isn't a specific policing priority, but it certainly remains, obviously, a priority for the Department of Justice. I could certainly say that it would be ideal if every patrol vehicle in the Northwest Territories could be equipped with the relevant alcohol or drug screening devices and operating officers able to use them.

That may be a long-term goal. That is not a goal that is likely to be achieved in the short-term, but it is one that I believe the RCMP are alive to and working towards and one that the Department of Justice is alive to, and so we will be continuing to seek funding where it is available in order to realize a better goal of having better enforcement. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 30-19(1): Enforcement of Impaired Driving
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 99

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr)

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

Question 31-19(1): Municipal and Community Affairs Positions in Behchoko
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 99

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Masi, Mr. Speaker. [Translation] I previously made a statement regarding this. The government that works in our communities, when we look in the offices, there are a lot of employees. Looking at the Behchoko offices, I want to ask a MACA question. I have three questions for the Minister of MACA. [Translation ends]

To the Minister of MACA, Municipal and Community Affairs, as compared to other communities, as well, comparable to probably the size of the population as well, if she could provide a breakdown of the number of positions, whether it be in Hay River or Inuvik, in comparison to those allocated to my community of Behchoko. Masi.

Question 31-19(1): Municipal and Community Affairs Positions in Behchoko
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 99

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr)

Thank you, Member. Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs.

Question 31-19(1): Municipal and Community Affairs Positions in Behchoko
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 99

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Our department has a significant amount of services that we provide at the community level. They are in comparison to what is offered in Behchoko, but Behchoko is two communities, Rae and Edzo together. We do have some of the employees in Behchoko and some of the employees in the North Slave office. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 31-19(1): Municipal and Community Affairs Positions in Behchoko
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 99

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

That is another issue that stands on its own in Behchoko: Rae and Edzo. It's a separate community, but we provide funding to one community. That will be addressed in this House as well. It is a real challenge for the community of Behchoko, but that is another story that we'll talk about later on.

Mr. Speaker, I understand that accessing housing in Behchoko could be a challenge for staff coming from Yellowknife. It is great that I am talking to the Minister of Housing as well. There are a number of professions who commute to and from Behchoko every day. Carpooling is another option.

In the spirit of capacity-building, can the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs commit to having these seven positions moved to the community of Behchoko and plan or put in place to empower the people of the community to eventually take over these positions?

Question 31-19(1): Municipal and Community Affairs Positions in Behchoko
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 100

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you to the Member for your questions. I just wanted to give a little bit of the current status and current update for Behchoko, because it is a very unique community. It is one of the largest communities that we have in the Northwest Territories, with a significant growing population.

MACA was structured 20 years ago by so much change that has happened in this community. In 2005, the Tlicho Community Government Act was passed and implemented, giving all communities more authority and control over local decisions. Then, in 2007, MACA became an implementation of the new deal for the Northwest Territories communities, flowing a capital and gas tax fund to the community governments in order to plan and build their own infrastructure. MACA employees at the regional and headquarters level, in many ways, exercise more authority and control than they did 20 years ago.

MACA now supports community governments to complete strategic plans in their communities, develop and implement capital plans for infrastructure developments in the communities, and identify and build capacities of staff and elected officials in the communities.

MACA does support seven communities out of its North Slave office, and it is the only region that has an office that is divided between two communities, in Yellowknife and in Behchoko. In order to be able to hire and accommodate staff and facilitate their travels and support the communities in the regions, the superintendent does reside in Yellowknife, but the assistant superintendent is located in Behchoko and is a Tlicho citizen.

Question 31-19(1): Municipal and Community Affairs Positions in Behchoko
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 100

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

It's great that the Minister made a statement on the current situation, but I don't really see any capacity-building happening in Behchoko. Yes, we do have an assistant superintendent, but most senior staff are in Yellowknife headquarters making decisions for the community of Behchoko. Where is the empowerment? It's a top-down approach. It should be at the grassroots level.

Mr. Speaker, I disagree with what the Minister is saying today. I am a firm believer that we should have capacity-building in place, and I will be pushing that, not only today, but going forward. If I don't get answers today, then obviously, it will come up in this House again.

Next question would be: what are the short-term or long-term plans for the Behchoko MACA community regional office to build capacity within senior management?

Question 31-19(1): Municipal and Community Affairs Positions in Behchoko
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 100

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Member, for your comments. I always like to reflect that I do come from a regional level. I do understand and see the capacity-building in the smaller communities and in the smaller local areas. I am willing to work with the Member. I would like to travel into Behchoko and take an assessment of what our office also provides, but also look at the quality of service that we offer in that community. That would be my priority right now, to make sure we are meeting the needs of the residents of Behchoko. Then, in regard to looking at the community and looking at Municipal and Community Affairs and their staff who are located in the North Slave and, in comparison, can we actually accommodate then in Behchoko, I'm not too sure at this time, but I do commit to looking forward to getting into the community and doing an assessment.

Question 31-19(1): Municipal and Community Affairs Positions in Behchoko
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 100

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr)

Thank you, Minister. Member for Monfwi.

Question 31-19(1): Municipal and Community Affairs Positions in Behchoko
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 100

Jackson Lafferty Monfwi

Masi, Mr. Speaker. Obviously, this is an area of interest for the community of Behchoko. There have been certain requests from community members, as well; seeing as the superintendent in the past hasn't really set foot in the community, it is a challenge in the community. Now, we have a new superintendent; I'm not sure if she's been in the community yet, but obviously I'd like to see more of that. Part of that would be community relations through Municipal and Community Affairs, working with the community government of Behchoko, so I'm glad the Minister is willing to work with me on this. I'd like to see a plan in place. When could we see the plan? We can talk all we want in this House, but I want to see an action-oriented plan going forward. I'm hoping it's early in the new year. Masi, Mr. Speaker.

Question 31-19(1): Municipal and Community Affairs Positions in Behchoko
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 100

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Member, for your comments. I'd just like to acknowledge that we do have the office that administers Behchoko for Municipal and Community Affairs. We do have to recognize that we do have additional communities that the North Slave office administers, and there are seven of them, including the two here in Yellowknife. Looking at if we were to relocate our North Slave Municipal and Community Affairs office to Behchoko, there are factors that we have to explore, but then I am wanting to work with the Member and look at how we are going to deal with this going forward so we know that each and every one of our communities are going to be fairly recognized, and that we continue services throughout the North Slave region, and that it's equally served. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 31-19(1): Municipal and Community Affairs Positions in Behchoko
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 100

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr)

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Question 32-19(1): Nursing in Small Communities
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery (reversion)

Page 101

Steve Norn Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Mahsi cho, Mr. Speaker. Roles such as nursing and social work are demanding, physically and mentally, especially in small communities. I believe everyone in this House who is in here should give them all the support and tools they need to help them do a good job and be successful. That being said, my worry is that we are putting inexperienced staff, nursing staff specifically, to the detriment of those who need the care the most, i.e. special needs. My question is for the Minister of Health and Social Services: are there certain aptitudes or a minimum amount of experience that nursing staff must have before they are stationed in our small communities? If so, what are those requirements? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.