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

Housing Issues in Nunakput
Members' Statements

Page 90

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Residents of public housing in communities across the Northwest Territories, especially in my riding, have challenges created by the Housing Corporation's Public Housing Rent Scale. Something has to be done urgently to help the people who we serve, Mr. Speaker.

The Housing Corporation's website says to the public, and I quote, "The rent scale is designed to help reduce your cost of living in Northwest Territories communities, to increases your personal responsibility for your shelter costs, and to encourage your participation in employment, if employment is available in your community." I am here to tell you that it is doing the exact opposite.

People are afraid to work for the fear that their income will put them over the top and that they will lose their home. When those who work seasonal employment hand in their T4s every year, they get prorated. That has to change, Mr. Speaker, to monthly, bimonthly. People are having to make choices based on their highest levels of income. Even if they're not working all year round, they still have to pay.

This government needs to show compassion and understanding for its less fortunate citizens in the territory, where there is no work. We should not be putting people in positions where they have to make the impossible choice of paying rent or buying food and clothing for their children. We need to stop this practice of evicting people in the winter, Mr. Speaker. In fact, eviction should be an absolute last resort because of the effects, not just to the rent-payer, but to the entire extended family, including dependent children, elders, and family members, who have to take them in, overcrowding. We need to make it easier for our elders to access repair funding and cut out requirements like insurance and homeownership courses before they are able to get that funding.

Mr. Speaker, I am angry about this, but I feel that these problems are because of decisions made long ago by previous governments. This is a new Assembly, one that is committed to working together. I am inviting the Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation to work with us, to work with me, to identify the barriers in their policies that are causing undue stress and worry for our people in our small communities, Mr. Speaker, for the people who are already dealing with difficult circumstances of no work and no jobs in the communities. There is nothing going on in the Beaufort Delta.

Let's make this the government that is on the record for listening to the people and responding positively to their concerns. Mr. Speaker, I will have questions for the Minister of Housing at the appropriate time. Thank you.

Housing Issues in Nunakput
Members' Statements

Page 91

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr)

Thank you, Member. Members' statements. Member for Nahendeh.

Eulogy for Lindsay James St. Ledger Waugh
Members' Statements

Page 91

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This is the time of year for celebration. Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House to honour the passing of Lindsay James St. Ledger Waugh. He was the first-born son of James St. Ledger Waugh and Ella May Taylor. He was born in Palmerston, South New Zealand, on October 7, 1946. He was followed by six siblings and spent most of his time in Waiati, a village outside of Dunedin.

His stories of childhood and adolescence involve working hard, taking the steam train to school, working on cars and motorcycles, smoking and drinking beer, and having the best time with his best mate, Gray. He was blessed with that friendship his whole life.

He also marked June 5, 1971, as an important date, the date he quit smoking.

After becoming an electrician as a young man and living in other parts of his home country, his sense of adventure took him across the ocean by boat to Canada. He still has those shoes he wore on that journey, and by the way, he was never a guy to throw anything away that had sentimental value at all.

Soon after his arrival in Canada, he found his way to Mayo, Yukon. He met Patricia Keyes, and they married on August 31, 1974, with their son, Bruce, by their side. Tracy arrived a few years later, and they made their move to Fort Simpson, where he started Kiwi Electric. They welcomed Jake and, later, Vanessa into the family. Victoria became an addition to the household, along with Dwight and other young people along the way.

He had an amazing work ethic and still worked the Kiwi Electric phone right up until he passed away in October.

He loved his community in the Deh Cho region. He was passionate about music, singing, and song writing. He always kept a small notepad in the pocket of his shirt in case of getting hit with inspiration for a new song. The family were so grateful that he accomplished his dream of recording his music and has left this legacy for his friends and family to continue to enjoy.

He was so proud of his business, his apprentices, his fellow musicians and friends, and his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He was most proud of his wife, Pat Waugh, whose strength, patience, and sense of humour kept the whole ship afloat.

He took great joy in all of his children's accomplishments, was there to listen when they stumbled, and sent the best text messages ever. He loved to put aside chitchat time and talk about self and life and big ideas and balanced it out with being a total goofball at times.

Lindsay had a way of connecting with people and getting them to share their stories and collected many true friends along the way. He brought light and music and laughter to many cancer patients on their tough days and lived his motto, "Progress, not perfection."

Kiwi's presence in our family, community, and the Deh Cho will forever be missed. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Eulogy for Lindsay James St. Ledger Waugh
Members' Statements

Page 91

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr)

Thank you, Member. Members' statements. Item 5, returns to oral questions. Item 6, acknowledgements. Member for Yellowknife North.

Acknowledgement 2-19(1): Hilary Jones - Retirement from Mine Training Society and Recipient of the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines Special Achievement MAX award
Acknowledgements

Page 91

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today I would like to recognize the career and achievements of Yellowknife North constituent Hilary Jones. Leading up to her recent retirement, Hilary was the general manager of the Mine Training Society. Hilary's exemplary work in her field has been recognized by the Chamber of Mines, and she has been awarded a Special Achievement MAX Award.

Working with industry, Indigenous, and government partners, she delivered mining programs that helped facilitate the growth of the Mine Training Society into a Canadian leader. I thank her for her contribution to the successes of so many in our community.

Acknowledgement 2-19(1): Hilary Jones - Retirement from Mine Training Society and Recipient of the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines Special Achievement MAX award
Acknowledgements

Page 92

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr)

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife North. I, too, have an acknowledgement.

Acknowledgement 3-19(1): Sheila MacPherson - Recognition as One of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women
Acknowledgements

Page 92

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr)

I would like to recognize Sheila MacPherson, a partner at the legal firm of Lawson Lundell and our very own law clerk. Sheila has been recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women's Executive Network. The WXN awards were created to recognize the achievements and leadership of women in Canada. Ms. MacPherson was recognized for her more than 30 years of experience as a leader in the north.

Sheila, I know you serve many clients in your law practice, but we certainly have benefited from your leadership here at the Legislative Assembly, a place I know you hold dear to your heart. Mahsi.

---Applause

Acknowledgement 3-19(1): Sheila MacPherson - Recognition as One of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women
Acknowledgements

Page 92

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr)

Acknowledgments. Item 7, oral questions. Member for Frame Lake.

Question 23-19(1): Strategic Oil and Gas Ltd. Environmental Liabilities
Oral Questions

Page 92

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. In my statement earlier today, I noted that the publicly available end-of-life obligations for the Cameron Hills field as prepared by the court-appointed monitor appears to be over $12 million. The actual figure is probably much higher, and that leaves a significant shortfall from the $3 million held as financial security. My questions are for the Minister of Lands. Can the Minister explain how our government failed to ensure that financial security held for Cameron Hills does not at least equal the liabilities, and who will make up the difference? Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Question 23-19(1): Strategic Oil and Gas Ltd. Environmental Liabilities
Oral Questions

Page 92

The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr)

Thank you, Member. Minister of Lands.

Question 23-19(1): Strategic Oil and Gas Ltd. Environmental Liabilities
Oral Questions

December 12th, 2019

Page 92

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Strategic Oil and Gas was, at the time of devolution, transferred an operations site which has gone through an environmental screening and regulatory process and met the criteria for a release site. The site has an owner that is responsible for clean-up and environmental liabilities. Canada transferred the securities associated with all operating sites on April 1st, 2014. Adequacy of security is the subject of continual review and revision as part of the modern regulatory process in the NWT.

At the moment, Strategic Oil and Gas, although it is in creditor protection as it attempts to restructure its operation, is still responsible for remediation obligations related to its sites in the NWT. Under our current system, there are a number of authorities that address securities, including the independent Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board. Security is required as part of the land tender authorization, and, in the case of oil and gas, operation securities operate to address operations and safety. I believe that the Member will agree with me that there is room for improvement to better ensure that the environmental liabilities are borne by the developer who is responsible for creating them and that adequate securities are put in place to address them when operators become insolvent and unable to continue their operations.

Question 23-19(1): Strategic Oil and Gas Ltd. Environmental Liabilities
Oral Questions

Page 92

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

I want to thank the Minister for that detailed information. It didn't really still answer the question of how this happened under our watch. More than five years after devolution, it appears our government still doesn't have an early-warning system on operations like Strategic Oil and Gas, that place taxpayers at significant financial risk. The commitment to develop a financial security system to prevent public liabilities remains unfulfilled from the 18th Assembly. As GNWT is a big promoter of oil and gas development, can the Minister tell us what the plans are to prevent future public liabilities from these activities?

Question 23-19(1): Strategic Oil and Gas Ltd. Environmental Liabilities
Oral Questions

Page 93

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

The Department of Lands, and Environment and Natural Resources prepared security estimates to cover environmental liabilities for new projects as well as existing operations. The process to review and amend securities is directed by the regional land and water boards, which have the legislative responsibility to set the securities amount in water licences and land use permits. If there is change to the project or authorization, a new security review process is initiated by the regulatory boards. Making sure that the right balance between protecting the environment and allowing for investment is a challenge for all jurisdictions. I think it is fair to say that this is a particular challenge when we see industry like oil and gas struggle. While we will not always be able to anticipate when operations will run into difficulties meeting their obligations, efforts are made to review existing securities, to mitigate the risk associated with this development. This is something that I can say I believe we can work on as a government and improve.

Question 23-19(1): Strategic Oil and Gas Ltd. Environmental Liabilities
Oral Questions

Page 93

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

I want to thank the Minister for that. This is something I have been working on for most of my adult life here in the Northwest Territories, over 30 years, so I look forward to working with this Minister to try to get this where it needs to be. Strategic Oil and Gas, in preparing its conceptual closure and reclamation plan, relied on something called "Guidelines for Closure and Reclamation of Advanced Mineral Exploration and Mine Sites in the Northwest Territories." More than five years after devolution, our government does not appear to have put in place a coherent policy and regulatory framework for closure and reclamation of oil and gas. Can the Minister tell me, Mr. Speaker, when we are going to have a robust framework for closure and reclamation of oil and gas development in the Northwest Territories?

Question 23-19(1): Strategic Oil and Gas Ltd. Environmental Liabilities
Oral Questions

Page 93

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

The "Guidelines for Closure and Reclamation of Advanced Mineral Exploration and Mine Sites in the Northwest Territories" were developed jointly by the land and water boards of the Mackenzie Valley and the Government of Canada, now CIRNAC. These guidelines outline the requirement for closure and reclamation plans and stress that closure objectives and criteria be established for the site. Although these guidelines are designed to cover mineral explorations and mine closure, the concept of guidelines apply to all development projects in the NWT. These guidelines were used to guide development of the closure and reclamation plan for the Imperial Oil production facility in Norman Wells and have been used to guide the development of the revised closure and reclamation plan for the Cameron Hills facility. This was submitted to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board in August 2019. Given the predominance of mining in the resource-extraction sector of the NWT, it is understandable that the early focus of the work between the Board and Canada was focused on mining. I believe we can continue to work on this with the board and Canada to provide more direct guidance related to oil and gas.