The Speaker (Hon. Frederick Blake Jr)
Colleagues, this is a special day for a number of reasons. Obviously, it's the last day of the First Session of the 19th Legislative Assembly, and we will take some time to celebrate that later this afternoon. Before that, I'd like to take, first, a few minutes to shed light on the career of the Legislative Assembly's longest-serving and most deeply respected official, Mr. Darrin Ouellette. Early next year, Darrin will retire from a career of over 25 years with the NWT public service and the Legislative Assembly.
Prior to joining our team for the first time as operations assistant clerk during the 15th Legislative Assembly, Darrin served what was then known as the Department of Transportation. He also served in the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, as it was then known. In these roles he had the opportunity to travel throughout the Northwest Territories and develop lasting connections with Indigenous and community leaders.
Darrin very quickly developed a reputation as someone who genuinely believed in the inherent right to self-government and the potential of northern families, communities, and governments to build capacity from within and find homegrown solutions to the challenges they faced. He is well known to have little time for fluff or for solutions that were made to gloss over root problems rather than tackle them head-on. Darrin is known as a proponent of real action, actions that actually helped communities to improve the lives of our residents.
In 2011, Darrin came back to the Assembly after a brief hiatus. He joined the senior management team as director of Corporate Services, and later as deputy clerk of Member and Precinct Services. On many occasions he served as acting Clerk of the Legislative Assembly. Darrin had many successes in these senior roles; too many to mention here today, but one that comes immediately to mind is the leadership he demonstrated following the shooting on Parliament Hill in 2014. While many legislatures went into lock-down mode, Darrin was able to step back and recommend improvements to our security systems that were both effective and responsive, but also consistent with the idea of our Assembly as the place of the people.
Darrin has been involved in the security and upkeep of this building since its inception. In his time as a director and deputy clerk, he has worked tirelessly to ensure this place reflects the culture and unique form of democracy of the Northwest Territories and that it is accessible to all residents and visitors from abroad.
Darrin, on behalf of the Members of the Legislative Assembly, I want to express my sincere gratitude for your many years of outstanding service to both the government and Legislature of the NWT. You have provided calm leadership through some rocky times and you will be very much missed; by myself, by the Clerk, and by all the current and former Members and staff you have worked with. We will miss your leadership and your wisdom, but most of all we'll just miss you, the great team-building events you organized, your laughter and humble sense of humour, your homemade bannock, golf tournaments on sand and snow, and your always calm and reassuring demeanour.
On behalf of the Members and staff of the Assembly, I wish you and Donna Marie all the happiness and adventures you so richly deserve in the next stage of your lives. I hope you will always consider this place a home away from home and know that you are most welcome to come visit us, early and often. Thank you, Members.
Item 2, Ministers' statements. Minister for Environment and Natural Resources.