This is page numbers 4881 - 4900 of the Hansard for the 18th Assembly, 3rd 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 budget. View the webstream of the day's session.

Topics

Members Present

Hon. Glen Abernethy, Mr. Beaulieu, Mr. Blake, Hon. Caroline Cochrane, Ms. Green, Hon. Jackson Lafferty, Hon. Bob McLeod, Hon. Robert McLeod, Mr. McNeely, Mr. Nadli, Mr. Nakimayak, Mr. O'Reilly, Hon. Wally Schumann, Hon. Louis Sebert, Mr. Simpson, Mr. Testart, Mr. Thompson, Mr. Vanthuyne

The House met at 1:31 p.m.

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

Page 4881

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Good afternoon, Members. Item 2, Ministers' statements. The Honourable Premier.

Minister's Statement 144-18(3): Minister Absent from the House
Ministers' Statements

Page 4881

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, I wish to advise Members that the honourable Alfred Moses will be absent from the House today to attend the federal-provincial-territorial Ministers' conference in Red Deer, Alberta. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 144-18(3): Minister Absent from the House
Ministers' Statements

Page 4881

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. Member for Mackenzie Delta.

Safety Issues on the Dempster Highway
Members' Statements

Page 4881

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, let's talk about highway safety on the Dempster Highway. As you arrive in Fort McPherson heading south, there is a lake situated right beside the highway. The embankment is rather steep. It is the old water-intake lake. Last summer, we had a group of tourists, a camper, who veered off the road, went down the steep embankment, and almost into the lake. These people are very lucky that nothing terrible happened to them.

Mr. Speaker, we can't continue to say "lucky." We need the Department of Infrastructure to build a guardrail along that little bit of highway so that vehicles can be made aware that this is a dangerous area, in hopes that they will slow down when approaching.

In the summer of 2018 tourist season, we have seen a record numbers of travellers on the Dempster Highway. This is due to the completion of the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway and high demand for local tourists and business in the region. The numbers are expected to be even greater this summer. With this in mind, we need the department to seriously look into this matter and make sure our highways are safe for all travellers. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will have questions later today. Mahsi.

Safety Issues on the Dempster Highway
Members' Statements

Page 4881

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Kam Lake.

Member's statement on Canada Winter Games 2019
Members' Statements

Page 4881

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, scores of youth athletes and their support teams are on their way to Red Deer, Alberta to compete in the Canada Winter Games. I hope the Members of this House will join me in wishing the team and coaching staff the very best as they head down to Red Deer to compete and represent the NWT.

Sport is an important means to bring people together, not only within a single community but as a chance for our youth to explore the world they will inherit. It gives them a chance to meet other like-minded young people who have dedicated their time, sweat, blood, and tears to getting to where they are now. Events like these are great for building team spirit and reinvigorating the mind, body, and soul. Sport has been used to bring together communities and can act as a healthy and constructive outlet to counter the ever-increasing sedentary lifestyle many lead in our time. I want to thank Cheyenne Lafferty, Jessica Smith, and Michael Johnston for all their hard work in helping the athletes make attending this competition a reality.

I also wish all the luck to the world to our Kam Lake athletes who will be competing for Team NWT: speed skaters Lance Dizon and Sylvain Rourke; squash player Stephen Messier; Jade Ko in gymnastics; Bailey Johnston in archery; figure skater Victoria Hamm; and, in hockey, Andrew Carr, Taylow Catcher, Alex Cordero, Deanne Whenham, Regan Bulger, Tysen Almond, and Devin Vogel.

Safe travels and best of luck in your competitions. Know that you have our support and that every Member of this House and all of the people of the Northwest Territories will be cheering for you. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Member's statement on Canada Winter Games 2019
Members' Statements

Page 4881

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Nahendeh.

Aboriginal Sports Circle Community Building Award Recipient Jacqueline Whelly
Members' Statements

Page 4881

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, yesterday I spoke about the Aboriginal Sports Circle in the Northwest Territories awards program and how they recognize and give credit to exceptional community members in the NWT sports system. They recognize individuals who have continuously shown dedication, hard work, made significant contributions, and made a positive difference in their respective communities across the NWT. Mr. Speaker, the Nahendeh region had two winners. Yesterday, I spoke of Jonathan Tsetso. Today, I will speak about the other award winner from the Nahendeh region.

During the 2018 award ceremony, the organization recognized Jacqueline Whelly for the community-building award. This award is presented to an individual who has contributed a great amount of time and energy to the community to assist the coaches, athletes, and others in any sport and recreation events.

Jacqueline Whelly is known across the NWT for her hard work and dedication as both a teacher and a community champion. A winner of the Scott McAdam Youth award from the NWTRPA in 2013, Jacqueline continued to be a major presence in her home community of Fort Simpson as a teacher, coach, and mentor. Over the years, Jacqueline has chaperoned dozens of sports teams across the NWT and beyond to tournaments and training. She frequently volunteers her time to keep the gym open, run training and practices, and is always there for the youth who look up to her as a coach and role model.

Jacqueline has been a pivotal in the in the Sober Steve and Sober Sally program in Fort Simpson, which offers youth the chance to participate in positive and fun sober activities on the weekend, in a safe place. She also volunteers for the Lights On initiative, which also gives youth a safe place in the evening and weekends. One of Jacqueline's greatest strengths is how she believes in the youth of her community and seeks to empower them to become the next generation of leaders. She is always willing to listen, help establish a program, or be available to help in whatever capacity she's able. Jacqueline is not only a super coach, but she's also a super teacher, and a super mom. She continues to be a central community member, and for this, she is recognized for the 2018 Community Builder's Award.

Ms. Whelly would like to thank Aboriginal Sports Circle for the award, and Minister Cochrane for representing the ward since her dad was not able to attend the ceremony. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Aboriginal Sports Circle Community Building Award Recipient Jacqueline Whelly
Members' Statements

Page 4881

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife North.

Chinese - Northwest Territories Relations
Members' Statements

Page 4881

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, as we work to expand and diversify the Northwest Territories' economy, we often point to tourism as the promising new sector. We used to talk about the Japanese quite a bit, but we recently know that visitors come from a few different Asian countries, including China.

That's as a result of a lot of planning, work, and expense that this government, working with the private sector, invested in developing that relationship. People and resources from various departments have been applied to the China file over the last 10 or 12 years. As recently as last summer, the Minister of ITI led a delegation to China with the goal of making the NWT top-of-mind for tourists from the world's largest market.

The result is that we have new NWT residents from China, and the benefits of tourism are beginning to spread beyond the capital city. There's a lot to be gained in this valuable relationship.

Now, Mr. Speaker, this valuable relationship may be put at risk by issues between the federal government and China. In spite of our often-stated intention to improve the relationship and increase trade between Canada and China, we recently put that to the test by arresting a high-profile Chinese executive. They in turn have arrested two Canadians.

I recognize that Canada has responsibilities within international law, Mr. Speaker, but one might think that the feds would try to build bridges instead of burning them. Regardless, the relationship that less than a year ago held so much potential and promise now appears to be vulnerable and weak.

Because of these changes, Mr. Speaker, I'm wondering what our government has done to convey our concerns to Ottawa. We need to be making sure the federal government is very aware of what this might cost our territory. Let's be energetic in making sure Ottawa understands the potential risks to our growing tourism sector, and our access to this huge market of travellers. What has this government done to repair the damage that this conflict may have caused?

At the appropriate time, Mr. Speaker, I'll have questions for the Premier. Thank you.

Chinese - Northwest Territories Relations
Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Sahtu.

Fibre Optic Line and Satellite Licensing
Members' Statements

Page 4882

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, recently, it was announced that two satellite operators received an interim licence to operate receivers at the Inuvik satellite station facility.

Mr. Speaker, this is good news and will hopefully pave the way for continued expansion of the satellite station and additional global customers for the Mackenzie Valley fibre link.

Mr. Speaker, the government's investment in the fibre line was significant. This communication backbone should help the economic diversification of our territory and improve service delivery in the communities along the Mackenzie Valley.

Mr. Speaker, the three years that it took to get the approval for these satellite operators is troubling. I understand this is a federal government responsibility and that there are concerns with national security, so there needs to be a complete review before licences can be granted.

Mr. Speaker, that said, three years is too long, and I would hope that the GNWT is providing input to the federal government on ways the approval process can be improved.

Mr. Speaker, previous to this position, I assisted in the installation of the fibre optic cable, a wire as big as your finger. This provided me with the experience to visually see the flashlight from one community to the next. It was an awesome experience.

As I said, the approval is a good-news story, but I will have questions for the Minister of Finance later on, on this Mackenzie Valley fibre line. Mahsi.

Fibre Optic Line and Satellite Licensing
Members' Statements

Page 4882

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake.