This is page numbers 4757 - 4776 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 going. View the webstream of the day's session.

Topics

Diamond Policy Framework
Members' Statements

Page 4759

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. On December 6, 2018, changes were announced to the Diamond Policy Framework. The framework was established in 1999. It was intended to foster a secondary diamond manufacturing industry and provide local employment. It has obviously not succeeded, and I have to wonder whether this new approach is going to be much better.

The new policy allows manufacturers to export a portion of their NWT rough diamonds in exchange for other investments in the NWT economy, such as jewellery manufacturing, retail outlets, tourism partnerships, and other related endeavours. The hope is that approved NWT diamond manufacturers will cut and polish higher-quality rough in Yellowknife while exporting a portion to lower-cost places such as India.

NWT manufacturers will have access to 10 percent of the roughly $1.5 to $2 billion worth of diamonds that flow out of the Northwest Territories each year. Manufacturers will need to provide and get approval for business plans that meet the GNWT's investment requirements.

A review was done to lead to this new approach. The review was done by the Constell Group, an international consultancy firm. That study has not been made public.

The new policy does not include any public reporting and no monitoring framework. The evaluation matrix for determining the investments required for export of diamonds is not on the ITI website, so there is a lack of transparency in how any applications and/or business plans might be reviewed or evaluated.

I'm all for development of a secondary diamond industry, but clearly our best way to retain lasting benefits is to secure an adequate share of the $2 billion worth of diamonds flowing out of here each year through a public review of the royalty regime. When our total royalties from all extractive industries are around $15 to $80 million dollars a year, something is definitely not right, and that's what ITI's own consultants have said. In any event, lots of questions for the Minister later today. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Diamond Policy Framework
Members' Statements

Page 4759

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh.

Homecare Services for Seniors
Members' Statements

February 7th, 2019

Page 4759

Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh

Marsi cho, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, today I'd like to talk about a subject that I've touched on many times in this House, homecare in the NWT.

Our current situation in the communities, Mr. Speaker, is that seniors, once unable to continue living independently, are moved into long-term care facilities. It is my opinion and the opinion of many people that the vast majority of elders do not want to be in long-term care. Long-term care is costing the GNWT about $140,000 per year, per patient. So if an elderly couple was to be forced into long-term care, it would cost the GNWT $280,000 per year. However, if the Housing Corporation was to retrofit their home for $100,000 into a barrier-free unit and HSS was to provide full homecare in their home, it would cost about another $30,000 per senior. There are economies of scale, Mr. Speaker. Each homecare worker will have numerous clients, and each client will have various workers.

Mr. Speaker, allowing seniors to age in place is essential for our history, heritage, and languages. The benefits include employment positions in homecare in our communities. Some further benefits are higher graduation rates, as families with higher incomes are healthier and their kids are more likely to attend school. Another benefit would include house construction jobs.

Mr. Speaker, getting back to homecare and looking at the whole of the NWT, the Department of Health and Social Services has completed a survey on long-term care. The survey found that, over the next few years, long-term care needs will be 258 beds. It's mind-boggling to think about the cost of constructing and maintaining these facilities. If the government was to help some of the seniors to remain in their homes for an extra 10 years, they would spend a lot less money, including in Yellowknife, by creating good jobs and having much happier seniors. If successful 40 percent of the time, the GNWT would defer spending $140 million.

Mr. Speaker, I have completed a quick scan in Fort Resolution, and I believe that there are about 40 seniors over the age of 70. If we were to provide the supports that I speak of today, HSS would defer expenditures of $28 million. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Homecare Services for Seniors
Members' Statements

Page 4759

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Hay River North.

Landa Aviation
Members' Statements

Page 4759

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to thank the good people at Landa Aviation for taking it upon themselves to help reduce Hay River's cost of living by offering affordable scheduled flights between Hay River and Yellowknife six days a week.

Prior to May 2018, when Landa Aviation began offering scheduled passenger flights, the cost of a return plane ticket between Hay River and Yellowknife was $1,200. As I stated before in this House, depending on when you booked, you could fly from Yellowknife to Beijing for less than it cost for the 25-minute flight over the Great Slave Lake. That's why when Landa came on the scene offering return tickets at half the price there was a lot of excitement. Instead of $1,200, they charged $600. Landa also offered smaller books of tickets, so that businesses didn't have to shell out $5,000 a pop to get a deal on flights.

I travel back and forth from my home to the capital quite often, so I have had the pleasure of flying with Landa many times over the past nine months and I can attest that they always offered great service, have cheerful staff, and have the most comfortable seats in the business.

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, Landa recently announced that it would be ending passenger service at the end of next week.

It is a great loss to our community, and it is going to be another financial hit to those who have to pay out-of-pocket to fly between Hay River and Yellowknife, because I have a feeling that the discounted tickets being offered by the competition aren't going to stick around past next week.

I don't think that the folks at Landa ever thought that scheduled flights were going to be a big money-maker. I honestly think they did it to help out our community because they are good corporate citizens, like many of the small businesses in Hay River. I wish that their contribution to Hay River had been recognized and supported by this government and that the GNWT had opted to fly Landa a little more often. Who knows what could have been if they did?

However, with that being said, Mr. Speaker, I want to once again thank everyone over at Landa for the great service they have provided, and I will be seeing them tomorrow. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Landa Aviation
Members' Statements

Page 4759

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Nunakput.

Wolf Harvest Incentive Program
Members' Statements

Page 4759

Herbert Nakimayak Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to see the announcement made by the Minister of ENR on the Enhanced Wolf Harvest Incentive Program launched in the North Slave region. Mr. Speaker, wildlife management in the Northwest Territories is key to ensuring that residents can continue their ways of life, living on the land and practising our cultural ways, whether it is out hunting, fishing, or in the sewing circles across the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, conservation of our ecosystem as a whole is important to ensure that future generations can hunt, trap, and fish the lakes and rivers across the territory and beyond.

Mr. Speaker, as an Inuvialuk who grew up hunting and trapping, I see this incentive giving back to the men, women, and youth who continue to keep our cultures strong and vibrant across the territory. This helps harvesters with the high cost of living. Mr. Speaker, kudos to the Minister and his team for acting on their behalf.

Mr. Speaker, Indigenous and local knowledge across the territory can set a solid foundation to develop conservation policies for all departments of the Government of the Northwest Territories as we work in co-management with Indigenous governments on species, environment, and so on. Mr. Speaker, one day I hope we can achieve full authority and control of our ecosystem in our land claim regions across the territory. This means developing policy together from the ground up to improve upon the coordination and cooperation we see today.

I look forward to ENR's Knowledge Agenda Action Plan, Mr. Speaker, and today I will have questions for the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources on extending the Wolf Harvest Incentive Program to all barren-ground herds across the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Wolf Harvest Incentive Program
Members' Statements

Page 4759

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Nahendeh.

Eulogy for Tommy Betsaka
Members' Statements

Page 4760

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, on June 18, 1947, Thomas "Tommy" Betsaka was born to Jimmy and Eliza Betsaka in the Netla area. He passed away in his sleep on January 6, 2019. He was 72 years old.

Tommy was one of 13 children. To know Tommy, he was always busy. He enjoyed being outside, fixing or adjusting something, often on his skidoo or boat. He loved his traditional lifestyle. Whether he was hauling wood, hunting, or fishing, he loved being outdoors. Family and friends spoke about how he was an excellent provider for his family and friends. He was a generous man. Tommy was very selfless, always ready and willing to help out regardless of the situation.

Tommy raised two daughters, Dorothy and Susan, whom he loved and cherished deeply. As a father often does, he worried about his girls. He raised them to be strong, independent, and hard-working. He stressed important teachings, such as generosity, being direct, and loving and caring for your family. These values, he held close to his heart.

Tommy loved and appreciated his nieces and nephews. They were a very important part of his life. He never wasted a moment to share his knowledge with them.

As Tommy got older, it was not uncommon to see him walking with a walking stick. Because he enjoyed being outdoors, exploring the land around him was part of his daily routine. Tommy was a man of gratitude. He was grateful to the Lord for providing this great country with daily opportunities for him to learn and appreciate each day.

Although Tommy had a serious look about him, he had a great sense of humour. This was evident as you got to know him better. He took each moment as it came and had a light, kind, humour-filled attitude about his life. His sense of humour and laughter was extremely contagious. Before you knew it, you would be laughing along with him, which helped Tommy make friends very easily.

I had the personal pleasure of chatting with him a number of times, and I have to say that he was very knowledgeable. He shared stories about the land, his life, and his family.

Tommy will be deeply missed, and the one valuable trait that he will always be remembered by is his patience and laughter.

Tommy is survived by his five brothers, five sisters, two daughters, three grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and numerous nephews and nieces and great-nephews and nieces. The Betsaka family would like to thank everybody for their loving support, prayers, and donations during this difficult time.

Mr. Speaker, Tommy will be sadly missed. Thank you.

Eulogy for Tommy Betsaka
Members' Statements

Page 4760

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Our condolences to the family, as well as to the community. Members' statements. Item 4, returns to oral questions. Item 5, recognition of visitors in the gallery.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 4760

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Colleagues, I would like to draw your attention to the visitors in the gallery. [Translation] We have Dolphus Nitsiza in the gallery. I would like to thank him. [Translation ends]

Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Hay River North.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 4760

R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. She came back. I would like to recognize my constituent and my girlfriend, Ms. Chantel Lafferty. I would also like to welcome back, again, my aunt and my constituent, Ms. June Simpson. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 4760

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Nunakput.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 4760

Herbert Nakimayak Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Earlier on, a lady by the name of Lena Schofield, who was part of the development of the Yellowknife Inuit Katujjiqatigiit, which is an Inuit organization started up in Yellowknife to help Inuit who don't live in their land claim regions with funding, so that some kids can play hockey, play soccer, attend sports, and things like that. I just want to welcome Lena if she is still around. Also, Mr. Speaker, to my high school buddy, Mr. Dolphus Nitsiza, welcome and quyanainni, Mr. Speaker.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery
Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery

Page 4760

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Recognition of visitors in the gallery. Member for Deh Cho.