Robert C. McLeod
Inuvik Twin Lakes
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the debate that's going on in this Assembly. I have had a lot of people reach out to me as well; constituents of Inuvik Twin Lakes, a lot of families worried about the strike. What I want people to understand is that, just because you don't support the motion, and I think a couple of Members have already said it, just because you don't support the motion, you're not voting in favour of a strike. Let's make that perfectly clear, and people need to understand that.
I have a lot of confidence in the ability of our negotiators and the UNW's negotiators to think about the people who have been e-mailing us, talking about the hardships that they might face if they have to go on strike. None of them wants to. None of us wants them to go on strike. You're talking about the hardship and it is that mindset that we should take into the mediations this weekend, thinking about those particular people. I believe that we would be able to come to an agreement. One of the Members over there said it perfectly well, said that there was a lot of politics involved. I totally agree. I totally agree. I have had a few emails, some threatening on October 1st. I mean, that is fine. We are all MLAs. Every year, we go through an election period, and we have people say why they won't support us. That is fine.
As dean of the House and one who has been here the longest, what I don't appreciate is the pressure that is put on all 19 of us. I don't appreciate that because we have people who we have tasked to do our negotiating. The pressure that is put on all 19 Members of this House, I absolutely do not appreciate. It put everyone in difficult positions where I think Mr. Blake said it: it is lose-lose for everybody on which way you go with this. That is something that I am not a big fan of.
Our folks are before a mediator this weekend. Let's let them do as we tasked them. I have heard Members say that this is something that should have happened next week. I agree. Again, political pressure and how some react to it is different for a lot of people. I want people to be assured that I will be available. I am going to make myself available all weekend. I want to try to be in constant communication with everybody to see if we can go through a successful mediation.
The Member from Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh said it really well when he said communication. He said communication. That is something that sometimes we are often criticized for: the communication part of the work we do. I have heard that. I have had meetings with the Regular Members, deep, deep conversations on where we need to go, but I don't think there is a person in the Northwest Territories who wants a strike. Because you vote against the motion doesn't mean you are supporting a strike.
Again, I really take offence to the pressure that is put on all my colleagues in this Assembly. It is undue pressure. We have people who we have tasked to negotiate on our behalf. The union has people who they have tasked to negotiate on their behalf. I think the backdrop to those negotiations should be how it is going to affect the people in the Northwest Territories. With that backdrop, then I think we can reach an agreement.
Mr. Speaker, one of the Members said, "Well, the Minister is going to tell us, 'Let's respect the process.'" I have been saying that for a while. Let's respect the process. I also have faith and respect the principle of the people who are in the process, that they are going to take the best interests of people across the Northwest Territories in mind while they are sitting and having their back and forth. I will trust them to do that. Failing that, then they will come up with probably the next step in the resolution of this. I am not sure what that would include. Again, they are negotiating for their membership, and we are negotiating. Again, I will leave that up to them.
I will be available all weekend. Because we believe in the concept of mediation and the folks who are involved in it, Cabinet is not going to be supporting the motion. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.