This is page numbers 4777 - 4802 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 strike.

Topics

Question 530-18(3): Raising the Northwest Territories Debt Limit
Oral Questions

Page 4779

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

So I think I am hearing it's fair to characterize this as early stages of discussions. When is the Minister going to involve this side of the House in those discussions? It would be nice to know what's driving this, what our fiscal needs are, and what he is asking his federal counterpart for. Can the Minister let us know when we are going to be involved in those discussions?

Question 530-18(3): Raising the Northwest Territories Debt Limit
Oral Questions

Page 4780

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Through a number of the briefings we have had with committees on our financial situation and the desire if we were to take on larger projects, well, the challenge we would be faced with our current debt limit, given that initial, but I do commit to Members, something as important as this, obviously I will be keeping the Members up to date. If there is a desire from the Members to have the Minister sit with them before I go and have my discussions with the federal Finance Minister and seek their input and advice, I would be glad to do that.

Question 530-18(3): Raising the Northwest Territories Debt Limit
Oral Questions

Page 4780

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you to the Minister for that commitment. It's very much appreciated. I wonder if these talks are going to dovetail with the territorial financing formula discussions that are upcoming. Can the Minister provide any clarity on that?

Question 530-18(3): Raising the Northwest Territories Debt Limit
Oral Questions

Page 4780

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Any opportunity we have to raise the discussion on the territorial formula financing with our federal counterpart is one we take advantage of. If there is an opportunity during our discussions to that, the debt limit will have no effect on the territorial formula financing. That is kind of a separate discussion, but we use every opportunity in our discussions with Ottawa to raise our need for the funding for the Northwest Territories.

Question 530-18(3): Raising the Northwest Territories Debt Limit
Oral Questions

Page 4780

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Kam Lake.

Question 530-18(3): Raising the Northwest Territories Debt Limit
Oral Questions

Page 4780

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate that these are separate topics, but they are somewhat intrinsically linked. You either have money to spend or money to spend through borrowing. If we are not getting it from TFF, then we are going to have to raise taxes. Obviously, 45,000 people cannot exactly bear that burden or provide the government with the resources it needs to take on these projects, so is the Minister willing to bring TFF into this conversation? I am fine with either approach, but we need a strategy to get these projects done.

Question 530-18(3): Raising the Northwest Territories Debt Limit
Oral Questions

February 8th, 2019

Page 4780

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Any opportunity we have to bring more money into the Northwest Territories without having to go on the backs of our hardworking employees of all sectors in the Northwest Territories and raise taxes, I think we have done a good job in the last three years. I made it quite clear from day one that we have not raised personal income tax in the Northwest Territories because we do know that our residents are challenged as it is with the high cost of living, especially in a lot of the smaller communities, so we do not want to add further burden. However, if we are able to have that discussion with Ottawa and talk about an increase to our TFF so we were able to have the money to still deliver a lot of the programs and job-creating opportunities we have, then I will take advantage of it. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 530-18(3): Raising the Northwest Territories Debt Limit
Oral Questions

Page 4780

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Oral questions. Member for Frame Lake.

Question 531-18(3): Taltson Project Expansion
Oral Questions

Page 4780

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. My questions are for the Minister of Infrastructure. The Minister, along with his federal counterpart, recently announced $1.2 million for the expansion of Taltson hydro. This House approved a capital budget for 2019-2020 in the fall. Can the Minister explain whether the funding announced recently is actually new money or what is already in the capital budget for 2019-2020? Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Question 531-18(3): Taltson Project Expansion
Oral Questions

Page 4780

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Minister of Infrastructure.

Question 531-18(3): Taltson Project Expansion
Oral Questions

Page 4780

Wally Schumann Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am going to read my notes because this stuff is from all different sources. The funding is coming from two federal sources, with some additional funding from the GNWT. From CanNor we are receiving $480,000, with an additional $120,000 from the Government of the Northwest Territories funding. This is an allocation for technical and commercial work on the project. From CIRNAC we are receiving $619,950. This money will be used to support Indigenous partnership. Funding for technical questions is only sufficient to take us to the end of this fiscal year.

Question 531-18(3): Taltson Project Expansion
Oral Questions

Page 4780

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks to the Minister for that, and I will double check to see where the $120,000 is coming from, whether it's the capital or the O and M budget. As far as I know, there are no buyers for Taltson expansion power, no secured funding other than this little drop in the bucket, and no business case. Can the Minister explain whether there is a business case for the Taltson expansion or when that might be ready and whether it will be shared with the public and this side of the House?

Question 531-18(3): Taltson Project Expansion
Oral Questions

Page 4780

Wally Schumann Hay River South

Yes, the funding, the GNWT source, is from the existing O and M budget, just to answer the Member's question. This project is premised on the fact that the federal support is required for the project and that it will become a driver for clean growth for the people of the Northwest Territories. A preliminary business case will be prepared for this fiscal year. Work is still under way to find high-level costs for the transmission component.

Question 531-18(3): Taltson Project Expansion
Oral Questions

Page 4780

Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Thanks to the Minister for doing his homework there on his feet. The last estimate that I am aware of for full expansion of Taltson seems to be well over a billion dollars. Does the Minister actually have any preliminary cost estimates for this megaproject, and can he share that information with this side of the House now, full expansion, please?

Question 531-18(3): Taltson Project Expansion
Oral Questions

Page 4780

Wally Schumann Hay River South

As we have done a number of technical work and stuff that was done previously in the previous Assemblies on this work, that stuff is going to be part of the updated stuff that we will have to work on. The transmission system is still under study, so it would be premature to speculate what that new cost would be because it's a whole different type of system, as I have said before in this House. We are looking at the first underwater, high-voltage, direct-current line under Great Slave Lake. We are waiting for those costs to still come back, but, once we compile these types of costs, I would be glad to share with committee.