This is page numbers 5161 - 5202 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.

Topics

Members Present

Hon. Glen Abernethy, Mr. Beaulieu, Mr. Blake, Hon. Caroline Cochrane, Ms. Julie Green, Hon. Jackson Lafferty, Hon. Bob McLeod, Hon. Robert McLeod, Mr. McNeely, Hon. Alfred Moses, 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 1:30 p.m.

---Prayer

Prayer
Prayer

Page 5161

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Good afternoon, Members. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Minister of Environment and Natural Resources.

Minister's Statement 162-18(3): Community Involvement - On The Land
Ministers' Statements

Page 5161

Robert C. McLeod Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The land, water, air, wildlife, and plants of the Northwest Territories play a critical role in the lives of Northerners. They are part of our heritage, identity, and way of life. They provide for us in many ways as food for our families, traditional clothing, and transportation routes. The land sustains our livelihoods through hunting, trapping, and gathering. It is a basis for our arts and culture.

The Government of the Northwest Territories has made a mandate commitment to develop country food programming, as well as enhance existing programming and build new partnership initiatives to support healthy and sustainable traditional lifestyles. Together, we work continuously to support our residents' ability to go out on the land.

Mr. Speaker, in an effort to meet this commitment, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources recently established a new On the Land Unit to address the needs and challenges of our communities regarding land-based activities.

We have heard from our residents about the unique needs and challenges faced by communities in accessing country foods, sustaining a vibrant traditional economy, and maintaining opportunities for land-based learning that involves elders and youth.

Our new On the Land Unit is working to address these important issues by engaging our Indigenous partners, communities, land-users, renewable resource boards, and other stakeholders to discuss and prioritize ways to support community-driven sustainable livelihoods programs and initiatives.

Starting this month, representatives from the department will be holding open houses in communities across the territory to get input on the challenges, needs, opportunities, and priorities linked to country foods, the traditional economy, land-based learning, Guardian programs, and traditional knowledge.

The information gathered through this public engagement process will be used to shape an ENR action plan for supporting sustainable livelihoods, and help us as a government to better ensure traditional knowledge directly informs our decision-making.

Mr. Speaker, our new On the Land Unit will also oversee the existing program that we have been partnering on successfully with communities for many years, including the Take a Kid Trapping Program, the Genuine Mackenzie Valley Fur Program, our Community Harvesters Assistance Program, hunter education and training, and public education and outreach initiatives, to name a few.

Ongoing education and outreach, community engagement, and support for community-driven research are fundamental to the department and our collaboration with our partners. The new On the Land Unit represents the strong commitment ENR has to supporting programs and services that position northern knowledge, livelihoods, and culture as central to the work we do. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 162-18(3): Community Involvement - On The Land
Ministers' Statements

Page 5161

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. The Honourable Premier.

Minister's Statement 163-18(3): Minister Absent from the House
Ministers' Statements

Page 5161

Bob McLeod Yellowknife South

Mr. Speaker, I wish to advise Members that the Honourable Glen Abernethy will be absent from the House today and tomorrow due to a personal matter.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 163-18(3): Minister Absent from the House
Ministers' Statements

Page 5161

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Item 4, Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife North.

Federal Support for Northern Mineral Resource Development
Members' Statements

Page 5161

Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Members might get tired of hearing me talk about the importance of mineral development to our economy, but I'll risk it.

Mineral resource development is truly a pan-Canadian industry, but it's significant to the North. Exploration and mining is the North's largest private sector employer and largest employer of Indigenous people, creating about one in every six jobs. Mining exceeds 20 percent of our GDP and brings in investments in the billions of dollars. Mining is also the largest private-sector partner of Indigenous businesses, so it's not only strengthening the NWT economy, it specifically supports Indigenous economic prosperity.

It was good to see this week when the federal government released the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan, or CMMP. The CMMP will guide Canada's mineral resource sector, focusing on areas like global competitiveness, advancing Indigenous participation, environmental protection, and incorporating leading science and innovation into the industry.

Industry recognizes that much of its future growth will be made in remote and northern areas, but creating an operational mine requires a huge investment, Mr. Speaker, and even more so in the north. An industry study found that, because of the "infrastructure deficit," a mine in the north costs about two-and-a-half times as much to develop as in southern Canada.

Mr. Speaker, in days when investor confidence is soft, dealing with that infrastructure deficit is an important priority. We have to demonstrate that we're serious about growing the economy, and that means encouraging Ottawa to play its part in reducing our cost of doing business.

We need less expensive, and green, power. We need transportation routes to reduce the cost of essential goods in our communities, as well as to provide access to our resources. We need to increase our efforts to manage, and not contribute to, a rising cost of living.

Mr. Speaker, we've been demanding that the federal government act to help reduce the infrastructure deficit with large-scale investment. Yesterday's announcement of over $5 million in funding for the Slave Geological Province project is welcome news, and the new CMMP highlights priority areas that will be good for the North, our economy, and jobs for Northerners.

Mr. Speaker, even though it's an election year, we need to hold Ottawa to its commitments. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Federal Support for Northern Mineral Resource Development
Members' Statements

Page 5161

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Colleagues, I would like to draw your attention to visitors in the gallery today with us. I am pleased to recognize interns from the Library of Parliament. They are here in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, to increase their knowledge of the different Canadian parliamentary systems, such as our consensus-style government, and to gain experience in policy, in our legislative process, and in public education as it relates to library research. Along with their supervisor here with us, Lalita Acharya -- I might have pronounced it differently -- Sarah Allan, Roxanne Brisson, Jorge Luis Flores, Andres Leon, and Robert Mason. Masi for joining us here. Welcome to the Northwest Territories.

Colleagues, with us, we have some students here. I do recognize some faces over the weekend. They had a basketball tournament, as well. Grade 9 class from Ecole St. Pat's High School. Welcome to our Assembly.

Members' statements. Member for Mackenzie Delta.

Recognition of Chef Rich Francis
Members' Statements

Page 5161

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker. This week, the Gwich'in have been welcoming and celebrating one of their own.

Chef Rich Francis has made his way home to Fort McPherson. A brief history on our chef. Rich's mother is from the Six Nations of Ontario. His father is Tetlit Gwich'in from Fort McPherson.

Rich graduated from the acclaimed Stratford Chefs' School in Stratford, Ontario, finishing at the top of his class and receiving the institute's award for culinary excellence.

Mr. Speaker, Rich was one of the finalists and only First Nations competitor on Season 4 of Top Chef Canada.

An article written of Rich Francis states: "Rich is literally on fire in the Indigenous culinary world. He has won honours for his approach to native foods and Indigenous ingredients that revitalize food and culture."

Through his work as a chef, he has addressed issues that affect First Nations as a whole, such as truth and reconciliation, colonization, diabetes, obesity, and food sovereignty, just to name a few.

Mr. Speaker, this week Rich has travelled to Tsiigehtchic and Fort McPherson where he was in the schools teaching students basic cooking skills. He is in Inuvik all this week, where the traditional games are happening. We are very honoured to have Rich in the region. Welcome home, Chef. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Recognition of Chef Rich Francis
Members' Statements

Page 5162

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Members' statements. Member for Deh Cho.

Eulogy for David Bonnetrouge
Members' Statements

Page 5162

Michael Nadli Deh Cho

[English translation not provided]

Mr. Speaker, David was a beloved dad, brother, uncle, and friend. He passed away on October 26, 2015, at the age of 77.

David's daughter Ruby says that her dad loved playing fiddle, especially playing with Johnny Landry, Alberta Canadien, and the boys. He also taught fiddle to young men in the community, and was teaching his granddaughter, Jody, too.

Mr. Speaker, music was very important to David. He didn't play to be famous. He just loved to play fiddle, and to sing and dance, and he loved talent shows. Whenever there was a talent show or other performance, David performed his very best, from when he was a young man to the last time he played with Johnny Landry at a show in March 2015. That's how his family wants to remember him.

Mr. Speaker, members of the community, led by Loretta Landry and with some help from the Dehcho Bison Jamboree Carnival Committee, they are organizing a talent show in his honour. There will be a youth competition on March 22nd, with prizes for singing, fiddling, and couples jigging, as well as door prizes and other musical performances, and memorial buttons are being sold as a fundraiser.

Mr. Speaker, I hope you and my colleagues will join me in recognizing the life of David Bonnetrouge, and the strength of the community he left behind. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Eulogy for David Bonnetrouge
Members' Statements

Page 5162

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife Centre.

Northwest Territories Manufacturing Strategy
Members' Statements

Page 5162

Julie Green Yellowknife Centre

Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. The manufacturing sector is one of the bright lights of the NWT economy. It more than doubled in value from 2014 to 2016 and directly employed 129 people. Let's hope that number has grown as much between 2016 and 2018, despite the fact the sector is still waiting for the government's long-awaited manufacturing strategy. The mandate commitment for manufacturing speaks to expanding the sector, identifying potential areas of growth, promoting and marketing products manufactured in the NWT, and aiding in the professional and technological advancement of the industry. What we need is a detailed plan.

Mr. Speaker, last year, I had the pleasure of travelling to Iceland. I toured a small-scale enterprise called Atlantic Leather. Fishing is big business in Iceland, and for the last 20 years, Atlantic Leather has been buying fish skins from local fish plants. During a three- to four-week process, the skin is cleaned, cured, and dyed every colour of the rainbow. Each skin is uniquely beautiful, with the pattern and texture of the fish clearly visible through the colour. The end result is soft and supple leather that is as sturdy as lamb leather. It is made into ties, buttons, purses, shoes, and other things. The factory sells these goods to tourists, but the biggest market is with the luxury-goods manufacturers such as Prada, Jimmy Choo, Fendi, and Dior.

Mr. Speaker, Atlantic Leather prides itself on its sustainability. All of the material used is a by-product from other industries, such as the food industry. They say the chemicals used in the tannery are as sustainable and environmentally friendly as they can get. As a bonus, the tannery has become a novelty stop for tourists. The staff conduct tours and describe the process of creating the leather. A small shop sells both the leather and the finished goods that they make to both tourists and locals.

Mr. Speaker, our fisheries industry produces a lot of skins, and we could investigate their use for leather, as well. What happens to fish skins that come from the lake now? They are thrown away. Instead, given some business development assistance, it may be possible to create a market for fish leather products.

Mr. Speaker, this is the kind of innovation I am hoping for in the long-awaited manufacturing strategy. I will have questions for the Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment. Mahsi.

Northwest Territories Manufacturing Strategy
Members' Statements

Page 5162

The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake.