This is page numbers 5203 - 5254 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

Members Present

Mr. Blake, Hon. Caroline Cochrane, Ms. 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

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Good afternoon, colleagues. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment.

Minister's Statement 164-18(3): Support for Film
Ministers' Statements

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Wally Schumann Hay River South

Mr. Speaker, with the conclusion of the seventh annual Dead North Film Festival this past weekend, it is appropriate that I speak today on our vibrant film industry and its growing importance to our economy.

First, I would like to congratulate all of the participants in this year's event. Nearly 40 films were submitted to the festival this year, with entries from across the North, each region of our territory, and from as young as nine and 10 years old.

Winners were recognized with Zombears. These awards recognize excellence in a variety of fields. In addition, the Northwest Territories Film Commission's Best Locations Award was presented for recognizing the use of the Northwest Territories' unique and world-class backdrops for film. This year's winner was a film called Long Story Short, which offered an alternative telling of the story of the Mad Trapper.

The annual Dead North Film Festival is about more than just films and screenings. The festival hosts seminars, networking opportunities, and workshops. This year, the festival expanded its reach to include a photo competition, further engaging the arts community, and offering the chance for creative growth and new projects. It was an opportunity for media artists from across the territory to showcase their talents, to encourage new entrants in the sector, and to build below-the-line production skills that will increase the capacity of our local industry.

It is precisely why our government, through the Departments of Industry, Tourism and Investment; Education, Culture and Employment; and the NWT Film Commission, are committed to supporting events like this. It offers yet another step in our mandate for greater economic diversity.

Mr. Speaker, the talent showcased at this year's festival underscores how far our film sector has come since the start of this Legislative Assembly. We have more producers in this territory than ever. We have a professional media association working in tandem with our Film Commission to promote our territory on the global stage. We have made-in-the-Northwest-Territories films making waves in the festival scene and even realizing distribution contracts.

We have celebrated NWT filmmakers, like Keith Robertson, who got his start at the Dead North Film Festival, moving on to a fellowship at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity and even more success within the film industry. We continue to see award-winners like Yellowknife's France Benoit telling our Northwest Territories stories on the world scene.

To support the industry, our government has developed the Film Apprenticeship Program, in partnership with the Northwest Territories Professional Media Association, and enhanced the funding available to filmmakers. We have also partnered with producers and the industry to market our territory and its talent to Canada and the world.

Mr. Speaker, the credit really needs to go to the industry. The drive and resourcefulness demonstrated by the territory's pioneers and leaders are second to none. In some ways, the Dead North Film Festival is the only circumpolar film festival in the world that offers an excellent demonstration of the grit and determination that sets the North, and particularly the Northwest Territories film sector, apart.

Our government will continue to support the film sector, push the media arts as a viable career path, and lay the groundwork for more growth. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Minister's Statement 164-18(3): Support for Film
Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Ministers' statements. Item 3, Members' statements. Member for Frame Lake.

Arctic and Northern Policy Framework
Members' Statements

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Kevin O'Reilly Frame Lake

Merci, Monsieur le President. On December 20, 2016, the Prime Minister announced that a new Arctic Policy Framework would be co-developed in collaboration with Indigenous, territorial, and provincial partners to replace the 2010 statement on Canada's Arctic Foreign Policy. The framework is also to be informed by Mary Simon's report from the Shared Arctic Leadership Model Engagement. Our Premier sent out the latest draft of what is now known as the Arctic and Northern Policy Framework to selected stakeholders with a request for comments by February 28th. I commend the Premier for continuing to seek input in the development of this document, which will guide federal investment in the Canadian North for at least the next several years.

Last week MLAs received a submission by Alternatives North, and I will table that letter later today. Alternatives North noticed a significant difference between the introductory chapter and the NWT chapter in the document in terms of priorities. The introductory chapter starts with a focus on resilient and healthy people before moving on to issues related to infrastructure, economy, and environment. In contrast, the NWT chapters focused on large infrastructure projects and continued non-renewable resource development. The NWT chapter focuses on sustainable growth rather than sustainable development, and, Mr. Speaker, there is a big difference.

The NWT chapter is economically pessimistic rather than acknowledging that the diamond mines are coming to the end of their natural life and that we need to diversify our economy. The chapter correctly notes that nearly 50 percent of diamond mining jobs are filled by people from outside the Northwest Territories.

The GNWT has failed to find ways to fairly distribute mining benefits across the NWT and across generations. We have seen more than $30 billion worth of diamonds produced and exported while our Heritage Fund is only about $17 million. The NWT chapter fails to provide any alternatives and, in fact, suggests more of the same, with subsidies for further resource extraction and mega projects that will take money away from community development and diversification. Strategies to seize and develop available sustainable opportunities, especially in the knowledge economy, with the prospect of a polytechnic university for the Northwest Territories, and the conservation economy, with opportunities such as Thaidene Nene, have largely been ignored.

I will have questions later today for the Premier. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Arctic and Northern Policy Framework
Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

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

Hay River Chamber of Commerce Gala Award Recipients - Randal West-Pratt and Paul Delorey
Members' Statements

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. This past Saturday the Hay River Chamber of Commerce held its annual gala. As always, it was a great event. The room was beautifully decorated, the food was delicious, and the service was top-notch. The theme was "A Night of Elvis," and yes, Mr. Speaker, attendees were treated to performances by the winner of the world's largest Elvis festival.

The chamber also used the gala as an opportunity to recognize the contributions of some local residents by presenting two awards. I had the honour of presenting the first award, Customer Service of the Year, to Mr. Randal West-Pratt.

Mr. West-Pratt is the manager of Tri R Recycling Depot, warehouse and storage in Hay River, whose positive attitude has created an upbeat and happy workplace. He is eager to help each and every customer and is always present in his communications, offering kind words, direction, and support. He is always willing to lend a hand to coworkers, customers, and even strangers.

This willingness extends beyond his occupation, as demonstrated by his extensive volunteer work with organizations such as the Arctic Winter Games, the Hay River Museum Society, the Elks Club, and with the residents of supported living services. Regardless of whether he is at work or volunteering, each interaction receives his full attention, warm smile, and generous spirit.

Mr. Speaker, the second award of the night was for Citizen of the Year. This went to a man who is well-known in this House, Mr. Paul Delorey. Over the last five decades, Mr. Delorey has spent an incalculable number of hours contributing to his community. His volunteer service in Hay River began in the 1970s with the Royal Canadian Legion, where he spent time fundraising and writing various programs. In the 1980s, he joined the Knights of Columbus and ended up serving in most of the organization's positions. That's where he dreamt up the now infamous "Lobster Do," which kicked off in 1987 with 85 attendees. Thirty years later, the event is still going strong. It now draws 700 attendees, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the community, and has brought thousands of people together to celebrate friendships and bond of community.

He was also the mastermind behind Hay River's Chase the Case fundraiser that raised $700,000 and ensured a stable future for the Hay River Curling Club. Mr. Speaker, I speak unanimous consent to conclude my statement.

---Unanimous consent granted

Hay River Chamber of Commerce Gala Award Recipients - Randal West-Pratt and Paul Delorey
Members' Statements

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R.J. Simpson Hay River North

Of course, Mr. Speaker, we can't talk about Paul Delorey without talking about curling. He has been a prominent volunteer with the curling club for decades, and, during that time, he has done it all. He has been a coach for nearly 40 years and has led countless curlers, primarily youth, in many events, including the Arctic Winter Games, the Canada Winter Games, the junior nationals, the Tournament of Hearts, and more. For his efforts, he was nominated and selected to become a member of the prestigious Governor General's Curling Club and in 2014 was a runner-up for the Canadian Curling Association volunteer of the year.

Beyond his contributions, of which I have only named a few, Mr. Speaker, the citizen of the year award also recognizes the intangible qualities that Mr. Delorey displays every day: an appreciation for community, patience, understanding, hard work, and dedication.

I ask the House to please join me in congratulating both Mr. Randy West-Pratt and Mr. Paul Delorey. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Hay River Chamber of Commerce Gala Award Recipients - Randal West-Pratt and Paul Delorey
Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Colleagues, I would like to draw your attention to visitors in the gallery with us here today. We have with us the grade four class from Ecole Allain St-Cyr. Thank you for joining us today. Members' statements. Member for Nahendeh.

Fort Simpson Territorial Park Interpretive Storytelling Area
Members' Statements

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Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to celebrate a very impressive addition to the Fort Simpson Territorial Park. In previous years at the park, Deh Cho ITI parks division heard concerns that the area around the kitchen facility did not have a gathering area where guests could meet and socialize. The manager of tourism and parks, ITI, attended to this concern by developing a vision with a community manufacturer, PR Contracting. After developing the vision, PR Contracting worked on a fire pit design that would depict Deh Cho wildlife while also including a seating and gathering arrangement.

Once the design was agreed upon, the project was well under way, and, as evidenced, the workmanship and the final products were outstanding.

On June 1, 2018, as part of Tourism Week, the Fort Simpson Visitor Information Centre along with ITI and the territorial parks held an open day for the park season, showcasing this new addition to the park. This event brought together more than 50 tourists, local children, and adults for an evening of food, storytelling, and friendship. The group connected through conversation and food around the newly unveiled fire pit with the seating and gathering area.

Mr. Speaker, the department was able to invite a local elder, Bob Norwegian, to come and partake in the celebration and the official unveiling of one of the new additions to Fort Simpson Territorial Park. He shared some of the history around Fort Simpson and surrounding areas and stories of his ancestors, who have been in the area for more than 600 years.

After the stories, more food was shared throughout the group. As a way to say thank you to everyone who participated, a river tour for two was raffled off, with a local resident claiming the prize. This is an excellent opportunity for community connection through tourism.

Mr. Speaker, this past season, this project and the new addition was very popular for the park. Throughout the summer, the facility was well-utilized by multiple groups, such as Parks Canada, ITI parks events, VIC interpretation program, Nahanni tourism companies, tourism, tourists, and community members.

I would like to thank the Deh Cho regional staff from the department as well as PR Contracting for developing this new addition to our community. Thank you for a job well done, and much appreciated. We will enjoy the use of it this summer. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Fort Simpson Territorial Park Interpretive Storytelling Area
Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Yellowknife North.

Stewardship of the Environment
Members' Statements

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Cory Vanthuyne Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In the 18th Assembly, we have made progress in a number of important mandate areas. We have moved forward in resource development, health, education, progress on housing. Our residents count on these investments to make their lives better and to allow families and communities to grow and flourish, so it's important not to lose the big picture because, no matter what grade you are in in school, what you do for a living, or the condo, cabin, or shack you live in, you must have fresh air you can breathe and clean water you can drink, Mr. Speaker.

That is why I am troubled that, over the course of this Assembly, there have been systemic reductions in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. This is the fourth year in a row of planned cuts to the department, with a reduction of 10 percent of its budget in the past three years.

This amounts to cuts in service, plain and simple, Mr. Speaker; less money in environmental protection, less support for community-based climate-change monitoring, significantly less on water quality. In general, we are investing less in science and knowledge about our own lands and waters than we were three years ago.

Mr. Speaker, right now more than ever, we are feeling the impacts of the changing world. Climate change is affecting everything. Our roads, shorelines, water levels, fire seasons are in flux. Caribou herds are in crisis. Now is not the time for us to be less committed to science and knowledge. Now is the time for us to invest in that research, in expanding our capacity by knowing more and being better prepared for the changing world.

Mr. Speaker, the tradition of our territory is written by the Indigenous ancestors who coexisted with this environment for many generations. They were and remain stewards of a healthy land that supported and sustained their civilization over many thousands of years. Now, in the 21st century, I believe ENR should be using all available tools to continue that stewardship of a sustainable, healthy environment.

Yes, we can support flourishing, healthy families living in thriving, empowered communities, but, Mr. Speaker, now is not the time for short-sightedness. We need investment in critical knowledge. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Stewardship of the Environment
Members' Statements

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The Speaker Jackson Lafferty

Masi. Members' statements. Member for Sahtu.

Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining and Exploration Companies, 2018
Members' Statements

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Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On February 28, 2019, the Fraser Institute released a 2018 annual survey of mining and exploration companies. The survey is an attempt to assess how mineral endowment and public policy factors such as taxation and regulatory uncertainty affect exploration investments.

Mr. Speaker, the GNWT Industry, Tourism and Investment Department developed the mineral development strategy, which I must say is bearing evidence of results, which we know take some time, productive time, for Indigenous collaboration, industry marketing presentations, advertisement campaigns, capital investments for geology core sample inventory. Bearing results are now shown from the Fraser Institute news release. The NWT is the 10th most desirable mining investment spot on the planet and ranked fourth in mineral potential worldwide. This is improved from the 21st position held last year.

Mr. Speaker, an overall Investment Attractiveness Index is constructed by combining the Best Practices Mineral Potential index, which rates Geology and Policy Perception index, principles of a survey that has placed the NWT jurisdiction in the global investors community. I am confident this recognition will be maintained and exceeded by the department staff and inserted in our 18th Assembly mandate reports.

Mr. Speaker, historically, the mining industry held significant landholdings in the Sahtu, a land area covering 16 percent of the territory. On diversification through essential resource development planning, later, Mr. Speaker, I will have questions for the Minister of ITI. Mahsi.